The Presidential Distinguished Leadership Award: Dr. Patricia Currans-Sheehan

Briar Cliff proudly announced University awards at the 92nd Commencement Ceremony. 


The Presidential Distinguished Leadership Award is an award recognizing distinguished service to the University that has resulted in significant achievement and advancement of the Briar Cliff philosophy, goals, and programs. The 2023 recipient of the Presidential Distinguished Leadership Award is Dr. Patricia (Tricia) Currans-Sheehan, professor of English and writing and editor of The Briar Cliff Review at Briar Cliff University.


Over 38 years of service, 35 publications of the award-winning Briar Cliff Review, five books, 75 short stories, national conference presentations, fiction readings at colleges and universities, and countless lives impacted through her teachings Currans-Sheehan is a true example of distinguished service at Briar Cliff University. This year, she also announced a well-earned retirement at the end of the academic year.


“While Tricia has so many notable accomplishments, I specifically want to highlight the award-winning Briar Cliff Review. Not only was she the editor of this incredible publication, but she was also the inspiration, the glue, and the motivation behind its success,” said Dr. Todd Knealing, Provost/Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. “Each year, she worked directly with students to solicit and sort through hundreds of submissions, drawing interest from around the world from prize-winning writers, poets, artists, and more. While this may be the last year of this publication, it persisted for 35 years and it will forever be an incredible legacy she, the other editors, students, submitters, and contributors have created.”


Currans-Sheehan’s passion for the liberal arts, English, and writing is an inspiration. Her standards are high, and she works tirelessly to promote excellence in writing and literature.


“Many have been blessed to call her a colleague, friend, and mentor – and most notably, she has inspired several generations of teachers and students who have or will go on to make their mark in Siouxland and beyond,” said Knealing.