Sorcinelli to Become Weissman Scholar

Mary Deane Sorcinelli '72 will become the Weissman Center's first Distinguished Scholar in Residence this fall.

President Lynn Pasquerella has announced that Mary Deane Sorcinelli ’72 will become the inaugural Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Mount Holyoke’s Weissman Center for Leadership this September.

Sorcinelli has most recently been associate provost at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and she is the founding director of that university’s Center for Teaching and Faculty Development (CTFD), as well as a professor of educational policy. As the Weissman Distinguished Scholar, she will work to advance women’s education and leadership.

“I am very excited to have Mary Deane Sorcinelli joining the Mount Holyoke community,” said MHC President Lynn Pasquerella. “She represents the absolute best in scholarship and practice related to teaching and learning.”

Sorcinelli has a history of deep connections to the College: She earned an M.A. in English from Mount Holyoke in 1972; her daughter, Julia Sorcinelli, is a 2004 graduate of Mount Holyoke. She and her husband, Gino, were house parents in the Torrey and 1837 residence halls from 1971 to 1975. Sorcinelli also has served as class scribe for the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly and as a volunteer for the Mount Holyoke Fund for more than three decades.

“I consider it an extraordinary privilege to work with the Weissman Center and the MHC community. This appointment offers me an exciting opportunity to take a new path in my professional life, returning full circle to the College that transformed my life,” said Sorcinelli. “In many ways, I will be returning to what attracted me to faculty development in the first place: the chance to work alongside faculty and administrators who care deeply about teaching, faculty professional development, women’s education, and leadership. I look forward to being part of what makes Mount Holyoke such a distinctive place—its dedication to excellence in everything it does.” 

“She is an absolute treasure,” added Weissman Center director Becky Wai-Ling Packard, who will work with Sorcinelli on faculty development. “As a Mount Holyoke alumna, she will be giving back to the College in an important way.”

In addition to her Mount Holyoke degree, Sorcinelli also holds an Ed.D. in educational policy from UMass-Amherst, where she was awarded the university’s 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award. She returned to UMass in 1988 from Indiana University-Bloomington, where she had served as director of faculty development. Under her direction, the UMass CTFD has promoted educational and faculty development innovations that have been recognized with a range of national awards and externally funded grants; the center has also supported the professional development of UMass 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.

A well-known researcher in the areas of academic careers, faculty professional development, teaching and learning, and the evaluation of teaching, Sorcinelli has written more than 100 articles, book chapters, and books in a wide range of sources. In 2006, she was honored with the Bob Pierleoni Spirit of POD (Professional and Organizational Development) Award for outstanding lifetime achievement and leadership in the enhancement of teaching, learning, and faculty development. She also served as president and executive board member of the POD Network (2000–2004) and as senior scholar to the American Association for Higher Education.

Sorcinelli has provided faculty development teaching and consultations in international settings that include Canada, China, Egypt, England, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan.