Three faculty members given distinguished professor status

By Sam Butterfield

The Board of Trustees at the University of Massachusetts voted Sept. 29 to name three UMass faculty members distinguished professors. Professor of chemical engineering Peter A. Monson, English professor Anne Herrington and James E. Young, also in English, received the distinction, which recognizes “outstanding academic distinction in the faculty member’s field,” according to a News and Media Relations office release, after recommendations by Chancellor Robert Holub and Provost James Staros.


Monson has been on the faculty at the University since 1982, and, according to last Thursday’s release, is “among the most respected chemical engineering thermodynamicists in the world today.” Monson works primarily on the composition of confined fluids, and has been published in leading molecular and chemical physics journals, including Nature, Physical Review Letters and the Journal of Chemical Physics. He has also won grants from the national Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Monson has been tabbed to chair the 12th International Conference on the Fundamentals of Absorption, to be held in 2012, and has also worked as a visiting professor at Oxford University in England, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Sandia national Laboratory, Technical University of Berlin and the University of Leipzig, according to the release.


Herrington has been on UMass’ faculty since 1986, and has authored several works, including the David H. Russell award winning “Persons in Process: Four Stories of Writing and Personal Development in College,” for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English from the National Council of Teachers of English. She also co-edited a collection of essays published last year by the Teachers College Press titled “Teaching the New Writing: Technology, Change, and Assessment in the 21st Century Classroom.”

Herrington also directed the writing program here at UMass from 1990 to 1996, and has served on the executive board of the Western Massachusetts Writing Project since 1999. The former chair of the English Department, serving from 2000 to 2006, Herrington also sat on the Massachusetts Department of Education’s English Language Arts Framework Revision Committee from 2007 to 2009.


Young is described in the University release as “a pioneer in the application of modern literary criticism to narratives of the Holocaust.” Further, the release states he is among the world’s foremost Holocaust scholars regarding “its historical, political, literary, artistic and cultural aspects.”

Young has authored three works on the Holocaust, among them “The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning,” winner of the 1994 National Jewish Book Award. In addition to the books he has penned, Young has been a prolific academic writer, publishing 136 articles and chapters of collections, as well as more than 35 critical reviews and hundreds of lectures.

He will soon serve as editor in chief of the Yale University Press-published Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization, which will encompass 10 volumes.

Along with his other accolades, Young has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies. He has also been a visiting professor at Ivies Harvard and Princeton University, and at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Young has been on UMass’ faculty since 1988 and has chaired the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies since 1998.

Sam Butterfield can be reached at [email protected]