Well Wishes for the Spring Term
So much for poems of winter. To my chagrin, this year we lacked the climate described in the poems, metaphoric preconditions for imaginative activity: bleak days, icy silence, and a monochromatic landscape were all missing this year. Nevertheless, minds relentlessly reasoned and imagined; work progressed; and we have emerged from a number of important processes with documents which will guide our future and an inspiring report from our accreditors. This has been a year like no other of intensive visioning, planning, and discussion about our collective future.
Last year in this space I described the extensive, collaborative process we had crafted for developing the University’s “Strategic Plan, 2012-2017” and the “Priorities for Enhancing Academic Quality: 2012-2017,” our Academic Strategic Plan. A comprehensive Master Plan was developed simultaneously, in order to locate and plan for spaces for the emerging Drexel of the future. Task forces gathered, met, and wrote. Materials were synthesized and prioritized. Drafts were developed, emended, and re-developed. Senators deliberated the Plan. Faculty and professional staff attended Town Hall meetings and submitted comments and suggestions to the Plan website and directly to those involved in developing the Plan. We employed websites, and, in the case of the Master Plan, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs to engage students, faculty, and professional staff in conversations about emerging Drexel. Our Trustees considered a draft Plan at their December meeting and approved a final—and much emended—version at the February Board meeting. As I write, an attractive illustrated version of the Plan is being developed. Meanwhile, with our deans and senior academic leadership, Senate representation, and senior faculty involved, and with special help from Professor Cameron Abrams, Vice Provost Lucy Kerman, Vice Provost Janet Fleetwood, and Senior Vice Provost Deb Crawford, we have developed our academic Strategic Plan in congruence and concert with the University Strategic Plan.
Why does all this planning matter? It charts where investments will be made, priorities established, and bets placed. It stakes out ground to be cultivated and approaches taken. A few examples: We will hire strategically and aggressively to build strength in selected areas of growth and academic preeminence; we will act on our belief that intellectual accomplishment coupled with diversity will only accelerate our academic ambitions; we will develop a 21st-Century campus—a City of Knowledge—where amenities, the arts, and attractive spaces will beckon; we will cultivate greater opportunities globally for our faculty and students; we will target research areas strategically and support developing both basic and translational research while also fostering greater opportunities for trans-disciplinary research; we will bring life-saving and life-enhancing discoveries to market; and we will assess, align, and improve our organization and determine which areas we will target for investment in an effort to foster the kind of research and teaching that addresses the world’s problems. Academic processes will be developed to support this kind of thinking. We will, in short, act purposefully as One University.
The recently-concluded visit from ten colleagues, representing some of the nation’s premier universities and coming together as our Middle States Accreditation Visiting Team, reinforces my enthusiasm for the University we, together, have built. It also confirms that our strategic planning process and outcomes are pointing Drexel in the right direction for future accomplishments in teaching, learning, and problem solving. The oral reports from Team members were described by many as “inspiring.” While we await the written report, spoken comments encourage us to believe in our experiential educational model and to develop it further, to recommit ourselves to helping transform our region, and to reimagine ways in which we can project our ideas and our precious intellectual resources globally. Even as we celebrate the accomplishments and challenges overcome from the past decade, we know that our ambitions will always exceed our capacities. That’s the way we roll at Drexel.
While we may lament whatever cruelties attend the season, there’s no apparent diminution of energy, commitment, or imagination among our faculty or students as we look ahead to the full flowering of spring. We have much to value and much to do. I wish you all the best for this season and the upcoming academic term.
In This Issue...
Big Opportunities in Big Data
Deb Crawford, Ph.D.
Office of Research
It is widely recognized that the development of algorithms, tools, technologies, and processes to harness and create societal value from extremely large and, in many cases, complex digital datasets are among the great opportunities and challenges of our 21st century world. At work and in play, we are generating massive quantities of digital data, thanks in large measure to our increasingly networked world. The effective mining, analysis and visualization of large data sets promise to lead to a much deeper understanding of both nature and society, and will position us to tackle many societal problems—improving the quality and efficacy of healthcare and helping us to practice increasingly healthy lifestyles, providing approaches to better manage our natural resources, to design new materials and accelerate their transition to use, and to better mitigate the impact of climate change.
Our colleagues in the iSchool and the School of Public Health have come together to explore the “big data” frontier, recently winning support for an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center in Visual and Decision Informatics. Harnessing the power of “big data” and making them both understandable and actionable are what this center is all about. And, the Center is opening up new possibilities in the burgeoning field of health informatics. In fact, this month colleagues from eight of our colleges and schools joined forces in four new projects designed to stimulate advances in health informatics. The projects are as follows:
Computational Algorithms for Data Quality Control in Electronic Medical Record Systems by Yuan An, Assistant Professor in the iSchool, Edgar Chou, Clinical Informatics Chief in the College of Medicine, Longjian Liu, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health in the Department of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health and Tony Hu, a Professor in the iSchool.
Mapping the Biomedical Informatics of a Hospital Over Time: A Geographic Information System to Track Nosocomial Infections within a complete biomedical informatics context by Uri Hershberg, Assistant Professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science & Health Systems, Gail Rosen, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Yasha Kresh, Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science & Health Systems, Ole Vielemeyer, Assistant Professor in the College of Medicine and Eugenia Ellis, Associate Professor in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design.
The Financial Impact of Electronic Medical Records by Michael Howley, Associate Clinical Professor in the LeBow College of Business, Howard Miller, Professor of Medicine and Vice Dean of Clinical Affairs in the College of Medicine, VK Narayanan, Stubbs Professor and Associate Dean for Research in the LeBow College of Business, Edgar Chou, Clinical Informatics Chief in the College of Medicine, Jeffrey Eberly, Associate Dean for Operations and Chief Financial Officer in the College of Medicine and Nancy Hansen, Clinical Informatics Manager in the College of Medicine.
Interdisciplinary Studies of the Impact of Information Diffusion on Prescribing Behaviors: A Complex Adaptive Systems Approach by Leonard Samuels, Attending Physician and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine in the College of Medicine, Chaomei Chen, Associate Professor in the iSchool, Ani Hsieh, Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics Department, Lucy Robinson, Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health and Jian-Min Yuan, Professor in the Department of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences.
And, “big data” have just started giving, more is sure to come...stay posted.
A Fine Match: Jane Bokunewicz Brings Her Love for Technology and Innovation to Drexel
by Rebecca Ingalls
When Jane Bokunewicz first came to Drexel, she was taking the advice of a friend who had told her to “follow your dream job.” Though, as Bokunewicz reflects, she “loved every minute of her casino job” as a VP at the Tropicana in Atlantic City, she had long wanted to teach at the college level. “I was ready for the change,” she recalls, “and I thought, I could do that. I have a lot to offer.” With fond memories of her own experience as a college student and of her adjunct professors, and with years of experience in the casino business, Bokunewicz transitioned from the corporate world to academia with confidence, delight, and the envy of her colleagues back in the industry. When she relayed the details of her happiness at Drexel back to them, they told her, “I want to be you when I grow up.”
Long before coming to Drexel in 2006, Bokunewicz got her start as a computer programmer, and proceeded to work her way up to management for the next ten years, from systems analyst, to program manager, to director of IT. So, upon coming to Drexel, she was equipped with rich experience in gaming and technology, and she brought that knowledge to Goodwin College’s School of Technology and Professional Studies, and to the hospitality management program. True to the spirit of Drexel, Bokunewicz’s hiring was innovative. “Drexel’s hiring me showed their progressiveness,” she explains. “There weren’t a lot of gaming programs out there, and Drexel went full force with having a concentration. They were on the cutting edge.” When Drexel met Bokunewicz, they found just the expert they needed to carry that vision forward.
But Bokunewicz’s innovative Drexel spirit doesn’t stop there. When she arrived on campus, she was also on the brink of writing a one-of-a-kind book, Casino Gaming Technology. A collaborative project with fellow Drexel colleagues Donald Kneisel and Maria McNichols, the book (published by Pearson in January 2011) covers an area of the casino industry that no other text does. Bokunewicz explains, “If you graduated from Drexel with a degree in computer programming, but you went into the casino industry, you wouldn’t know anything about slot machines, table games, player ratings, or comps. Everything is computerized. There are all of these unique systems that are not in the traditional business texts.” Thus, though the text has been published by Pearson, it’s actually meant for a wide range of academic and public audiences. Bokunewicz: “The book was written so that you could be a programmer who wanted to learn the industry, or you could be a hospitality student who needed to learn all the systems.” And the proof of the book’s success is already unfolding: recently, a casino manager requested 20 copies for his new hires, and the text itself has reached an international readership.
Now that she’s carved out a unique place here at Drexel as a scholar and as a teacher, Bokunewicz has plans to go further with her own education. With an MBA, she is now on the road toward getting her doctorate. Enrolled as a Ph.D. student in Culture & Communication here at Drexel, Bokunewicz has wasted no time in applying her practical business knowledge and experience to doctoral work. Though she admits that it’s been challenging to take on theoretical study, her “here’s how it works” mindset has propelled her through coursework and exams, and into a dissertation that “ties all of [her] experience together.” Focused on the effectiveness of social media networking in a corporate setting, her study looks specifically at a system she’s designed to work in an actual casino. As her project unfolds, she’ll examine what activity on the system reveals about employees’ job status, commitment to the company, and learning. She argues that in large companies of 4,000 or more people, like casinos, where “people on the floor don’t know the people in the back of the house,” social media might be the key to helping a company to grow and improve. Has such a study been done? IBM and Deloitte have tried, but it’s not common. As both an academic and a professional, Bokunewicz will bring to this study a theoretical and practical perspective that will, no doubt, shed critical light on how such systems can and should be used in business. Moreover, the degree itself will gain her even more expertise as a member of the Drexel community: “I want to be the best that I can be,” she says. “I want to be even more valuable to Drexel as a teacher and a scholar.”
As I talked with Bokunewicz, I had to ask: What draws you to the casino industry? “The excitement, the risk-taking, the stakes are high,” she muses. And, she sees this same passion for the business in her students: One student who recently graduated told her later, “I loved your classes, and I am hooked on the industry.” Clearly, her delight in her work as a professional has spilled over into her work as a teacher-scholar here at Drexel. Drexel has a similar sort of buzz of risk-taking and innovation and meeting new challenges with fervor, and it seems to have bet well on Bokunewicz.
Rebecca Ingalls is Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Freshman Writing Program
Steinbright Faculty Advisory Committee Begins
The Steinbright Career Development Center is pleased to announce the inauguration of the Steinbright Faculty Advisory Committee. The committee will provide a forum for faculty to contribute to the development of University career resources, provide recommendations for how Steinbright can better serve its constituents, and discuss ways to increase academic and experiential integration. The first meeting was led by Dr. John DiNardo on January 27, 2012 with exceptional faculty representation. The Steinbright Faculty Advisory Committee will meet three times per year to continue the initial excellent dialogue on future topics.
Drexel Center for Academic Excellence (DCAE)
The Drexel Center for Academic Excellence (DCAE) finished the Winter 2012 term with two well-attended faculty events. The March 14 Brown Bag Lunch explored student self-assessment techniques, and the March 21 Faculty Workshop on tenure dossier construction tips featured presentations by Dr. N. John DiNardo, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Dr. Barbara Hornum, DCAE Director, and Dr. Teck-Kah Lim, Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and leader of the DCAE faculty portfolio workshops.
As nature springs back to life from an unusually warm winter, the DCAE is also gearing up for a full offering of workshops and other activities. In addition to our April 5 Collaborative Connections session on global engagement and its effects on curricula and research development, an April 13 Adjunct and Part-Time Faculty Workshop will focus on international students and classroom activities, as will a May 14 workshop open to all faculty. On May 17 and 18, Dr. Todd Zakrajsek, Executive Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will visit the University City campus to discuss best practices in teaching and learning. His visit will be co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the DCAE, and the LeBow College of Business Center for Teaching Excellence.
If you are interested in attending one of these events, or wish to learn about DCAE offerings taking place during the later part of the Spring Term, please visit the DCEA website, email us at email@example.com, or give us a call at 215-895-4973.
Best wishes for an enjoyable Spring Term!
In order to celebrate and showcase those who have excelled in teaching, support opportunities for faculty and staff to discuss and learn more about new pedagogies and approaches to teaching, and to share lessons learned from colleagues, the Office of the Provost committed to affording the art and science of teaching special attention over the 2011-2012 academic year:
- The Provost initiated a “Breakfast with the Provost” series which invites faculty and professional staff to have lunch with the Provost and to share their experiences, ideas, and concerns. The first lively gathering was held this past February, which brought together thirteen faculty and staff for a collegial breakfast, conversation, and sharing.
- The Provost expanded the Faculty Computer Upgrade Program, which was established in 1996-97 for tenured and tenure-track faculty, to include teaching faculty. Starting with those with the greatest seniority, over 100 teaching faculty had the opportunity to receive a Drexel computer. This will be an ongoing initiative in an effort to support the teaching faculty on whom we rely and who are so dedicated to our students.
- The Haggerty Library and the Office of the Provost have begun a ScholarSip program, the first of which was held at the end of the winter term. The purpose of the program is for faculty and professional staff to gather and enjoy light refreshments while conversing about their respective areas of expertise. This first gathering was a huge success. Held at the Academic Bistro, it brought together approximately seventy-five faculty and staff who learned from Dr. Young Moo Kim about the Expressive & Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center, which brings together engineering, science, technology, and the arts to enhance creativity and catalyze innovation. Future gatherings will be held to celebrate the completion of each successful term at Drexel.
- This past August, the DCAE, Online Learning Council, and IRT together sponsored a one-day workshop on Quality by Design, titled “Improving the Academic Experience through Effective Course Design.” Approximately ninety attendees viewed presentations and received one-on-one assistance on their course materials from Drexel faculty and professional staff.
- This past fall, the Office of the Provost supported four faculty members to attend the Quality Matters Conference in Washington, D.C. The information gained will be integrated into workshops to be offered during the spring term.
- The DCAE continues to offer workshops and seminars related to teaching and pedagogy. The academic year began with expanded orientations for new full-time and adjunct faculty members. Special topics included using High Impact practices, teaching with an interdisciplinary focus, and teaching international students effectively.
- Last year we provided support for thirty-three faculty to be trained as peer reviewers in the Quality Matters Rubrics in which nine of those trained continued on to become Master Reviewers. To carry on the work of reviewing online courses for quality design, an opportunity has been put into place for five faculty members to receive additional compensation to become Fellows and be available to do formal reviews. In addition, they will design and deliver workshops and help their colleagues learn how to improve the design and delivery of online courses and materials.
- While IRT has been working with faculty to help migrate all courses to the new learning management system, DCAE and OLC are working together to provide accompanying workshops addressing pedagogical approaches and tools which can be incorporated to improve quality and increase student engagement. During the spring term we will offer workshops on how to do a self-review of courses, techniques and pedagogies for handling more students effectively and efficiently, and integrate the DSLP, rubrics, and assessment into the course design and redesign process.
Happenings in Study Abroad
The Study Abroad Office, in partnership with Hanyang University and Dr. Paul Oh, is pleased to launch a new program - Engineering Summer at Hanyang University in Korea. This full-term summer program expands upon our existing partnership with Hanyang University. It is open to Electrical, Computer and Mechanical Engineering students in their junior year, and provides a great opportunity to learn from some of Drexel’s top mechanical engineering collaborators. Course offerings for students include a Korean language and culture course, a mechatronics course taught by Drexel faculty Dr. Paul Oh, and a research course focusing on robotics.
Efforts to internationalize the experience of graduate students continue to advance with several new short and long term opportunities. Fifteen graduate students in the School of Education will be spending two weeks in China on a short term program that will focus on studying Chinese Higher Education. In addition, LeBow College of Business graduate students will be participating in diverse long term programs this summer and fall with several partners such as the IAE Business School in Argentina, WHU in Germany, and Fudan University in China.
Looking at undergraduate student opportunities, 130 students are planning to study abroad during summer 2012, and over 150 have applied to go abroad for the Fall. In addition, we anticipate welcoming over 60 exchange students to Drexel’s campus for Fall 2012 including a cohort from Brazil who are participating in “Science Without Borders”, a scholarship program fully funded by the Brazilian government.
Please visit www.drexel.edu/studyabroad for more information on international opportunities.
Aligning Key Academic Priorities
Over the last decade, Drexel has undergone unprecedented growth and admirable advancement in the quality of its academic and research activities. Many excellent new programs have been developed, outstanding new faculty and professional staff hired, and a wide range of innovative initiatives launched. All can be very proud of what has been accomplished. But in light of limited space, personnel, and financial resources, it is time to step back, assess, and align all of our academic programs with our mission and vision and decide where to target our efforts as we move forward.
The goal of assessment and aligning the programs with Drexel’s strategic mission and vision will be to strengthen and focus areas of achievement and high potential and to reduce or eliminate areas that are not essential to Drexel’s mission, do not contribute to its growing academic reputation, or do not enjoy strong enrollments. This kind of prioritization is part of responsible stewardship, and will enable Drexel to continue to provide the high-quality education and conduct the innovative scholarly work that now characterizes the university. Through prioritization, realignment, and grouping of like programs, energies and resources will be reallocated to ensure that there are funds to 1) invest in the programs with significant growth potential, 2) improve the working conditions for faculty, staff, and students, and 3) achieve focus, reputation, and impact with certain subject areas. Savings realized may even be targeted towards easing the financial burden of needy students, thus driving graduation rates higher.
This prioritization process will be transparent, collegial, and equitable, involving all schools and colleges. The alignment process will be collaborative, engaging faculty, deans, Faculty Senate, department heads, and senior professional staff--with all final decisions made by the Provost-- to ensure that actions are undertaken fairly, openly, and wisely with a long-term perspective in mind.
Finally, this process will be mindful of Drexel’s goals as a university and our responsibilities as a community. Hiring of new faculty and professional staff will continue and be closely aligned with the University’s mission and goals. We do not anticipate that any of this process will affect tenured faculty. We do not undertake this because of financial exigency but for the strategic, mission-driven reasons cited above.
The first step in the prioritization process is to develop shared goals and a fair process for program assessment and alignment. This will be the focus of future discussions and the articles referenced below are helpful in establishing a framework. While we recognize that this process may be challenging, it is the only way to ensure that the mission and goals that are embraced today will become realities in the future.
Program Alignment and Review Committee
Mark Greenberg, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
John DiNardo, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Jan Biros, Senior Vice Provost, Budget, Planning and Administration
Deb Crawford, Senior Vice Provost, Research
Craig Bach, Vice Provost, Institutional Research, Assessment & Effectiveness
Julie Mostov, Vice Provost, Global Initiatives
Nicole Ferretti, Associate Vice President, Financial Planning, Office of Planning and Budget
Tom Quinn, Executive Director, Administration and Finance
Joan McDonald, Senior Vice President, Enrollment Management
Marla Gold, Dean, School of Public Health
Joe Hughes, Dean, College of Engineering
Donna Murasko, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Barbara Hornum, Associate Professor, Culture & Communication, Faculty Senate, Chair
Giuseppe Palmese, Professor, Chemical Engineering, Faculty Senate Representative
Sid Siegel, Professor, Management, Faculty Senate Representative
Jason Gersh, Staff Representative
Donna McVicker, Executive Assistant to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Selected References on Academic Prioritization
“Disappearing Disciplines: Degree Programs Fight for Their Lives,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 28, 2010. http://chronicle.com/article/Disappearing-Disciplines-/64850/
“Pepperdine University Choose Growth by Cutting,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 17, 2011. http://chronicle.com/article/Pepperdine-U-Chooses-Growth/127159/
“Survey reveals key advice for prioritizing, eliminating programs,” Dean and Provost, June 2011. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/dap.20042/pdf
Update from the Office of Faculty Development & Equity
On February 8, 2012, the Office of Faculty Development & Equity with the Office of Equality and Diversity co-sponsored a Book Circle and Meet the Author event featuring John Rich, M.D., M.P.H., Professor and Chair of Health Management and Policy at the Drexel University School of Public Health. Dr. Rich read excerpts from his book, Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Trauma in the Lives of Young Black Men, and led a conversation with a large group of approximately forty faculty, professional staff, and students in the James E. Marks Intercultural Center.
Looking ahead, on April 24, 2012, the Office of Faculty Development & Equity will host a workshop and luncheon for Drexel faculty with a presentation by Tina Richardson, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the School of Education. Dr. Richardson’s presentation, “Mentoring for Inclusive Excellence,” will focus on effective approaches for mentoring minorities in higher education. If you are interested in learning more about this event and other resources related to work-life balance and faculty development, please visit the FDE website, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 215-895-2141.
Higher Education Research Institute Faculty Survey
The Office of the Provost is analyzing the results of the 2010-2011 Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) Faculty Survey, an online survey in which Drexel faculty were asked to share their perspectives on various components of their professional lives. The survey took place during March 2011, with 804 Drexel faculty members participating fully or partially alongside colleagues from over 200 institutions. The HERI survey provides data of particular usefulness in planning and policy analysis, and can also be used to enhance faculty development initiatives and improve the student learning experience. For these purposes, the recently released 2010-2011 results will be compared to data provided by Drexel faculty in the 2007-2008 iteration of the survey as well as data from peer institutions. The preliminary results of the survey will be discussed with Deans as well as the Faculty Senate to address areas of strength as well as opportunities for improvement. Full results will be shared with the faculty at large as they are analyzed this spring.
At this early stage, we are eager to share a few measures of overall faculty satisfaction levels at our institution. 98% of Drexel faculty respondents indicated close alignment between their work and their personal values to great or some extent and 80% indicated they were very satisfied or satisfied with their professional relationships with other faculty. However, one of the largest stressors for our faculty appears to involve their personal time. 80% of faculty respondents indicated that a lack of personal time has been a source of stress during the last two years either extensively or somewhat. Recognizing the significance of this issue, the Office of Faculty Development & Equity (FDE) has developed an initiative to promote faculty work-life balance and has created a brochure on the topic as well as a dedicated resource page on the FDE website. Although close attention will be paid to additional areas where Drexel can improve, we can take pride in the fact that 75% of faculty respondents would definitely or probably come back to Drexel were they to begin their careers again.
Stay tuned for more on the HERI study as data analysis continues and strategies are developed to address findings.
UNIVERSITY & COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS
Drexel Supports Local Elementary Schools
With leadership from the Goodwin School of Education, Drexel is providing intensive support to two local elementary schools, the Samuel Powel School and Morton McMichael School. Through a grant from PECO, the Drexel-PECO Community Education Collaborative makes possible extensive professional development at both schools, as well as tutors, enrichment materials and recess activities. Drexel faculty and staff employees have helped transform the McMichael library, and PECO’s grant will support the redesign of Powel’s library.
To provide ongoing support for professional development needs, particularly around literacy, Drexel has created an ongoing Faculty Advisory Council made up of faculty members from the School of Education, Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, and the iSchool. The Faculty Advisory Council, which helps to align our academic expertise with school needs, meets bi-weekly to address instructional needs and plan professional development opportunities. It also meets regularly with the schools’ principals, and provides an educational resource by providing access to professional development to schools, as needed.