Rahhal among Five Honored with Manning Teaching Awards

Tamara Rahhal
Tamara Rahhal

Tamara (Tammy) Rahhal, senior lecturer II, associate chair of teaching, chief undergraduate advisor in the department of psychological and brain sciences (PBS), is one of five University of Massachusetts faculty awarded the 2020 Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching for their exemplary dedication to students and the university. The faculty members—one from each UMass campus—will receive $10,000 awards in recognition of their commitment to academic excellence.

Rahhal is also a TIDE (Teaching for Inclusiveness, Diversity & Equity) Ambassador.

Teaching mainly large courses, she is deeply committed to actively involving students in learning processes while keeping issues of inclusion and equity at heart by using a multimodal and universal design approach to teaching. Rahhal is a reliable advocate for her students and colleagues. Her chair describes her as a “high impact” faculty member who is very active in her department, supporting the mission of PBS by delivering a broad introduction to the behavioral sciences with a foundation in psychological and brain research.

A compassionate and resourceful mentor, she has helped countless students overcome tremendous difficulties in their lives so that they achieved their academic goals. As one of her students remarked, “She believed in me when I no longer believed in myself.” Another shared, “Not only was she there for me in times of need, she is also one of the first people I go to for celebrating my accomplishments.”

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Rahhal received her PhD in experimental psychology from Duke University with her dissertation, “It’s not all downhill: Effects of instructions on age differences in memory.” Since then, she has continued her research on the effects of age, gender, and race on memory. Rahhal is a regular reviewer of articles in the Psychological Science, Psychology and Aging, Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Science, and Memory and Cognition.

The other 2020 Manning prize winners are:

  • Kristin M. Murphy, assistant professor of special education at UMass Boston
  • Jeremiah A. Ho, associate professor of law at UMass Dartmouth
  • Keith B. Mitchell, associate professor of English at UMass Lowell
  • Mai-Lan A. Rogoff, professor of psychiatry at UMass Medical School

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.

“Donna and I are proud to recognize these five faculty members for their skill, passion and extraordinary commitment to students,” said Rob Manning, a 1984 graduate of UMass Lowell. “Faculty are the heart and soul of this great university, and we thank these talented educators for going above and beyond to enrich their campus communities and help students reach their full potential.”

Rob Manning, who is executive chairman of MFS Investment Management and chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees, credits UMass Lowell math professor Bernie Shapiro with helping him land the job that launched his career. Donna Manning, who received her nursing degree and her master of business administration from UMass Lowell, was an oncology nurse at Boston Medical Center for more than 30 years until her retirement in 2018. They are among the largest contributors to UMass in its history.

“We’re so thankful to Rob and Donna Manning for their generous support of our faculty, who make UMass the world-class university it is today,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “These faculty members inspire and empower students both in and out of the classroom, so this is a wonderful recognition of their efforts.”

All full-time, tenured and non-tenured faculty members are eligible to receive the Manning Prize. Each campus is responsible for determining its own nomination and selection process, but that process must include student and peer input to ensure that selected faculty members meet the criteria of being superb teachers and exemplary members of the campus community.

This year’s Manning Prize winners were honored during a Zoom event Wednesday, June, 24.