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2015 Principal Financial Group Global Citizenship Award Nominees

During the spring semester of 2015, faculty were invited to submit nomination packets for the inaugural Principal Financial Group Global Citizenship Award. The main criteria for the award include outstanding contributions to global engagement and internationalization of the campus and curriculum, as aligned with the three main goals of the International and Global Engagement Strategic Plan, 2015–2020The spring 2015 nominees were as follows:

Mahmoud Hamad, Associate Professor of Politics
Mahmoud’s dedication to exposing students to other cultures and languages is well-known University-wide. His frequent travel seminars to Egypt or Turkey challenge students’ knowledge and assumptions and are usually filled to capacity. The fall semester Model Arab League (MAL) is another way Mahmoud encourages students to learn about policy-making through research, dialogue, and debate. Each year Mahmoud leads 8–10 students to Cairo to compete in MAL councils, debating current issues facing the Arab world.

Students and other faculty write of Mahmoud’s untiring efforts to immerse students in culture and language as an extension of every topic and every course. He takes every opportunity to share his culture and beliefs and to encourage students to do likewise. Students become familiar with his thesis, “no one holds monopoly over truth.”

In addition to his engagement with students, Mahmoud’s bilingual skills offer him opportunities to publish in both English and Arabic journals and to provide news commentary to Al-Jazeera and Al-Hurah.

Kenneth Meyer, Thomas F. Sheehan Distinguished Professor of Public Administration in the College of Business and Public Administration
Meyer leads and annual travel seminar to Europe for CBPA graduate students. He is the author or co-author of 24 books and over 400 papers on a variety of research topics including violence and the police, social indicator and quality of life measurement and evaluation, voting behavior, human resource management, and public and private management. In addition, he has done extensive consulting in the areas of public policy analysis and administrative organization and development at the state and regional levels of government. Professor Meyer is the recipient of many awards for research, teaching, and service, including the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award, 2008-2009, Drake University; 2006 Teacher of the Year Award, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Drake University; Harry I. Wolk Outstanding Faculty Scholar Award, March 2002. Governor of Iowa Distinguished Volunteer Award, 2001.Adjutant General Office, State of Iowa, Outstanding Recognition Award, 2001.Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award, 1996-1997, CBPA, Drake University; Regents' Award for Superior Teaching, The University of Oklahoma, 1986; National Science Scholarship, The College of St. Thomas, 1965; National Science Foundation Fellowship, The University of Oklahoma, 1969.


Matthew C. Mitchell, Assistant Professor of Management and International Business
Matthew pursues internationalization both within his classes and across multiple sectors of Drake. He is an enthusiastic advocate for study abroad; one of his nominators described Matthew as “an apostle of internationalization.”

In addition to streamlining the International Business curriculum, thus making the major more accessible to students, Matthew secured several valuable grants to foster international business studies, language acquisition, study abroad, and international internships. He helped establish Drake’s relationship with University of the Andes in Chile, and co-taught a groundbreaking J-Term class for Drake’s soccer teams at Monterrey Tec in Guadalajara, Mexico.

As a leader with the Academy of International Business, including as chair of the Academy’s international conferences, Matthew has inspired and mentored students to conduct research, of which some has been accepted for conference presentations and publications.

Matthew is a recipient of the Madelyn M Levitt Teacher of the Year Award and the CBPA Graduate Professor of the Year.


Michael Renner, Professor of Biology and Psychology

Michael teaches in the Environmental Science and Policy program while also serving in significant leadership roles with the Forest of Hope Association in Rwanda and the Gishwati Foundation, a U.S.-based charity supporting Rwandan conservation. He regularly leads students on field research in equatorial Africa and brings the world to his students on Drake’s campus.

Through Michael’s leadership, Drake students and faculty have positively influenced land use policy and practices in Rwanda. They have facilitated local acceptance of conservation of an important biodiversity area while also improving the livelihoods of local farmers.

Michael was one of the architects of the University’s infrastructure and support mechanisms for internationalization, including the new structure within the International Programs office and the calendar revision to incorporate a January Term, allowing additional student travel opportunities.

Michael serves as faculty liaison to the School for Field Studies, a significant provider of international experiences in environmentally related disciplines in eight permanent research and teaching sites around the world. He has earned numerous grants including several from the National Science Foundation and the U. S. Department of Education.


John Rovers, Professor of Pharmacy Practice

John is a founding member of The Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship and the Heartland Consortium for Global Health. His efforts to address public health issues led to establishment of the Global and Comparative Public Health concentration at Drake and international rotations on several continents for pharmacy students. John chairs an ad hoc committee of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to evaluate existing and new clinical sites overseas. He has successfully secured numerous grants for the University.

John advises independent study projects related to global health and encourages student participation in various global and public health activities, both internationally and around Des Moines. Students are motivated by his experiences with and knowledge of global public health issues and are encouraged to be conscientious professionals who can create positive changes in global healthcare.

John completed graduate studies in Australia and has traveled widely for research, teaching, and curriculum development, including the Hanoi University of Pharmacy. He also assists with charitable and philanthropic work throughout the world, including McCord Hospital in Durban, South Africa.


Ellen Liang Yee, Professor of Law - 2015 Award Winner

Ellen earned the title of director of Drake University Law School’s International Programs in 2013 following years of commitment to internationalization. While remaining attentive to her work in criminal law and trial advocacy, Ellen’s dedication and passion for internationalization at Drake is clearly evident.

For seven summers, Ellen has taught in Drake’s law program in Nantes, France. In 2014 she organized celebrations in both locations for the 20th anniversary of the collaboration. She also taught in Chongqing, China, with Drake’s Chinese Cultural Exchange Program and has undertaken professional or research work in Cambodia and The Hague, Netherlands. Ellen continues to develop new University relationships in locations ranging from Cuba to South Africa.

In addition, Ellen fosters internationalization on campus through coordinating Drake International Law Week, working with the International Law Society, and advising international students at the Law School.

Students across the University also learn about global and local food waste and hunger through service-learning and academic study in the Next Course organization she created.

University News
September 22, 2016
The Drake University Chamber Choir, choirs from four Des Moines area high schools, and a professional orchestra will perform Gabriel Faure’s well-known Requiem at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9.
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