Fresh voice enhances multidisciplinary teaching

Fresh voice enhances multidisciplinary teaching

Mahoney Teaching Award recruits diverse perspectives to iCons Program 

September 20, 2018

Christiane Healeybiology, is the first recipient of the newly established Mahoney Teaching Award for the iCons Program, made possible by a gift from the Mahoney family. The award brings in new faculty members who haven’t yet taught in the iCons Program, relying on student nominations to bring great candidates forward.  


The UMass iCons Program (Integrated Concentration in Science) recruits students across a diverse range of science and engineering disciplines to identify global problems and find cutting-edge solutions using an multidisciplinary approach. 

Healey was nominated by iConssophomore Devon Lukas, who wrote, “Professor Healey's passion for changing the way we treat our environment was impossible to ignore, and it was inspiring for me. She also seemed equally passionate about the growth of my class as students, learners, and future influencers. I see a lot of similarities between her style of teaching and the iCons curriculum.  

Professor Healey's passion for changing the way we treat our environment
was impossible to ignore." —Devon Lukas

Justin Fermanndirector of the program, says that “as a multidisciplinary program, it is imperative for iCons to have a diversity of faculty perspectives and expertise mirroring that of the students.” The award allows the faculty member to focus on developing and teaching a new course for the program and commits them to an initial two years of instruction. After the first year, additional funding enables the recipient to lead a project raising the national profile of the iCons Program.  

Healey will join the teaching team for the spring iCons 1 course “Global Challenges, Scientific Solutions” along with Fermannchemistry, and Jared Starr, a graduate student in environmental conservation   

As Fermann points out, award recipients also receive professional development opportunities that are expected to benefit their home departments as well as the iCons Program. “We anticipate that they will also translate iCons techniques and success to their teaching efforts within their disciplines,” he says. 

The Mahoney Teaching Award for the iCons Program is named after brothers William, Richard, and Robert Mahoney who all received their degrees in chemistry from UMass Amherst. The brothers have become leaders in their own industries and served as high-level alumni advisers on campus. Their commitment to student success is seen in their extraordinary efforts to personally mentor students and train other alumni to do the same, while their family legacy of giving and involvement is seen far and wide throughout the campus. 

Read on: 
iCons Program 

Share this story: