Distinguished Professors and Innovator & Entrepreneur of the Year Awarded
During the first All-University meeting of the academic year, on Tuesday, September 4, East Stroudsburg University presented the annual Distinguished Professor Awards and the inaugural Innovator & Entrepreneur of the Year award.
The Distinguished Professor Award – the highest honor for ESU faculty to receive – is presented based on outstanding contributions to the academic life of the University and its reputation. The award of Distinguished Professor is conferred upon an individual by ESU President Marcia G. Welsh, Ph.D., in recognition of exceptional achievements in teaching, research/scholarship/creative activities, and service.
Distinguished Professor Award
Anthony L. Drago, Ed.D., has been a member of the psychology department at ESU since 1987, became a tenured professor in 1992, and has served as department chair since 1996. He is the longest serving department chair on campus. Dr. Drago teaches 12 different undergraduate classes within the discipline of psychology.
His research areas include suicide subtypes, autism, and life-long learning. He has given presentations locally, nationally, and abroad on topics including suicide, suicide prevention, psychological disorders and mental health treatment.
Dr. Drago initiated the development of an extended learning program for a Bachelor of Science in psychology with a concentration in applications and developed an organizational behavior concentration within the Master of Science in management and leadership. Dr. Drago also co-developed a minor in sports and exercise psychology and a certificate in crises intervention.
An active member of the campus and local communities, Dr. Drago serves on various committees at ESU. He is a consulting psychologist with numerous local agencies. He is a member of the Allied Medical Staff at Lehigh Valley Hospital – Pocono. Dr. Drago is a member of American Psychological Association and Division 17: Society of Counseling Psychology and Pennsylvania Psychological Association. Before coming to ESU, Dr. Drago was the director of mental health services at Pocono Medical Center
Douglas A. Lare, Ed.D., began his career as a social studies teacher in the late ’70s in Minnesota. Dr. Lare joined ESU’s professional and secondary education department in 1998. He has taught courses at all levels, from undergraduate teacher prep to doctoral leadership.
Dr. Lare served as ESU’s doctoral coordinator in partnership with Indiana University of Pennsylvania from 1999-2016. He helped launch the first doctoral program at ESU in 2016 by obtaining approval from Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, , Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to offer a doctorate and a superintendent letter of eligibility. As coordinator, he has helped develop the curriculum for eight cohorts, with the ninth cohort scheduled to start in fall 2018. Dr. Lare developed a dissertation process for the program and organized 28 doctoral retreats focusing on leadership issues. Under his leadership, ESU’s doctoral graduation rate is of over 82 percent, well above the national average.
Along with Intermediate 20, Dr. Lare developed a National Board Teacher Certification program in Pennsylvania. National Board candidates throughout the state work with trained facilitators as they prepare their NBCT application. Dr. Lare and ESU have led the way to improve this process. He has also secured grants for field experiences including archeology digs in Pennsylvania and Ohio, work with historical societies to develop case studies, and programs with the United States State Department.
Dr. Lare has served on various committees at ESU, is a member of Phi Delta Kappa, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Council for the Social Studies, and American Education Research Association.
The inaugural Innovator & Entrepreneur of the year Award was given to the Clear Path Team and the Science of Success. Becoming an innovator and entrepreneur in the field of higher education requires one to think outside of the box to create an initiative that will inspire educators to help students to be successful in their studies and professional careers. Michelle Jones-Wilson, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, Olivia Carducci, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics, and Bonnie Green, Ph.D., professor of psychology did just that when they applied for – and were awarded – a $4 + million, five-year grant to help about 120 transfer students complete their undergraduate education at ESU in the fields of biochemistry, physics, computer science and mathematics. Best known by its name, Clear Path, the grant-funded program also provides students with peer mentoring, advanced coursework tutoring, targeted advising and the infusion of high impact practices, including success seminars.
Clear Path goes beyond providing scholarship and academic services; it addresses, head on, a series of challenges faced by students in the STEM fields that test the likelihood of their success. Jointly with Instructor John Darsinos, Drs. Green, Jones-Wilson, and Carducci have created a “science of success” for ESU that enables transfer students to achieve an affordable and accessible college education and to engage in opportunities to learn about potential STEM occupations while also addressing the faltering graduation rates of STEM students who transfer to ESU from community colleges. Further, through their statistical evaluation of student progress, these faculty innovators are able to understand how success is achieved through Clear Path’s high-impact practices, cohort activities, developmental mechanisms and academic achievement. Their efforts – across departments – are a clear example of innovation through collaboration including the creation of a model capable of replication with other student groups and other institutions.
With the Clear Path program underway, Drs. Green, Carducci and Jones-Wilson and Darsinos are looking ahead, beyond the program’s first five years, to how they might provide meaningful research that will improve the way ESU and institutions far beyond Monroe County approach student success, support services and career opportunities for all students in years to come.