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The Principal Global Citizenship Award

Principal Global Citizenship Award nominations are invited from Drake faculty and staff for the Principal Global Citizenship Award recognizing outstanding contributions to global engagement and internationalization of the campus and curriculum on the part of faculty or staff. The selected awardee will receive a plaque and up to $3,000. A screening committee, appointed by the Provost, reviews all nominations and makes recommendations to the Provost.  Nominations should be submitted to Bonnie Ehler at


A letter of nomination should be submitted recommending an individual for the award and explaining the context and manner in which the nominator has come to know the faculty or staff member. This letter should speak to the following qualifications:

Pursuant to the University’s mission to develop “responsible global citizens,” explain how the nominee has made outstanding contributions toward realizing the three main goals of the Internationalization and Global Engagement Strategic Plan, 2015-2020:

Goal 1: Serve as a global knowledge hub that brings value to external partners in local, national and international settings.

Goal 2: Infuse global and multicultural perspectives across the campus and curriculum.

Goal 3: Develop infrastructure, resources and communication systems to support internationalization and global engagement.

The nominee must be faculty or staff members in at least her/his fourth year of service at the University. The nominee cannot have won this award within the past five years. Faculty and staff members who work directly for Drake International are ineligible.

Nominees who indicate a willingness to be considered will be invited to submit a c.v. and a statement discussing their contributions to the above goals. One or two letters of support from faculty, staff or students will be accepted (this is optional).

Any individual who was nominated for the award in 2016 or 2017 may be re-nominated if the nominator resubmits a letter offering the individual for consideration this year. Files of previous nominees are maintained for two years. If a faculty or staff member is re-nominated, the nominator will be invited to review the file from the previous year to ensure that the nomination is as current as possible.

Nomination letters should be sent as an attachment to  Questions may be directed to Acting Director of the Principal Center for Global Citizenship at Drake, Jeff Kappen (

Principal Global Citizenship Award Winners:
2017:  Professor Timothy Knepper, College of Arts and Sciences
2016:  Professor John P. Rovers, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
2015: Professor Ellen Yee, School of Law

Timothy Knepper, Professor of Philsophy and Department Chair; Director of The Comparison Project

Tim has contributed to the internationalization of the curriculum at Drake by engaging students with various religious communities in mutually beneficial ways.  His leadership of The Comparison Project represents his own deep commitment to global citizenship and widely impacts the campus and the community.

His nominator wrote, “The Comparison Project is an important experiment in the comparative philosophy of religion that engages the many diverse religious communities in the Des Moines area while also attracting speakers from around the world… Professor Knepper interacts with leaders and laity of over a dozen mostly-minority religions that span from Sikh and Bhutanese Hindu to Buddhist and Christian. Many events invite these religious communities to Drake’s campus to celebrate their diverse traditions and shared values.  As a result, these religious communities see Drake University as a welcoming center of dialogue and exploration across traditional religious and cultural barriers.”

The Comparison Project’s Lecture and Dialogue Series features top scholars of religion from around the world, including lecturers from Drake’s international partners: Minzu University of China, Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico, and the University KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.  Prof. Knepper also partners with local organizations, including the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC), Iles Funeral Homes, Above and Beyond Cancer, and CultureALL.

A Digital Storytelling project encompasses on-line guides of and digital stories by local religious communities.  The Spectrum of Faith photo-narrative book created in collaboration with Drake Community Press also brings greater understanding of the rich religious and cultural diversity in Des Moines.  "Meet My Religious Neighbor" open houses make it possible for Des Moines residents and Drake students to enter diverse places of worship, meet their congregations, and learn how they practice their religions.

Professor Knepper has planned two Iowa Interfaith Exchanges drawing college students from throughout the state as well as Metro area businesses, non-profits, and religious communities.  His multi-faceted work also includes developing an interfaith summer camp, an interfaith student group on campus, and perhaps a minor in Interfaith Studies at Drake.

His relationship with the Religion Department at Minzu University of China has included faculty exchanges, consulting on a “Religions of Beijing” project similar to the Religions of Des Moines Initiative, and planning for travel-seminar exchanges with Minzu in the future.  He has co-led two successful travel seminars to India. 

In the Department of Philosophy and Religion, he has created courses in Comparative Religion and Philosophy of Religion that introduce students to multicultural and international perspectives and religious traditions.  Professor Knepper has worked to broaden the academic study of religion and looks forward to creating a multi-departmental program in the study of religion.

2016 Award Winner and Nominees

2015 Award Winner and Nominees