Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Mary Deane Sorcinelli '78 EdD

Dr. Mary Deane Sorcinelli is Associate Provost for Faculty Development, Director of the Center for Teaching and Faculty Development, and Professor of Educational Policy, Research, and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  Prior to joining UMass Amherst, she served as Director, Office of Faculty Development, Indiana University Bloomington for a decade.    

The Center for Teaching and Faculty Development s (CTFD) supports the professional development of faculty across all career stages and disciplines with a wide range of programs and resources focused on teaching, mentoring, scholarly writing, career advancement, and work/life balance.  For 25 years, through her dedicated work in the Center, Sorcinelli has served early career, midcareer, and senior faculty, departments and colleges, and has advanced the teaching culture of the campus. 

Under Sorcinelli’s leadership, the CTFD is the proud recipient of The Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education's 2011 Robert J. Menges Award for Outstanding Research in Educational Development, an honor given in recognition of CTFD's work on an Andrew W. Mellon Mutual Mentoring Initiative.  The Center also was cited as a Model Faculty Development Program in the U.S. and Canada (2006), and was awarded two  Innovation Awards from the POD Network for work on faculty mentoring and diversity  (2007, 2002), and a 2000 national Hesburgh Award for Faculty Development to Enhance Undergraduate Teaching and Learning. 

Sorcinelli is a well-known researcher in the areas of academic careers, faculty professional development, teaching and learning, and the evaluation of teaching.  She has written over 100 articles, book chapters, and books in a wide range of sources. 

Sorcinelli has directed a number of externally grant-funded projects aimed at promoting educational innovations at UMass Amherst.   She is currently Co-PI of a second $400,000 grant from the Andrew W.  Mellon Foundation to support a campus-wide Mutual Mentoring Initiative.  She also has directed grants on instructional improvement initiatives from Microsoft, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and Pew Charitable Trusts.  She has served on the boards of NSF ADVANCE Grants and NSF Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement Grants. 

Sorcinelli has participated actively in her profession.  In 2006 she was honored with the Bob Pierleoni Spirit of POD Award for outstanding lifetime achievement and leadership in the enhancement of teaching, learning, and faculty development.  She also served as President/Executive Board Member of the POD Network, 2000-04, and as Senior Scholar to the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE) from 1999-2001. 

Sorcinelli has provided faculty development teaching and consultations in in international settings that include Canada, China, Egypt, England, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.  She visited the American University in Cairo, Egypt as a Distinguished Visiting Professor, and was awarded a Whiting Foundation Fellowship to the National University of Ireland Galway.

Sorcinelli holds an M.A. in English from Mount Holyoke College and an Ed.D in Educational Policy, Research and Administration from UMass Amherst. She is married to UMass Amherst alumni Gino Sorcinelli, who earned a B.S. in Political Science and an M.S in Labor Studies. Their daughter, Mia, is a graduate of UMass Medical School in Worcester, and daughter Julia has a B.A. from Mt. Holyoke College and an M.A. and MPA from Indiana University Bloomington; their son, Gino, holds an MEd from the School of Education at UMass Amherst.

Read more about the 2013 Distinguished Award recipients