James “Jim” Drennan echoes the qualities honored by the Karen Thorson Award through his forty-year University of North Carolina School of Government career that started in 1974, and through his contributions to NASJE.
NASJE President Margaret Allen presented the award to him at NASJE’s 2016 Annual Conference in Burlington, Vermont (September 25-28) as one of her last official duties.
Dr. Maureen Conner, Director of the Judicial Administration Program at Michigan State University and 2013 Karen Thorson Award winner, shares her support for Jim’s recommendation for the 2016 award. Dr. Conner states, “Jim’s power of inquiry helped the emerging profession of judicial branch education define itself and its call to service. He would invite us to think about the big questions, such as what business is judicial branch education truly in and what is the educator’s obligation to insure a court system that guarantees equal access and due process to all. I believe that Jim’s pursuit of these ideals propelled him to serve on multiple NASJE committees.”
Dr. Conner continues, “Jim understood that the mission of education was to create a culture of intellectual curiosity that would result in others seeking-out new knowledge and skill in service to the rule of law and administration of justice. He made it safe for others to question the legal and judicial systems so that they could think, act, and do in ways that met the challenges of the day. In short, Jim mentored each of us to be what Warren Berger in his book, The More Beautiful Question (2014), referred to as the restless learner—a person who can never be comfortable with her/his own expertise in the face of rapid knowledge advancements, research revisions, and obsolescence of facts.”
Below is a video interview of Jim Drennan where he reflects upon his judicial education experiences. Jim shares his hopes and outlooks for the future of judicial education.
We thank Jim for his service and humble guidance.