Faculty, Staff & Student Accomplishments

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Babatunde O. Odusami
School of Business Administration

Business Professor Receives Funding for Collaboration with South African University

A collaborative research project between associate professor Babatunde Odusami and Omokolade Akinsomi from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa has been chosen to receive funding from The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program. This grant funds partnership projects between African-born scholars and higher education institutions in Africa. 

Odusami and Akinsomi’s project, entitled “Development of Pan African Real Estate Database and Co-Curriculum Development and Mentorship in Machine Learning Competencies for Real Estate Research,” will work to develop real estate knowledge and research capacities in Africa. 

Odusami will spend a month during the summer of 2023 in Africa working with Akinsomi and graduate students at the University of Witwatersrand. The two researchers will also be presenting another joint project at the American Real Estate Society Conference in March 2023. 

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Cathleen A. Evans
School of Nursing

Nursing Professor Awarded Service Medal for COVID-19 Response

Cathleen Evans, associate professor of nursing, has been awarded the COVID-19 Pandemic Civilian Service Medal for exemplary service to the nation as part of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) during the federal medical response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Evans, an expert in emergency and disaster care and education, serves as a member of an NDMS Disaster Medical Assistance Team which deploys emergency medical, logistical, and command and control personnel in response to public health emergencies, such as COVID-19, and natural disasters, such as a hurricanes, tornados, or wildfires. Evans and her NDMS colleagues served as a lifeline to hospitals and long-term care facilities across the country by providing temporary relief to staff, adding bed capacity, and improving outcomes for COVID-19 patients.
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Students and faculty holding a Widener Social Work banner at the event
Center for Social Work Education

Widener Social Work Students Participate in Walk Against Hate

Students and faculty from the Center for Social Work Education participated in the 2022 Walk Against Hate on October 23, 2022 hosted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as the WU Widener Team. In addition to the walk, students also engaged in advocacy, educational, and fundraising activities including staffing a table which provided bracelet making, coloring pages, positive affirmation activities, and more for community attendees. 

The Walk Against Hate is an annual event to bring communities together in solidarity against antisemitism, bigotry, and all forms of hate. 

Student participants Oli Zimmerman '26, Abigail Bustraan '26, Shaneka Atkins '24, Sarah Coupland '24, Madison McElwee '24, Jessica Mereshensky '24, Mykirah Russel- Hopson '24, Nicole Scharfetter '24, and Younger Zinnah '24 were led by Director for the Center of Social Work Jennifer Cullen associate professor Robin Goldberg-Glenn. 

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Andrea Martin with award plaque standing alongside provost and president
College of Arts & Sciences

Chemistry Professor Honored with Teaching Innovation Award

Associate Professor of Chemistry Andrea Martin has been recognized with the Fitz Dixon Innovation in Teaching Award, announced at the 2022 faculty awards program. 

The award recognizes faculty members, either individually or in teams, who have designed, implemented, and assessed an innovative or experimental teaching and learning project. 

Martin has a deep commitment to innovative, inclusive, and continuously renewed teaching of undergraduate chemistry.  This includes in-class structured group activities and frequent low-stakes assignments that are designed to build content knowledge and process skills simultaneously. She uses “Math Minute” videos to address deficiencies in the algebra needed for success in chemistry, and a flipped classroom model that involves making lecture material online and using the class period for problem solving. Martin uses applied process-oriented guided inquiry learning to include all students in active-learning group problem-solving, where students take turns with different roles of manager, recorder, reporter, and reflector – to explore chemistry problems as a team. 

Martin helped create Widener’s Peer Learning Assistant Program to support class goals and offer feedback on class activities. These exemplary, innovative, and impactful multi-faceted teaching projects advance the Widener mission to provide active and inclusive learning experiences for all students.

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Vicki Brown holding award plaque alongside provost and president
School of Engineering

Distinguished University Professor Designation goes to Engineering Professor

School of Engineering faculty member Vicki Brown has been honored with the distinguished university professor designation. The recognition honors individual faculty members of distinction and represents the university’s commitment to recognizing excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service throughout faculty members’ careers. The honor was announced at the 2022 faculty awards program. 

To be eligible for the designation, a faculty member must hold a tenured appointment at the rank of professor and be clearly identified by students and colleagues as an outstanding teacher.  They must also have national or international recognition for scholarly research activities, and have made significant contributions as a leader at the university or in the faculty member’s profession or academic discipline. The designation has a three-year term.

Brown has been an active member of the university faculty for 41 years, including 18 as chair of the Civil Engineering Department, successfully guiding it through three accreditation visits under her leadership.

Brown has also played an active role in university faculty governance and has served several times on the Faculty Council Executive Committee. She was instrumental in the development of the laboratory curriculum, and in infrastructure for the undergraduate civil engineering program.

Brown’s belief that “in-the-classroom learning” is most effective when combined with “real-world learning,” she seeks out opportunities to provide students with networking experiences – taking them to professional society meetings and continually challenging them in a supportive environment.

She also established and administers student competitions at national and international levels for the American Concrete Institute. One of Brown’s most visible and important contributions is the development and execution of the Engineering Girls Camp. Given the under-representation of females in the engineering field, her efforts to bring young women interested in engineering together with female engineers and female engineering students has impacted numerous young women and helped them gain the confidence to pursue a traditionally male-dominated field.

In addition, Brown has made a significant impact in her area of expertise – the use of fiber reinforced polymers as a substitute for steel in reinforced concrete. She serves as chair of an international committee tasked with developing design codes for FRP-reinforced structural concrete. 

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Jayne Thompson with award plaque standing alongside provost and president
College of Arts & Sciences

Faculty Member in English honored with Distinguished Teaching Award

Associate Teaching Professor of English Jayne Thompson received the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award at Widener’s 2022 faculty awards program. The honor is given annually to recognize one outstanding faculty member and is funded by the Lindback Foundation as a means of honoring dedicated faculty members at universities across the Philadelphia region.

Thompson has worked more than two decades to join her passion for teaching literature and creative writing with deep engagement in the Chester community.  She has made the act of writing a central tool for addressing the hopelessness and pain of people caught in the "school-to-prison pipeline."  Her work has grown organically from her experiences with high school students, incarcerated people and community groups.

Thompson has included students through the Chester Writers House and by creating and teaching the Community Literacy and Social Justice course. Along with Widener students, she began a women’s writing group called The World Split Open Story Collaborative for those who live, work, volunteer, and study in Chester.  It encourages women to tell their stories, share life experiences, and explore their sense of agency.

From her work with the Chester School District; Chester Made and Chester Cultural Corridor; Widener University’s service learning, Bonner Leaders, and Periclean Faculty Leadership programs; and multiple places of communal gathering, to her role on the Mayor’s Advisory Council at Chester City Hall, Thompson’s work in Chester supports vibrant communities.

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Shana Maier with award plaque standing alongside provost and president
College of Arts & Sciences

Outstanding Researcher Award goes to Criminal Justice faculty member

Profession of Criminal Justice Shana Maier was honored at the 2022 faculty awards program with the Outstanding Researcher Award. 

The award recognizes a faculty member who has exhibited distinction in scholarly work. Through their research, the recipient has made a significant contribution to advancement of their profession or discipline, and to the university’s mission and vision. 

Maier’s research addresses society’s contemporary conflicts and hot-button issues such as student fear of crime and perception of safety; marijuana decriminalization; jury instructions; and sexual violence and victimization. Throughout her career she has established an impressive record of research as someone who undertakes complicated criminal justice and socio-legal analyses. 

Maier has achieved an outstanding record of publication over the previous five years despite pandemic-related slowdowns of scholarly activity and production across higher education. She is committed to actively engaging undergraduate and graduate students in rigorous academic research and has recently authored four manuscripts for publication with undergraduates.

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Angie Corbo holding award plaque standing alongside provost and president
College of Arts & Sciences

Professor Recognized for Institutional Leadership

Associate Professor Angie Corbo, chair of the Communication Studies program, received the Institutional Leadership Award at Widener’s 2022 faculty awards program.

The award is given annually to a faculty member who has a history of leading university initiatives that further Widener’s vision, mission and strategic objectives. 

Corbo has served her college and the university in leadership roles in faculty governance. She currently serves as faculty chair, and has served on the crisis management team’s academic consulting team. She is part of the High Impact Practice Fair committee, chairs the Breathe Board, and serves on the provost’s Mental Health Task Force.

Corbo is an engaged leader in the campus community, serving as the Summer Undergraduate Research and Creative activities program co-director since 2014. As a co-instructor of Contemporary Issues in Political Engagement, she empowered students to interview political candidates and lobby elected offices to be cognizant of the impact of college student debt. 

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Professors Mazumder and Singh standing with their plaques alongside the provost and president
School of Engineering

Professors Honored for Promoting Civic Engagement

Assistant Teaching Professor Ria Mazumder and Associate Professor Anita Singh, both of the School of Engineering, have been honored with the Civic Engagement Award. The honor, given at the 2022 faculty awards program, recognizes outstanding contributions of faculty to students’ understanding of their social responsibilities, and to Widener’s engagement in the local or global community through teaching or research. 

Mazumder and Singh are committed to broadening engineering education in ways that and equip Widener students to become professionally, personally, and socially responsible leaders. They developed two innovative projects that promote a lifelong commitment to civic engagement. The first, a partnership with Chester Eastside Inc. School and Edgemont Scholars Academy, delivers innovative extra-curricular STEM education to elementary and middle school students in need of opportunity.  The second created a partnership with the Chester Community Clinic and the Community Nursing Clinic, in which engineering students learn about the challenges of developing effective, low-cost solutions for patients at the margins of the health care system.

Both projects have been effective at engaging students and serving the community and have received recognition beyond the university.

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School of Nursing's Founders Hall
School of Nursing

Nursing Study Examines Faculty Administrators’ Experiences Amid COVID Disruptions

A research team consisting of faculty, students, and an alumni in the School of Nursing published a study examining nurse faculty administrators’ experiences of rapid transition and disruption in nursing education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Published in the journal Nursing Education Perspectives, co-authors Anne Krouse, dean of nursing, Kristen McLaughlin, nursing graduate, Rose Rossi, associate dean of undergraduate nursing, Wendy Black-Dorn, nursing PhD candidate, Bette Mariani, nursing graduate, and Barbara Patterson, director of the nursing science doctoral program, implemented a descriptive survey methodology to understand the experiences of academic nurse administrators during the pandemic. The survey utilized the Four Cs of Disaster Partnering conceptual framework which encompasses communication, cooperation, coordination, and collaboration and the interrelatedness of those activities in partnering relationships. The authors' findings showed that key elements of the Four Cs framework played a role in the successful adaptation to new learning environment realities.

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Kirkbride Exterior Sunset
Chemistry, Chemical Engineering

Faculty and Students Published in Sustainability Journal

Assistant Professor Hongwei Yang, along with collaborators John Mason ’21 and Joanna Weyrich ’23 have had an article, “Mechanic Study of Porosity Formation in Liquid-Assisted Mechanochemical Synthesis of Metal-Organic Framework Cu3(BTC)2  for adsorption-Based Applications,” published in Sustainability, a journal distributed by MDPI. 

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Sarah Williamson
Office of Residence Life

Assistant Dean of Students Publishes Chapter in Textbook on College Student Development Theory

Sarah W. Williamson, assistant dean of students, published a chapter in the book "Theory of College Student Development: Integration of Knowledge, Skills and Application." The text focuses on providing readers with new theoretical knowledge or a reminder of the foundational and evolving theories that professionals can utilize for understanding and making sense of students’ behavior. Williamson co-authored Chapter 11 entitled "Faith and Spiritually Development" where she discusses the role that faith and spirituality play in the development of college students. 

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Monique Chabot
Institute for Occupational Therapy Education

Occupational Therapy Professor Wins Award for Assistive Device

Monique Chabot, associate professor of occupational therapy, competed in the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Inventors Showcase, an event is designed to host inventors from across the nation to showcase their ingenuity as they share their products and services. Chabot's submission featured an assistive device known as a telescoping electronic reacher which she invented as part of her doctoral studies. The device was chosen for the Audience Choice award.

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Anthony Pluretti standing outdoors in front of Old Main
Campus Safety

Employee is Nationally Recognized as Public Safety Director of the Year

Widener University congratulates Anthony Pluretti, executive director of campus safety, on being named Campus Safety director of the year.

The award program administered by Campus Safety magazine recognizes the best and brightest executives in hospital, university and school security, law enforcement and emergency management. Pluretti received the award for the university category at the Campus Safety Conference in Bethesda, Maryland this month. 

“I feel incredibly fortunate to lead Widener’s talented and dedicated Campus Safety team, and I am gratified and humbled by this award,” Pluretti said. 

Pluretti joined Widener University in February 2020, and instituted a customer-centric approach to the position. He leads a department of 75 and has encouraged Widener officers to approach their work with students, employees and visitors by making it the best possible experience for all involved. He has built trust across Widener’s three campuses as he has emphasized engagement between Campus Safety and the constituencies it serves.

He has also strengthened department morale, building pride with new uniforms, name patches, and regular social media introductions of staff. He seeks staff input on new initiatives and uses a motivational leadership model that encourages officers in the department to assess their personal goals and career trajectories. 

Pluretti has also positively impacted relations between the university and local law enforcement, and relationships between the university and people in neighborhoods surrounding Widener’s main campus in Chester, Pa., which are populated with students and local residents. His work also includes management of Widener’s campuses in Wilmington, Delaware and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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Janet R. Long
Career Design & Development

Career Design & Development Executive Director Earns NACE Appointment

Janet Long, executive director of Career Design & Development, has been named to a two-year term as co-chair of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Liberal Arts Affinity Group.

NACE is the leading professional association for more than 13,000 higher education career services and industry recruiting partners. With more than 300 members nationwide, the Liberal Arts Affinity Group coordinates programming that showcases best practices in career readiness and employment market awareness for liberal arts students.

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Headshot of Alicia Kelly
Delaware Law School

Alicia Kelly Named Interim Dean of Delaware Law School

Associate Dean Alicia Kelly has been named interim dean of Delaware Law School. The temporary appointment begins July 1. 

Kelly will fill the vacancy created by the departure of Dean Rodney A. Smolla, while the university searches for a permanent successor. She is currently associate dean for academic affairs and professor of law, and has previously served as associate dean for faculty development and strategic initiatives. Kelly also serves as a co-director of the school’s Family Health Law & Policy Institute, which is dedicated to public education and service. She teaches and writes in the areas of family law, property law and elder law. Innovation in legal education is another area of her expertise, and she has co-authored two textbooks drawing on best practices in legal education. 

Kelly has served on the steering committee for Delaware ERA Now, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing women’s status through education and anti-discrimination advocacy. She also co-directs Wills For Heroes, a volunteer organization that trains legal professionals and provides estate planning documents at no cost for police, firefighters and other first responders in Delaware. Kelly serves on the executive board of the Association of American Law Schools section on Family and Juvenile law as well as the Elder Law section, and is a past Family Law Section chair. She is also a part of the Delaware Family Court Enhancement Project team, working to improve the legal system to better serve survivors of domestic violence and their children. Prior to her work in academia, Kelly was in private practice concentrating on complex domestic relations and general civil litigation.

“Alicia’s many years of leadership at the law school make her ideal interim dean. She enjoys widespread confidence among the faculty and staff and is committed to student success,” Widener Provost Andrew A. Workman said, in announcing Kelly’s interim role. “I look forward to working with her and continuing to build on the law school’s momentum.”

A member of the Delaware Law faculty since 2001, Kelly earned her bachelor’s degree from Temple University, and her juris doctor and LL.M. in legal education from Temple’s James E. Beasley School of Law, where she was the Abraham L. Freedman Fellow.

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People walk in front of the Quick Center building
School of Business Administration

SBA Faculty Publish Journal Article

Faculty members from the School of Business Administration have had an article published in the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants’ Journal of Accountancy.

Professor Joseph Hargadon, associate professor Irfan Safdar, instructor Stephanie Wendling, and assistant professor Katie Whang co-authored an article titled “Tax Advice for Clients who Day-Trade Stocks.”

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Students at the Stetser Elementary School end of year garden harvest
College of Arts & Sciences

Widener Faculty and Students Join in Stetser Elementary Garden Harvest

Widener students and faculty visited Stetser Elementary School to participate in their annual end-of-the-year garden harvest. The gardening program, developed by professor Bruce Grant, is a place-based program which aims to improve the academic performance of Stetser students in science and promote social engagement in their school community.

The program has engaged Widener students as part of Grant’s academic service learning enhanced courses with the goal of providing students with meaningful work and sustainable community development opportunities.

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Jeffrey C. Lolli
School of Business Administration

Business Professor Wins Faculty Collegiality Award

Jeff Lolli, professor in the School of Business Administration, has been named the 2022 recipient of the Faculty Collegiality Award from the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE).

This award is presented to one faculty ICHRIE member who has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to fostering collegiality among their peers through a high level of team building and collaborative and constructive support of peers in their teaching, scholarship, and service both on and off campus.

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Catherine Safran and other conference attendees
College of Arts & Sciences

Faculty Presents Workshop on Peer Learning at Annual Conference

Assistant Teaching Professor Catherine Safran was invited to present a workshop at the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society’s Annual Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Safran presented her experience working with Peer-Learning Assistants at Widener in anatomy and physiology lectures and labs.

This annual conference is attended by anatomy and physiology instructors from around the world.

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