2022 President's Awards Winners
Award for Excellence for Professional Staff
Johanna Inman, Director, Teaching and Learning Center
Johanna Inman, EdD, MFA is the Inaugural Director of the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) at Drexel. Since launching the TLC in 2019, she has developed numerous workshops and programs for faculty and graduate students including the Drexel Institute for Inclusive and Equitable Teaching, Drexel Teaching Academy, New Dragons Faculty Learning Community, and the non-credit Certificate in College Teaching. The TLC promotes excellence in teaching across all schools and colleges at Drexel and has involved over 1000 faculty and more than 300 graduate students as participants so far.
Dr. Inman has presented extensively at regional and national conferences on teaching in higher education. Inman’s most recent publication “Launching a Center for Teaching and Learning During a Global Pandemic” published in To Improve the Academy details strategies she used to develop Drexel’s TLC in collaboration with faculty and stakeholders at Drexel. Inman has over 20 years of college teaching experience at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and earned her MFA and EdD at Temple University.
Nominated by Erin Horvat, Sr. Vice Provost, Office of Faculty Advancement
Johanna Inman joined Drexel as the Inaugural Director of the Teaching and Learning Center in May 2019. In the short time she has led the Center, she has had an outsized impact on the university.
Dr. Inman has led the Center in developing a compelling mission and vision, delivering critical new programming, including a completely reimagined new faculty orientation and the New Dragons Learning Community, the Drexel Teaching Academy, the Drexel Institute for Inclusive and Equitable Teaching, the Thank a Teacher Program, and more. In addition, she played an instrumental role in the collective effort to deliver continuous instruction to our students during the pandemic as we moved to remote instruction, providing workshops, trainings and supports.
She has led with creativity and tenacity to inspire and promote excellence in teaching throughout Drexel University's diverse learning environments. She has also empowered others to take up this banner, multiplying the effect of her efforts and making a real difference in the lives of faculty and students.
As one colleague said, “I have personally considered myself lucky to work in such close partnership with Dr. Inman because of how much she cares about her work and the people she works with; models behaviors that are consistent with Drexel values; and has created a growth space in the TLC where faculty can advance their skills and knowledge about teaching, in part because they can be vulnerable without feeling judged.”
Another colleague described her as “Drexel’s leader (and innovator) in pedagogy,” while still another shared that “Across campus, the importance of pedagogy has been elevated as a result of the Center and her work.”
Academic Program Team
Academic Programs in the Pennoni Honors College embodies the qualities of innovation, creativity, and intellectual exchange while cultivating students’ intellectual curiosity and ability to be self-directed learners. Through intensive academic advising, diverse programming, and faculty support, the Academic Programs team provides an environment of academic excellence.
The thread uniting Academic Programs is education across disciplines, offering Drexel students access to multiple perspectives. From the interdisciplinary academic plans students create in the Custom-Designed Major and Problem-Solving Minor to the co-taught interdisciplinary classes in the Symposium to the Honors Program's multidisciplinary classrooms, Academic Programs strives to broaden student's engagement in a range of theories and methods and offer faculty the opportunity to approach teaching and mentorship with fresh eyes.
Having been recently awarded a Teagle grant, Academic Programs is redefining the first-year experience for Honors Program students through a new civic education curriculum, encouraging students to develop a public purpose alongside their academic and professional goals.
Nominated by Dean Paula Marantz Cohen, Pennoni Honors College
The Academic Programs Team have shown exceptional creativity, industry and resilience, supporting our students and enhancing our programming during a pandemic, a restructuring on many levels, and a personnel crisis which left them short-staffed. Dr Egan who directs the program was instrumental in winning a Teagle Foundation Planning Grant that led to a Teagle Implementation Grant this year. It has the potential to transform our Honors offerings and may well have implications for a core curriculum for the University as a whole.
Dr. Katie Barak has been crucial to the work of the Custom Designed Major, which, through her and Kevin’s creative thinking, found a new entry point in the First Year Exploratory Program, giving students more resources and time to develop their individualized curriculum.
Julia Wisniewski, a former Pennoni Honors student herself now finishing her PhD in the School of Education, has been our beacon in the Honors residence hall at Bentley, advising, keeping alert to the needs of our students, and developing original projects to engage them—like the Philly Goat Project (ask her about it).
Finally, Lauren Davis has been invaluable in doing data research into student needs, helping with scheduling, developing consistent methods for faculty to apply to teach for honors courses, and feeding me as Dean the statistics needed related to the College. The team as a whole has worked seamlessly to improve our Honors Program application and Honors option processes, and have pitched in beyond their unit to assist in programming for the College as a whole. She was also a great help in preparing our Teagle Application and figuring out how we could make it work, logistically, for our students.
COE Computing & Technical Services
CTS (Computing and Technical Services) is the technical Branch of the College of Engineering that manages the operations of the Undergraduate and Research laboratories, IT, and fabrication in the Machine Shop.
Nominated by Dr. Jonathan Spanier, Professor, College of Engineering, and Dr. Cameron Abrams, Professor, College of Engineering
Over the past 30 months, the pandemic not only upended our lives personally but threatened everything that gives us a sense of purpose as faculty and staff—most importantly, the teaching and learning approaches, mentorship, and informal guidance with which we engage our students every day to enhance their educational experience. Many among us also struggled with personal loss, health issues, and anxiety born of ongoing uncertainty. Throughout this difficult period, we have constantly sought out the familiar—the people and activities whose efficiency and constancy brought us comfort.
The Computing & Technical Services team are our Everyday Heroes, a group whose selfless dedication performing vital work day-in and day-out is, ironically, at its best when it goes unnoticed.
As we all know, engineering education is unusually hands-on. With students unable to access laboratories, these Everyday Heroes patiently and persistently sourced components for instructional lab kits and delivered them (often by hand) to students. Their service didn’t end there, however. At a time when our students were most isolated, the CTS team provided the connectivity and support remotely, safely, securely and efficiently.
When public health severely compromised the continuity of our research enterprise, the CTS team partnered with University Facilities, including Environmental Health & Safety, and Shipping & Receiving, rallying in support of investigators and their graduate students to ensure that their labs and equipment met the high standards required for scientific research and that they could continue their work without concern for their own health.
Beyond Drexel, CTS responded to a critical need in our communities, bringing to fruition an extraordinary initiative envisioned by Professor Amy Throckmorton to manufacture right here on campus tens of thousands of face shields and distribute them to health care workers, saving lives in communities throughout our region.
Award for Diversity and Inclusive Community for Faculty and Professional Staff
Ahaji Schreffler is the Senior Director of Education Abroad in the Office of Global Engagement. Ahaji’s 19-year Drexel career reflects her passion for culture, connection, and community. She has impacted thousands of students through global initiatives like Intensive Courses Abroad (ICAs), which have significantly increased study abroad accessibility. This year, Ahaji created Drexel’s first ICA that centers students of color. She serves as President of Black Employees At Drexel, and for 10 years has organized BEAD events that foster and celebrate Black community. In 2012, Ahaji founded the Drexel Meditation Group to cultivate wellness and has facilitated hundreds of community mindfulness offerings. She served as co-administrator for the Anti-Racism Task Force and now as DEI Liaison on the Drexel 2030 CORE Team. A double Dragon, Ahaji is one of the contributing authors in A Legacy to Share. She is Founder of We The Village, a non-profit supporting children in Haiti.
Nominated by Kim Gholston, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Office of Institutional Equity and Inclusive Culture
Ahaji is a critical and essential resource as one of the liaisons to the subcommittees of the ARTF, a major contributor to the ARTF report and an ongoing advocate to ensure that the ARTF commitments remain actionable items for the University.
When asked by our Chief Strategy Officer, Dr. Elisabeth VanBockStaele to recommend someone to serve as the DEI liaison for the Drexel 2030 Strategic Plan, Kim Gholston did not hesitate to offer Ahaji as top choice for the role. Ahaji has been very instrumental in supporting the strategic plan ensuring DEI remains a priority by aligning it with the importance of Drexel’s value of inclusion and the equity imperative.
Ahaji has recently returned from Ecuador where we had the first study abroad collaboration between the Center for Black Culture and the Office of Global Engagement. This customized intensive course abroad examined various themes around Black and indigenous cultures in Ecuador, as well as the contribution of women, community challenges around local issues, global poverty and alleviation methods, popular industries, and more.
Ahaji has led the transformation of the Black Faculty and Professional Staff Association (BFPSA) to BEADs as president, with the committed support of her leadership team. The leadership roles for the colleague resource groups are voluntary, yet the level of programming from Black History Month Luncheon to networking events to educational sessions, have been nothing short of excellent and amazing over the past 2 years in a fully remote setting to hybrid and now when the opportunity presents itself, in-person activities. Ahaji has clearly influenced the level of belonging that people of color feel as they connect with BEADs.
And to top it off with applying her passion work to Drexel, Ahaji is celebrating her 10 year anniversary as the founder/facilitator of the Drexel Meditation Group. The past 10 years have brought hundreds in the Drexel community together with a shared intention of mindfulness, compassion, and self-care. Ahaji effectively used her meditation skills to help groups remotely during the height of the pandemic and racial reckoning.
Civic Engagement Award for Faculty and Professional Staff
Rachel López, JD
Rachel López is an Associate Professor of Law at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University and the Director of the Andy and Gwen Stern Community Lawyering Clinic (Stern CLC) located at the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships. Staffed by Kline law students, the Stern CLC provides free legal services and engages in projects aimed at addressing systemic issues identified in collaboration with community members and partners. This year, working with its partner, Revolutionary Vision, the Stern CLC worked to free two clients whose life without parole sentences were commuted by Governor Tom Wolf in July 2022 based on their redemption and commitment to give back to their communities. Professor López also co-authored an article arguing for a right to redemption with one of these clients, Terrell Carter, which won the Law and Society Association’s 2022 Article Award for best socio-legal article in the past two years.
Nominated by Dean Dan Filler, Kline School of Law
What motivates a person to get up each day? What sets a person’s intention when she makes life choices?
Professor Rachel Lopez is on a quest to make the world a more just place.
Rachel joined Drexel’s Kline School of Law faculty in 2013 with an ambitious goal – one which few law professors are willing to take on. She came to create our Community Lawyering Clinic which would become what we sometimes call an “anchor tenant’ of the Dornsife Center. Most law faculty teaching clinics build programs to meet their needs – in areas of their own interest, in disciplinary areas in which they feel most comfortable. Rachel put aside the questions of interest and present expertise and spent a year turning to neighbors of the Dornsife Center - members of the Mantua and Powelton communities asking them: what sort of law clinic would meet their needs?
The clinic that emerged, what is now the Stern Community Lawyering Clinic, provided a wide variety of services to community members and community groups – much of it in areas of legal expertise that Rachel had to develop fresh to meet client needs. For example, Rachel had to become a real estate lawyer – helping our neighbors with complicated issues of legal title for houses that had passed generation to generation without a will or a resolution of ownership rights. Rachel had long had a passion for human rights – her scholarship was focused on human rights and transitional justice in Nicaragua – and now her clinic was engaged in very different human rights work right here in Mantua: the unexpected battle to ensure that all of our neighbors – regardless of income - could have access to running water.
Two years after arriving at Drexel, as a junior faculty member Governor Wolf offered her an appointment to join Pennsylvania’s Sentencing Commission. It was huge service commitment for a junior faculty member. Naturally, she said yes because she thought she could make an impact on human rights across the state of Pennsylvania. She spent four years – the four crucial years leading to tenure – working for a more just legal system, giving voice the least loved people of the Commonwealth.
Rachel and her students and colleagues in the clinic continued to engage deeply with members of the Mantua and Powelton communities. What emerged was a marriage of all of these different streams in Rachel’s work. She began a project focused on the right to redemption for individuals convicted of crimes long, long ago, representing an individual from the Mantua community seeking clemency, helping him navigate the complicated state pardon and parole system, even as she and her clients were co-writing a landmark article about holding the United States criminal justice system to international human rights standards.
When speaking with community members at he Dornsife Center, you can see her impact on the ground. Rachel isn’t just appreciated as an advocate; she is beloved. She is a source of light, of possibility, of optimism. Her skills, her dedication and her passion have been making a difference in the lives of people in our community, and around the state, and now perhaps around the nation. And for all of this, Rachel remains incredibly humble. She doesn’t just engage the community, she serves.
Amy Throckmorton, PhD
Dr. Amy Throckmorton is a Professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems at Drexel University. She leads an interdisciplinary, federally funded research program that develops new life-saving therapeutic devices and novel treatment strategies for children with heart disease. Her funding track record consists of awards from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, American Heart Association, Hartwell Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, and more. She has more than 80 peer-reviewed publications, 85 conference presentations, 7 patents, and 20 honors, including the Distinguished Career Lindback Teaching Award and Fellow of the Executive Leadership in Academic Technology, Engineering and Science Program. She serves as an Associate Editor of the Transactions of Biomedical Engineering, Cardiovascular Engineering and Technology, Artificial Organs, and ASAIO Journal. During the pandemic, she led a cross-University rapid response team that distributed more than 54,000 durable and re-usable face shields.
Nominated by Ellen Bass, Professor, College of Computing & Informatics
Dr. Throckmorton’s leadership in the AJFlex Face Shields project helped support the unmet need of providing high quality COVID-19 compliant face shields to thousands of health care workers, first responders, police, teachers, and others. When the global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) was dire, workers were forced to follow unsafe practices such as re-using single use equipment. Personal conversations with health care workers at Einstein Hospital and other local locations reiterated the alarming situation. In early April 2020, Dr. Throckmorton, with support of a small cross-University team, began designing, building and delivering face shields.
At the start of the project, Dr. Throckmorton shared that she was hoping to support a modest need. However through her efforts of rising to the challenges, this project has been able to and continues to serve thousands of recipients. She led her team to build and donate close to 40,000 Drexel AJFlex face shields. Learning about the shortages in India motivated Professor Throckmorton to find solutions, and she shipped close to 2,000 shields as well as partnered with Stratasys, a global 3D printing company, to distribute another 17,000 shields to Haryana State, Karnataka State, Tamil Nadu State, Gujarat State, and Chennai City in India. The team has distributed to more than 100 hospitals, rehab/nursing facilities, EMS/police departments, educational institutions, clinical practices and nonprofit organizations, including to a school in Ethiopia and the locations in India.
Beyond the Drexel Face Shield project leadership, Dr. Throckmorton draws on her years of volunteer experience as an Emergency Medical Technician. In this role, she logged more than 4,000 hours of service to her community and utilized this experience to more fully develop a fundamental understanding of patient care, medical devices, and treatment strategies of pediatric and adult patients. She has mentored students from the Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Program for Underrepresented Group and was award a Distinguished Service Award for her many contributions and service on their Technical STEM Advisory Board.
Robertson, Noreen M.
ANS Visitor Services
Brown Stibbons, Akera
Brownlee Robinson, Donneice
College of Arts & Sciences Graduate Team
Dragons Taking Care of Dragons
Drexel.edu Core Site Project Team
Graduate College Staff Members
Instructional Technology Group
LeBow Graduate Student Services
Williams, Antoinette "Tonie"
Mediated Experiences (Summer Camp) Staff
Office of Disability Resources
Standardized Patient Team
University Laboratory Resources (ULAR)
Video Collaboration and Production (VCAP) Team
CCI Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council
Chu-Fong and Stein
Office of Undergraduate Research & Enrichment Programs
Pennoni Honors College's Marketing & Media Team
Levi Zelinger, Erica