Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

O’Connor Receives ADVANCE Faculty Peer Mentor Award

Brendan O'Connor

Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences Associate Professor Brendan O’Connor has been announced as a Spring 2022 ADVANCE Faculty Peer Mentor Award recipient. The award, administered by the UMass ADVANCE program, recognizes the work faculty members perform in mentoring and supporting their colleagues’ professional development and success and is given to one faculty member from each college at UMass Amherst. 

CICS Assistant Professor Hamed Zamani testifies to O’Connor’s brand of peer mentorship, saying it “made a difficult transition much easier” for himself and other new faculty through a challenging start to his faculty position at UMass during a pandemic. “His efforts made me feel comfortable in the college as a new faculty [member] and taught me a lot about teaching, institutional service, and research,” wrote Zamani in his nomination of O’Connor.

O’Connor notes that he believes that far more work is to be done regarding faculty mentorship throughout the college and the university. “I’m grateful that I was able to help with faculty mentoring, which is crucial to support our junior faculty,” says O’Connor. “But there’s much more I can do, and that other senior faculty can do … I would urge our college to make faculty mentorship an even greater priority moving forward.”

The winners were selected from a competitive pool of nominees and honored by Provost McCarthy during the ADVANCE Distinguished Lecture on March 22. UMass ADVANCE is funded by a five-year $3.1 million National Science Foundation ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant and seeks to transform the campus by cultivating faculty equity, inclusion, and success through meaningful collaboration. 

Brendan O’Connor joined the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences in 2014. His research explores the intersection of computational social science and natural language processing. Prior to joining the CICS faculty, O’Connor served as a visiting fellow at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science. He earned his doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University’s machine learning department and studied the intersection of artificial intelligence and social science in symbolic systems at Stanford University, where he obtained his master’s and bachelor’s degrees.