This Autumn at Drexel
This Autumn at Drexel

This Autumn at Drexel

John Keats called autumn the “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” Traditionally the time of ripening and harvest, in academe the cooler temperatures of fall signal the start of a new year. Each fall term we return with renewed enthusiasm, promising ourselves to improve our courses, better serve our students, and increase our research, publications, and creative endeavors. And anyone who has worked at Drexel over several years realizes that we are pretty good at fulfilling these promises. This year we welcome the most academically talented freshman class in our history, some 3,100 students strong.

We are proud that so many high ability students have seen the value of a Drexel education, and we are committed to ensuring that each day they become convinced increasingly that they have made the right choice of university. To help them learn, we are also pleased to welcome 37 new tenured and tenure-track faculty and 39 teaching faculty, joining us with exceptional credentials and recruited from around the world. They join the 34 tenured and tenure-track and 35 Teaching and Clinical faculty added last year, bringing to 145 the number of full-time faculty colleagues added since last September.

This year, as part of the Strategic Plan’s commitment to academic excellence and interdisciplinary cooperation, we are beginning the systematic, thorough review of every one of our academic programs across this comprehensive research university. This collaborative effort, described below, involves Senators, other faculty, and academic administrators and is aimed at improving quality in our educational outcomes and research and creative work and ensuring that our academic units are aligned for maximum effectiveness. Recognized experts, local and national, will join with us in this ongoing effort.

We are also approaching hiring in the same collaborative spirit. New and replacement positions are being considered collaboratively and strategically. We’ve identified several focused areas of innovative research and creative work in which we will invest key hires, including Energy and the Environment, Healthcare, Big Data and Digital Culture. We also are seeing emerge several cross-cutting themes that will also inform hiring decisions: Design and Entrepreneurship have emerged as the first two that characterize a Drexel education. By focusing our efforts, Drexel promises to impart the greatest impact on the creation of new knowledge in service to addressing the world’s greatest challenges.

We commence this year with the anticipation of new intellectual adventures, new discoveries and new colleagues to discover, new students to meet and mentor and watch grow as young adults, and all the satisfactions and demands of academic life at Drexel. We welcome our new colleagues from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University to the new Department of Biodiversity, Earth, and Environmental Science—or BEES - and celebrate the continuing solid contributions of our colleagues at the Sacramento Graduate Center, from which we have graduated two classes. Our year is commencing, our energies increasing, even as the days grow short “And,” as Keats ends his great poem, “gathering swallows twitter in the skies.”


In This Issue...

Past Issues of the Newsletter


Convocation 2012: Celebrating Drexel’s Research Achievements and Aspirations
by Deb Crawford, Ph.D., Senior Vice Provost for Research
Ann Klassen, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research, School of Public Health

Today, at Convocation 2012, we will gather together to celebrate the beginning of the 2012-2013 academic year, welcoming new faculty colleagues and students to our great University and celebrating the rich contributions we will continue to make to the peoples of the world through our research, scholarship, and creative activities.

Over the past decade, our knowledge enterprise has grown in leaps and bounds, fueled by the addition of new colleges and schools that continue to expand the fields and sectors in which we make important contributions, as well as by growing numbers of increasingly productive research-active faculty, staff and students. Through our collective efforts, we are enhancing Drexel’s reputation as a research-intensive institution.

Our students - undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral, are working hand-in-hand with you, our world-class faculty researchers and scholars, to generate ground-breaking discoveries in infectious diseases, advanced materials, autonomous vehicles, smart textiles, and regenerative medicine, among many others. Our work has both global reach and local impact – we are working on all continents through partnerships with other world-class universities and research organizations.

Our ambitions to contribute new knowledge are motivated by 21st century challenges. At Drexel, we take special pride in promoting multidisciplinary initiatives that bring faculty together to create the breadth of expertise necessary to tackle complex and challenging issues.

In 2013, we are focusing on multidisciplinary opportunities and challenges presented by the growing influence of computing in global society. Today, technological innovations in computing are providing compelling new opportunities and capabilities for individuals, organizations, and social movements, while at the same time raising complex social, legal and ethical questions on national and global scales. From our iSchool and our Colleges of Engineering, and Arts and Sciences, to our Colleges of Nursing and Health Professions, Medicine, Media Arts and Design, and Business as well as our Schools of Public Health and Law, faculty and students are joining forces to explore challenges and opportunities at the intersection of computing innovation, law, and society.

We are, for example, investigating mechanisms to provide for privacy and security in health IT systems, developing technologies, tools and approaches to mind, manage and visualize large and complex digital data sets, studying the values embedded in technological design and use to ensure that new techniques meet the needs of a range of people from different demographic groups, using advanced computational techniques and tools to simulate and model complex scientific and social phenomena, and creating new knowledge at the intersection of technology and the arts. Together, we are providing new insights on the knowledge, resources and tools necessary to optimize the cyber-opportunities and tackle the cyber-challenges of the 21st century.

In 2013, we are also focusing on identifying sustainable energy, water and food solutions for the 21st century. In energy, we are developing and implementing novel mechanisms and approaches designed to conserve energy, encouraging and implementing energy efficiency improvements through our participation in, for example, the Energy Efficient Buildings HUB at the Navy Yard. We are also examining organizational structures and policies that support or impede the adoption of sustainable technologies, studying the ecosystem impacts of energy extraction mechanisms, including the impact on human health, identifying, developing, demonstrating, and deploying existing and emerging sustainable energy technologies in venues like the Drexel Smart House, and studying the effects of lifestyle and behavioral changes on energy consumption and climate. And in partnership with other universities in the region, we are accelerating innovation in sustainable energy technologies, facilitating the transfer of new Drexel inventions to the marketplace through the Energy Commercialization Institute.

As the human population grows and urbanizes, our desire to manage water and other natural resources more sustainably requires the development of new insights into how people, organizations, policies, infrastructure, and ecosystems interact at a variety of scales. In 2013, our research teams will seek to better understand and predict the interactions between the water system and land use, the built environment, and ecosystem function and services through place-based research. Some of our work focuses on populated watersheds, i.e., watersheds that are heavily impacted by human activity and infrastructure including regions in Asia, South America, and the Middle East as well as in the U.S. We are also developing new tools for assessing the impacts of decentralized green infrastructure approaches to urban water management, helping to quantify the multiple benefits of green technologies like permeable pavements, green roofs, rainwater capture, storage, and reuse, and bio-infiltration when they are implemented at various scales in urban watersheds.

In the area of food science and policy, we are studying the diverse and interconnected issues caused by inequities in food consumption and production. The "paradox of plenty" challenges us to ensure that all populations have access to adequate healthful foods and energy balance for optimal long term health. In 2013, our work will focus on creating sustainable food environments moving from the school cafeteria to the local corner store to larger foodsheds, providing the science to shape policies on a range of topics including food benefits for families in poverty, menu labeling and taxation, and food handling safety. Sustainable, environmentally sound systems of food production to support healthful diets are promoted through our diverse work in urban gardening, low impact sustainable food production and distribution systems, and nutrition and food science.

All of these diverse points of leverage in the human-environment interface benefit from the multi-faceted scientific perspectives found among our schools and colleges, all bringing their expertise to bear on creating a rich, sustainable global future. By focusing on interdisciplinary research and creative work, and the translation of related outcomes into equitable and effective policies and solutions, Drexel’s great faculty, staff and students make contributions to local, regional and global society to "meet the needs of the present . . . without compromising the future."1

We hope you enjoy Convocation!

1Brundtland Commission Report, 1987

Faculty Features

Revelations from the Field:
Corrigan Puts Theory into Practice
by Rebecca Ingalls, Director of the Freshman Writing Program
Assistant Professor, Department of English & Philosophy

Dr. Rose Corrigan’s story of how she came to study what she studies and teach what she teaches is a beautiful answer that should inspire both faculty and students: her work and her teaching are fueled by her “commitment to social justice,” and they aim to make change in the world. It lights her up to talk about it

Corrigan, who came to Drexel in 2006, holds a joint appointment as Associate Professor of History & Politics and Law. What’s more, she serves as Director of Women’s Studies, now a thriving program that, thanks to the support of Dean Murasko and the extraordinary efforts of Assistant Teaching Professor David Fryer and the many faculty across the disciplines who cross-list and teach courses for Women’s Studies, has seen “phenomenal growth” over the last several years.

Craig Newschaffer, PhD

“It’s like we can’t offer enough classes,” she says. “We fill almost every seat.” These seats are now populated by women and men across the curriculum—students with a genuine interest in studying the culture and politics of gender and sexuality, lending to the increasingly diverse intellectual landscape of this university.

In the spirit of Drexel’s emphasis on the symbiotic relationship between teaching and scholarship, Corrigan’s leadership of the program is directly connected to the heart of her research on sexual violence and legislation. Though she has been at Drexel since 2006, Philadelphia was her “adopted hometown” for many years prior. In fact, her previous teaching appointment was at CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, but she commuted from Philly because she was deeply invested in her community work with local organizations serving women and girls. From 1992 to 1996, she worked with Women Organized Against Rape. From 1997 to 2000, she worked with Safehouse at the Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County. It was this “direct service with victims of sexual violence” that led Corrigan toward an appreciation of her own experiential learning and a desire to bring it to the forefront of her teaching and scholarship. “[Experiential learning] is transformative,” she says, “Not just for students, but for anyone. Wrapping your head around a concept is important. But from my own experience with working with women and rape, theories look a lot different on the ground level than they do in the classroom.” Thus, Corrigan has worked hard in her research and teaching to inform her study of law and policy with what she has actually seen with her own eyes in the real world.

Unfortunately, she says, the scholarship often doesn’t represent much of the day-to-day work on sexual violence that is taking place in this country. Corrigan’s dissertation work on Megan’s Law, in which she interviewed rape care providers in 18 of 21 counties in New Jersey, made visible to her a related but separate problem. As she was investigating folks’ perceptions of the law, she uncovered their frustration about the state-mandated sexual assault nurse examination (SANE), a medical exam performed on victims that seemed to be creating as many problems as it was trying to address. Says, Corrigan, “The SANE is the gold standard; every community wants one, but my research shows that those exams become a test of victim credibility. Sexual contact can’t prove sexual coercion.” The test, she argues, can “reinforce myths that are really very damaging”: they place the burden on rape victims to “prove” what has happened to them, and they have the potential to “drive down rape reporting.”

As some pesky dissertations are wont to do, Corrigan’s led her to a new project that demanded her attention: her book project, Up Against A Wall: Rape Reform and the Failure of Success (New York University Press, due out in January 2013). “My life would have been less stressful if I’d just published the dissertation,” she says and smiles. “But I don’t regret it. This is a better book.” Talk about experiential learning: Corrigan took two cross-country trips over eight months to gather research on rape crisis centers in a variety of communities: 167 advocates; 112 rape crisis centers; and, 6 different states. The journey changed her perceptions of how urban and rural communities are supporting victims: “It’s not what I expected,” she reflects. “Sometimes people think big cities will do well, but some of the worst conditions were in metro areas. Some rural communities have made better commitments.” She looks back on an interview with a rape care advocate in a rural community in Kansas: “[The woman] said, ‘They can’t get away from me. I see the chief of police at church and I ask him what he’s doing about rape. I ask him at the Rotary Club, I ask him at the grocery store. People hear me asking him.’” In these small communities, argues Corrigan, folks can often make better headway to support victims because they can “hold people personally accountable.” In some urban areas, however, there is less of an opportunity for this kind of personal connection.

So, it would seem, Corrigan’s book is as much about changing her readers’ minds about what they think is humanly possible across communities in this country, as it is about revealing to us the urgency of the problem: rape cases being “dismissed or discouraged by medical and legal personnel,” and the “disconcerting” fact that “the real dangers to our communities are people we know and love and trust,” and not just strangers. She hopes that the book will be a wake-up call to the need for continued efforts in this country to let “real stories” turn into real support, and to change the culture of ignorance around sexual abuse. Corrigan: “Most states have pretty good laws on the books. The problems fall around implementation. It’s not about inherent impossibility, or inability. These are choices we make as a society. What happened at Penn State indicates that, despite our public rhetoric about zero tolerance for sex offenses, we very often as community members find ways to excuse, exonerate, ignore, or dismiss really troubling claims.” The evidence of her own observations, and of the narratives of her study participants, aim not only to support the promise of changing our culture, but also to make a case for learning through doing. Theories are important lenses through which to look at the world but, as Corrigan explains, the “questions that don’t get asked and perspectives that don’t get represented” don’t come to light until a researcher rolls up her sleeves and climbs into the thick of the problem. It’s at the heart of Drexel’s mission, and it’s the invaluable approach to making change that Corrigan offers her discipline, her students, and the Drexel community.


East Meets Drexel West:
Sacramento's International Student Boom
by Bill Halldin, Principle, Halldin and Associates
and Elizabeth Lambert, Coordinator, Sacramento Communications

Qianzi Wang is no different than a lot of youthful American college students. When it comes to eating, she doesn’t always make the logical, healthy selection. “I think initially we all gained weight. I started eating too much ice cream,” laughs the good-natured Wang, one of 11 students who came from China last September to enroll in the Master’s of Science in Finance program at the Drexel Center for Graduate Studies in Sacramento.

Learning to eat healthier is just one of many life’s lessons that were embraced in this eventful year for the initial wave of Chinese students that chose Drexel’s Sacramento campus for their post-graduate degrees over many other national university suitors. The inaugural group was joined in September 2012 by an additional 31 Chinese students who are now making Sacramento their home as they complete the innovative and comprehensive 18-month program that prepares them for a career as finance and investment professionals.

So what’s the big lure? Why is East meeting West in Sacramento?

Obtaining a degree from a prestigious American university like Drexel is considered the “gold standard” for any Asian student. The degree, along with the subsequent internships that Drexel is coordinating with prominent Sacramento-area companies like SMUD, PRIDE Industries, and California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), will provide a great boost to their careers.

To people throughout the Pacific Rim, Sacramento is known as the state capital of California, one of the most dynamic economic regions worldwide. Sacramento boasts a diverse population and a relatively affordable lifestyle. In addition, Sacramento is an accessible place for Chinese students to begin exploring life in the United States.

The influx of applicants to Drexel University’s graduate finance program fits a national trend of overwhelming interest in master’s degrees in finance programs from the Chinese population. “I found out that Drexel’s business school has a great reputation. I wanted to come to California and experience a smaller university where I could get to know everyone,” said the 23-year-old Wang, who received her undergraduate degree in International Business at China’s University of Nottingham. “The Drexel Center in Sacramento has been a perfect fit for me. The program in Sacramento broadly equips students with finance knowledge, giving us more choices in our future careers,” added Wang. “We are not only sharpening our text book knowledge, but also applying what we have learned to everything that is taking place right now in the financial and economic world.”

Drexel went to great lengths in courting the new contingent of 31 students. Part of its recruiting plan included creative online webinars that had Drexel officials making their pitch at 5:00 a.m. EST to reach their audience in China during the early evening. The recruiting process also meant reaching out to potential students on QQ, the Chinese equivalent of Facebook.

For the first class in 2011, the welcome mat began well before their arrival and continued throughout the first year for the 11 students, many of whom were making their first visit to the U.S. With help from the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, Drexel set up the new students in downtown Sacramento apartments, a convenient walk to the Graduate Center at One Capitol Mall. Since very few have cars, Drexel supplied transportation to places like IKEA, Costco and WalMart so students could purchase everything from furniture to bath towels.

The Drexel Center became a second home for many Chinese students. During their first quarter, they met almost daily for three hours of classroom work and often remained at the Center and studied in small groups. Fridays were reserved for English language tutelage and cultural assimilation that often included a field trip hosted by Drexel. Pot luck dinners became a frequent occurrence among the group, who were often joined by their new American friends that were also Drexel graduate students or faculty members. And, weekends often meant trips to San Francisco, Berkeley, Lake Tahoe or simply exploring different parts of the Sacramento region. A Thanksgiving dinner together, hosted by a Drexel student living in Sacramento, was one more aspect to their American indoctrination.

“Their social calendars are just ridiculous; they are always busy and doing something fun when they get the opportunity,” said Emily Dutch, Drexel’s Associate Director for Student Life, who was also a part of the welcoming committee for the 31 Chinese students who began classes in late September. One San Francisco shuttle pickup gathered 18 students who spent the day with multiple Drexel personnel who helped them establish bank accounts, purchase cell phones, set up apartment utilities, and various other necessary chores as they became acclimated. “We can anticipate the help they need better than last year, so we’re assisting them in many more ways,” Dutch said. “Our goal is to make their transition to Sacramento as easy as possible in both the classroom and in their social lives.”

Wang says she and the other original 10 Chinese students are anxious to get their Master’s of Science in Finance degrees and start an internship, which Drexel will help facilitate. “Drexel and the Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce are identifying mentors for our Chinese students and providing them with exposure to the workings of American businesses and government,” said Dr. Sandra Kirschenmann, Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director for Sacramento’s Graduate Center. “It’s a benefit to our Asian students and also to the local business community. Businesses that are open to providing internships will receive the insights and perspectives our Chinese students can offer. The students will benefit by having an appreciation of American business and experiencing our democratic form of government.”

For both Drexel and its new friends from China, East meets West has been a rousing success in Sacramento.

From the Office of Graduate Studies
By Sandra Golis, Administrative Coordinator

The Office of Graduate Studies Welcomes New Graduate Students

On the evening of Thursday, September 13, the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS), Office of International Programs (OIP), International Graduate Student Association (IGSA), Graduate Student Association (GSA) and International Students and Scholar Services (ISSS) welcomed over 200 international graduate students to campus. Students, faculty and staff enjoyed dinner and remarks from Associate Vice Provost of Graduate Studies Dr. Teck Kah Lim, Vice Provost of Global Initiatives and International Programs Dr. Julie Mostov, Assistant Dean of ISSS Adrienne Gigantino, and a panel of current students. In preparation for the event, IGSA sponsored an airport pick-up program the week prior to orientation to assist international students with their transition to Philadelphia and Drexel. IGSA also hosted two webinars for international students in late August, in which more than 80 students participated. Then, on Friday, September 14, over 500 new graduate students gathered on campus for Graduate Student Orientation. Provost Mark Greenberg kicked off the program, which featured a series of workshops and sessions for graduate students on Main Campus and in Center City. Many sessions were webcast live or recorded for students who could not attend. In addition, about 30 schools, colleges and departments participated in the Dragon Expo, a resource fair set up in Behrakis Grand Hall. Forty wonderful student volunteers led the new students around campus throughout the day, which culminated with a social sponsored by the GSA.

The OGS would like to thank everyone who contributed their time and energy to make these programs the success they were, and extend special gratitude to Director of Student Life Phi Nguyen and staff in Student Life, itself.

New Lounge Space

The Office of Graduate Studies is proud to announce the opening of the Graduate Student Lounge, and would like to take this opportunity to express appreciation to the driving forces behind this project, Provost Mark Greenberg and Senior Vice President for Student Life and Administrative Services Jim Tucker. An exclusive space for all Drexel University graduate students, located in the basement of the Main Building, students will have 24-hour access to the lounge for reading, relaxing, studying, event planning, programs and more via their DragonCard! An official Grand Opening Ceremony co-hosted by the GSA took place on Thursday, September 27.

Drexel Center for Academic Excellence (DCAE) Welcomes New Faculty and Launches Workshop Series for Academic Year 2012-2013
By Allison Hoffman, Administrative Coordinator

Welcome New Faculty

As the Labor Day holiday brought about the unofficial end of the summer season, it also marked a new beginning for 60 new full-time faculty members who attended the September 6-7 New Full-Time Faculty Orientation. Sponsored by the Drexel Center for Academic Excellence (DCAE), faculty were offered a variety of presentations on the many facets of life at Drexel ranging from the “Culture of Drexel” and “An Overview of Drexel Resources” to topical discussions and panel research presentations. The DCAE also combined this event with a resource fair with representation from 27 different Drexel offices and units where full-time faculty were joined by new adjunct and part-time faculty to network and begin forging professional relationships with representatives from the Drexel Libraries, Writing Center, IRT and other valuable Drexel units. To meet the evolving needs of Drexel faculty, scheduled events for the academic year are continually updated and posted on

Workshop Series for Academic Year 2012-2013 Launched

In recognition of its continued efforts to promote reflective teaching and learning, the DCAE is proud to announce the creation of Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) for the 2012-2013 academic year. This new, faculty-driven activity will be the first of its kind at Drexel. This year, Drexel faculty members, including several DCAE Faculty Fellows, will facilitate groups from across the university that will examine technology in the classroom, online teaching and learning, teaching international students, classroom writing, and supporting international faculty. For more information on the FLCs, please visit the DCAE website at or e-mail

Drexel Faculty Support International Co-op
by Susan Braun, Manager, International Cooperative Education Programs
Steinbright Career Development Center

This past academic year, the Steinbright Career Development Center developed international co-op job opportunities in 35 countries, and Drexel faculty, advisors and staff contributed to this effort. One exciting and meaningful international co-op was developed in South Korea by Professor Paul Oh. Under his direction, a Drexel team of researchers is collaborating with a team of Korean researchers on advancing humanoid development. A five-year project, it seeks transformative models to train scientists and engineers to effectively work in global multi-disciplined design teams.

In addition, Professor Gail Hearn has created opportunities for students to co-op abroad on the island of Bioko. Located 20 miles off of the coast of Cameroon in west central Africa, Bioko is part of the African country of Equatorial Guinea. As field assistants working under the supervision of scientists, the Wildlife Center manager (forest wildlife) and the research manager (nesting sea turtles), students are encouraged to participate in all aspects of field research during their stay on Bioko, and may explore additional opportunities to participate in educational outreach projects with local school children as well as training exercises with local wildlife patrols.

Further supporting Drexel’s international co-op program, Professor Steven Wrenn has expressed interest in sending co-op students abroad to Germany as part of an exchange program he has developed with Ruhr University.

As part of Drexel’s 2012 – 2017 Strategic Plan, the Steinbright Career Development Center is aggressively expanding co-op opportunities throughout the world. The goal is to provide innovative programs that broaden academic perspectives, promote global awareness, and encourage personal development while laying the foundation for participants to become engaged world citizens.

Drexel University Libraries Expands Access to Harvard Business Review Articles to Include Course Use
by Danuta Nitecki, Dean, University Libraries

Drexel faculty may now assign Harvard Business Review (HBR) articles in courses, including placing articles on reserve, posting them to course management shells, and adding them in course packs, as the result of a new licensing agreement acquired by the Libraries. The Libraries’ special license will extend course use to HBR articles on behalf of Drexel faculty university-wide. Previously, the Libraries provided researchers access to the HBR, but the publisher restricted use of articles for courses. Articles could be used for research but could not be placed on reading lists, on reserve, or in course packs.

Please note: Full text of HBR articles will continue to state that course use is not allowed, but the Libraries’ special license does allow this use at Drexel.

Faculty and students should not be concerned when encountering the above text and are invited to contact John Wiggins, Director of Library Services & Quality Improvement, at with questions or concerns.

Office of Faculty Development & Equity Five-Year Report
by Maria Gritz, Senior Academic Coordinator,
Office of Faculty Development & Equity

The Drexel Office of Faculty Development & Equity (FDE) is marking its fifth anniversary and is pleased to share its Five-Year Report with the greater Drexel community. This comprehensive document summarizes the Office’s achievements within each of its special initiatives since its inception in 2007, including faculty recruitment, faculty retention and advancement, university-wide events, and national visibility. In addition, the FDE has hosted or co-sponsored nearly 40 events, improved faculty recruiting processes across the University, and produced Drexel’s first Handbook for Faculty Recruitment. Furthermore, it created Drexel’s first initiative on work-life balance, and developed the highly successful Career Development Awards program, which provides support to junior faculty to form mentoring relationships with scholars in their fields. All are encouraged to view the Five-Year Report on the FDE website and to email for more information.  

New Skills-Based Faculty Mentoring Program Kick-Off
by Maria Gritz, Senior Academic Coordinator,
Office of Faculty Development & Equity

In response to feedback that suggested the need for mentoring on specific faculty-related skills at Drexel, the Office of Faculty Development & Equity (FDE) launched a new skills-based faculty mentoring program for faculty of all cohorts, schools, and colleges - consistent with the “One University” theme of Drexel’s new Strategic Plan. As a token of gratitude to the 43 Drexel faculty members who have already volunteered to serve as potential mentors this academic year, the FDE hosted a Mentors’ Lunch on Monday, October 1. This event gave faculty mentors the opportunity to ask questions about the program and share ideas on tips to mentor on various skills, such as grant-writing for federal agencies, networking for career success, entrepreneurship, and organizing and running a lab.

To learn more about this program, all members of the Drexel faculty are encouraged to visit the FDE website and click on the icon “Faculty Mentoring” at the top right corner of the page. New mentors are welcome and can volunteer by contacting

Attendees at the New Faculty Orientation listening to Dr. Shivanthi Anandan provide practical tips for creating a positive classroom environment.
Dr. Jennifer Taylor conducts a roundtable discussion with new faculty regarding portfolio creation and reflective teaching techniques.



Drexel University Cost of Education Study
by Tom Quinn, Executive Director, Administration & Finance,
Office of the Provost

The Cost of Education Study (COE) is a joint project between the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Senior Vice President of Finance, Treasurer and CFO. An outside consultant with expertise in analyzing revenues and expenses down to the subject level to determine the cost of running our academic programs has been retained to assist with this initiative. For any successful institution to determine efficiency of spending, to plan for the future, and to support academic and operational decisions, the outcomes of this study are extremely important. Subsequently, the objectives of the study are to:

  • identify the revenues, expenses, and contribution margin for all subjects and programs/majors;
  • quantify the level of cross-subsidization throughout the university and evaluate for appropriateness;
  • Provide academic and university administrators with a tool to evaluate financial trends, resource allocations, pricing/discount strategies and staffing decisions;
  • establish a framework for annual update and review through internal resources; and
  • create common methodology to support benchmarking.

Over this past summer, the Cost of Education Steering Committee was expanded to include deans and faculty to help tailor the model to Drexel. This committee successfully determined the methodology, and the results are currently being refined with feedback from each college and school. Once the study is complete, it will be used, along with many tools, as part of the Program Alignment and Review (PAR) process. An ongoing project, it will provide important information to inform future decisions and plans within the Academic Unit.

The Program Alignment and Review (PAR) Update
by Jan Biros, Senior Vice Provost for Budget, Planning and Administration

The PAR Committee has worked diligently this past summer to finalize materials and plans to implement the PAR currently underway. Five “pilot” program reviews have been launched, which will help test the PAR process and the tools established, and methodology will continually be monitored and refined to ensure effective and efficient outcomes.

To this end, assistance will be provided on the self-studies and external reviews conducted, which will examine both qualitative and quantitative information and criteria relevant to determining the quality and viability of each program. For example, in September, the Office of the Provost sponsored an orientation for the faculty named to each of the five “pilot” self-study teams; teams who will partner with the PAR Committee, listed below, in vetting and modifying the materials and process for the programs to be reviewed in the future. In addition, the Office of the Provost, the Drexel Center for Academic Excellence, and the Office of Information Technology will hold several workshops related to PAR terminology (rubrics, outcomes, assessment), principles (continuous quality improvement), and tools (AEFIS, SmartSheet, SharePoint). Furthermore, Steve DiPietro, Director of Operations for Learning Assessment and Evaluation, will work regularly with self-study teams to provide support and guidance throughout the entire PAR process.

Coinciding with the program reviews just recently started, the deans are also looking at the remaining programs to be reviewed in order to establish a feasible timeline for a complete PAR process over the course of the next five years. Once determined, each dean will then share their plans with all colleges and schools.

The University’s first systematic, ongoing review of all academic programs, Drexel’s Program Alignment and Review demonstrates its commitment to assessing and improving the academic experience for our students in a deliberate, consistent, ongoing way to ensure that what we offer is relevant, valuable, and of the highest quality.

Program Alignment and Review Committee

The PAR Committee is a standing committee that will monitor the PAR process; learn from the individual pilot programs that will be implemented; gather pertinent information about the growing body; and, issue reports to the entire Drexel community. Its membership includes:

  • Craig Bach, Vice Provost, Institutional Research, Assessment & Effectiveness
  • Jan Biros, Senior Vice Provost, Budget, Planning and Administration
  • Jane Clifford, Professor and Chair, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Director, MD/PhD Program, Associate Dean for Medical Student Research
  • Deb Crawford, Senior Vice Provost, Research
  • John DiNardo, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
  • Steve DiPietro, Director of Operations, Academic Assessment
  • Nicole Ferretti, Associate Vice President, Financial Planning, Office of Planning and Budget
  • Jason Gersh, Associate Director, Finance & Administration, Staff Representative
  • Marla Gold, Dean, School of Public Health
  • Mark Greenberg, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Barbara Hornum, Associate Professor, Culture & Communication, Faculty Senate, Chair
  • Joe Hughes, Dean, College of Engineering
  • Joan McDonald, Senior Vice President, Enrollment Management
  • Julie Mostov, Vice President, Global Initiatives, International Programs
  • Donna Murasko, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Giuseppe Palmese, Professor, Chemical Engineering, Faculty Senate Representative
  • Tom Quinn, Executive Director, Administration and Finance
  • Joanne Robinson, Executive Assistant to the Senior Vice Provost, Budget, Planning and Administration
  • Sid Siegel, Professor, Management, Faculty Senate Representative

The Drexel Smart House
by Paul Shultz, Assistant Teaching Professor, Architecture,
and Jon Coddington, Professor, Architecture and Interior Design

The Drexel Smart House (DSH) initiative has received international acclaim and widespread national publicity. It has expanded to include three distinct interdependent and independent components: the DSH student organization; the DSH, itself; and, the interdisciplinary DSH research and education initiative.

The interdisciplinary, student-led DSH Student Organization initiated a vibrant vision to create “an urban home to serve as a ‘living laboratory’ for exploring cutting edge design and technology… with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life in an urban residential setting.” Through several generations of enthusiastic student leadership and initiatives, and through the support of Drexel faculty and administration, such as Joan Weiner of the LeBow College, the DSH vision has been maintained and expanded.

The DSH house, located in Powelton Village, is currently being stabilized, sealed, gutted and stripped down to its stud walls. It will require additional funding to complete its conversion to a living/learning laboratory. Once completed, the facility will be used for testing and demonstrating sustainable renovation practices with respect to energy, air quality, water, materials, occupant health, user interaction, structural integrity and historic preservation.

The hurdles of the Drexel Smart House construction project have not stopped the DSH mission. Students and faculty across Drexel’s colleges and schools have been actively pursuing hands-on research and design in the areas of environment, energy, interaction, health, and lifestyle. This entrepreneurial spirit has resulted in NCIIA grants, EPA awards, winning entries in design competitions, neighborhood outreach, professional connections with designers, potential partnerships with manufacturers, new interdisciplinary and experiential Drexel courses (including a course in the fall 2012), and the proposal of a new Drexel Smart House minor. The proposed interdisciplinary DSH minor will leverage the excitement and strong pedagogical ideas coming from the interdisciplinary DSH Advisory Group that was established by the Provost’s Office. The group consists of faculty from seven Drexel colleges and schools, administration, and members of the DSH Student Organization. The minor will be linked to the College of Media Arts and Design, and it will invite students from across the University, assuring a cumulative body of transdisciplinary study that will have both depth and breadth.

On-line Learning Council Fellows
by Mike Scheuermann, Executive Director, Online Learning Council

The Fellows of the Online Learning Council (OLC) is a small group of members who are passionate educators and practitioners from various academic units at Drexel. Their mission is to serve as ambassadors and champions of the Council and communication conduits throughout the Drexel community. They are leaders who imagine, create, inspire, and implement the work of the Council in conjunction with the OLC’s broad-based membership.

In place since spring, the Fellows became credentialed in using objective instruments to examine the design of courses, spanning all delivery modes, i.e., face-to-face, hybrid, or online. The have been trained to evaluate and critique course design skillfully, with the goal of improving the quality of the teaching and learning process. Post-review activities could include making course design improvement recommendations, discussing faculty mentor possibilities, showcasing best practices, and highlighting exemplary course design, all while targeting improved learning outcomes.

The Fellows designed workshops for faculty who are new to online learning or the use of myriad technologies to enhance their teaching and learning. The workshops were piloted with CoAS faculty and will be offered to CNHP faculty as well. Open sessions for all faculty are planned for this fall, and the course will be converted to an online format as well for those faculty at a distance.

Further, the Fellows will focus on informing, educating, and engaging practitioners on course design examination tools and other objective methodologies such that individual faculty, for example, can review their own course design at the level that is appropriate for them and their particular course(s). The Fellows co-sponsored two summer workshops for faculty and just launched their INSPIRE web site. They were also leaders in the design and delivery of the very successful Evidence Based Learning Workshop held in August, and attended by over 160 faculty and staff. Many things will emerge from future Fellows’ efforts – be sure to watch for them – and plan on taking advantage of those opportunities.


International Symposium Addresses Treatment and Prevention of Infectious Disease
by Rachel Sparrow, Drexel University College of Medicine,
Media and Public Relations Director

This past June, top infectious disease research scientists from across the country and around the world, including a Nobel Prize winner, gathered at Drexel University College of Medicine for the college’s first International Symposium on Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease. Presentations highlighted ongoing investigations in the areas of HIV/AIDS, including brain impairment and neuroprotection and the impact of aging on the disease; molecular mechanisms of malarial disease; pathogenic mechanisms of hepatitis B/C; and, biomarkers of human infectious disease, cancer, and neurologic disease, among other topics.

In addition, Drexel University College of Medicine awarded three Drexel Prizes for scientific excellence in Translational Medicine, Infectious Disease, and Immunology to eminent scientists, who presented their state-of-the-art investigations, as follows:

  • Drexel Prize in Translational Medicine:  Paul Offit, M.D., Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  “The Rotavirus Vaccine: From Bench to Bedside”
  • Drexel Prize in Infectious Disease:  John Mekalanos, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School.  “A View to a Kill: Molecular and Cellular Interactions in Pathogenesis”
  • Drexel Prize in Immunology:  2011 Nobel Prize recipient Bruce Beutler, M.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.  “How Mammals Sense Infection”

The symposium also showcased important accomplishments of Drexel University College of Medicine faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students concerning molecular mechanisms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infectious, inflammatory, oncogenic and metabolic diseases with national and global impact.

“We were particularly excited to be able to highlight Drexel scientific accomplishments while recognizing the scientific achievements of our Drexel Prize awardees in Translational Medicine, Infectious Disease, and Immunology,” said Brian Wigdahl, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology and director of Drexel University College of Medicine’s Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease. Wigdahl, who spearheaded the symposium, called it a natural fit for Drexel. “At the heart of the Drexel University scientific community and particularly of our Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease is the performance and promotion of basic scientific discovery, and then to utilize innovative collaborative interactions within academia and the pharmaceutical industry to translate today’s discoveries into tomorrow’s products to prevent and treat human disease.”

Research progress by Drexel University College of Medicine investigators and other collaborators concerning the treatment and prevention of malaria, hepatitis and hepatic cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases has led to the delivery of a number of Drexel discoveries into the treatment and/or prevention pipeline.

This was the first meeting of its kind in the region, which Wigdahl and his Drexel colleagues plan to make an annual event.

Nobel Prize winner Bruce Beutler, M.D., (second from left) receives the Drexel Prize in Immunology from (l-r) Dr. Wigdahl, graduate student Donald Gracias, and Peter Katsikis, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology.

This message to Faculty and Professional Staff via Drexel Announcement Mail was approved by
Dr. Mark Greenberg, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs