Excellence personified at Educational Recognition Awards

Outstanding faculty are honored and Gagliardi delivers compelling ‘Last Lecture’

By Ellie Castano and Bryan Goodchild

UMass Medical School Communications

April 13, 2011



Susan Gagliardi, PhD, the inaugural recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, delivered the “Last Lecture” during the Educational Recognition Awards ceremony on April 12.  View the slideshow

The annual Educational Recognition Awards ceremony on April 12 featured a fresh twist on an established tradition. In addition to the presentation of awards to faculty for excellence in teaching, research and service, this year’s ceremony included a special lecture by the inaugural recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, Susan Gagliardi, professor of cell biology and neurology. 

Cited by Chancellor Michael F. Collins as “a teacher who utilizes a learner-centered approach, who listens to her students and acts on what she hears to create a series of interactive experiences in and outside of the classroom,” Dr. Gagliardi fittingly delivered the “Last Lecture” in the new student-centered, technology-driven integrated Teaching and Learning Center (iTLC) that opened last fall. 

Gagliardi’s lecture, called Thinking Aloud about Learning and Teaching, featured reflections on how her teaching has been transformed by both technology and experience over her 30-plus year teaching career. Saying, “Active learning provides students with some control over the pace and subject matter,” she made full use of the iTLC setting, enlisting current medical students to illustrate one of her primary points—that the best teaching is interactive and puts students in the driver’s seat. 

The students tackled an interactive exercise about the structure of the brain, which was simultaneously displayed on the large monitors throughout the room. As they worked their way through several questions, everyone else in the room was able to follow along. The teaching tools that Gagliari has helped create over the years have been continually refined based on student feedback and performance. “Students have much to tell us. We need to listen,” she said. 

The Educational Recognition Awards, which honored veteran teachers alongside new colleagues, were presented prior to the lecture. 

  • Lamar Soutter Award: David Hatem, MD; Susan Starr, MEd 
  • Educational “Star” Award: Mary O’Brien, MD, and Bill Royer, PhD; Mark Dershwitz, MD, PhD, and Charles Sagerstrom, PhD; James Liebmann, MD, and Rick Pieters, MD 
  • Patient-Teacher Award: Anne Desmond 
  • GSBS Dean’s Award: Lucio Castilla, PhD 
  • GSBS Faculty Awards: 

    For outstanding contribution to curricular development: Stephen Jones, PhD; George Reed, PhD 
    For research mentoring and commitment to student professional advancement: Phillip Zamore, PhD
    For contributions in the lecture and classroom settings: Brian Lewis, PhD 
  • GSN Dean’s Award: Jill Terrien, PhD, APRN-BC, ANP, ACNP
  • GSN Distinguished Faculty Award: 

    GEP: Kimberly Silver, RN, MSN 
    Master’s: Jill Terrien, PhD, APRN-BC, ANP, ACNP 
    Doctoral: Michael Kneeland, MD 

Related links: 

Dr. Gagliardi to deliver ‘Last Lecture’ 
At Convocation, Chancellor Collins honors faculty, celebrates institutional milestones and looks to the future 
First-ever Chancellor’s Awards in teaching, research and service presented at Convocation 

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