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Penny Hammrich, PhD, Named Dean of School of Education

May 15, 2019

Penny Hammrich, PhD, is the new dean of the School of Education.

Below is a message from President John Fry and Executive Vice President and Nina Henderson Provost M. Brian Blake:

The field of education is experiencing a new frontier in student learning that requires transformational thinking. Fortunately, we have a leader in place who possesses the experience and innovative vision needed to position Drexel’s School of Education as a leader in urban education, civic engagement and global relevance.

We are pleased to announce that Penny Hammrich, PhD, will become dean of the School of Education. Dr. Hammrich has been the Interim Dean since August, when Nancy Songer, PhD, concluded her tenure and went on a well-deserved sabbatical. Prior to her appointment as interim dean, Dr. Hammrich was a professor in the School and associate dean of academic affairs and graduate studies. She has proven herself to be a creative and collaborative leader with a clear vision of the challenges and opportunities facing schools of education. 

The School of Education has been on a positive trajectory. Earlier this year it jumped nearly 50 spots in the latest U.S. News rankings for best online education programs. The current ranking of 54th was highest among all colleges and universities in the Philadelphia region.

As an integral part of the University community, the School of Education furthers Drexel’s mission of civic engagement through its focus on urban education and a commitment to impactful research and experiential learning. The School enrolls over 1,100 students, including more than 600 master’s students and more than 350 who are pursuing one of two doctoral degrees.

Prior to joining Drexel, Dr. Hammrich served as Dean of the School of Education at Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY) from 2003 to 2010, where she led the School towards successful NCATE accreditation and founded the Equity Studies Research Center, which focused on issues related to equity and access in urban education and civic engagement.

Dr. Hammrich was also a professor of science education at CUNY, and served as a professor of urban education and educational psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan.

From 1994 to 2003, Dr. Hammrich was a professor of science education and founding associate dean of research at Temple University, and a senior research associate at the Mid-Atlantic Laboratory for Student Success at Temple.

Over the past 25 years she has been the principal investigator on more than 35 research grants totaling more than $30 million. Dr. Hammrich has published more than 150 articles, five science laboratory manuals for college level biology courses, 26 science curriculum manuals, six chapters in books, edited 14 articles, written 75 government and technical reports, was cited in the media over 100 times, and made over 500 national and international presentations. She also runs a small nonprofit company focused on science education, and founded and still operates a cancer foundation to support those suffering from cancer.

Dr. Hammrich received her bachelor’s degree in biology and education from South Dakota State University, where she also obtained her teacher certification. She earned a master’s in biology/genetics from Minnesota State University, and completed her doctorate in curriculum and instruction at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis with a concentration in science education.

We would like to thank Erin McNamara Horvat, senior vice provost for faculty affairs and professor of education, for chairing the dean search, as well as the other committee members for their excellent work. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Hammrich on her appointment as dean of the School of Education.