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Ed.D., Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University (1993)
Maria Bacigalupo holds a Doctorate in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard and a Master’s degree in the same from Harvard as well as a Master’s in Counseling from Suffolk University. Dr. Bacigalupo, known to her students as Dr. B., is the recipient of the Curry College Human Justice Award (2011) for her work as an "ardent advocate for diversity, respect and inclusion within the educational workplace and the larger Curry community." *
Recruited directly out of her undergraduate program at Curry College to teach college-qualified, undergraduate students with learning disabilities in the Program for Advancement of Learning (PAL), Dr. B. is now (since 1993) a Full Professor at the College. "She has worked for over forty years within the learning disabilities community - as teacher, mentor, and advocate, she has supported the rights of learning disabled individuals to services that enable them to participate successfully in education at all levels and to lead full and productive lives."
Dr. Bacigalupo is the founder and supervisor of the PAL Peer Mentoring Program which was first implemented in the spring of 2017. She since trained and educated some 40 mentors in the art of mentoring and coaching students from diverse backgrounds through her course PAL Peer Mentoring and Coaching. Each term the student mentors coach anywhere from 50 to 80 PAL students. Dr. B serves as the Program’s Supervisor. These talented mentor-leaders meet with students on a one-to-one basis and in small groups.
Dr. B. has taught courses in multicultural education and strategies for building an effective classroom culture in a pluralistic society to undergraduate education students as well as courses in curriculum articulation and universal design and differentiation in the Master of Education Program. Her interest area continues to be Universal Design for Instruction (meeting the needs of the full range of learners in all classrooms). "Through her teaching of undergraduate and graduate students at Curry who make up countless current and future classroom teachers, she has been fiercely committed to the dignity, worth, and value of all students, recognizing the larger social and political realities of class inequality, racial segregation, and citizenship status which create barriers to educational success. No student leaves her course without a deep understanding of bias in schools, teaching, and curriculum - and ways to combat it. She has shown particular understanding and empathy towards the bullying that many disabled as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students face in school."
While teaching in the 80s and 90s, Dr. B. also co-founded a successful New England-based organization, The Learning Disabilities Network. The non-profit aided students with learning disabilities and their teachers and continued for two decades, largely on volunteer contributions. Here she "worked to build the resources and networks that connect people with learning challenges and differences, advancing their common interests" including operating some of the most successful conferences in the New England area for teachers of students with learning disabilities in the 80s and 90s.
"Dr. Bacigalupo has also served as an advocate and leader on behalf of workplace democracy." A member of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) for more than 30 years, she has contributed to the local chapter in many roles, including Union President. Dr. Bacigalupo served as a member of numerous bargaining teams. "Through a variety of leadership roles, she has been a strong representative and voice for the faculty union here at Curry, demonstrating commitment to principles of dialogue, cooperation, fairness, equity, transparency, shared governance, and conflict resolution in the workplace." She was elected to and served the AAUP in a national capacity as well having served as an elected National Council member, an Executive Committee Member and on various National committees. She has also served on the Board of the MA Chapter of the AAUP in several capacities.
In addition to teaching, Dr. Bacigalupo has consulted with private special needs schools in the areas of curriculum alignment and universal design/differentiation, and she speaks at various conferences as well as at colleges and public schools.
*Further quotes in this description are from this award.