Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, Chancellor Professor of Marketing and Director of the Center for Marketing Research, is the 2017 recipient of the Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching. The Prize honors outstanding faculty members who demonstrate excellence in teaching along with exemplary dedication to students and the University of Massachusetts campus community.
Awardees hold the distinction of implementing unique, innovative or alternative pedagogies, or teaching methods that have deepened student learning. Established in 2015 by UMass Lowell alumni Robert and Donna Manning, the competitive Prize carries a $10,000 award. The Manning's have generously provided support to offer a Prize on each of the five UMass campuses for the next three years.
“At the heart of her teaching philosophy is a commitment to experiential learning, which prompts students to master concepts through real-life scenarios,” said UMass Dartmouth Provost Mohammad Karim.
Barnes earned her PhD in Consumer Behavior from the University of Connecticut, and joined UMass Dartmouth faculty in 1985. Several studies on social media conducted at the Center for Marketing Research by students have been cited in Business Week, CNN, Fortune Magazine, Time Magazine, Wall St. Journal, Financial Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Reuters, MIT Sloan Management Review, the Journal of Marketing Management, and other business and academic publications.
In addition to her impressive record of scholarship featuring more than 180 publications, Barnes has been awarded numerous research grants and has been named a Senior Research Fellow and Research Chair by the Society for New Communications Research. She is the only faculty member in the history of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to receive both the Teacher of the Year and Scholar of the Year awards.
Here are a few highlights over the course of her three-decade career at UMassD:
Transforming an undergraduate class into a marketing agency
In June of 2000, the Center for Marketing Research opened its doors under the direction of Barnes. The student-operated Center meets business needs for research, training, and consulting in any and all aspects of marketing at an affordable rate. The Center is linked to the business community through its Advisory Board, which comprises members from various local Chambers of Commerce, CEOs of international business, and the UMassD Assistant Director of Economic Development.
The commodious space on the third level of the Charlton College of Business features a suite complete with student work stations and 16 phone lines. “The consultants are our students,” said Barnes. “And that has been the catch 22 – the Center is really a student lab.”
Student consultants conduct 15-20 studies annually. Center projects and classroom studies are often coupled, which provides students with real-world experience as well as the opportunity to offer high-quality consulting to prestigious media outlets and industry leaders. For example, in Barnes’ Social Media Marketing and E-commerce courses, students have piloted Twitter conferences with social media pioneers like Shel Isreal, Paul Gillin, Gina Hernandez, among others.
To date, approximately 1,600 students have conducted research studies, including market research studies for over 400 organizations, campus groups, national and international companies and nonprofits. “Students get to meet whoever comes knocking, and at the end the semester they are very proud of their portfolio representing the clients they’ve served,” said Barnes.
Responding to needs within the community
In addition to placing students in contact with businesses, Center for Marketing Research projects directly benefit the campus and surrounding community. A recent initiative focused on creating a campus food bank. Recognizing a need to supplement food supply for students, UMassD Catholic Campus Minister/Associate Catholic Chaplain Frank Lucca contacted Barnes about the idea of starting a food pantry.
Barnes shared the idea with Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs David Milstone, assembled a Center for Marketing Research team to survey students across campus, and solicited volunteer support from faculty and staff. The team provided metrics based on the population most in need, potential frequency of use, and the members in the community most likely to volunteer or donate items. The research project culminated with Arnie's Cupboard, which provides emergency food and educational resources to UMass Dartmouth students, faculty, and staff in need.
Establishing the Celebrity Scholarship Dinner
When visitors enter the Center for Marketing Research, they are greeted with a gallery of photos and news releases that intertwine the student talent at UMassD and the story of the Center. In the Center’s 17-year history, a host of celebrities have gracefully accepted the request to collaborate with the Center on providing scholarships to deserving students during the annual Celebrity Scholarship Dinner.
The gala attracts a crowd of 300 to 600 individuals, and has featured luminaries such as 12-time NBA All-Star Bill Russell, heavyweight champion Larry Holmes, NASA astronaut Alan Bean, and New England Patriots Hall of Famer Troy Brown.
“The main focus is on our students. And all the lights are on UMassD that night,” said Barnes. “When I contact celebrities and tell them about the mission of the Celebrity Scholarship Dinner and request their presence, they ask ‘what do I do?’ When I tell them, they say ‘What time should I be there?’ And when celebrities stand on that stage and hand those scholarships to the students, it’s poignant.” Since its inception, the Celebrity Scholarship Dinner has raised over $150,000.
This year’s celebrity guest is Red Sox legend and three-time World Series champion David Ortiz. The event takes place Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 6 pm at Venus de Milo in Swansea, MA. For ticket information, contact Ava Lescault at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508.910.6435.
Receiving the Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching
“Every day at UMass Dartmouth is rewarding and full of surprises,” said Barnes. “To receive the Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching on top of that is humbling. There simply aren’t words to express a recognition of this magnitude. I’m grateful.”