Linda Isbell Awarded the Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching

Linda IsbellLinda Isbell, professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, has received the 2018 Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Presented by the UMass Amherst Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development, this award honors one outstanding faculty member from each of the five campuses of the University of Massachusetts. This competitive prize is presented to faculty members who demonstrate sustained evidence of excellence in teaching along with exemplary dedication to students and the campus community.  

Since her arrival at UMass in 1999, Professor Isbell has excelled in her approach to teaching and leadership, inspiring many students and colleagues within the University and the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. She is a practiced researcher of teaching methods, exploring how active-learning classroom activities affect students and enhance their learning experience. Her concentration in social psychology, taught in both large lecture courses and small seminars, engages students through experiences linked to the real world in meaningful ways. For example, in her political psychology course students analyze political campaigns, hold discussions with politicians and researchers, and are required to take a deep look into a relevant research topic of their choice. Undergraduates participate in questionnaires and reaction papers as the course progresses, collecting observations about how their political knowledge and interests may have changed over the course of the semester.

Professor Isbell is passionate in her search for finding techniques which will motivate students to stay connected, to increase their drive to succeed, and continue learning. She is a committed mentor and advisor to many outstanding students. She has served as a member of numerous doctoral dissertation, masters, and undergraduate honors committees as well as advising independent research projects, internships, and research assistantships. She offers her expertise to journals and federal granting agencies, reviewing articles and proposals, and has recently been named associate editor of the scientific journal Emotion.

The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences congratulates Linda Isbell on receiving this award, which recognizes her devotion to the advancement of teaching and mentorship.