2022 Event Commemorates 10 Years of Celebrating Drexel Authors
May 10, 2022
Last month, the Drexel University Libraries and the Office of the Provost hosted the 10th annual Celebrating Drexel Authors event in person at The Study Hotel at University City.
This was the first time the event was held in person since 2019 due to COVID-19.
What better way to celebrate the milestone 10th anniversary than with the return to in-person events, noted Danuta A. Nitecki, PhD, Dean of Libraries, in her opening remarks. “I am thrilled to speak to you live and in person… and not from my living room, which has been the case for the last two years. We have certainly missed the serendipitous conversations that happen when we gather in the same physical space.”
This year’s event, held on Wednesday, April 27, honored 58 unique book authors and editors and 33 prestigious Drexel researchers who contributed to 19 peer-reviewed journal articles classified as “Highly Cited Papers” by Clarivate Analytics in 2021. The diverse cohort represents faculty, students, and professional staff from 11 colleges and schools and one administrative unit.
During the ceremony, the Dean Nitecki and Provost Paul Jensen reflected on the last 10 years and how the event has changed. For one, the Libraries’ expanded the scope of the event by adding journal article authors to the program and by committing to offering a virtual option—even before the pandemic.
The publishing landscape has also changed since 2013, posing interesting challenges for Drexel Libraries staff who design this event program each year. Self-publishing platforms, online tools and even social media have facilitated authors to become publishers. Today, a person can create a book without the formal publishing industry and scholarly communication protocols and designations.
“For the purposes of this celebratory event, we have defined an author as someone who published a complete monograph or edited a serial publication. We have honored only books that have an International Standard Book Number, or ISBN… However, that operational definition may no longer be appropriate,” explained Dean Nitecki during the event.
“Last year, for example, undergraduate student Lina Girgis self-published a book of poetry called Her Thoughts Past Midnight. She wrote the poems, created the artwork, and set up a retail site where people can purchase her book. Her publication does not have an ISBN and it did not go through an editor from a publishing house. But nevertheless, it is creative output. Should we celebrate her and others by including them in this annual event?”
Libraries staff asked the same question when Westphal College of Media Arts & Design Professor John Yearley submitted his play, 8 Minutes, 20 Seconds for recognition. Again, he wrote the play, and the performance rights are available to purchase online. But it is neither a registered book nor a peer-reviewed journal article.
So what makes an honored author? These submissions warrant reflection and will certainly factor in to the next 10 years of the planning for the Celebrating Drexel Authors event.
And although much has changed over the last decade, one thing remains the same: the event’s objective to recognize Drexel’s authors and the impact and importance of their work for Drexel and the global community.
“It is such a pleasure to be here for the 10th anniversary of this important event that continues to celebrate Drexel faculty, staff and student contributions to scholarship and creative expression—this commitment to sharing knowledge is core to Drexel,” said Paul Jensen, PhD, Executive Vice President and Nina Henderson Provost. “The impact and importance of [our authors’ work] goes far beyond individual authors and research teams. It advances scholarship; bridges gaps between disciplines; creates new insights in fast emerging-areas; and introduces us to characters, places, and ideas we otherwise wouldn’t know. And these publications raise Drexel’s reputation as a hub of innovation.”
Following the ceremony, the 45 members of the Drexel community who attended the event in person, (including friends, family, and alumni) were invited to enjoy refreshments and good conversation with colleagues—a part of the event experience that was truly missed over the last two years!
About the Celebrating Drexel Authors Event
The annual Authors event was launched in 2013 in partnership with the Office of the Provost to show institutional appreciation of Drexel authors and their published contributions to scholarship and creative expression to advance Drexel as a preeminent research university. Over the last 10 years, the event has 556 faculty, staff and student authors and editors from every college and school. Donated copies of the 2020 publications recognized this year will be on display in the case outside the Provost's Office in Main Building this fall. Following their exhibition there, copies will be moved to the Faculty Authors Collection in the University Archives.
For a complete list of authors and editors recognized during the 2022 Celebrating Drexel Authors event, download a copy of the program or watch a recording of the ceremony on the Drexel Libraries’ YouTube channel.