June 28, 2022

Drenner honored with Purdue Global Faculty Scholarship Award

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — For Karla Drenner, her research has come full circle.

Years ago, for her PhD dissertation, the Purdue Global faculty member picked marriage equality. And in her longtime position as a Georgia state representative, the topic has surfaced, and she continues cultivating it.

Drenner has been honored by Purdue Global with its annual Faculty Scholarship Award for 2022 for exceptional scholarship within her field of study.

drenner-karlaL Karla Drenner Download image

“Little did I know that I would end up participating in my own research,” said Drenner, of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “As a state legislator, I have been party to policy battles involving marriage equality. That has informed my research and has contributed to my understanding of the complexities of many issues. I understood my own decision-making process but was curious about my colleagues, what prompted certain types of bill sponsorship and what role, if any, faith played in their decisions. I have witnessed a lot of firsthand battles between proponents and opponents regarding these issues, and it’s not simple. My analysis over time is that I have seen strengths and weaknesses of both sides, and I respect them both.”

In 2021, Drenner authored the book “Faith-Based Influences on Legislative Decision Making: Emerging Research and Opportunities,” and she wrote three chapters for the “Research Anthology on Inclusivity and Equity for the LGBTQ+ Community,” published in 2022:

  • The Future of LGBT Politics.
  • Public Accommodations: Discrimination and Sexual Orientation.
  • Social Change: The Power of Place.

Drenner is a full-time Purdue Global faculty member who has been with the university since 2013. She currently teaches and is the course lead for several public administration classes, including Finance and the Administration of Public Funds, Balancing the Budget – Budgetary Process, and Public Policy Analysis.

“Since my journey at Purdue Global began, educating my students on public administration and sharing the importance of inclusivity, diversity and equality has been a part of my service and mission,” Drenner said. “My hope continues that through education, my students will understand how vital their collaborative efforts are in contributing to the betterment of our collective futures.

“I am incredibly grateful for this honor. Teaching has always been my passion, and to receive the Purdue Global Faculty Scholarship Award is beyond celebratory.”

In addition to her work at Purdue Global, Drenner represents the 85th District in Georgia and serves on multiple committees, including Rules, Health and Human Services; Natural Resources and Environment; Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications; and Small Business Development. She also is active in the policy process nationally, serving on the Policy Committee for the National Foundation for Women Legislators.

“In the world that we live in, politics have seemingly become two polar extremes in so many cases – and Karla wears the label of one party because that’s the way our country and our political system works – but what I see her trying to do is inform the conversation and provide context for important decisions that need to be made in a public space,” Purdue Global Chancellor Frank Dooley said. “I want to recognize that as a model that we should see more in different legislative bodies, whether it’s in the state of Georgia, at the national level or at a local level across the country. I want to applaud what Karla has done because recognizing her from my perspective is trying to show we really think this is something that the country should be trying to emulate and adopt as a practice. I wish there were more people like Karla.”

Faculty Scholarship Award recipients are selected quarterly by the faculty senate from nominations made by leadership within the colleges and schools, with an overall winner picked each June. The other three quarterly honorees for 2021-22 are:

  • Brian Craig, College of Social and Behavioral
  • Chris Gransberry, School of Health
  • Jane McElligott, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

“It is inspiring to see the wonderful work our faculty are doing, and I am glad the university is celebrating it,” said Ginger Cameron, president of the Purdue Global faculty senate.

About Purdue Global

Purdue Global delivers personalized online education tailored to the unique needs of adults who have work or life experience beyond the classroom, enabling them to develop essential academic and professional skills with the support and flexibility they need to achieve their career goals. It offers personalized paths for students to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, based on their work experience, desired pace, military service, previous college credits and other considerations – no matter where they are in their life journey. Purdue Global is a nonprofit, public university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is affiliated with Purdue University’s flagship institution, a highly ranked public research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue University also operates regional campuses in Fort Wayne and Northwest Indiana, as well as serving science, engineering and technology students at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus. For more information, visit purdueglobal.edu

Writer/Media Contact: Tom Schott, tschott@purdue.edu

Sources: Frank Dooley

Ginger Cameron

Karla Drenner

Note to Journalists: A photo of Karla Drenner is available on Google Drive.

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