The University of Massachusetts Boston is rightly recognized for the excellence of its faculty. Each year we celebrate the accomplishments of faculty members who have made exceptional contributions in one of the three areas of faculty responsibility by presenting them with the Chancellor's Awards for Distinguished Scholarship, Teaching, and Service. I would like to thank everyone who prepared a nomination for one of these awards, as well as the members of the three faculty committees who carefully reviewed the nominations and made recommendations. Please join me in congratulating the following faculty members who have been selected to receive awards:
Christopher Fuchs, Department of Physics
Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Scholarship
In the words of the review committee, Professor Fuchs is an innovator in the fields of quantum communication, quantum information and an approach to the interpretation of quantum mechanics known as “Quantum Bayesianism,” or QBism. It is this latter area in which Professor Fuchs has made his most impactful, foundational contributions to physics and attracted the greatest admiration. Professor Fuchs, through lectures, keynote speeches, communications with colleagues and student post-doctoral mentoring, has served as an ambassador and advocate the world over for QBism and theoretical physics generally.
Colleagues who have written in support of Professor Fuchs, including two Nobel laureates are unstinting in their praise, one calling him a “world leader in his field.” One colleague concludes that “Professor Fuchs is widely acknowledged as a pioneer and one of the most original thinkers worldwide in the fields of quantum information and quantum foundations. He has made landmark contributions to research in different fields and his research program is on track to establish a new paradigm in the very foundations of physics.”
The Chancellor's Distinguished Scholarship Award Committee
Michael Johnson, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, Public Policy and Public Affairs (committee chair)
Eric Grinberg, College of Science and Mathematics, Mathematics
Holly Jackson, College of Liberal Arts, English
Helen Poynton, School for the Environment
Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Teaching
Professor Poynton has distinguished herself as an innovative and deeply committed teacher, field research supervisor, and mentor to her students. She has also made transformative contributions as the Director of Undergraduate Programs in the School for the Environment and of the Coastal Research for Environmental Science and Technology (CREST) Research Education for Undergraduates. The combination of her viscerally felt investment in student success, her centering of equity and inclusion in science education, and the exceptional pedagogical creativity she exhibited during the 1.5 years of remote instruction makes the choice of Professor Poynton particularly compelling at this time.
Professor Poynton is also an exemplary mentor. A colleague describes her lab space as being “the most active in terms of number of students visibly working and learning on a regular basis.” One graduate student explains why her “abilities and confidence in the lab have grown under Professor Poynton’s tutelage.” An undergraduate “inspired by Professor Poynton’s strength, intelligence, and empathy” credits her with sparking a desire to pursue an advanced degree.
Professor Poynton has had a profound impact on her students. That she has played a pivotal role in making science education more equitable makes her richly deserving of this award.
The Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award Committee
Elizabeth Bussiere, College of Liberal Arts, Political Science (committee chair)
Kellee Siegfried, College of Science and Mathematics, Biology
Stephen Silliman, College of Liberal Arts, Anthropology
Tony Van Der Meer and Keith Jones, Department of Africana Studies
Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Service
The Award for Distinguished Service is being given to a team of faculty members, Tony Van Der Meer and Keith Jones. They have given generously of their time and energy to engage the entire campus in becoming a socially and racially just and public health-promoting institution. At a fraught moment of reckoning with racial and social injustice, when our communities and publics look to the university to play a responsive role, Jones and Van Der Meer created space for a community-wide dialogue on racial and social justice and public health equity. The two faculty members created structures and exercised leadership by convening the “Undoing Racism” assembly, a series of conversations that have provided a planning forum for programmatic and actionable strategies to address social justice and public health equity on our campus. Jones and Van Der Meer also facilitated Sankofa and the Homegoing conversations, bringing to this work years of dedicated service on behalf of Boston’s vulnerable and marginalized communities.
In spurring new ways of thinking and doing in relation to racial and social justice and health equity, the two faculty members have played a landmark role in contributing to building a university that lives up to its mission
The Chancellor's Distinguished Service Award Committee
Werner Kunz, College of Management, Marketing (committee chair)
Dolly Daftary, College of Education and Human Development, School for Global Inclusion and Social Development
Jose Martinez-Reyes, College of Liberal Arts, Anthropology