Five University of Massachusetts faculty have been awarded the 2018 Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching for their exemplary dedication to students and the university. Dr. Pamela Karimi (Art Education, Art History & Media Studies) was named as the winning professor from UMass Dartmouth. The honored faculty member from each UMass campus will receive a $10,000 award in recognition of their commitment to academic excellence. The Manning Prize was established in 2016 by UMass Lowell alumni Rob and Donna Manning to honor UMass professors who excel in teaching and service.
“I’m proud to recognize these brilliant, dedicated faculty members, who are transforming lives through their teaching and mentorship,” said Rob Manning, a 1984 graduate of UMass Lowell and current chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees. “At UMass, we’re blessed with excellent faculty across all five campuses who are harnessing talent, curiosity, and ambition to create the leaders of tomorrow, and it’s very important to Donna and me that we acknowledge them for their efforts.”
Since joining UMass Dartmouth in 2009, Dr. Karimi has cultivated an approach to teaching that grounds intellectual inquiry firmly within the community. At the center of this unique approach is her class, “Architecture and Sustainability in the American Post Industrial City,” which considers pressing issues of revitalization and sustainability in the context of New Bedford. In this course, students work with local activists, politicians, and artists to generate proposals for repurposing vacant lots and abandoned mills, building cost-effective community greenhouses and supporting urban farming.
“We’re so grateful to Rob and Donna Manning for their unparalleled generosity and dedication to the UMass mission of world-class public higher education,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “As a result of their personal experiences, Rob and Donna recognize and seek to honor the incredible contribution of UMass faculty to student learning and to guiding students on pathways to success.”
“Through her connection with students and the community, Dr. Karimi’s impact is felt around campus and the SouthCoast,” said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert E. Johnson. “Dr. Karimi is an amazing example of faculty dedication and ingenuity that has made UMass Dartmouth an educational destination.”
Dr. Karimi's classes also tackle difficult and timely topics of global significance. These include the migration of displaced people resulting from war or political violence and the continued impact of slavery in contemporary culture. Exemplary of this commitment is the “Black Spaces Matter: Exploring the Aesthetics and Architectonics of an Abolitionist Neighborhood” exhibition that she organized with students, artists, activists, residents and UMass colleagues in order to showcase the unique history of New Bedford in the abolitionist movement. In the last eight years, Dr. Karimi has received nine teaching based grants from MIT, The Society of Architectural Historians and UMass. Dr. Karimi's teaching exemplifies the mission of a public university.