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Chancellor’s Award Winners Lecture in the Alumni Lounge

The audience giving Liem a standing ovation for her speech.



Each summer, UMass Boston honors its faculty members with the Chancellor’s Awards for Distinguished Scholarship, Teaching, and Service. The winners of the awards are chosen by three faculty committees, and their names are announced by the chancellor during the university’s main Commencement ceremony.

This year, Chancellor J. Keith Motley invited the university community to a lecture, featuring a short speech by each of the award winners, “Building the University of Massachusetts Boston: Pursuit of Excellence.” The event took place on Dec. 4 from 3-4:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Alumni Lounge.

Joan Liem, a psychology professor and this year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Service, was the first to speak. Liem, a former dean of graduate studies at UMass Boston, founded and designed UMass Boston’s PhD program in clinical psychology. She considers the program her “most significant professional service, and [her] most direct contribution to furthering excellence.”

The next speaker was Stephanie Hartwell, a professor in the applied sociology program and the winner of the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. Hartwell told the audience that receiving the award was “an honor that’s inspired [her] to do better.”

John Tobin, an English professor specializing in the study of Shakespeare’s works, and Rachel Rubin, an American Studies professor, shared the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Scholarship. Tobin told the audience about his great pride in UMass Boston. “I might very well pay the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the opportunity to work here,” he said, “but perhaps I shouldn’t say so in front of Chancellor Motley.”

Finally, Rubin gave her speech. Rubin has written about several diverse aspects of American culture, from Jewish gangsters to immigration to American music. Her latest book, Well Met, about renaissance faires in America, was released November 19. Rubin said in her speech that the book “humbled [her] so much that it may well be my best.”

Jacqueline Fawcett, the chair of UMass Boston’s nursing department, came to the lecture to support the winners. “I received the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Scholarship in 2006,” she explained, “and I wanted to honor my colleagues…We didn’t have an opportunity to give a lecture like this when I got my award, so i just wanted to be here to applaud them.

Fawcett is enthusiastic about the lecture and hopes there will be more like it in the future. “At Commencement, people’s accomplishments are read to the audience, and they get their award, but we don’t hear from them. I think this is lovely,” she said. “The way the award is done and the ceremony around it has evolved very very nicely.”