2024 2024: Erin Krafft awarded Manning Prize for Teaching Excellence

2024 2024: Erin Krafft awarded Manning Prize for Teaching Excellence
Erin Krafft awarded Manning Prize for Teaching Excellence

Associate Professor of Crime and Justice Studies recognized for exemplary teaching and service

Associate Professor of Crime and Justice Studies, Erin Krafft, PhD

UMass Dartmouth Associate Professor of Crime and Justice Studies, Erin Katie Krafft, has been awarded the 2024 Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching, awarded for exceptional dedication to students and the university. Each year, one faculty member from each UMass campus is chosen in recognition of their deep commitment to academic excellence.

UMass Lowell alumni Rob and Donna Manning established the Manning Prize in 2016 to honor UMass professors who excel in teaching and service.

"Having had excellent professors who played an important role in our college experiences, Donna and I are extremely proud to be able to recognize outstanding faculty from each of the campuses every year," said Robert Manning, former Chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees. "Faculty members shape lives and this prize is intended to be a recognition of these faculty members' unique contributions to their students and their campus."

Krafft joined UMass Dartmouth in 2017 as an associate professor, director of urban studies, and assistant director of the Office of Faculty Development. She has an established record of implementing unique, innovative, and student-centered teaching methods including collaborative teaching, service-learning, and experiential learning that reach across different instructional modalities so that students grow to see the classroom not only as a place of learning but also as a learning experiment in which students have a valuable place.

A former Leduc Center for Civic Engagement Service-Learning Fellow, she worked with her colleague, Associate Professor Heather Turcotte, to create an alternative spring break trip to Plenitud, Puerto Rico, an educational permaculture farm. This program has drawn students across colleges and disciplines to examine the intersection of their respective fields to address storm-resistant and sustainable farming and building practices in an area beset by poverty, natural disaster, and political marginalization.

"It is such an honor to receive this award, particularly because—as I've learned through my work with the Office of Faculty of Development and through many collaborations with colleagues across the University—there are so many powerful educators on our campus," said Krafft. "It is through working with such colleagues and with our students that I'm able to show up as an instructor in the ways that I do, and I'm incredibly grateful to my community on campus."
Manning Prize winners pictured with UMass President Marty Meehan, Robert and Donna Manning, and UMass Chancellors.
2024 Manning Prize winners pictured with UMass President Marty Meehan, Robert and Donna Manning, and UMass Chancellors. Photo courtesy UMass President Marty Meehan

Each UMass campus holds a selection process consisting of both student and peer input, and winners receive $10,000 awards in recognition of their commitment to academic excellence and exemplary dedication to their students and university.

"We are thrilled that Dr. Krafft has been recognized as an amazing teacher as this year's Manning Prize recipient," said College of Arts & Sciences Interim Dean Robert Jones. "As a member of our crime & justice studies faculty and the director of our urban studies minor, Dr. Krafft has continually been recognized by students as a knowledgeable and compassionate teacher passionate about their field. Additionally, Dr. Krafft is exemplary as the assistant director in our Office of Faculty Development, supporting the development of excellent teaching amongst her peers on campus."

Other winners from the UMass System include Brock Toggerson (physics) from UMass Amherst, Mohamed Amine Gharbi (physics) from UMass Boston, Phitsamay S. Uy (educational leadership) from UMass Lowell, and Susan Zweizig (obstetrics and gynecology) from UMass Chan Medical School. Assistant Professor of Interior Architecture & Design Stephanie McGoldrick won the award for UMass Dartmouth last year.

"Professor Krafft is a master at picking students' brains and she is brilliant in the way that she asks questions to get students thinking," says Nathan Upchurch, a 2024 crime & justice studies graduate and rising UMass Law 2L. "Professor Krafft allows students to be collaborative and guide class discussions through their own thoughts. I enjoyed every minute that I was able to learn from her and this award is well deserved!"