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2022 Michelson IP educator awardees highlight the value of teaching IP at community colleges


The Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property is expanding its support of infusing IP education into a broad range of educational curricula.

At the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship’s annual conference in Boston in Fall 2022, the Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property (Michelson IP) awarded the Michelson IP Educator of Excellence Award to Business Administration Professor Diane Sabato and History Professor John Diffley of Springfield Technical Community College in Massachusetts. As part of the honor, their department received a $5,000 award from Michelson IP and NACCE.

The two recipients demonstrated leadership through their innovative and successful approaches to teaching intellectual property, inspiring students and fellow educators with workshops and programs to expand IP literacy.

“The 2022 IP Educator of Excellence Award was an unexpected and humbling honor for Professor John Diffley and me,” Sabato said. The award “affirms the work that we’ve been doing to promote intellectual property for our students and others across the country.”

The award, presented annually in partnership with NACCE, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to IP education for budding entrepreneurs, inventors, makers and creators. Last year, three Santa Monica College faculty members received the inaugural award.

The Michelson-NACCE Vision

In a 2022 article in the Western New England Law Review, Sabato, Diffley, and attorney Richard Kosakowski wrote that Michelson IP and NACCE are working to close the “IP education gap” by supporting educators to infuse IP education into a broad range of educational curricula.

“It is vital that IP education be infused into educational curricula as widely as possible,” they wrote. “If not, any young person today who does not understand at least the basics of intellectual property—and its value and role in science, business, arts, and the professions—will find him or herself at a distinct disadvantage in the world of tomorrow.”

Composed of educators, administrators, college presidents, and entrepreneurs, NACCE focuses on igniting entrepreneurship in their communities and campuses. The organization empowers college leaders to approach overseeing a community college with an entrepreneurial mindset while growing the community college’s role in supporting job creation and entrepreneurs in their local ecosystem.

Since 2017, Michelson IP has worked alongside NACCE to provide a first-of-its-kind IP curriculum to member colleges, predominantly in the community college arena. The pilot phase included a dynamic community of practice that fueled the modular buildout of an undergraduate IP curriculum, eventually leading to its adoption at more than 85 NACCE colleges.



The Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property, an initiative of the Michelson 20MM Foundation, provides access to empowering IP education for budding inventors and entrepreneurs. Michelson 20MM was founded thanks to the generous support of renowned spinal surgeon Dr. Gary K. Michelson and Alya Michelson. To learn more, visit