Performing Arts Professor Rafael Jaen Wins Manning Prize


Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts Rafael Jaen was recently honored as one of five University of Massachusetts faculty to receive the 2017 Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching.The faculty members—one from each UMass campus—will receive $10,000 awards in recognition of their commitment to exemplary teaching and dedication to students.

Jaen, a practicing costume designer and technician, joined UMass Boston in 2013. He is credited with his work in creating an entirely new program in costume design and technology in UMass Boston’s Performing Arts Department, training students in the best practices of the profession. He also assumed a leading role in the development of state-of-the-art costume studio spaces in University Hall.

The award committee found Jaen’s innovative approach was matched by his passion and dedication to student success. Under Jaen’s guidance, his students have learned the in and outs of costume history, design, and construction. They have been recognized with awards for theater technology and have received a plethora of paid internships in professional theaters.

“There are always opportunities for students,” Jaen said. “So if I get an offer for a job, I always talk to the providers to see if there is funding for my students who I am vetting. I’ll advocate for our students. I root for them.”

The Manning Prize was established in 2016 by UMass Board of Trustees Chairman Rob Manning and his wife Donna — both UMass Lowell alumni — to honor UMass professors who excel in teaching and service.

“I’m thrilled to recognize these five faculty members, who go above and beyond every day to help make UMass an extraordinary university,” said Manning, pictured below with Jaen and President Marty Meehan and Chancellor Barry Mills. “Faculty are the heart and soul of this institution, and they have the power to transform lives. I know firsthand the impact that great teachers have, so it’ …

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