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Faculty Spotlight: Ayana Allen-Handy, PhD

Drexel University School of Education

Ayana Allen-Handy Drexel University School of Education

March 30, 2021

The 2020-2021 academic year has been a year to remember for School of Education Assistant Professor Ayana Allen-Handy, PhD. Dr. Allen-Handy has racked up several awards from Drexel University and elsewhere for her research which focuses on justice-oriented urban education.

Her recent awards include:

  • Provost’s Award for Outstanding Scholarly Productivity for Early Career Faculty. This award recognizes tenured/tenure-track faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to their scholarly field and have demonstrated leadership in this respect. This award is one of the most prestigious faculty awards given by Drexel University.
  • Dr. Mark L. Greenberg Distinguished Faculty Award for Community-Based Learning. This distinguished faculty award is named in honor of the founder of the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement and former Provost, Dr. Mark L. Greenberg. It is awarded to a faculty member who is deeply committed to improving the public good on the local, national or global level through community-based learning.
  • Dr. Freddie Reisman Faculty Scholarly and Creative Activity Award. This award supports scholarly and creative activities of faculty in fields and on projects where limited external funding is available. Dr. Allen-Handy received this award for her Youth-led Participatory Action Research Project (YPAR) project: The West Philadelphia Youth Archivists.
  • Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement: This award recognizes early career faculty who practice exemplary engaged scholarship through teaching and research. These awards are presented in partnership with Brown University’s Swearer Center. Recipients are selected on the basis of their collaboration with communities, institutional impact, and high-quality academic work. Dr. Allen-Handy was the Drexel University nominee for this Campus Compact national award, and a top 4 finalist. See press release here.
  • Dr. Tchet Dereic Dorman Award for Multicultural Leadership. This award, given by the PA Chapter National Association of Multicultural Education (PA-NAME), is an acknowledgment bestowed upon an individual who actively promotes, contributes to and enhances an inclusive environment in Pennsylvania. This annual award will be granted to an outstanding advocate for multicultural education, equity, and advocacy at the interpersonal, group and institutional level.

Dr. Allen-Handy is currently the Principal Investigator (PI) for a grant supported by AmeriCorps (formerly known as the Corporation for National & Community Service) titled “Anti-Displacement: The Untapped Potential of University-Community Cooperative Living.” This project consists of a Community-led Participatory Action Research (CPAR) study that brings together an intergenerational university-community research team to investigate the landscape of residential displacement and affordable housing options in the rapidly gentrifying federally designated West Philadelphia Promise Zone. Her grant was recently featured by AmeriCorps in their newsletter.

Within the School of Education, Dr. Allen-Handy directs the Justice-Oriented Youth Education Lab, which “strives to democratize traditional research methods by centering the lived experiences, cultural ways of knowing and being, and expertise of our youth and community researchers.”

Dr. Allen-Handy came to Drexel in 2015. Her program affiliations include the School of Education’s PhD and EdD programs, the Education Policy and MS in Teaching Learning and Curriculum programs, and SOE’s BS in Education programs.