Letter from the Provost - Summer 2013

This Autumn at Drexel

At Drexel we are building. New schools and colleges, new buildings, new neighborhoods. Change is all around us: new colleagues, new academic leaders, and a new class of freshmen undergraduates and graduate students across the campus. John Keats called autumn the “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” A time of ripening and harvest and fulfillment in nature; in academe the cooler temperatures of fall signal the start of a new year with its promise of new beginnings, new challenges, and new achievements. Each fall term we return with renewed enthusiasm, promising ourselves to improve our courses, better serve our students, and increase the impact of 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 another academically talented freshman class, some 3,050 students strong. To help them learn, we are also pleased to welcome 51 new tenured and tenure-track faculty and 39 teaching faculty, joining us with exceptional credentials and recruited from around the world. They join the 37 tenured and tenure-track and 39 Teaching and Clinical faculty added last year, bringing to 166 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 continue the systematic, thorough review of every one of our academic programs across this comprehensive research university. This collaborative effort—Program Alignment and Review or PAR-- 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. Fourteen departments or schools are undergoing PAR this year, with the process incorporating lessons learned from last year’s five pilot reviews. Recognized experts, local and national, will join with us in this ongoing effort.

Spawned by or endorsed as part of the PAR process, we are delighted to announce the creation of three new academic units: the College of Computing and Informatics, led by its inaugural dean, David Fenske; the School of Economics in LeBow, led by Professor Vibhas Madan; and the Center for Hospitality and Sport Management, led by Professor Jonathan Deutsch. In addition, and separate from the PAR process, Drexel University College of Medicine has established a new Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies. The new school combines the current Biomedical Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Programs and the Professional Studies Programs. Neuroscientiest Elisabeth Van Bockstaele, Ph.D., has been named the new graduate school’s founding dean.

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.

A University Advisory Committee on the Academic Calendar—UACAC--organized by Senate in collaboration with my Office spent much of last year investigating the effectiveness of our academic calendar and whether we should move from quarters to semesters. To accommodate six month Co-ops, such a move would have entailed splitting summer into two seven-week terms; a semester plus the half semester equaling six months in duration. Students reacted swiftly and negatively to making any changes, and, after conducting focus groups and email surveys, so did alums and faculty. Our community embraced the fast, “real world” pace of quarters, and students argued that they liked having a chance to experience many more discrete courses than a semester system would provide. The clincher for this broadly-representative UACAC was a report by Education Professor Rebecca Clothey indicating that she found no evidence showing that students learn better in 14-week chunks as compared to 10-week quarters. Unanimously, the group recommended that we remain on quarters, re-visit the question in the future, and celebrate the enthusiastic support we received for quarters.

We commence this year in Philadelphia, Sacramento, and Burlington, 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. At Drexel we are building and growing. May our progress move us closer to the vision the great Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore, intoned just over a century ago-- a Drexel

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depths of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward ... into ever-widening thought and action...


In This Issue...

 Past Issues of the Newsletter

Please send comments and questions pertaining to the Provost’s Newsletter or articles of interest to the attention of Donna McVicker, donna.t.mcvicker@drexel.edu, Editor.


Convocation 2013-2014
Featuring Keynote Speaker Dr. Freeman Hrabowski
By Rick Mitchell, M.S.Ed., Senior Academic Coordinator, Office of Faculty Development & Equity, with appreciation of Vice Provost Janet Fleetwood

On October 22, 2013 at 11:00 a.m., Drexel University will hold a Convocation ceremony for students, faculty and staff – a communal celebration of the beginning of the new academic year. This year’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) since 1992. Dr. Hrabowski is a renowned consultant on science and math education to national agencies, universities, and school systems. He was recently appointed to chair the newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans by President Obama. In 2012 Dr. Hrabowski was named as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time magazine and in 2008 as one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News and World Report.

Dr. Hrabowski is also the recipient of TIAA-CREF’s Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence, the Carnegie Corporation’s Academic Leadership Award, and the Heinz Award for contributions to improving the “Human Condition.” UMBC has been recognized as a model for academic innovation and inclusive excellence by such publications as U.S. News and World Report, which ranked the University the number one “Up and Coming” university in the nation the past five years

Dr. Freeman Hrabowski leads a campus widely recognized for a culture that has produced a number of distinctive initiatives to support and enhance student and faculty diversity and achievement – from building community among students and faculty, mentoring, and course redesign to recruitment and hiring practices, leadership development, and family-friendly policies. At this year’s Convocation, Dr. Hrabowski will discuss some of these innovative initiatives, focusing special attention on building a diverse culture of innovation and excellence in STEM fields, and the critically important process of institutional culture change. For more details on Convocation, please visit the Convocation website.

Kaiser Care: Drexel Students Experiencing Impressive Model of Integrated Health Care - Philadelphia Medical Students Receiving Taste of Hospital Life in Sacramento
By Jeffrey Weidel, Vice President, Halldin Public Relations, for Drexel University Sacramento

The textbooks have been stashed away and put on hold. For 16 third-year students from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, it was time to put on the white coat and experience what it’s really like to be a doctor.

Kaiser Permanente in Northern California has launched a new program to help develop the next generation of doctors. And that next generation could include some Drexel medical students who are visiting the Sacramento region for six months to a year and being introduced to Kaiser’s impressive model of integrated health care.

The new program utilizes Drexel students already in medical school. With two years of classroom study, the third-year students are deemed ready for clinical experience. Kaiser sees this unique partnership with Drexel as a way to pass along valuable medical experience and also recruit the next wave of physician leaders.

“This is the transition from ‘this is the book’ to ‘this is the patient,’” said Kaiser Roseville surgeon Dr. Thomas Dugoni.

There’s certainly no shortage of hospital time for Drexel students. A typical week for surgery students finds them at a Kaiser facility, often for five 10-12 hour shifts. And one night a week they are on call in the evening. Free time is often spent devouring new medical information or simply catching up on sleep.

“From a physician perspective, we are excited to see the Drexel medical students because we feed off their energy,” said Lisa Liu, MD, Kaiser’s assistant physician in chief of Health Promotion, and the program's physician coordinator. “We are working to ensure the success of this program because we want these students to continue their training with us and become future Kaiser Permanente physicians.”

Becoming a Kaiser physician sounds very exciting to Ajay Kohli. And he will get plenty of time to become acclimated to the Kaiser model of health care. Unlike most students, Kohli will remain in Sacramento for a year.

Kohli, 24, marvels at the efficiency of Kaiser, which has an industry reputation for forward-thinking. Kaiser places a big focus on integrated care, which aims to move a patient (and their medical records) seamlessly from the clinic to the hospital, or from primary care to specialty care. Nationwide, the industry is seeing a move toward a team-based approach to patient care.

“Kaiser is in a league of its own. I’m blown away by the efficient manner in which Kaiser operates,” said Kohli, who was born in India and grew up in Chicago. “I knew this was going to be a wonderful experience and be an amazing place to learn. But I never imagined it would be this amazing. I would love to ultimately become a Kaiser physician.”

The partnership will not only benefit Kaiser and Drexel med students, it will also serve as an economic driver and increase the quality of healthcare for the greater Sacramento region, according to Dr. Sandra Kirschenmann, Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director for Drexel University Sacramento. “Gaining access to a new source of medical school graduates will be an important element of economic development for the Sacramento region and will improve the quality of care we experience as patients and patient family members,” Kirschenmann said.

“The implementation of the Affordable Care Act is expected to allow many more people to enroll in healthcare coverage options, and that has raised concerns that wait times to see a physician will increase for everyone,” added Kirschenmann. “By expanding the physician workforce in our region, more people will be able to see a physician promptly.”

In their Kaiser training, Drexel students have been given the opportunity to develop interests in a specific branch of medicine, making them better prepared for residency, a requirement in order to practice medicine in the United States. Residency is a minimum of three years and occurs after students have obtained a medical degree.

It didn’t take long for Drexel students to really feel part of the Kaiser team. Among the more notable experiences has been participating in the surgical process, starting with pre-op preparation and concluding with post-up care.

Three weeks into the program, Drexel’s Adam Lindsay was not only viewing a surgical procedure, he was participating as well. Lindsay performed the closing procedure under the guidance of Dugoni.

“When you’re attending (physician) hands you a needle and thread and says, ‘here, practice this and I’m going to watch,’ that is a huge moment,” Lindsay said. “If nothing else, it’s really inspires confidence.”

Stories like Lindsay’s elicit a smile and a feeling of contentment for Barbara Schindler, MD, Professor and Vice Dean for Educational and Academic Affairs, Drexel University College of Medicine. Lindsay’s hands-on experience in the operating room is the type of experience that Schindler knew would take place with Kaiser.

“We're delighted to have our students participate in this partnership program and have the opportunity to learn about the unique model of care at Kaiser Permanente,” Schindler said. “Aside from the wonderful relationship we are developing, students want to come to Sacramento because it’s Kaiser.”

Every day is a learning experience – often times a new one. The medical students are doing rotations in pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, surgery, outpatient psychiatry, pediatrics and adult medicine.

Prior to this summer, Kaiser had already been playing a role with Drexel. Pre-med students at Drexel University Sacramento were given a window to the Kaiser model of care through a 10-month physician shadowing program that began in 2011.

Drexel-Sacramento’s Interdepartmental Medical Science program is one of only a few in the U.S. and it’s the first time the program has been offered for medical students outside Philadelphia. An East meets West exchange has taken place between the Sacramento students and their Philadelphia counterparts.

“We have truly enjoyed interacting with our newest students at Drexel University Sacramento – third year students from the Drexel University College of Medicine,” Kirschenmann said. “They are bright, eager learners who are thrilled at having great opportunities to interact with patients and medical professionals here in Sacramento. Kaiser mentors and faculty have ‘rolled out the red carpet’ to welcome them and involve them in high-level medical cases.”

For the 26-year-old Lindsay, this is a homecoming of sorts. He grew up in Placerville, CA, and is staying with his family in nearby Folsom. Lindsay is discovering the intricacies of being a doctor in his own backyard and feels the insight is invaluable.

“This is a tremendous experience. You’re one-on-one with an expert. There’s no better way to do it,” Lindsay said.

Drexel student Pierce Johnson and Sherry Fung-Sakita, MD, Family Medicine, Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center, examining a young patient.
Student Adam Lindsay speaking with Lisa Liu, MD, APIC of Health Promotion for Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento and Chris Palkowski, MD, Physician in Chief, Kaiser Permanente Roseville

Faculty Feature

A Changing “Language Ecology,” a Global Drexel
By Rebecca Ingalls, Ph.D., Director of the First-Year Writing Program,
Associate Professor, Department of English & Philosophy

One of the elements that makes the Drexel faculty so strong is its deep well of knowledge. Indeed, we have exemplary programs that are fortified by teams of faculty experts working together to cultivate research and help our students develop their own expertise. But sometimes looking closely at the expertise of the individual faculty members of this university is, quite simply, overwhelming—there is extraordinary talent here. Dr. Barbara Hoekje, Director of the English Language Center and Associate Professor in the Department of Culture and Communication, is one of those exemplary individuals. And now, more than ever at Drexel, the knowledge she brings to our ESL pedagogy is critical to the changing landscape of our university community.

Hoekje began her Drexel career after finishing her PhD in Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. At that time, Drexel was starting a language center. Hoekje became the center’s associate director, and then its director in 2001. She reflects on the challenges of this transition right after 9/11: “At that time, there was an immediate clampdown on international student exchange. We and the other language centers were used to having hundreds of students, and the numbers went down to 40 or 50. We didn’t know what was going to happen.” And now, 12 years later, Hoekje describes the turn-around: “We are in a period of seemingly unending boom of international student exchange. You wouldn’t have predicted that after 9/11. People involved had to become more intentional about developing mechanisms for international exchange.” And so they have, and Hoekje has been a pivotal part of that shift.

What Hoekje brings to the very large table of language study includes scholarly and curricular work in addition to program administration. She is currently working on an article that compares and contrasts English as a second language and modern language instruction as two different disciplines with differing premises and discourses within higher education. She explains, “Although both are similar in that they are teaching a second language, the nature of the teaching is situated differently. ESL and English language programs are being taken over by third-party, proprietary units who are looking for the money, and the discourse around it has changed.” The key concept she’s examining here is how ESL instruction has been reconstructed as “training, as if it’s something you can engage in that’s a very narrow kind of activity and not a central transformational element in higher education. ESL instruction is often associated with a functional approach: How to order a meal or buy a train ticket. Modern language instruction comes from a more literary tradition, with the tendency to look at language as richer, with more symbolic value than the functional stripped-down approach associated with ESL teaching.” This loss of the symbolic value of language, she argues, is unfortunate. “What we do when we turn language instruction into a set of functions is that we limit language learning. It does everyone a disservice. Language is much greater than just a simple knowledge of functions. Not just simple speech acts but a rich set of relationships. Modern language instruction—including ESL—strikes at the heart of the modern humanities enterprise. It opens the way you see the world.”

This negotiation of the function and symbolic value of language is fundamental to Hoekje’s work. For certain, what partially drives her in her work with international students and non-native speakers is the actual application of language use in courses across the curriculum. She explains the great benefits of her work in the language center at Drexel: “It has been a really exciting and rich context for me to work in. It hasn’t been a typical academic life; it’s been work that forced me to expand my understanding about language, language users, teachers, people.” This tangibility of language use has motivated her to cultivate even deeper expertise on the level of language assessment: When the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania passed a law requiring the assessment of international teaching assistants, Hoekje was involved with the complex challenge of “trying to describe what ‘fluent’ means” with respect to that law. Tackling this fundamental issue has, as she describes, “forced [her] understanding of the underlying model of what language knowledge is. It’s the ability of communicative competence within a variety of different discourses and settings.”

She uses the metaphor of getting a driver’s license: “People expect that the standardized tests will give students all that they need to be successful. But just like the driver’s license, you still need hours and hours of experience on the road, on back roads, in snow, in cities. The TOEFL just gives you the right to be on the road. But it doesn’t mean you’re a proficient language user.” Indeed, there is much more integration of language that our non-native speakers need: conversation, an understanding of academic discourse. And Hoekje strives to imagine a student body of non-native speakers who can function successfully at Drexel, but whose rich multilingual and multicultural knowledge will inspire the whole community, including monolingual English speakers.

We see how Hoekje’s comprehensive view of language and language use is exactly what is needed at a time when Drexel is undergoing such a sea change in its student composition. The phrase Hoekje uses is apt: “language ecology.” She explains that “all parts [at Drexel] feed into and inform each other. A change in one part means a change in the others. A big change in our population now means a change elsewhere: change in how we teach, in the curriculum we use, in the jobs we can offer through Co-op, in the nature of every major and their offerings. We have to expect, plan for, and embrace this change in ecology.” Hoekje sits in the thick of this changing ecology, overseeing the crucial work of building non-native speakers’ proficiency through ELC programs and LANG 180, partnering with programs and offices across Drexel to put mindful placement and assessment practices into place, and inspiring faculty across the disciplines through such programs as the Drexel Center for Academic Excellence to think critically about how they will support the non-native speakers in their classes.

Beyond the immediate need of supporting this new growing population of students, Hoekje is both optimistic and concerned. While she is hopeful that this surge of international students could potentially enrich the lives of our domestic students, she wants to emphasize how crucial it is for the university to take advantage of this opportunity. “I see students coming to our school, our country with this incredible set of experiences, fully developed language (languages, in many cases), culture, knowledge,” she says. “I don’t always see this background and experience being utilized in the curriculum that we offer here. I see English-speaking students with increasingly fewer opportunities to take the time in foreign language learning to get the kind of control of a rich symbolic competence in a language. A lot of our syllabi rely on a western knowledge base that doesn’t always teach our students about the rest of the world.” The syllabus, explains Hoekje, is a logical place to begin thinking about this student enrichment. It can be as simple as providing diverse readings and extra-credit opportunities to integrate multiple languages into an assignment in order to support “different kinds of knowledge and examples.” And what if we asked students to fulfill a foreign language requirement? Hoekje responds, “In my mind that’s what a global Drexel can offer. A monolingual curriculum doesn’t offer [students] the depth of experience, to make meaningful contact on their own terms and engage the other students’ knowledge base. I do worry about our students: We are in this changing ecology, and our domestic students are on the front lines. They are asked to be the socializing agent for our international students without themselves being changed in their learning about the rest of their world and their values. We can do more to support meaningful cultural exchange. The more we can do, the better.”

All of this change, muses Hoekje, has driven larger meaningful discussions “about learning, the nature of pedagogy, and the nature of appropriate assignments and assessment that have led to collaboration across programs and groups.” Despite the ambiguity of what’s next, and the challenges of delicately balancing the needs of a global university with the needs of its brilliant students and faculty, that collaboration may be at the heart of why we’re all here, doing this work.


Report of the University Advisory Committee
on the Academic Calendar
By Janet Fleetwood, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Strategic Development and Initiatives

In September 2012, Provost Mark Greenberg established a task force to investigate whether Drexel should consider a conversion to a semester calendar from its current quarter system. In March 2013, upon the suggestion of the Faculty Senate, the task force was enlarged and transformed into an official University Advisory Committee on the Academic Calendar (UACAC), This Committee was charged with conducting a comprehensive analysis of various calendar structures and making subsequent recommendations.

The UACAC diligently completed its assignment in a thorough, open-minded way, guided by a spirit of genuine inquiry and enthusiasm for change – provided that any change would be in the best interest of our students and our university. The Committee reviewed the literature, held focus groups with students and faculty, engaged a wide array of stakeholders, crunched the numbers, and spoke to leaders at other universities that have various academic calendars. After the Committee was confident that all aspects of potentially changing the calendar, or remaining with the current quarter system, were carefully examined, it authored a final report with its findings and recommendations.

The UACAC concluded that the quarter system is currently the best approach for Drexel. While the Committee recognized the need for Drexel to “keep up” with changes in higher education, and agreed that Drexel should revisit the issue in three to five years as additional data becomes available, there is a very strong rationale and brand advantage for Drexel to maintain the quarter system. Drexel is in good company, as top universities - including Stanford University, University of Chicago, and Northwestern University - are also on the quarter calendar. Drexel’s present academic calendar works well, and the UACAC simply could not find clear advantages to support making a radical, disruptive, and expensive change. In addition, Drexel is a distinctive school and losing an element of its uniqueness – in the absence of compelling evidence favoring a shift – is not in the best interests of its students, its faculty, its professional staff, or the wider Drexel community. Instead, Drexel should showcase the advantages of the quarter term and trumpet its quick, dynamic pace as one of the valuable and defining features of a Drexel education.

The Report of the University Advisory Committee on the Academic Calendar is available on the Office of the Provost website. Please refer to the section "Resources & Quicklinks."

Global Classrooms: Creatively Addressing Global Challenges through Technology-Enhanced Collaboration
By Adam Zahn, Program Coordinator and Heidi West, Director, with appreciation of Julie Mostov, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Global Initiatives

The Office of International Programs has launched an innovative program that supports faculty in creating international experiences on campus. Through this program, faculty members from various disciplines incorporate a global dimension into the classroom experience, linking students from a similar course at an international partner institution with common assignments and opportunities for electronic interactions. Drexel students cross borders, virtually, and engage with colleagues at the partner university through a range of on-line technologies. Launched in January 2013, the program has fostered a variety of creative and enriching global classrooms that have strengthened students’ intercultural awareness and communication skills and introduced them to partners in Israel, China, India, and Italy. The hope is that all students will be able to participate in a global classroom during their tenure at Drexel.

In addition, the Office of International Programs and IRT provide logistical support for faculty who engage in a global classroom, including technological support. Using social media platforms, such as Tumblr, Facebook and Google Hangout, as well as e-learning technologies, including Drexel Learn and Prezi, students can participate in meaningful collaboration and gain a variety of interactive options that help to overcome time zone differences and language barriers. Faculty may design a course in which students work on the same project, solve a common challenge, or communicate via message board. In certain cases, students may collaborate on an entire course together.

Dr. Samir Shah with his Domestic and Global Outsourcing Management students use e-learning technology to connect with students in India.

Professors Anne Cecil, Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, and Samir Shah, LeBow College of Business, have been incorporating global classroom components into their curriculum for many years. Professor Cecil moderated a Faculty Forum on the process of creating her global classroom with her partner at the City University of Hong Kong (the presentation can be viewed on the Office of International Programs website. Professor Shah incorporated international collaboration into his Domestic and Global Outsourcing Management course with Ahmedabad University in India.

The global classroom program has benefited both students and faculty. According to Isabella Fidanze, a student in Professor Harriet Levin Millan’s “Your Immigration Story” course, a collaboration with Ben Gurion University, “One of my goals at [Drexel] is to get involved with things that allow me to see diverse perspectives and broaden my basis for opinion; I feel that this course qualified as that kind of experience.”

Professor Harriet Levin Millan shares how her course has greatly benefited students.

"One of the most shocking results of the global classroom was experienced by a student who had immigrated from China when she was seventeen years old. After we studied an Israeli poem written by Dan Pagis, a Holocaust survivor, this student told me that she had learned very little about the Holocaust when she lived in China. Completing our global classroom assignment of analyzing the poem with an Israeli partner changed that. Before their conversation, my student hadn't even known to what the death imagery in the poem referred. I then found out that other students in the class were just as uninformed. If I ever doubted the importance of holding a global classroom, I certainly don't doubt its importance now."

As a testament to the success of the program, nearly all faculty members with established global classrooms continue to offer this mode of study and are expanding the initiative to other courses. In addition, this past Spring, a study abroad component was implemented in one global classroom in Italy, and another is planned in Haiti Summer 2014. Furthermore, the Office of International Programs is currently assisting five faculty members with global classroom courses, with partners in Turkey, Spain, and Germany, and it hopes to expand the number of global classrooms each term. To create a global classroom or to obtain additional information, please contact Heidi West at hsw27@drexel.edu.

Drexel Center for Academic Excellence
Gears Up for New Academic Year
By Allison H. Keene, Administrative Coordinator II, Drexel Center for Academic Excellence, with appreciation of Barbara Hornum, Ph.D., DCAE Director

Traditionally, the summer months avail many colleges and universities a slower pace as students pack their bags and are homeward bound in May. However, their departure does not have an impact on the Drexel Center for Academic Excellence (DCAE) as it gears up to welcome Drexel’s new faculty, and sets the framework for workshops and events for the upcoming academic year.

At the beginning of September, DCAE hosted a university-wide New Faculty Orientation with over 130 faculty members in attendance, an increase of over 25% from last year. With over 30 presenters from across the university, new faculty members were able to learn about important resources and policies and participate in facilitated discussions on best practices in teaching, research and scholarship with veteran faculty members, including DCAE fellows. The event was well-received and the DCAE staff looks forward to working with each new faculty member during the academic year.

Summer preparations also encompassed planning the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL), which will bring two high-profile scholars to Drexel’s campus: Elon University’s Peter Felten, Ph.D., currently serving as the Assistant Provost, Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning and Associate Professor in the Department of History, will kick-off the SOTL initiative by providing an introduction to SOTL at the year-opening workshop on October 25. University of Michigan’s Brian Coppola, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry, Associate Chair for Educational Development and Practice and recent recipient of the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, will serve as the keynote speaker at the Second Annual Showcase of Teaching on April 15, 2014.

DCAE Fellow Larry Epstein, center, leads a roundtable at the New Faculty Orientation on the different strategies for teaching undergraduate and graduate students.

The Showcase celebrates the innovative teaching and learning practices many of Drexel’s professors engage in on a daily basis. During their visits to Drexel, Drs. Felten and Coppola will also meet with smaller groups of interested faculty and administrators.

In addition, after a successful inaugural year and a blind-review process earlier in the summer, the DCAE is poised once again to sponsor three topics for the upcoming academic year’s Faculty Learning Community (FLC) initiative. These will revolve around the topics of online teaching and learning, writing instruction and mentoring international faculty. More information will be provided in the days ahead.

The DCAE encourages all faculty to review the schedule of workshops for the academic year on its website, www.drexel.edu/dcae. In addition to offering topically-based workshops, the DCAE will also sponsor, for the first time, follow-up sessions for each workshop.  These workshops will provide an opportunity to incorporate the strategies discussed into teaching by working one-on-one with presenters, DCAE staff and fellows and colleagues from across the university. 

For more information regarding the DCAE’s workshop schedule or any DCAE-sponsored event, please visit www.drexel.edu/dcae or e-mail dcae@drexel.edu.

Falling Forward
By Sandra Golis, Administrative Coordinator, Graduate Studies, with appreciation of Teck-Kah Lim, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost, Graduate Studies

Graduate Student Orientation 2013-2014

The newest members of the graduate student community have arrived on campus, and were ready to begin a new academic year.  More than 200 international graduate students attended this year’s International Graduate Student Orientation and Welcome Dinner hosted by the Office of Graduate Studies, in conjunction with International Students and Scholars Services and the International Graduate Student Association (IGSA).  The IGSA hosted a series of webinars leading up to the students’ arrival on campus, which featured 3-5 current international graduate students discussing a variety of topics such as preparing for study at Drexel to adjusting to life in the United States.  The IGSA also arranged for airport pickups from Philadelphia International Airport, and offered tours of Philadelphia as well as local shopping trips, visits to the Camden Adventure Aquarium and Philadelphia Zoo.  Appreciation is extended to the IGSA and faculty and staff volunteers who welcomed our international students and made a great first impression.

More than 400 incoming graduate students attended this year’s general Graduate Student Orientation program, a significant increase from last year.  Orientation was also broadcast live on the Office of Graduate Studies website and archived for students who were not able to attend.  The Teaching Assistant Orientation was hosted the following week and welcomed more than 100 new TAs.  In addition to orientation, the Graduate Student Association (GSA) offered a full schedule of Welcome Back Week events for both new and returning students including a happy hour at the Academy of Natural Sciences, a trolley tour of Philadelphia, and tickets to Rave Cinema and a Phillies game. The GSA is also hosting a semi-formal cruise for 110 students that sold out in under an hour, and is very excited to see an increase in student engagement and involvement this year.

The Office of Graduate Studies continues to move forward this term offering high quality programs, events, opportunities and services to graduate students across the University.  New for the 2013-2014 academic year, Graduate Studies offers the Parental Accommodation Fellowship to aid graduate students who are planning a family.  The fellowship offers a maximum of $4,000 to relieve the student of teaching responsibilities or as a replacement for her or his stipend if the student is a Resident Assistant.  The Office has also increased the number of travel subsidy grants awarded per meeting or conference from three to five.  The Office of Graduate Studies staff is working hard to advocate for the graduate student community at Drexel and around the world.

On another note, this past summer, Dr. Teck-Kah Lim, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Studies, traveled to Malaysia on behalf of International Admissions and the Steinbright Career Development Center.  Dr. Lim visited five colleges which feed students to American universities, and spoke to more than 200 prospective students.  In a previous sweep of the same schools last October, Dr. Lim met far fewer students but was able to persuade 28 of them to enroll at Drexel who began this term, and expects the yield to be as good if not better in Fall 2014.  One of these schools, Sunway University, a private school run by Malaysia’s ninth richest man, has asked for a MOU with Drexel to allow for exchanges of faculty and students.  Through the efforts of an alumnus, Dr. Lim had a meeting with the Deputy Minister of the Malaysian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI).  As a result, Drexel has been invited to submit proposals for a twinning program with FELDA, Malaysia’s government-linked farm cooperative with assets that make it Malaysia’s largest entity in terms of valuation, for a Study Abroad program with Limkokwing University (a local university that services the children of FELDA shareholders) and for co-op positions in the various government departments within MOSTI.  Travel it is said broadens the mind; in Dr. Lim’s case, it extends Drexel’s horizons and its reach.

College & School News

Drexel Unveils the New College of Computing & Informatics
By Kerry Boland, Writer/Editor, College of Computing & Informatics

On September 9, Drexel President John A. Fry announced the creation of a new College of Computing & Informatics (CCI), which combines the strengths and assets of Drexel’s many existing undergraduate, graduate and professional computing and informatics programs.

The College, which will begin enrolling new students in the fall of 2014, will serve as a central hub for multi-disciplinary computing and informatics activities by uniting the faculty, professional staff and students from The iSchool, College of Information Science and Technology; the Department of Computer Science formerly housed within the College of Engineering; and the Department of Computing and Security Technology formerly housed in the Goodwin College of Professional Studies.

“The creation of this new college builds on Drexel’s technological strengths, and ensures the University will continue to lead in a fast-evolving suite of fields,” Fry said in his statement. “The College of Computing and Informatics will be an important locus for innovation—from big data to software development to cybersecurity and much more—that allows Drexel’s talented community of researchers and scholars to address global challenges through their research, learning and socio-technical innovations.”

Dr. David E. Fenske, Isaac L. Auerbach professor of information science and dean of the iSchool, will continue his service at Drexel and serve as founding dean of the new College of Computing & Informatics. Fenske, who has served as dean of the iSchool since 1999, oversees one of the largest library and information science and information systems programs in the nation, as well as Drexel research initiatives such as the National Science Foundation Center for Visual and Decision Informatics (CVDI), and the Applied Informatics Group (AIG). “The creation of the College of Computing and Informatics not only positions Drexel as an academic leader in computing, but also enhances interdisciplinary learning for students in the vastly growing fields of computing and informatics,” says Fenske.

“I am honored to be named the dean of the new College, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the new College and across the University in the development of this diverse, multidisciplinary learning community.”

The new College, as an academic leader in the core scientific, technical and societal aspects of computing and informatics, also will address a national demand for graduates in computing and data science. The College will enroll more than 2,200 students in its inaugural year. More than half of the students will be undergraduates, with the number of undergraduates projected to grow by 15 percent annually to help meet the persistent gap between computing degrees granted and the number of jobs in the field.

The creation of the new College is well-timed as Drexel begins to implement its strategic University initiative to expand the innovation nexus for research, technology transfer, and economic development, in turn spurring the launch of the Innovation Neighborhood project, the opening of the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship, the formation of Drexel Ventures, and the opening of the ExCITe Center.

“The creation of this new College—with great education programs, multi-disciplinary research, and partnering companies in Drexel’s Innovation Neighborhood—is compatible with the University's innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, and, in the future, will be viewed as a pivotal moment in the history of Drexel University,” says Dr. Spiros Mancoridis, professor and senior associate dean for computing and CCI academic affairs.

CCI will offer undergraduate degrees in informatics, software engineering, information systems, information technology, computing and security technology, and computer science, among others. By taking a holistic approach to the development of CCI’s integrated undergraduate curricula in computing and informatics, the College “will be exploring ways to better educate students across the University about the many ways in which computing and informatics affects and benefits our daily lives,” says Dr. Dario Salvucci, professor (CS, PSY, IST) and associate dean for undergraduate affairs.

“[The new College] is going to present a really exciting opportunity for students who want to major in a computing area,” says Dr. Gregory Hislop, professor and senior associate dean for informatics and CCI academic affairs. “Bringing all of the different computing majors together will give us one place where students can come and will start to not only learn about computing, but also figure out which part of computing they want to major in.”

CCI’s graduate programs will include master’s programs in library and information science, software engineering, health informatics, information systems, and computer science, as well as doctoral programs in information studies and computer science.  It will also provide a number of professional development opportunities in diverse areas such as archival studies; competitive intelligence and knowledge management; digital libraries; youth services; cybersecurity, law and policy; cybersecurity and homeland security management.

“A unique strength of the College will be that we’ll have the full spectrum approach to viewing problems and opportunities posed by computation and information,” says Dr. William Regli, professor and senior associate dean for CCI research and scholarly activities. “Our view of computation and informatics includes both the computing side—with all of its strength and mathematical rigor—[and] the digital humanities, in the form of our information and library science programs.”

With the formation of the new College, Drexel students will now have access to a wide variety of computing and informatics degree options that were previously unavailable due to the separation of program areas at Drexel. Students will also have access to a larger pool of computing co-op opportunities (as part of Drexel’s co-operative education program), which statistically have some of the highest salaries out of all co-op areas at the University.

“We know that there is a surplus of jobs in computing,” says Lynne Hickle, associate dean of CCI student and academic support services. “Employers tell us they have been frustrated by trying to figure out which college to go to in order to hire the kind of students they need for their organizations. By housing computing and information disciplines in one college, they will now know where to focus their recruitment energy.”

CCI administrative offices, labs and classrooms will be located in five different facilities on Drexel’s main campus: the Rush Building, One Drexel Plaza, University Crossings, 3401 Market Street, and the Monell Chemical Senses Center.

For more information about CCI, please visit the College website at www.drexel.edu/cci.

New Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies - Elisabeth Van Bockstaele, Ph.D., Named Founding Dean
By Ed Federico, Media Relations Manager, Drexel University College of Medicine

Drexel University College of Medicine has established a new Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies. The new school combines the current Biomedical Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Programs and the Professional Studies Programs. These programs have experienced significant growth in the past several years.

We anticipate that this integration will elevate the existing programs to new levels, provide enhanced learning opportunities for our students, and strengthen the College of Medicine and the University overall by giving us a competitive edge in recruiting and training the next generation of researchers,” said Daniel V. Schidlow, M.D., Annenberg Dean and senior vice president of medical affairs. “This new school will produce scientists who understand the application and translation of basic science, and will create professionals who are well-trained and capable of independently and critically viewing new claims in their fields.

Neuroscientist Elisabeth Van Bockstaele, Ph.D., has been named the new graduate school’s founding dean. Van Bockstaele comes to Drexel from Thomas Jefferson University, where she was a tenured professor in the Department of Neuroscience, as well as the founding director of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience in the Jefferson Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. For several years she was vice chair for research in the Department of Neurological Surgery of Jefferson Medical College, and she has held numerous leadership roles in graduate and medical school courses, including coordinating a dozen graduate courses. Van Bockstaele assumed her new position on September 1, 2013.

“I am confident that under Dr. Van Bockstaele’s leadership, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies will fuel the continued growth and development of high-quality graduate programs throughout our University. This new graduate school will be a source of exciting initiatives in interdisciplinary education that will span across Drexel, making it an elite destination for study,” said Schidlow.

“I am very excited to be joining Drexel University College of Medicine at this time and am looking forward to building on the strengths Drexel already holds in postgraduate teaching and training while exploring new ways to integrate contemporary methods in scientific research,” said Van Bockstaele. “We will actively search for opportunities to build new relationships with our colleagues across Drexel University that will not only benefit our school, but will benefit the larger scientific community in Philadelphia and throughout the world.”

Van Bockstaele’s research has been consistently funded throughout her career, beginning in 1994 when she was an assistant professor of neuroscience at Cornell University Medical College. She serves as principal investigator on two R01 grants and as PI on subcontracts for three other R01 grants with investigators at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Temple University. She recently completed a project for a P20 Center Grant with investigators at the University of Pennsylvania. Data collected in her laboratory has been published in over 160 peer-reviewed papers, reviews, and book chapters, and more than 80 symposium proceedings. She has been a member of, or chaired, several fellowship study sections for the National Institutes of Health, as well as center grant and program project reviews, and recently completed service as chair of a standing NIH study section, Neuroimmunology, Neuroendocrinology, Rhythms and Sleep.

Van Bockstaele has held a variety of leadership positions in the Society for Neuroscience, the world’s largest organization of scientists devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. She chaired the Membership and Chapters Committee, where she oversaw the development of a five-year strategic plan to enhance member benefits and growth. She was an active member in the Professional Development Working Group where she has organized annual symposia focused on careers beyond academia. She was a founding member of the Society’s Committee on Neuroscience Education and Training. Locally, she has served as past president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, and previously served as secretary of the Association of Neuroscience Departments and Programs.

Van Bockstaele received her Ph.D. and master’s degrees in neurobiology from New York University, with a minor in biochemistry and molecular biology, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Cornell University Medical College before joining the faculty there. She is a 2010 graduate of Drexel University College of Medicine’s Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® program for women.

Mod Ad Men
By Mark Eyerly, Executive Director, Communications, Office of the Dean, LeBow College of Business

While his middle school buddies squirmed at their desks in embarrassment on career day (“Oh God, my dad’s here.”), Marc Brownstein couldn’t wait for his father’s turn to speak. “He told great stories, and the kids ate it up,” Marc explains. “I thought it was kind of cool. What he did never seemed like work.”

It still doesn’t.

“I love the action,” says Berny Brownstein, the self-described “semi-retired, but not really” chairman and chief creative officer of the Brownstein Group. Berny became an advertising man during the Mad Men era; Marc, unlike his older brother and younger sister, can’t remember a time he didn’t want to be an ad man, except for a nanosecond’s flirtation with dentistry. (“I had a great dentist, but I suck at math and science.”)

Together, father and son run a 70-person agency that is among the best in Philadelphia and beyond. The Brownstein duo knows so much about branding, digital and traditional advertising, and public relations and social media that Drexel LeBow turned to Marc when it needed an executive director for its Center for Corporate Reputation Management, a post he has held for the past year.

The Brownstein magic began when Berny attended the University of the Arts on a full scholarship (he was, and is, a painter) and caught the graphic design bug. He was working as an art director for an ad agency when a series of Volkswagen commercials delighted his imagination. An actor drove a Beetle into a lake, and floated. Another removed a Beetle engine by unscrewing only four bolts. A stunt man drove one off a cliff, turned it over, and drove away. An animated tortoise beat a hare because he selected a Beetle for its lofty 27 miles per gallon (fewer stops required). Advertising as hip art: That’s the kind of creative work Berny wanted to do; the agency where he worked did not. So he walked.

“I saw the light, I liked the light and I went after it,” says Berny, who was still in his late 20s when he launched his own ad agency. Among his early work: a print ad for car batteries headlined, “This ad won’t get you to buy our lifetime battery. Read it anyway.” A billboard proclaiming: “Call WA3-LOAN for a you-know-what.” An ad with four housewives promoting pool tables under the headline: “The day they killed Mah Jong.”

“My wife did the books and helped with public relations, and I did the product,” Berny recalls. “We sort of knew how much to charge. Next thing you know, we have three kids, the money’s coming in and the business kept growing.”

From the beginning, Berny would work only for clients whose products he believed in. “I don’t do this for the big, fat fees; that can go away in an instant,” he says. “The best possible scenario is having clients who say, ‘You’re part of our business. We’re going to have a good time together.’”

IKEA North America is one of those clients. They use Brownstein for a lot of their consumer strategy, digital advertising and social media, and IKEA holds its annual, two-day, off-site management meeting not at a resort hotel but in the agency’s South Broad Street conference room. Why? “They love the creative vibe around here,” Berny says. Other agency clients include Comcast, Microsoft, ESPN and Cozen O’Connor.

The agency was ahead of its time in creating cross-disciplinary capacity in advertising, public relations and brand management before “integrated marketing communications” became the industry catch-phrase. A digital team rounds out the current capabilities, although Marc preaches that every client should first be a brand-strategy client.

“Some clients want to get right to execution,” he says. “If I was a client and had a limited budget, I’d say: ‘Do the branding for me,’ not, ‘I need a website. I need some ads. I just need a PR campaign.’ OK, but how do you know your message is right? You’re going to put all this money into execution and you might be saying the wrong thing? Really?”

The agency gives the same advice to all clients, whether they are trying to sell to consumers or to other businesses. “B-to-B companies and agencies tend to go right to sales materials, trade show booths, print ads in vertical publications,” Marc says. “Wrong, wrong, wrong. B-to-B buyers are just consumers; you better know what the triggers are to make them buy your product.”

To speak with the father is to speak with the son. The office is a “sandbox.” The staff is “family.” Integrity and taking smart risks are valued above all else. Accolades are deflected and shared. “Making registers ring” for clients is the payoff. Success only counts if you have fun getting there.

“We don’t want people to get up in the morning and feel like a kid who has to go to school,” Berny says of the staff. “We want people who can’t wait to get here.”

But Berny did make one person wait: his own middle-child. Marc graduated Penn State and became a copywriter at Ogilvy & Mather in New York. Berny called it “graduate school.” Eight years and one grandchild later, it was time for Marc to come home.

“My father was unlike many founders who can’t let go,” Marc says. “He stepped back when I got here. He gave me his point of view when I asked for it, but I can’t remember a time when he stood in my way and said, ‘Don’t do that.’ I have friends whose fathers take too much control, take outsized compensation compared to their contributions, second-guess and belittle their sons and daughters. That sounds like a nightmare; I can’t relate.” 

Berny, in a moment of uncharacteristic self-pride, takes full credit for this highly functional family transition in leadership.

“The buck has to stop right here,” he says, tapping his breastbone. “If my ego foolishly got in the way, we would have never succeeded. It behooved me to make sure that Marc had a clear path to growth and success. That way I ensured my own happiness.”

So, what of the next generation? Ask that question separately of father and son and you get the same answer: a re-telling of the adage that the first generation creates a business, the second generation grows it, the third generation “puts it in the dumper” (Berny) or “trashes it” (Marc). The Brownstein family will be an exception to the rule, they say.

“My kids are coming of age (24, 21 and 17), and I want them to do whatever they want to do,” Marc says. But of middle son James, a junior music major at USC, he adds: “I can’t imagine a scenario that this kid wouldn’t take the agency to a different level.”

“James is ripe for this,” Berny says. “He’s got the temperament, the intelligence. Marc will be able to do what I’m doing today.”

Or will he?

“I bet I will let go less than my father did, knowing me,” Marc says. “I’m a bit more of a businessman than my father, the artist.”

Berny Says
On starting his own agency:  I was a crazy, brash kid relying 100 percent on the products I was selling.  It worked.

On treating staff like family:  When you own the business, you can run it any way you want to. Everybody has a good time in this sandbox. People want to work here.

On his business philosophy:  You can’t sell a bad product twice. Integrity is all we’ve got. It’s in our DNA. We sleep nights.

On allowing a bad idea to proceed:  It will be your failure; learn from it.

On being semi-retired:  If you’re fortunate enough to love what you’re doing, die in the saddle.

On a succession plan:  I have my eye on Marc’s son. Marc knows it. I’m not so sure James knows it.

On his life:  Happy is a great word.

Marc Says
On joining the family business:  I didn’t think my name gave me any privileges. I came in humble and hungry.

On his business philosophy:  Business is like sports; what’s the point if you’re not keeping score? An idea came out of your head and it’s making cash registers ring all over America? That’s winning.

On staffing:  If you treat everyone like family, even if their last name isn’t Brownstein, you’ll be able to attract and retain the right talent.

On accountability:  If you’re just agreeing with all of us all the time, you’re going to be boring.

On sustaining creative energy:  If you’ve done something great, we believe it can always be topped. If you’re going to take a bow, take it, and then get back to work.

On a succession plan:  My father believes that my son James will be joining the company. I’m 50-50 on it.

True-Life Superhero - Champion of the Oppressed,
Saving the World, One Project at a Time
By Lisa Liutzinger-Drayton, Assistant Director of Communications, Office of the Dean, LeBow College of Business

Last summer, Drexel’s entrepreneur community was abuzz with excitement over a big announcement from Josh Kopelman. His investment company, First Round Capital, was establishing a Dorm Room Fund, in which a team of student analysts from the University of Pennsylvania — his alma mater — and Drexel University would assess student startups and award $10K-$20K investments to the most promising among them.

Now-junior Christopher Gray knew he had to apply to become a member of the investment team. Sure, he had a great resume, boasting prestigious scholarships, the two nonprofits he had founded and good grades. But, there was stiff competition over a small handful of spots.

He was elated when he learned he landed one of them.

Gray always knew business would be his major, but mere weeks into his first co-op at Fannie Mae, he realized corporate America wasn’t where he belonged. He was there during a tumultuous time, including a big round of layoffs. And it seemed to him like there were too many rules.

His entrepreneurial spirit would not flourish there, he reasoned. He dropped his concentration in finance and decided to focus exclusively on entrepreneurship.

While he was waiting to hear back about his Dorm Room Fund Investment Team application, he was already in the middle of developing his own dorm room startup. He identified a problem: Thousands of scholarships go unclaimed every year because no one with the right qualifications applies for them. He set out to solve it by creating an app called Scholly.

The idea was to quickly and painlessly connect qualified scholarship seekers with the right scholarships. He recruited two co-founders — Drexel engineering alum Nicholas Pirollo ’13 and fellow Coca-Cola Scholar Bryson Alef, to handle the technical side, while he personally sifted through thousands of scholarships to include in the app’s search engine. “It was kind of a Steve Jobs move, because I knew exactly what I wanted,” Gray says.

Working part-time, he and his co-founders brought Scholly to market less than six months from the idea’s inception.

People often ask him why he created an app as opposed to a website. “Everything is mobile these days. Most people, especially students, spend more time on their phones than on a computer,” he says. “More importantly, there are a lot of inner-city students who have smartphones but do not have access to a computer. These are the students who need scholarships the most.”

It’s priced at only 99 cents because he wants to keep it accessible to as many people as possible.

Since hitting the market last spring (it’s available through the App Store and Google Play), the app has been downloaded thousands of times. Scholly reached profitability within the first couple of weeks.

“College tuition is one of the biggest issues in the country now. That’s why we were featured in USA Today and on the front page of the Inquirer.” He’s also received coverage from Fox 29 news, WHYY, and the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Gray credits his role on the Dorm Room Fund’s investment team with helping him to develop the confidence and knowledge he needed to turn his idea into a successful company.

“We look at lots of student-run startups. It gets us on the other side of the table. And we learn a lot from Josh and the other partners. When it comes time to vote on which startups to fund, our decisions are autonomous. They give us that freedom, which is amazing.”

But the brilliant idea for this app came from his own life experience — a world away from Drexel University and the Dorm Room Fund – back in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama.

When it came time for Gray to apply to college, some people tried to persuade him to limit his options to local colleges with the absolute lowest price tags. Gray ignored them. His mother had inspired him to value knowledge and learning, and he was determined to create his own opportunity for a top-notch education.

During his freshman year, a chance meeting with a girl who had won the Gates Millennium Scholarship planted the seed. He decided to make an all-out effort to win as many scholarships as he could. Relinquishing time with friends, Gray spent many afternoons searching the Internet for scholarships, filling out forms and writing and rewriting essays (“the most important part of the application process,” Gray says) with the help of his AP literature teacher.

In the end, he applied for 72 scholarships. He was awarded 34, including two of the most prestigious in the country: he’s a Coca-Cola Scholar and a Gates Millennium Scholar.

The value of his scholarships adds up to $1.3 million. News outlets started calling him the “Million Dollar Scholar.”

Without these scholarships, his future might have been uncertain. Gray was born to a young, single mother in Birmingham.  Life was already hard enough before she lost her job during the economic downturn – just before it was time for Gray to begin applying to college. Adversity like this can prove insurmountable to mere mortals.

You see, Gray isn’t one of them.

Gray has a really big imagination. Inspired by his love of DC Comics, he always imagined himself a superhero.

Sometimes, truth is better than fiction. Today he’s a Drexel student with a national reputation for making the impossible possible.

He’s been laughing in the face of adversity his whole life. For starters, where he comes from, being smart isn’t cool. “The culture glorifies people in the entertainment industry above intellectualism. This was something I had to battle.”

But from Gray’ perspective, many of his peers had it worse: those who did not have family support in terms of their academics. Gray’ mother rejected the notion that school wasn’t important and pressed him to deliver good grades, which he did.  “My mom is Superwoman,” he says.     

She sent him to a magnet high school, which was more academically challenging than the regular public high schools in Birmingham, but still plagued by the problems common to underfunded schools like out-of-date textbooks and underfunded student organizations. He was savvy enough to look outside his school for opportunities that would open up doors to him in the future. For example, at one point he set out to do some volunteer work, for the dual effect of satisfying his interest in making a difference in his community and to increase the caliber of his future college applications.

However, he discovered volunteer opportunities in the city of Birmingham were not plentiful, and – ironically – he found himself having to travel to the more affluent suburbs to find opportunities.

This didn’t sit right with Gray. And so he invoked his entrepreneurial spirit and set up his own nonprofit foundation to bring volunteer opportunities for like-minded peers into his city. He named it Genesis.

“I coordinated volunteer events, to teach my peers the value of service. There were a lot of teens who wanted to be able to do those kinds of things, but there was a lack of opportunity. Genesis really filled that gap.” Events set up by Genesis benefited the American Cancer Society, the Ronald McDonald House, Habitat for Humanity and local nursing homes. Some students logged more than 200 volunteer hours through Genesis.

It also laid the foundation for Gray’ future in ways he couldn’t have imagined at the time.

Once he left Birmingham for Drexel, Gray didn’t abandon his commitment to service. Genesis had been so successful and so fulfilling for him, he wanted to repeat the experiment – but this time at the global level.

He established the World Change Coalition, and his first project was helping flood victims in Pakistan. His enthusiasm for the project was contagious. He announced it to the Coca-Cola Scholars’ network. “I went to the group, and it just spread.” More than 150 students got involved. Local businesses and private donors gave money.

The World Change Coalition is still going strong. Its mission is to “use education as a platform to create the next generation of global citizens.”

Growing up in the inner city, Gray made superheroes his inspiration. Through the nonprofits he started, his work with the Dorm Room Fund and the success of his startup Scholly, he is changing lives.

“In a figurative sense, when you are little you always think that you want to have super powers. And when I got older, in high school, I was still a comic fan, and I realized that I can have super powers. I can’t fly. I don’t have heat vision. But I can solve problems by being an entrepreneur. That’s my flight. That’s my heat vision. That’s my cape.”

“Scholly gives me a greater purpose,” he says. “It will truly help millions of people find scholarships and help solve a really big social issue – paying for college. The fact that it is a sustainable business is an added bonus.”

Since Gray was in fourth grade, people have been telling him that he would make a good politician. “I’m progressive. I like to make sure no one is being oppressed. That’s the thing I’m really passionate about.” He won’t rule out politics completely, but says he can make a bigger impact as an entrepreneur.

“A lot of entrepreneurs think, ‘How can I contribute to the world?’ I think, ‘How can I save the world?’ I try to build things that can save the world instead of just being a part of it.

“Solving problems and saving the world is fun. It’s my duty, and it makes me happy.”

Apple, Jack in the Box, Join MBA C-Suite Co-op
By Mark Eyerly, Executive Director, Communications, Office of the Dean, LeBow College of Business

Apple computer and Jack in the Box restaurants are among the latest companies to sign up for the C-Suite Co-op™ program at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business.  They are joining one dozen other organizations – including Cisco, eBay and Urban Outfitters – in welcoming full-time MBA students into three-month paid assignments working with their chief executives next summer.

“We have leading companies on both coasts in a variety of industries,” said Ron Nordone, assistant dean for graduate programs at Drexel LeBow. “No other MBA program offers students this kind of experience working with people at the very top.”

One company, eBay, started early; MBA student Christopher Norton worked with eBay’s chief marketing officer, Richelle Parham, this past summer. Parham, who graduated from Drexel LeBow in 1991, assigned Norton to her marketing strategy team.

“Richelle is giving me opportunities and exposure that most MBA interns probably don’t get,” Norton said. “I get to attend weekly meetings-of-the-minds. Working with people at this level early in my career is showing me what skills I need to strengthen.”

Norton has spent much of his summer making sense of Excel files overflowing with data, helping eBay identify new markets for its businesses focused on vehicle sales and on parts and accessories. “My statistics class comes into play in a huge way,” he said. “And I’m learning how to put together presentations that tell stories, have implications and are actionable.”

Beginning this fall, all new students enrolling in Drexel LeBow’s full-time MBA will be able to compete for coveted C-Suite Co-op™ positions.  Here is how the C-Suite Co-op™ works:

  • Companies in a variety of sectors across the United States create a C-level summer-term position for a MBA student who will have just completed nine months of academic study.
  • Drexel LeBow identifies the most qualified finalists from the students in its full-time MBA program through a series of assessments and competitions.
  • A spring “match day” competition will give C-Suite partners the opportunity to assess student talent and identify the best fit for their organizations.

Students who do not land in a C-Suite Co-Op™ will have the opportunity to participate in other valuable experiential learning activities, including consulting assignments, international study, internships or other opportunities.  All students will conclude their MBA program with three months of academic study in the fall, during which they will be asked to develop and share insights about their summer experiences.

The inaugural list of participating companies and organizations is: Apple, Aqua America, Cisco, Drexel University, eBay, Involvio, Jack in the Box, Morning Star Co., NBC-owned television stations, Penn Mutual, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, SAP, Urban Outfitters and the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia.

Art Attack Strengthens Local Arts Coverage on Philly.com
By Erica Levi Zelinger, Communication Specialist, Pennoni Honors College

In February 2012, mass layoffs gutted the newsrooms of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News as well as the staff of Philly.com.  In a time of constant competition, the website became a stripped-down version of itself, caught up in a digital transition, and devoid of community journalism.  The local arts beat more or less stopped beating.

But Jason Wilson didn’t opt for CPR.  With an $80,000 grant from the Knight Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the director of Drexel’s Center for Cultural Outreach helped launch Art Attack, a partnership between the Pennoni Honors College unit and Philly.com to help expand local arts coverage.  The goal: not to resuscitate but to help local arts journalism emerge in a new, more sustainable form.

“The readers on Philly.com are accustomed to fast-paced journalism,” said senior English major and Art Attack editor, Amanda Wagner. “At Art Attack, we work toward bringing them thought-out and well-written pieces that require some digestion.”

In an age when the ailing newspaper industry depends on advertising revenue and website traffic generation, this new journalism model is “an experiment, a work-in-progress,” says Wilson. “Theater is never going to have as big a readership as Eagles coverage. There’s not going to be a lot of traffic for coverage of dance or performance art or local sculptors, but it’s still vitally important to cover these cultural activities.”

The grant, thus far, has allowed the Center to hire Wagner, along with student staff writers and professional freelancers to write more than 100 pieces for Philly.com.

Controversial public art, the finances behind a music festival or an analysis of why young artists shouldn’t move to New York will never garner the website traffic, the water cooler chat or the money that babies North West and Prince George, One Direction or Walking Dead zombies do. But just being able to offer Philly.com readers an awareness and a critical perspective of the Philadelphia arts scene is priceless.

Other recent website content includes the association of Philly’s LOVE sculpture with “chintzy products and sloppy sentimentalism,” a photography exhibit featuring breastfeeding mothers and committing to maintain works of public art.

“Thank you Philly.com for a cultural story with nothing that a troll can post nasty Philadelphia comments,” said a website remark following a piece on Fairmount Park’s Cowboy sculpture. “I really enjoyed reading this, and look forward to more stories like this.”

And then there was Amanda Wagner’s piece with original photos on “Philly’s Most Controversial Public Art.” It was the No. 1 most-read story on Philly.com on March 25 and garnered comments about the Mural Arts Program, Roosevelt’s New Deal and the “supremely ugly” Bolt of Lightning Memorial near the Ben Franklin Bridge.

Wagner, who dabbled in several arts and culture-related genres, has found herself a beat in contemporary and performance art. She pitched the idea, knowing how deeply divided Philadelphians are over certain public works of art.

Prior to working at the Center for Cultural Outreach, Wagner had had little journalism experience. She jokes she was groomed on the “freshman essay.”  “Leaving those habits behind me were tough but both Jason Wilson and [assistant editor] Mary Sydnor really took the time to teach me new methods of writing,” she said. “It has been great learning new skills and being able to immediately put them into practice.”

Dr. Ana Diez Roux Named Dean of the
Drexel University School of Public Health
By Mark Eggerts, Director, Strategic Communications, and Rachel Ewing, News Officer, University Communications

Dr. Ana V. Diez Roux has been named the new dean of the School of Public Health. She will begin her term February 2014.

Diez Roux is a physician and epidemiologist known worldwide for seminal research on multilevel determinants of population health. Her work has had a major impact on public health research and practice.

“We’re very excited that the University has filled this critical position with one of the nation’s most accomplished public health researchers and administrators,” said Drexel President John A. Fry. “Ana will be charged with continuing to expand our School of Public Health’s vision and culture, strengthening its research programs, building partnerships at Drexel and beyond, raising visibility nationally and internationally and developing and stewarding the school’s resources.”

Diez Roux will oversee the school’s plans to expand its leadership in experiential education, community engagement and cultural diversity.

In her current position at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, Diez Roux chairs the Department of Epidemiology and also heads two distinguished research and training centers. Her accomplishments as department chair since 2012 include reorganizing the administrative structure, leading the development of new curricula, formalizing policies, and creating a new sense of mission and cohesiveness across a diverse faculty through shared academic activities and faculty recruitment.

Diez Roux built the Center for Integrative Approaches to Health Disparities, a collaboration between Michigan and two Mississippi-based partner institutions, from the ground up into an important locus for research and training on the determinants of minority health and health disparities. She also reorganized and reinvigorated the Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health, which focuses on the causes of health inequalities and the policies and interventions necessary to eliminate them.

Her own research is funded at a level of more than $4 million annually, and she has led large research and training programs funded by foundations and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She has led research programs on health disparities and the social and physical determinants of health, the impact of neighborhood environments on health, the role of psychosocial factors in health, environmental health and urban health issues. Her work on neighborhood health effects has had a major impact on policy discussions by highlighting the impact of urban planning and community development policies on health.

Before joining Michigan in 2003, Diez Roux held joint appointments in medicine and public health at Columbia University. She received master’s and doctoral degrees in public health from Johns Hopkins after beginning her career as a pediatrician in her native Argentina, where she earned her medical degree from the University of Buenos Aires and served as chief resident at the Ricardo Gutierrez Children’s Hospital.

She is an elected member of the American Epidemiological Society, the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. John Rich will continue to serve as interim dean until February. He has held this position since Dr. Marla Gold stepped down to rejoin the faculty in June, following more than a decade of foundational leadership as the school’s dean.

The Drexel University School of Public Health has embraced innovative programs including a new bachelor’s degree, and will soon move into its new home on Drexel’s University City Campus in Nesbitt Hall.  Its faculty is in the vanguard of research on urban health, autism, violence prevention, child hunger, health care equality, HIV/AIDS, health disparities and more.

China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA)
Makes Long Journey to Drexel
China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) Makes Long Journey to Drexel

The China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) will celebrate the 95th anniversary of its founding with a journey to Drexel University, where sixty paintings, prints, sculptures and videos will be displayed from twenty-four of CAFA’s most talented young alumni artists at the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery in Philadelphia.  The exhibition, titled “The Start of a Long Journey,” opens October 4 with a 5:00 p.m. reception at the gallery for CAFA dignitaries and is free and open to the Drexel community and the public. The New York Times recently wrote of the CAFA exhibition.  In addition, “The Start of a Long Journey” has received considerable media coverage in China, and its opening attracts collectors and gallery owners from around the world.

Students selected to exhibit their work in “Long Journey” are the cream of China’s aspiring artists. Their works are critical assessments of the previous era of Chinese art shaped by the intellectual trends during the Cold War period, as well as the allure of traditional Chinese wisdom. Selected works include: “Adding and Subtracting,” a sculpture of books and texts by Wu Wer; “The Landscape in Mist, Fibonacci Mountain,” a multi-dimensional work combining gouache paper, pencil drawings and video by Ye Qiuyang; and, Zhang Yifan’s “Elephant” series of digital print-making, acrylic and laser-cutting works, among others.

CAFA Vice President Professor Xu Bing explains that the exhibition also examines how the development of Chinese art and fine arts education has taken a contrary route to that of Western art.  “Since Western culture was instrumental to the evolution of human civilization throughout the last century, it also had tremendous impact on the world's art history and education,” says Professor Bing. “There are respective strengths and weaknesses to Eastern and Western art educations. In reviewing our past traces, we can examine our achievements and blind spots so as to discover future directions.”

Dr. Joseph Gregory, Chair of the Department of Art & Art History, says he is honored to present the CAFA graduates’ work at Drexel University. “This is the first time for these works to be shown in the United States. We hope this exhibition will become a very good platform for enhancing mutual understandings between the Chinese and the U.S. art world, and a starting point for the future cooperation and exchange between Central Academy of Fine Arts and Drexel University.”


Faculty Portfolios: Profiles Increasing
By Janice Biros, Ed.D., Senior Vice President for Budget, Planning & Administration, and Danuta A. Nitecki, Ph.D. Dean of Libraries

Nearly 100 Drexel faculty have created profiles of their academic accomplishments in the Faculty Portfolios system and, thus, these early adoptors now have a single place to manage information for preparing annual reports, tenure and promotion packets, CVs, and formatted bios for grant applications. Their contributions are a part of a central campus database initiative from which reports will be prepared about Drexel’s rankings, research impact, breath of creative activities, highlights of mentoring students, civic services, and more.  As additional profiles are entered into the system, identifying potential collaborators both on campus and beyond will be easier to do.

Preparing a profile takes four steps:

  1. Log into www.drexel.edu/facultyportfolios using your full Drexel email address and password.
  2. Confirm your biographical information.
  3. Discover and load citations to publications using the system tools.
  4. Complete other important evidence of academic accomplishments.

This past summer, deans began to plan how best to assist their faculty in meeting the expectation that all full-time faculty will have entered data into the system for at least three years by spring 2014. Liaison librarians were and continue to be available to assist with demonstrating the system, offering hands-on guidance, and designing useful reports. In addition, The Libraries is available to work with departments needing help with data entry.

The Faculty Portfolios program uses Thomson Reuters’ product, Research in View, to capture faculty data. Working with a faculty advisory group, a campus implementation team is customizing this software to meet Drexel’s needs.  Categories to identify creative works have been expanded to better reflect the range of Drexel faculty activities and, later this term, downloads from Banner will populate the database with information about teaching activities.  A new release of the software promises to provide automatically generated NIH Biosketches, a requirement for many grant submissions. For more information or to create a faculty profile visit: www.library.drexel.edu/facultyportfolios.

Senior Survey
By Stephen DiPietro, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost for University Assessment Operations

The Senior Exit Survey was administered to the 2013 graduating class from May 15 - June 2, 2013. Through a collaborative communication plan involving constituent groups across the university, the response rate increased to 91.3%, or 1,627 respondents from a class of 1,783. Institutional Research, Assessment, and Effectiveness (IRAE) has been setting up presentations with each college and school to present data on its programs. Succinct, individual reports breakdown the findings by program, and use the program data benchmarked against the college and the university.

Some examples of the report’s highlights include:

  • 91.3% response rate overall; including a breakdown by college
  • 80% overall satisfaction rate with the Drexel experience
  • Starting salaries for those graduates who have accepted employment are up 6% over last year to $55,000
  • 97% of respondents who have accepted job offers believe that their position is closely or somewhat related to their desired or current career path
  • Of those graduates choosing further study, 19% are pursuing doctoral degrees (a 7% increase in doctoral aspirations over last year), 50% are pursuing a master’s degree, 10% are pursuing a law degree and 6% will be attending medical school

Designing Courses with Accessibility in Mind
By Dan Allen and Michel Miller, Ph.D., Co-Chairs of the Online Accessibility Committee

Realizing the importance of providing accessibility to all potential online learners including students with disabilities, Drexel University’s Online Learning Council appointed the Online Accessibility Committee, which has a three-part mission:

  • Develop Guidelines to ensure the accessibility of online content;
  • Create training based on the Guidelines; and
  • Implement training for Faculty, Instructional Designers, and online Content Managers.

After nearly three years of diligent work, the Committee is pleased to announce that its mission is being fulfilled. In October a new online course, Creating Accessible Content Online, will be launched in BlackBoard Learn. The course will be available to anyone in the Drexel community who works with online courses.

The emphasis of the course is on “low-hanging fruit,” – easily achievable best practices that can be mastered by anyone who routinely works with online content. One of the persistent myths that advocates for accessibility constantly work to dispel is that accessibility is hard, and should be left to experts. In fact, most of the best practices needed to provide accessible online environments are non-technical in nature, and are little or no more demanding than practices that impose accessibility barriers.

Accessibility best practices do more than remove barriers for students with disabilities. They also create more user-friendly online environments for all students. For example, captioning video not only makes the content available to the student who is deaf, but also benefits the student whose first language is not English, the student with a learning disability, and the student who does not have speakers for his computer.

The course is designed to be completed entirely online in four to five hours; however, a series of campus workshops will continue to be provided for anyone who prefers a traditional classroom format.

During the next few months, the Online Accessibility Committee will be working to complete a second course that will include more advanced best practices in accessibility. Among the topics covered in that course will be video captioning, basic HTML for non-technical users, and in depth exploration of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approaches to curriculum design.

Connect with Colleagues from Across Campus
and Celebrate Scholarship at ScholarSip
By Jenny Lee, Library Marketing & Events Associate, with appreciation of Dean Danuta Nitecki, Ph.D., University Libraries

The Libraries’ quarterly ScholarSip series has connected faculty and professional staff from all colleges and many departments on campus through receptions that celebrate Drexel interdisciplinary research.  Save the dates for this year’s events: Tuesday, December 3, Monday, March 17, and Monday, June 9.  Events will be held in the Sky View of McAllister Hall and speakers will be announced in the coming weeks. Those interested in joining the mailing list for the ScholarSip event series should contact libraries@drexel.edu.

Summer Activities at the Drexel Smart Initiatives Program (DSIP)
By Shivanthi Anandan, Ph.D., Diana Nicholas and Joan Weiner, Ph.D., Co-directors, Drexel Smart Initiatives Program

Research with the Drexel Smart Initiatives Program: The Drexel Smart Initiatives Program is proud to announce that this past summer five freshman STAR program students were recruited for research based on the Drexel Smart House. The students were from the College of Engineering, LeBow College of Business, and the iSchool. Their research focused on the following topics: developing data infrastructure for Drexel Smart House, a technology assessment of sustainable indoor gardening systems, two qualitative case studies on the Drexel University Smart house, and developing cost effective and beneficial properties of lightweight green roofs.

The DSIP applauds the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of the freshmen STAR students, and extends appreciation to Joe Massott and Mike Magee for serving as undergraduate research mentors for two of the projects.

Drexel Smart House: The exterior renovation work is nearing completion and limited programming will begin in this term. An alum who had lived in the house thirty years ago recently toured the building and described some of the early efforts in sustainability. An interesting fact is a time capsule is buried in the front yard of the house.

DSIP Academic Program: The DSIP is happy to announce that the first course in the proposed DSIP minor is being offered this term as a special topics course. The course, Innovative Problem Solving (WEST 465 sec. 004), is the first core course in the DSIP minor program of study. The proposed minor itself is going through the stages of approval at the SCAA and Faculty Senate.

Drexel Smart House Students: Drexel Smart house student Kevin Malawski has just received Drexel’s endorsement in his application for the Marshall Scholarship, a very prestigious opportunity to study in the United Kingdom. Kevin is the outgoing president of the Drexel Smart House student organization. The DSIP is proud of this achievement.

In addition, Drexel Smart House students have also been consulting with Mohamad Zerban, an organizer for the upcoming TEDx Drexel U. event to create a sustainability report on running a "Green" event. The report will be passed on to other world-wide TEDx organizers who want to add that dimension to their events. On September 8, at the largest environmental festival in Philadelphia – GreenFest - Drexel Smart House volunteers Maxime Damus, Darya Drahun, and Collin Cavote collected over 400 eco-hands for education. These will be displayed at TEDx in October.

STAR Scholar Krishna Desai (LeBow College of Engineering) with her poster at the STAR poster presentation event
STAR Scholar Maxime Damis (College of Engineering) with her STAR poster on light weight green roofs.
STAR Scholars Abishek Valanju (iSchool Information Systems) and Weiquan Li (LeBow College of Business) with their posters at the STAR Poster presentations. Drexel Smart House Director of Research Mike Magee is in the foreground.
Getting signatures at GreenFest for Eco-hands for Education


Steinbright Goes All Out for LGBTQ Job Seekers
By Jill R. Marateck, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Steinbright Career Development Center

This past June, the Steinbright Career Development Center received bronze-level certification from OUT for Work, a national certification program to help enhance LGBTQ career resources for students in higher education. The partnership with OUT for Work provides LGBTQ information training for Steinbright staff, and access for students to specialized LGBTQ resources developed to address issues that may arise during career searches.  “Students and alumni should know where to find LGBTQ-friendly employer information, how to list LGBTQ-related experiences on their resumes and how to handle coming out during the job interview, if they want to,” said Kathleen Anderson, Steinbright’s LGBTQ project lead.

To address these issues, Steinbright has developed a series of LGBTQ student workshops. The first workshop, “Career Knowledge for LGBTQ Students,” will take place October 9 at 1:00 p.m. in W.W. Hagerty Library during International Students Week.  All Drexel students are welcome. Topics to be discussed include legal issues; coming out on a resume, during interviews and on the job; identifying LGBTQ-friendly employers; and other career questions.

Steinbright is continuing to expand its resources throughout the year. “Diversity is a critical component of Drexel University’s Strategic Plan 2012-2017,” said Peter J. Franks, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Career  Education.  “As part of our shared values and mission, we welcome the opportunity to enhance our career services to LGBTQ students.”

Assessment Newsletter
By Stephen DiPietro, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost for University Assessment Operations

One of the many qualities that differentiates Drexel University is that it is a community where innovation is the norm rather than the exception.  In this regard, Institutional Research, Assessment and Effectiveness (IRAE) is developing a new online newsletter to highlight some of the inspired ways Drexel’s faculty and staff are working to make Drexel even better through innovation in assessment, teaching and learning.

An Assessment Newsletter will be published in the Fall, Winter, and Spring Quarters and will focus on new initiatives as well as those that have been in operation for a longer period.  It will feature articles, interviews, and links to resources.  The format will invite communication within the Drexel community and, thus, be an interactive forum in which we can learn from each other and thereby grow as an institution.

The first edition is scheduled to be published in November.  Ideas on articles of interest and thoughts or ideas on this initiative may be sent to Steve DiPietro at sld343@drexel.edu, or Jeff Bonfield at jkb28@drexel.edu.

Career Development Awards
By Rick Mitchell, M.S.Ed., Senior Academic Coordinator, Office of Faculty Development & Equity, with appreciation of Janet Fleetwood, Vice Provost of Strategic Development and Initiatives

The Career Development Awards, offered through the Office of Faculty Development and Equity (FDE), are designed to help faculty increase their exposure to colleagues at other institutions who can be collaborators and role models while introducing outside scholars to faculty at Drexel. Social networks are increasingly important and funding agencies are more and more interested in projects that demonstrate multi-investigator, interdisciplinary endeavors. Building such a team and developing a history of working together can be invaluable for junior or mid-career faculty moving in a more collaborative direction or beginning a new research area. This program provides funding for Drexel faculty to develop networks, nationally or internationally, with colleagues whose work complements activities at Drexel.

The FDE has calculated the return on investment for the Career Development Awards during its first four years. The first 19 awardees generated over eight million dollars in externally funded grants for the University. In addition, they have produced over 30 publications, including articles, manuscripts, and papers; held at least 20 Drexel events, including series, workshops, and seminars; developed four new courses in four different departments; and, have presented at or attended dozens of conferences. Furthermore, these awardees have also developed mentoring relationships with scholars in four continents, 11 countries, and 13 different U.S. states. Since receiving their Career Development Awards, five honorees (100% of the awardees who were reviewed) have been awarded tenure.

Career Development Award recipients for Academic Year 2013-2014 (left to right): Erica Wilkins, Ph.D., M.F.T.; Santiago Ontañón, Ph.D; Aleksandra Sarcevic, Ph.D.; Tatyana Livshultz, Ph.D.; and Yared Shifferaw, Ph.D.

The call for proposals for the 2014-2015 Academic Year will be issued and publicized to faculty members in November 2013. In the meantime, for more information, please visit the career development awards page of the Office of Faculty Development and Equity website, or contact the FDE with questions at fde@drexel.edu or 215-895-2141.

Program Alignment and Review Update and Status Report
By Senior Vice Provost Jan Biros, Ed.D., Budget, Planning & Administration

After a successful first year of strategic development and pilot program reviews, the Program Alignment and Review (PAR) process is in full operation for AY 2013-2014. Fourteen programs were targeted for review in the colleges of Engineering, Media Arts and Design, Arts and Sciences, Nursing, Business, and Biomedical Engineering. Self-study teams were assembled and an orientation session was held this past Spring, giving teams an opportunity to jump-start this year’s review process. While monitoring the self-study process for these programs, the PAR Steering Committee will discuss some larger, university-wide alignment issues and prepare recommendations.

Last year, PAR Task Forces studied how Drexel teaches computing, how the School of Education (SOE) should be re-imagined, and what the Goodwin College should be today. As a result of these Task Force deliberations, the College of Computing and Informatics was created. In addition, recommendations were made to change the organization and curricula of both the SOE and Goodwin College.

In addition, the five pilot program self-study teams from this past year prepared implementation “action plans” based on their recommendations and those of their external reviewers, which were then reviewed by the PAR Steering Committee and the Provost. These five programs have begun to implement the recommended changes based on priority, feasibility, and the resources available to support them. While some recommended program changes require additional resources, many opportunities can be immediately addressed with existing resources, such as curricular currency and relevance, student engagement, career guidance and mentoring for students, and internal reorganization. Larger issues requiring additional resources will be addressed through faculty hiring plans, master plan renovation and acquisition plans, and other strategic initiatives at the University level. All changes made in response to recommendations will be monitored by the PAR Steering Committee to determine their long-term impact.

Many questions are raised today about the benefit and worth of a college education. A robust, cyclical and evidence driven PAR system ensures that all programs and courses integrate with, align with, and support the Drexel Student Learning Priorities (DSLPs). The DSLPs send a powerful signal to students, parents, faculty and staff that Drexel University is committed to producing graduates who are broadly educated and capable in ways that contribute to lifelong logical habits in mind, professional competence, and continuous commitment to learning. The Office of the Provost and the PAR Steering Committee look forward to continuing this comprehensive initiative.

Fall Professional Development Workshops
By Stephen DiPietro, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost for University Assessment Operations

Institutional Research, Assessment, and Effectiveness (IRAE) is pleased to announce a series of workshops being offered for Fall 2013, which began October 9. These workshops are designed to engage faculty and staff to focus and problem-solve together in order to ensure that all students achieve success. In this regard, it is essential to understand that the assessment of learning and feedback are crucial for helping people learn. Assessment mirrors good instruction, happens continuously as part of instruction, and provides information about the levels of understanding reached. Bain [2004] stated that there are two important conclusions about the best college teachers: They begin with questions about student learning outcomes rather than about what he/she will do, and they have a systematic program to assess their own efforts and to make appropriate changes to their course when the need arises.

A description of each workshop is available on the IRAE website. You may register for one or more workshops by clicking “Register for this Workshop” located below workshop descriptions. Once you register you will receive a confirmation notice at the email address you provide. Your participation in this professional development may also be communicated to your college or office, at your request. All thoughts and comments regarding the workshops should be sent to Steve DiPietro, sld343@drexel.edu.

Lindy Center for Civic Engagement
By Jennifer Johnson Kebea, M.S., Interim Director, Lindy Center for Civic Engagement

The Lindy Center for Civic Engagement is now a unit within the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, led by Vice Provost for University and Community Partnerships, Dr. Lucy Kerman. This exciting transition provides the opportunity for Lindy Center programming to align with the University’s broader vision around community engagement.

The Lindy Center for Civic Engagement has organized its focus into the following strategic areas:

1. Student Leadership & Development

Student leadership remains a core function and focus of the Lindy Center. Student leaders in the Lindy Center are organized into a group called the Drexel Community Scholars (DCS). DCS desire to enhance their academic learning by using their skillset to make a positive impact in the community.  Cohorts of students are recruited each year and are supported by the Lindy Center through ongoing training and development. DCS are part-time AmeriCorps members and they receive an educational stipend for their work after a year-long term of service.

This year, the Lindy Center will support nearly 40 students serving as Drexel Community Scholars.  These students will serve across 5 different programs and 25 different community partners, working in the areas of volunteer recruitment, program delivery, and capacity building.

2. Academics & Faculty Engagement

In years past, the Lindy Center played an active role as a coordinator for UNIV 101, the First-Year Experience course.  It has now transitioned from this role in order to focus on CIVC 101, a one-credit course designed to help students develop skills as active participants in a pluralistic, democratic society through direct service, education, and reflection opportunities.  Significant time during CIVC 101 is also spent discussing Drexel University’s commitment to civic engagement and how each student can personally be involved.  During this academic year, nearly 2,000 students will take CIVC 101 as part of their first-year curriculum, completing over 18,000 hours of service, collectively.

Beyond CIVC 101, the Lindy Center also offers an 18-credit certificate in Civic Engagement, covering topics such as the foundations of civic engagement, active citizenship, civic engagement leadership, and university-community partnerships.  In 2013, the Lindy Center awarded the first Civic Engagement certificate to one graduating senior and there are several additional students on track to complete in June 2014 and beyond.

Additionally, the Lindy Center has been working closely with faculty to develop a framework for Community Based Learning at Drexel University.  This framework was sparked by a recognition of the wide array of community work faculty were already engaged in and the desire to organize and provide resources for such efforts.  The descriptiosn below serve as a representation of current thinking around Community Based Learning at Drexel University.  Community Based Learning courses can fall into one or more categories and it is quite possible that new categories will eventually be identified and developed.

  • Foundations: These courses are core components of the Certificate in Civic Engagement and are administered by the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement.
  • Service Learning: Courses that have a community component outside of the in-classroom credit hours. There are three distinct types of service learning:
    • Traditional service-learning: This type of service-learning course is typically one that any major can participate in as no specific skill or knowledge base is required.
    • Problem Solving/Skill-based service-learning: The course content is practically applied in working with or for the community partner.
    • Service Immersion:  The course culminates in an extended local, national, or international service experience.
  • Side by Side (formerly Inside Out): Courses ideally consist of half Drexel students and half community members and aim to co-create learning. This model of shared learning in the community is unique to Drexel as it equalizes traditional Drexel students with students who are often marginalized. Issues of access to education are often an undercurrent or secondary theme.
  • Community Hybrid: Courses achieve 3 credit hours divided between the traditional on-campus classroom and a community setting. Modeled after the online hybrid, such courses require structured time outside of the classroom.
  • Community Based Research: Courses begin with a research topic relevant to the community which is then carried out as part of the course. The community members and researchers equitably share the research agenda through their partnership. The course and research are action-oriented and aim to produce positive change.

As the Lindy Center continues to develop its academic programming, a faculty advisory committee will be formed to help guide and shape this area of work.  The broad goals of members serving on the advisory group will be to help identify faculty within each college who are currently engaging the community in their coursework, or who are interested in doing so.  Additionally, the faculty advisory group will help to inform and shape a workshop series for faculty who are interested in learning more about Community Based Learning.

Beyond that, the Lindy Center is interested in supporting courses that identify within the Community Based Learning framework.  Available support includes both financial (course buy-out, project costs, etc.) and resource based options (community partner identification, relationship management, course promotion, etc.).

3. Community Partnerships

The Lindy Center currently manages over 80 community partnerships. Community partners are viewed as co-educators of students, and their input and expertise is infused into all aspects of the Lindy Center’s programming.  The Lindy Center recognizes its responsibility to support these organizations as they work with Drexel students. Currently, the Lindy Center oversees an annual community partner mini-grant program, providing funding for projects that promote collaboration between non-profit partners and Drexel students, staff, and faculty.

Moving forward, the Lindy Center seeks to support partners more intentionally, helping to leverage the University's varied resources to increase the capacity of these organizations. The Lindy Center will provide a referral system to services and programs provided by student groups, faculty, and staff.

4. Volunteerism

The Lindy Center has historically always worked to connect students to service opportunities throughout Philadelphia. This year, efforts will be expanded as the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement, in partnership with Human Resources, introduces an Employee Volunteer program. Employees will have the opportunity to volunteer individually or with colleagues at several sites located in Philadelphia. More information regarding the program launch will be available in the coming weeks.

For more information regarding the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement please contact the Interim Director, Jennifer Johnson Kebea, at jpj38@drexel.edu.

The USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive:
Making Connections through Witness Testimonies
By Larry Milliken, M.A., M.I.L.S., Liaison Librarian for Humanities & Social Sciences

Beginning this term, Drexel University will become one of a small number of institutions with full access to the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive, a collection of nearly 52,000 video interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust.  The collection encourages the thoughtful examination of issues such as intolerance, bigotry, identity, and resiliency. The Archive will be an important resource for teaching, scholarship, and community building. Those interested in learning more should contact Larry Milliken at lpm27@drexel.edu.

Libraries to Host Exhibition:
The Power of Civil Society: the Fate of Jews in Bulgaria
By Danuta A. Nitecki, Ph.D., Dean of Libraries

This November, W. W. Hagerty Library will host an exhibition titled, “The Power of Civil Society: the Fate of Jews in Bulgaria.”  This documentary exhibition features 21 posters that detail, through photographs, documents and text, how 50,000 Bulgarian Jews were saved from Hitler’s grasp during the Holocaust. The exhibition covers the years 1940 – 1944 and is presented by the Republic of Bulgaria’s Institute for Culture in cooperation with the Centre for Jewish Studies at the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski.”  An opening event will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information contact libraries@drexel.edu

Skills-Based Faculty Mentoring Program
By Rick Mitchell, M.S.Ed., Senior Academic Coordinator, Office of Faculty Development & Equity, with appreciation of Janet Fleetwood, Ph.D., Vice Provost of Strategic Development and Initiatives

Entering its second year, the goal of the Skills-Based Faculty Mentoring program is to enable any faculty member who would like mentoring in a specific skill area to find a faculty member at Drexel who can mentor them in that skill.  The Skills-Based Faculty Mentoring program is designed to supplement the mentoring that is already in place in colleges and departments.  The program is built on the concept of a “mosaic of mentors,” in which individual faculty members have multiple mentors for various skills, and may have different mentors at different points in their career, to help the mentee achieve competencies in a wide range of areas. This is in sharp contrast to the traditional concept of mentoring in which one senior faculty member mentors a junior faculty member on a wide range of issues for many years.

Prospective faculty mentees and mentors who are interested in learning more about the program should visit the faculty mentoring page of the Office of Faculty Development and Equity website. This site contains information on the list of over 40 faculty members who are currently participating in the program.

September 2014 Regional Assessment Conference
By Stephen DiPietro, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost for University Assessment Operations

In 2011, The Middle States Commissions on Higher Education stated that Drexel University "...is a remarkable institution that has proven itself by meeting the multifaceted challenges of the past, truly challenging decade. Drexel is now poised not merely to succeed, but to lead. The moment is now Drexel's to seize."

In response to this challenge, Drexel will host the first annual regional conference on assessment.  It is anticipated that this first conference will bring 200-300 attendees from across the middle states region to Drexel’s campus and from many more institutions across the United States in the years ahead.  A “Save the Date” will be sent early in the fall and an Assessment Conference 2014 website established that will provide all of the information pertaining to the conference – the framework schedule, plenary and keynote speakers, debate participants, hotel information and registration.

Entitled “Myths & Movements: Re-imagining Higher Education Assessment,” attendees will engage in rich conversation through interactive presentations, snapshot sessions, and plenary addresses on such topics as:

  • How are you re-imagining higher education assessment?
  • How do we grapple with improving learning outcomes while controlling educational costs?
  • How do we communicate our assessment findings to our various publics?
  • How do we use assessment to maintain/sustain public credibility about higher ed?
  • How is higher education redefining assessment practices?
  • How do we create a teaching-/student-centered campus assessment culture?

All presentations will be videotaped, archived, and made available for public viewing via the event website after the conference

Attendees will enjoy three days of thought provoking speakers, workshops and invaluable networking.  Special lodging rates have been secured at the Sonesta Hotel in the center of Philadelphia's downtown area. Shuttle service to and from the Sonesta Hotel to the Drexel campus will be provided and is included in the conference registration. The conference website will go live in the near future.  Please contact Steve DiPietro at sld343@drexel.edu or Jeff Bonfield at jkb28@drexel.edu with any questions.


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