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Michelson IP Educator of Excellence Award Given to Two STCC Professors

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) professors Diane Sabato and John Diffley received the Michelson IP Educator of Excellence Award.

Sabato, an STCC business professor, and Diffley, an attorney and history professor, have been working on the intellectual-property (IP) educational initiative since 2020. STCC was one of only five colleges nationwide with faculty accepted into the Michelson IP Educator in Residence initiative. The Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property and the National Assoc. for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) selected Sabato and Diffley for the project.

“It is wonderful to have our faculty recognized for their efforts to provide colleagues with professional development at the national level,” said Geraldine de Berly, vice president of Academic Affairs at STCC.

Judy Fox, director of the Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property, wrote in a blog that “these faculty partners went above and beyond during their tenure as NACCE and Michelson IP (educators-in-residence) to create and implement additional tools, workshops, trainings, networking, and publicity opportunities for IP among the community-college population, with great success.”

Among their accomplishments was moving IP education and Michelson into the national conversation, Fox said. They published an article in the Western New England Law Review.

Sabato and Diffley have been collaborating with four other educators focusing on a mission to deliver intellectual-property education. They joined faculty from institutions in New Jersey, Florida, California, and New Mexico.

Intellectual property refers to inventions and human creations such as literary and artistic works, designs, symbols, and names and images used in commerce.

Sabato taught intellectual-property concepts in an entrepreneurship class at STCC. Diffley brought the historical perspective of Springfield as an innovation hub and the capacity to implement campus-wide initiatives, initially, through the Honors Program.

“Being selected as the winners of the IP Educator of Excellence Award 2022 … was an unexpected and humbling honor for Professor John Diffley and myself,” Sabato said. “It means so much to us and affirms the work that we’ve been doing to promote intellectual property for our students and others across the country. IP awareness and education is particularly important for community-college students as it can be a critical factor for them in recognizing, claiming, and protecting the value of the products of their own minds. IP can hold the key for them to build wealth, grow entrepreneurial ventures, and add value to the world around them.”

Diffley said providing access to the understanding of IP helps support STCC’s equity agenda and prepares students for success in an increasingly digital world and economy.

“It was an absolute honor and privilege to be asked by Diane to join this project,” he said. “I am immensely proud of the work we did, and even more so to be recognized with this award, in support of spreading IP education.”

Richard Greco, dean of the School of Liberal and Professional Studies, congratulated them for receiving the award and for their hard work and dedication.

“Professors Sabato and Diffley both have a passion for innovation,” he said. “Their work with the Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property and NACCE extends beyond the mission at STCC to support students as they transform their lives, and adds to the body of scholarship in the field of intellectual property. We are proud of their scholarship. They also are helping to make Springfield and the Pioneer Valley an innovation hub.”

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