Home Education Degree Q&A: Penny Hammrich, PhD, Dean of the School of Education

Q&A: Penny Hammrich, PhD, Dean of the School of Education

by Maurice A. Miller

Penny Hammrich, Ph.D., has held many titles over her profession in schooling: faculty trainer, researcher, professor, administrator, businesswoman… she’s even been a dean before. But now, having been named dean of Drexel University’s School of Education in May after holding the interim dean role because the preceding August, Hammrich is prepared to combine her many hats and studies in a way to assist the School to prepare for the future and in addition set itself apart from the opposition.


In this Q&A, Hammrich is going in-depth about her historical past, accomplishments, and how her destiny plans for the School had been created through a collective vision. Q: Tell me approximately your background and what made you enthusiastic about coaching and going into that career path. A: I’m a K-12 certified teacher. I taught 1/3, fourth, sixth, and 10th grade before making my way to higher ed. I’m a biologist/geneticist. When I went to school, I didn’t honestly understand if I desired to enter the training world or if I wanted to enter medication and be a medical doctor because I liked biology, so I was given a twin degree in education and biology. I got a master’s in genetics, nevertheless questioning, “Maybe I’m going to move the clinical path,” but then I got interested in neuropsychology. I started my first Ph.D. down at Arizona State University in instructional psychology, specializing in cognition and mastering. I was 24, geared up to write my dissertation and be finished; however, I found out I hadn’t had a life yet. So I took a little wreck. Then, I transferred to the University of Minnesota, and I determined to interchange my Ph.D. recognition into science training instead of psych.

My first role changed into at Temple University. That’s what drew me to Philadelphia to start with. While I changed into Temple, I bumped into little ladies from Dunbar Elementary who didn’t recognize that technological know-how turned into their own outside. That modified the path of my complete profession. I returned to my workplace and wrote the primary program that is now the small organization I run called Sisters in Science. We develop technology packages for children, and I spun that for over 25 years. It’s been funded for over 30 million dollars. Right now, my sports activities technological know-how program is being run in separate packages funded using the Promise Neighborhood grant this summertime in West Philadelphia. Q: Also, do you still educate at all right here? A: I do! It’s not part of a dean’s settlement, but I experience that if I’m mainly a school, I need to be practicing what I’m main. I do like to train, so I educate one path a year. I taught one course for 12 months as meantime dean, and I’ll teach one route yr as dean, and I did that earlier than after I turned into dean in New York.

Q: What added you to Drexel then, and how had you been able to extend all of your many passions right here, as well as climb the ranks? A: I got here to Drexel in 2010. Before that, I was the dean of Queens College, City University of New York, while my mom got terminally ill. I decided to step down out of my deanship at Queens, go on sabbatical and fly home to South Dakota, which I’m from, and be together with her. While I was on sabbatical, two school individuals I employed when I became the dean at Queen’s got recruited away to Drexel’s School of Education. They found out I changed into on sabbatical and that they went to the dean and recruited me to come to Drexel. I by no means notion once I left Temple and left Philadelphia that I might come lower back. However, it simply appeared like too exact of a possibility. I also didn’t assume I could move again into administration. I changed into going to get back into my studies, but I kept falling into it.

It’s thrilling due to the fact my first deanship changed when I become in my 30s. Now I’m in my 50s, so it’s an entire specific angle for me now because I have such a lot more years of experience, and I’ve performed almost every single administrative function in a college of training. It’s something that I bet my skillset lent itself to, and right here I am.
Q: Are there positive talents you suppose you’ve got that make you a simply proper administrator? A: I assume I’m a natural chef, and I’m very an awful lot, no longer a pinnacle-down leader but a consensus builder. I’m very visionary, so I can see things out 10 years later, set in motion steps to attain that. The different factor is I’m excellent at mentoring humans. I think mentoring is a massive function of being in a leadership role, and I like it. If I want to get a process where they paid you only for mentoring, I could take it. I like paintings with people and assist them in achieving their dreams and watching them be successful. And in order, that’s pretty a good deal how I set up my body of workers in their roles to have possibilities to achieve success and be part of a crew.

Q: What do you feel you had been capable of accomplishing while you have been in the interim role, and how will that evolve now that you’re in the dean position? A: When I was supplied the interim dean position, I become very humbled and venerated to have Executive Vice President and Nina Henderson Provost M. Brian Blake, Ph.D., ask me if I might serve in that role because I very much see any management position as a service function — you serve the school. And I desired to serve the School of Education due to the fact I consider in the faculty. I had to discover a manner to deliver us collectively around a united challenge and vision. So I created what was known as a residing vision, and it’s called a living vision because it’s living. It’s now not static. I offered it to the college and personnel as a canvas, or a panorama, of what we will be. It was to place the School to be referred to as the highbrow center of pedagogical innovation with five signatures: fairness and access, civic engagement, growth and sales, creativity and innovation, and fine and development.

I offered this panorama to them, after which I positioned it on a website, and I said, “Everybody has got right of entry to to the website, move into the website add your voice over the course of the yr.” In June, I provided our collective dwelling vision — so it’s a living vision that’s been shaped over the yr via everyone. Everybody’s had a voice. It’s not just my voice. This no longer handiest introduced us together as a community; however, it set us up to begin strategic making plans inside the fall. It turned into a genuinely top-notch bonding for us. And it is, so that befell, considering that I have become the dean, I can convey that.

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