Three Recognized for Research, Teaching Excellence
This year, three members of the St. John Fisher College faculty were named recipients of the College’s most prestigious scholarship and teaching honors. The awards are usually bestowed during the College’s Commencement ceremony.
Dr. Lipika Chablani, associate professor in the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, received the Trustees’ Award for Distinguished Scholarly Achievement. The Award for Teaching Excellence at the undergraduate level was given to Dr. Sara Goodman, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology. Dr. Shannon Cleverley-Thompson, visiting assistant professor in the Executive Leadership Doctoral Program, was given the Award for Teaching Excellence at the graduate level.
The Trustees’ Award for Distinguished Scholarly Achievement is the highest honor that the Board of Trustees can bestow on a faculty member, second only to an honorary degree. It is given to full-time faculty members in recognition of outstanding scholarly work, ranging from writing books and articles, to presenting papers at professional conferences.
Chablani joined the School’s Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2012. During her tenure at the College, she has earned several grants and contracts to support her studies on innovative cancer vaccines and has established a research program developing and testing nanoparticle-sized tumor vaccines to prevent and slow the progression of breast cancer. She has earned more than $85,000 in external research support including the highly distinguished New Investigator Award by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) in 2018. Of the 16 awards given that year, Chablani was one of only two selected in the research area of pharmaceutics.
Her research in the area of breast cancer vaccinations began while Chablani was a doctoral student at Mercer University in Atlanta, Georgia. There, she worked on the development of a vaccine that could be used to prevent breast cancer, conducting several studies to formulate and improve the vaccine’s delivery and effectiveness.
A champion for students, Chablani mentored the School’s first Ph.D. student in collaboration with Future University in Cairo, Egypt and is currently serving as a committee member for an additional Ph.D. trainee from Rungta College of Pharmacy in India. She has established research collaborations with biopharmaceutical companies in the region, which has opened up opportunities to train the next generation of scholars in authentic learning environments.
Over the course of her career, she has published research in several peer-reviewed journals, including five papers in the past three years. She has delivered oral and poster presentations at national conferences.
In addition to a doctoral degree from Mercer, Chablani holds a bachelor’s degree from Mumbai University and a master’s degree from Campbell University’s School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She is an active member of AACP and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, among other organizations.
The Awards for Teaching Excellence are chosen by students, and are given annually to full-time faculty members for outstanding work in the classroom. Award recipients must demonstrate thorough knowledge of their subject matter, solid preparation for class, clear and effective communication, and genuine enthusiasm for their job.
Goodman was recognized for her caring nature and passion for the field of study. Joining the College in 2017, she teaches courses including Introduction to Psychology, Advanced Statistics, Cognitive Processes, and the Motivation and Engagement Seminar, among others. She has also served as an independent study advisor for students, advisor for the Psychology Club, and mentors undergraduates through the College’s Summer Fellows Research Program.
One student nominator said that Goodman is “knowledgeable and passionate about her expertise in cognitive psychology and makes it her goal to share this with her students” adding that “she truly wants her students to feel engaged and interested in the topic and makes the material applicable to the students’ lives.”
Students noted that Goodman is always willing to offer advice, both in and out of the classroom. Calling her a “a professor that understood me, rooted for me, went above and beyond to help me, and who related to me,” one student nominee said she “fights for her students and wants nothing more than for them to do great things and achieve their goals.”
Goodman holds a bachelor’s degree from Fisher, and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of California Santa Cruz. She is a member of several professional organizations, including the Psychonomic Society, Women in Cognitive Science, and Society for Teaching Psychology, among others.
Cleverley-Thompson, who herself is a graduate of the program she now teaches in, was praised for her “nurturing and supportive classroom style.” She joined the faculty in 2012, teaching courses in qualitative and quantitative research methods, leadership and cultural change, and leadership field experience, among other topics. She also provides executive leadership coaching, career development support, and supervises candidates in their field experiences and dissertation development.
In their nominations of Cleverley-Thompson, students said she is “flexible and attentive to meet all students’ needs” and “finds new and unique ways to engage students in each lesson.” One student noted that her success as a leader lies in her ability to forge strong interpersonal relationships with students and professors, resulting in respect and credibility.
“The DEXL program is an intense one, and yet all of us understand that Shannon is there to support us and to help push us beyond our comfort zones. Personally, I feel empowered and valued in Dr. Cleverly-Thompson's class, and I know that she wants me to succeed and finish my dissertation just as much as I do,” the student wrote.
In addition to her doctorate, Cleverley-Thompson holds a bachelor’s degree from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, and master’s degree from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. She also holds several professional certificates in online learning and leadership. She has published several papers and presented at regional and national conferences on the topic of storytelling as a leadership practice.