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Widener Honors Faculty for Teaching Innovation, Research and Civic Engagement

Widener University on Thursday honored the top faculty in the areas of teaching innovation, research and civic engagement at its annual Faculty Awards Banquet.

Professor Dawn Gulick of the Institute for Physical Therapy Education, Professor Joseph Hargadon of the School of Business Administration and Associate Professor Nadine McHenry of the Center for Education garnered top honors at the event coordinated by the Office of Teaching, Learning and Assessment in the Office of the Provost.

Dr. Gulick, a resident of Parkerford, Pa., received the Outstanding Researcher Award, which recognizes a faculty member who is acknowledged nationally for his/her research and scholarship, quality of scholarly work, contribution to the profession/discipline, and contribution to promoting the university’s mission and vision. Dr. Joseph Fuhr, professor in the School of Business Administration; Dr. Janine Utell, associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Dr. Zhongping Huang, associate professor in the School of Engineering, were honored as nominees.

Dr. Gulick’s research is focused on the area of orthopedics and physical therapy. She has published 30 peer-reviewed articles in 18 different journals, and has presented 20 research projects in peer-reviewed venues. She actively involves her students in collaborative research leading to juried presentations and publications in refereed journals. She has also served as a reviewer for numerous journals and home study courses, and has published four reference tests in orthopedics that are widely used around the world.

For her work, Dr. Gulick has been awarded numerous grants. She was named AMBUCS National Physical Therapist of the Year in 1999, and was selected as a Widener University Presidential Lecturer.

Recently, Dr. Gulick was selected as a member of the International Consortium for Disabled Athletes Research, an eight-nation collaborative charged with designing and testing fitness protocols for disabled athletes.

Dr. Hargadon, a resident of Wallingford, Pa., received the Fitz Dixon Innovation in Teaching Award which recognizes a faculty member who has designed and implemented an innovation or experimental teaching or learning project. Dr. John Mahoney, associate professor in the School of Hospitality Management; Dr. Andrea Martin, assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. McHenry; and Dr. Mark Nicosia, associate professor in the School of Engineering, were honored as nominees.

In 1997, Hargadon worked with executives from PNC Global Investment Servicing, now part of BNY Mellon, to develop a course titled Accounting and Taxation of Mutual Funds. The unique course included industry-specific content outside the norm of the typical undergraduate accounting program and used real industry training materials in the classroom. In addition, the course included real-world simulation exercises at the partner’s facilities, and collaboration with the partner on academic papers, research presentations and a textbook.

The course has served as the catalyst for the creation of a mutual fund undergraduate accounting course at several other universities that have also adopted the textbook and has created increased employment opportunities for Widener students.

Dr. McHenry, a resident of Glen Mills, Pa., received the Faculty Award for Civic Engagement which recognizes a faculty member’s contributions to Widener’s civic engagement mission, especially the contribution to students’ understanding of their social responsibilities, and the impact of their disciplinary learning in a particular program involving community constituencies. The winner of the award is selected from the finalists for the Innovation in Teaching Award and the Outstanding Researcher Award.

In addition to her duties as associate professor, Dr. McHenry serves as director of the Science Teaching Center, which works to promote and improve science teaching and learning at all levels through designing and implementing training programs, outreach, research, developing human resources, enhancing science curriculum and community engagement, and promoting scholarship.

Integrating environmental education and teacher preparation with community service has been Dr. McHenry’s goal throughout her teaching career. Since coming to Widener in 2002, all of Dr. McHenry’s initiatives have been rooted in community service including the Junior Block Program, Saturday Ecology Academy, Widener Partnership Charter School Professional Development, and Sharing the Environment projects. All evolved from a belief in the importance of meaningful and authentic fieldwork capable of building a citizenry where all people recognize their place as stewards of the global environment. 

Dr. McHenry’s extensive work in the area of civic engagement and partnerships has helped practicing teachers learn cutting edge teaching and learning strategies while their children become excited about science and environmental education.

Applications of all three awards were reviewed by an external panel including Rebecca Chopp, president of Swarthmore College; Steven J. Diner, chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark; and Michael Le Roy, professor, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Whitworth University.  

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,600 students. Visit the university website,