Letter from the Provost - Summer 2013

Well Wishes for the Summer Term

The start of the summer term is always different from that of other terms. There is a more relaxed, congenial atmosphere on campus. Students lounge outside; and green and flowering portions of campus signal urban summer. This year especially, construction is winding down on two major projects—and commencing on others. I hope that this term becomes a time for you to complete projects that are still undone and contemplate new and exciting academic, creative, and research initiatives, to enjoy seasonal favorite spots, and to vary your pace. The Office of the Provost will be working with colleges to prepare for the busy fall term and many new students.

This issue of the Newsletter contains terrific profiles of our student fellowships wins, initiatives to alleviate Sacramento’s homeless problem, a faculty feature, various academic initiatives, news from some of our colleges and schools, a number of energetic approaches to improving assessment, upcoming conferences, the Program Alignment and Review process, and more.  I encourage you to peruse it at your leisure.  Our summer in Academic Affairs focuses on three important projects: Program Alignment and Review, Strategic Faculty Hiring, and commencing initiatives featured in both Transforming the Modern Urban University: Drexel University Strategic Plan, 2012-2017 and Priorities for Enhancing Academic Quality: 2012-2017—our Academic Strategic Plan.  One such initiative is a re-design of our budget model.

Program Alignment and Review—or PAR—is the University’s first systematic, ongoing review of all academic programs, featuring opportunities for self-study and reflection by our faculty and also the advantages of external colleagues’ perspectives on opportunities for improvement, areas of growth, and recognition for ongoing successes.  Overseen centrally, by a standing PAR Committee with generous representation from Faculty Senate and our cadre of deans, we have initiated five-year review cycles that will help ensure the quality and timeliness of every Drexel academic program.  The PAR Committee will also consider our overall academic organizational structure, recommending alignments, re-alignments, or new configurations to enhance teaching, learning, and research at Drexel.  Already, the process has fruitfully separated the School of Education from Goodwin College and produced recommendations for a new College of Computing and Informatics, combining core computing faculty with those in the existing iSchool. New knowledge emerges from inter-disciplines, trans-disciplines, and regions of investigation unimagined just a few years ago.  We want to encourage investigation and exploration unfettered by boundaries represented by departments, colleges, and schools, where such demarcation impedes exploration.  Addressing the world’s problems needs to take scholars and researchers wherever they need to go and in collaborations encouraged by the institution.

We are approaching faculty hiring strategically and thematically in the same ways.  Collaborative identification of those key areas in which Drexel can make a significant impact on the world’s knowledge will impel hiring.  Joint or collaborative hiring will emerge, as will hires in a single field for a single department, where there is need.  The process of identifying those key areas is underway, and it’s a thrilling prospect to know that from such disciplined focus will emerge real opportunities for lasting intellectual contributions.

We look forward to progress along many fronts, as articulated in both the University Strategic Plan and the Academic Plan.  Both plans, developed collaboratively, align.  And both plans find physical expression in our new Master Plan, whose vision is to create a true city of knowledge radiating from the Drexel campus.  We have assigned areas of responsibility for each of the key initiatives in the plans and task forces have been meeting with President Fry and me to track our progress across broad strategic areas:  Improvements in teaching, learning, assessment, and integration of the Drexel Student Learning Priorities; fostering a culture of faculty leadership; enhancing experiential and global education for our students; increasing the varieties and intensity of civic engagements; and working as one university.  In particular, we are working with consultants from Huron Consulting to develop a budget model that will provide greater responsibility for colleges to manage their own budgets while incenting behaviors that will help advance the University’s mission.  These are big challenges, worthy of our time and energy during the next five years.

I very much hope you will participate in helping us create the new Drexel University that truly represents the aspirations of all in our community.  I hope, too, that your summer is filled with plans fulfilled, joyous times with friends and family, and visits to summer places you love.


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.


Record Number of Drexel University Students Win Fellowships
by Erica Levi Zelinger, Communication Specialist, Pennoni Honors College

Fellowships applicants with President Fry, Provost Greenberg, and Pennoni Honors College Dean Jones in January.

Fellowship awards reached an all-time high at Drexel this past academic year, with a record 47 students receiving prestigious national and international merit scholarships to support their undergraduate or graduate studies, research or work experience. This year’s candidates included a wide range of applicants from various fields of study. “I’m just delighted to see so many of our students succeed on a national stage,” said Dr. Rona Buchalter, director of the Drexel Fellowships Office. “In fact, every year we are seeing more students who are willing to do the hard work that will get them there. I’m excited for Drexel as well, as so many things have to be working right at the institution for us to see this kind of result.”

The Pennoni Honors College hosted a reception last month to celebrate this year’s achievements and to extend appreciation to Drexel faculty and staff who have served on fellowship committees, advised students on their applications, or mentored them. “An essential factor in this success is the contribution by faculty and staff in the processes of review, nomination, mentoring, and student advising,” says Dean Dave Jones of the Pennoni Honors College. Drexel Fellowships Office Director Rona Buchalter agreed. “We had an incredible 76 faculty join with us this year to serve on interviewing and nominating committees or to act as blind readers for applications. Faculty don’t need to do this work, but I’m beyond grateful that so many are willing to make the time to advance the success of Drexel students university-wide.” Alex Sevit, a biomedical engineering undergrad and recipient of the Goldwater and Whitaker fellowships, says he absolutely could not have won these awards without the support of the Fellowships Office. “[They] were extremely supportive throughout the application process,” says Sevit. “They reviewed countless essay drafts and kept me motivated when I was doubtful of myself.” The application writing process, Sevit adds, provides a chance to contemplate your career goals. “I would encourage all students to apply to scholarships because of the guided reflection that it offers,” he says. “Writing the application essays was an opportunity to pause and reflect on my career path. By the time I submitted the essays I realized that even if I didn't win the awards I had grown so much from the process.”

Below is a selection of awards and recipients:

7 Fulbright Student Scholarships

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, and English teaching worldwide.

  • Adefolaseyi Aderotoye (DUCOM): Nigeria.
    Seyi’s proposed project aims to determine the cultural and socioeconomic influence on pain management for sickle cell disease (SCD) patients in Nigeria.
  • Liesi Driver (Global & International Education): Brazil.
    With her special interest in indigenous languages and populations, Liesi looks forward to working as an English language teaching assistant in the culturally rich and diverse country of Brazil.
  • Lauren Forbes (Public Health): Ethiopia.
    Lauren proposes to work with the Ethiopian Public Health Association on a project to improve reproductive health services for adolescents in the Amhara region of Ethiopia.
  • Liesbet Manders (Creative Arts Therapies): Germany.
    Liesbet plans to investigate if autistic participants in dance/movement therapy can learn to coordinate their body movement with a partner and if this will improve their social interactions.
  • Nicholaus Meyers (Mechanical Engineering): Germany.
    Nick proposes to work at the University of Ulm on a project that will allow for optimization of fracture fixation devices and ultimately better care for those who suffer a bone fracture.
  • Nathan Taylor (Mechanical Engineering): South Korea.
    Nathan proposes to use electrical plasma discharge to treat water contaminated with pollution from fuel extraction in conjunction with Kwangwoon University.
  • Sarah Lightfoot Vidal (Materials Science and Engineering): Chile.
    Sarah proposes to do research at CIPA’s Functional Polymer Department, working on developing a polymer blend of Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) for use in the medical field.

4 Goldwater Scholars

The Goldwater Scholarship was established by Congress in 1986, with the goal of recognizing the nation’s top undergraduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields. 

  • Rishon Benjamin (Chemical Engineering)
  • Emily Buck (Materials Science and Engineering)
  • Alex Sevit (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Andrew Zigerelli (Mathematics)

8 Whitaker International Program Awards

The Whitaker International Program sends U.S. biomedical engineering (or bioengineering) students and graduates overseas to undertake a self-designed project that will enhance their careers within the field. 

  • Nicholas DiStasio (Biomedical Engineering): France
  • Kevin Freedman (Chemical and Biological Engineering): UK
  • Claudia Gutierrez (Biomedical Engineering): Switzerland, coop
  • Josa Hanzlik (Biomedical Engineering): Netherlands
  • Ivy Koberlein (Biomedical Engineering): The Gambia, coop
  • Alex Sevit (Biomedical Engineering): Denmark
  • Claire (Martin) Witherel (Biomedical Engineering): UK
  • Tony Yu (Biomedical Engineering): China, coop

6 NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP) provides financial support to top students who are committed to research careers. Students must demonstrate both Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts of their research.

  • Jonathan Hubler (Civil Engineering alum, UM Ann Arbor)
  • Arvind Kalidindi (Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics)
  • Amanda Pentecost (Materials Science and Engineering)
  • Derrick Smith (Materials Science and Engineering)
  • Kristyn Voegele (Biological Sciences)
  • Mickey Whitzer (Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics alum, UPenn) 

4 DAAD Research Internship for Science & Engineering (RISE) Recipients

The DAAD RISE program offers 2-3 month research internships in science and engineering at German universities and research institutions. 

  • Zhengyang He (Mathematics)
  • Jordan Jobs (Information Systems)
  • Madhur Parihar (Biomedical Engineering), DAAD Rise Pro, coop
  • Khoa Van (Chemical Engineering), DAAD Rise Pro

1 Boren Scholar

The Boren Awards, established by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), are designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills.

  • Kailey Kluge (International Area Studies)

Drexel MBA Students Offer Innovative Initiatives to Help Solve Sacramento’s Homeless Problem
By Elizabeth Lambert, Communications Coordinator, Drexel University Sacramento Halldin Public Relations

A classroom project at Drexel University Sacramento has generated real-world solutions that a Sacramento nonprofit group will include in its long-range planning to aid the homeless. Sacramento Steps Forward (SSF) has taken the initiatives from Drexel MBA students and will consider them as potentially viable projects to be implemented in the future. The effort by the six-person Drexel team earned recognition in June from Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who met with the group and acknowledged their efforts.

Sacramento Steps Forward is an organization that leverages public and private resources to ensure that individuals and families experiencing homelessness or the risk of homelessness are able to access housing services and resources on their path to economic stability. "This collaborative learning experience with Drexel University and its students comes at an important time for Sacramento Steps Forward," said Ben Burton, its Executive Director. "Over the next year, we will be working to refine internal plans and prioritize work. The students provided us with meaningful insight and another tool we will be able to utilize in our planning processes."

In Dr. Keisha Nichols' Management 780 class, Drexel MBA students split into three groups and were tasked with the assignment of exploring strategic ways of helping homeless youth in the Sacramento region. The three MBA groups presented a Business Plan to SSF staff and its Continuum of Care Advisory Board members. The Drexel team that was singled out as giving the most comprehensive presentation included Rashetta Edwards, Darin Gale, Matthew Hancsarik, Alma Ibarra-Salazar, Jennifer Rosendall, and Darrell Teat.

SSF has plans to weave the winning Drexel proposal into its narrative of its Point in Time Count report to the community as an innovative solution for the community to consider. SSF is also going to put the ideas forward in the employment and youth committees of its new 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness. “This was a great opportunity for our MBA cohort to take what we learned in a classroom setting and put it to work on the ground,” Gale said. “Our group wanted to give SSF some innovative ideas and programs that focused primarily on housing and job training. Our plan gives SSF more tools in their tool box.” For Gale, it was also an invaluable learning experience that he will take back to his job as Economic Development Manager for Yuba City. Gale is playing a role in finding solutions to the homeless situation in Yuba City, CA, where he lives with his wife and four children. “Yuba City is involved with the early stages of a homeless consortium and what I’ve learned will be valuable information that I will share with our group as we move forward and seek a course of action,” Gale said. “My whole experience as a Drexel MBA student has helped reinforce why I’m involved in civic-minded projects,” added Gale. “It has also helped me to understand how finance plays a role in both the public and private sectors and with nonprofit organizations as well.”

Drexel’s Management 780 class is focused on “experiential learning” that involves many aspects, including critical thinking and reflection. “Our focus is engaging Drexel students with real-world issues and concerns and providing a forum for application of theoretical concepts and facilitated learning,” explained Dr. Nichols. “Our 780 Management group wasn’t treated as students, but as employees of a firm. They had to align themselves quickly, establish strategies and performance standards, develop ideas, and present them to an organization. It’s terrific experience that can’t be simulated by reading a text book.”

Being put in a consultancy role and working with other students as if they were co-workers was an educational experience for Teat, who is a Managing Director for the Nehemiah Corporation. “Our plan for Sacramento Steps Forward will definitely help me in the work I do for Nehemiah,’ Teat said. “We took a significant social justice issue like homelessness and tried to distill it down to a few factors and made our recommendations. Taking a complex problem like this and simplifying it is a skill that has been significantly enhanced through my experience as an MBA student at Drexel University.”

Faculty Feature

Changing the Face of Writing
By Rebecca Ingalls, Ph.D., Director of the First-Year Writing Program, Assistant Professor, Department of English & Philosophy

Here at Drexel, Scott Warnock is the Director of the Drexel Writing Center (DWC) and Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC). On the wall of Warnock’s office in the basement of MacAlister is a collage of pieces of yellow lined paper assembled by student Alex Muret (who did a Co-op in the DWC). The collage is a vision of writing at Drexel: a multi-layered map for how writing might, one day, touch almost every corner of the university as a tool for student inquiry and a common ground upon which faculty across the disciplines can stand. In the Drexel Writing Center, several floors beneath the Department of English & Philosophy, Warnock looks around at the “enjoyable challenge and frustration” of his work toward this vision, and he sees both a rhetorical predicament and the “roots” of change.

Coming to this vision has been the synthesis of a personal and professional journey. As with many folks in the field of Composition and Rhetoric, Warnock found inspiring intersections between his work as a professional writer and the theoretical and pedagogical world of writing studies. He spent time working in the press office of Penn Medical Center before getting his Masters Degree in English. He spent two more years working for Slack, Inc., as a medical journalist and editor, where he “wrote about horrific infectious diseases in children, cancer, eye care, and orthopedics.” Warnock then went on to pursue his Ph.D. in English at Temple University. Though he was still freelancing as a medical technical writer, in many ways the transition into academia made sense. His expertise in technical writing would soon lead him toward the cutting edge of the field, writing and technology. “Being a practicing professional writer and getting into Comp/Rhet,” he reflects, “I learned a tremendous amount of that particular writing, and that became a whole twist on how to think about writing and communication. The technical writing got me interested in technical writing at Temple, which got me into technology.” And that developing expertise, along with his developing experience as a WPA, brought Warnock to Drexel. At the time of his hire, he was co-directing a professional writing program at Penn State Lehigh Valley, and the Department of English & Philosophy at Drexel was taking on an initiative to shift some of its first-year writing courses into an online environment. Since coming to Drexel, Warnock has been a leader in the development of hybrid learning in first-year writing.

His leadership in writing and technology extends beyond Drexel and into the vast field of Composition and Rhetoric. Warnock is the author of Teaching Writing Online: How and Why (NCTE, 2009), a book that developed out of five years of maintaining his exemplary blog (now in its ninth year), Online Writing Teacher, where he discusses countless topics related to using technology to teach writing: managing the message board, conducting online peer review sessions, assessment, negotiating formal and informal online writing assignments. Warnock’s book strengthened his reputation in the field as an expert, and he now consults with writing programs at a variety of other institutions about their implementation of technology in writing pedagogy. He has come to deeply appreciate the benefits of these consultations: “Seeing yourself as a visitor, talking to people about the incredible range of experiences for online writing initiatives and the incredible diversity of narratives, helping writing faculty to have a voice—[it’s] part of my professional life and responsibility.” Indeed, Warnock was Drexel’s choice when the institution was taking a hard look at its own use of technology in writing, and so having the chance to work with other schools as they think through the many questions involved is both fascinating and revelatory. Says Warnock with a smile, “I use Drexel as a narrative. I describe the constraints and opportunities at Drexel, and it gets people to dig into their own institutions to ask what about their identities is going to help them.”

On an even larger scale, Warnock has been a critical leader and collaborator on two major projects in the field of Composition and Rhetoric: the WPA-CompPile annotated research bibliography on “Studies Comparing Outcomes Among Onsite, Hybrid, and Fully-Online Writing Courses,” and the Conference on College Composition and Communication’s (CCCC) “Position Statement of Principles and Example Effective Practices for Online Writing Instruction.” Warnock’s CompPile bibliography, the 21st out of 21 total bibliographies thus far, was “a long-term project to compare the educational effectiveness” of face-to-face and online instruction, and it made clear what many in the field already knew, and what becomes particularly important at institutions (like Drexel) that offer hundreds of online portals into education: there is no significant difference in most educational outcomes between face-to-face and online or hybrid instruction. Of course, as with any medium of instruction, online education should be done very well: with attention to the same outcomes shared by all iterations of a course, and with the same standards shared by all in the discipline and at the institution. In light of this argument, the CCCC position statement articulates “15 principles and accompanying effective practices for each.” Warnock served as a co-chair of the twelve-person committee, which received input from “more than 2 dozen ‘expert stakeholders’” and met multiple times—you guessed it—online to discuss the development of the statement. “We tried to craft a ‘descriptive’ document,” explains Warnock. “We're not saying ‘You must do this.’ We’re saying, ‘For people who’ve done it well, this is what seems to work.’” The statement currently serves as a backbone for online writing instruction in the field.

Back on his home turf here at Drexel, Warnock feels very fortunate, even as he thinks steadily and actively about how to make change. “I step back and think about how lucky I am, how good this place has been to me,” he muses. “It’s been a place that’s helped me personally. The dean and the department head have cultivated my specific interests, have groomed me and helped me to succeed. I’ve been able to grow my interests, be supported. And, coming from a traditional English department, I’ve been welcomed by my colleagues and trusted to build programs and ideas, and I work with great people. There’s a lot of opportunity here, and there’s a good vibe. The students are superb, and I’ve made a lot of interdisciplinary friends. I feel very confident in suggesting Drexel as a place to land for people who want to go to school, as a place to work.” With that foundation of appreciation and confidence, one of Warnock’s major focuses is encouraging and supporting faculty across the disciplines to think more strategically about how they can use writing in their classrooms. Certainly, as Director of the DWC, he is witness to the many kinds of writing that students are doing across the disciplines. As the Director of WAC, and with the help of the Faculty Fellows in the DWC who have years of experience as writing teachers, he has established a WAC program at Drexel that aims to create a conversation about writing that is based in the First-Year Writing Program and then radiates outward into students’ intellectual lives as they progress in their Drexel careers. In so doing, he’s making that vision up on his wall an evolving reality, and he’s constantly inspired by the endeavor: “One of the cool things about being in writing is how interdisciplinary it is,” he says. “I would be so much less happy if I didn’t have that. In the DWC, you get to come into contact with all students. And we’re in a university with some very smart people, and we get to talk to them all of the time.”

So what are the next steps for Warnock and all of the “smart people” here at Drexel? “I would like to see the writing mission at Drexel become more cohesive,” he says, pointing back to his vision on the wall. “What you get at is this: The work of writing instruction is so antithetical to the mass production of education. Being at the garden level [his endearing reference to the basement of MacAlister], you look up and see roots. But the visibility is a major issue. You can’t send a blast email saying, ‘Writing is important.’ Having the space and time and personnel to do the work. That’s how you change the face of writing at the university.” Knowing what I know about Warnock, and what I know about writing, I think we’re going to share in the fortune of what changing the face of writing means for this university, its faculty, and the students who study here. And that comprehensive statement on online writing instruction that Warnock helped craft for the field of Composition and Rhetoric? It should be noted that the statement articulates its first principle to be accessibility—that our writing courses, no matter how we deliver them, should accommodate all styles of learning. We can find comfort and confidence in knowing that Warnock’s agenda for writing pedagogy is motivated by that fundamental principle. It speaks highly of the complexity and the compassion of his work.


Reimagining Our Academic Calendar
By Janet Fleetwood, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Strategic Development and Initiatives, Director, Office of Faculty Development & Equity

For the past several months, a University Advisory Committee on the Academic Calendar (UACAC) has been hard at work examining the potential advantages and disadvantages of shifting from the quarter system to a semester system.

The UACAC membership is broad and inclusive (list below), and our meetings have been spirited and informative. All aspects of making such a move have been examined thoroughly.

To determine what calendar is best for Drexel – a unique, urban, experiential, co-op school - the Committee has done research on the impact of quarters and the impact of semesters on student learning. We have engaged Professor Rebecca Clothey from our School of Education to help with the analysis of educational impact. We have also sponsored focus groups of students and of faculty members led by Professor Bill Rosenberg, an expert in qualitative research from our Department of History & Politics, to see what students and faculty think about a potential change to semesters. In addition, the Committee has contacted individuals at other universities that have changed from quarters to semesters, particularly those schools that are co-op schools; analyzed the effect of the change on faculty at other schools by a subgroup led by Barbara Hornum, Chair of the Drexel Faculty Senate; heard from and individually responded to several hundred students who shared their thoughts about a previous email updating the Drexel community on the project; examined the influence of the calendar on a wide array of issues ranging from co-op to study abroad; and, invited interested alums to join our discussions. We have also looked closely at the impact any change would make on Drexel’s budget, and the kind and scale of the efforts such a change would necessitate. Finally, we are considering whether there are other options – aside from moving to semesters – that might make Drexel a better place while preserving our quarter system.

At this point, we are close to having a complete picture of the benefits, costs, and challenges of transitioning to a new calendar and plan to have a recommendation ready by the end of this month. Stay tuned.

UACAC Membership 2012-2013

  • Daniela Ascarelli, Director, Study Abroad Office
  • Jan Biros, Senior Vice Provost, Budget, Planning & Administration
  • Amy Bosio, Vice President for Financial Planning and Student Financial and Registration Services
  • Helen Bowman, Senior Vice President, Finance, Treasurer, & Chief Financial Officer
  • Renee Weiss, Chase Professor, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
  • John Cooke, Associate Dean, Campus Engagement
  • John DiNardo, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
  • Mitch D’Rozario, Vice President, Graduate Student Association
  • Janet Fleetwood, Vice Provost for Strategic Development & Initiatives
  • Adam Fontecchio, Professor and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs, College of Engineering
  • Peter Franks, Vice Provost for Career Education
  • Mark Greenberg, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Lilly Hippel, President, Undergraduate Student Government Association
  • Barbara Hornum, Associate Professor, College of Arts & Sciences, Chair of the Faculty Senate
  • Stacey Kara, Associate Vice President, Finance & Administration
  • Michael Kennedy, Professor and Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Health Professions, College of Nursing and Health Professions
  • Frank Linnehan, Professor and Interim Dean, LeBow College of Business
  • Joan McDonald, Senior Vice President, Enrollment Management
  • Dave Ruth, Dean of Students
  • Ludo Scheffer, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Teaching Professor, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Joan Weiner, Professor, LeBow College of Business

Traveling the Path to Success
By Sandra Golis, Administrative Coordinator, Graduate Studies, with appreciation from Teck-Kah Lim, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost, Graduate Studies

Graduate Student Day Celebration with (left to right) Chris Swim and Jessica Snyder (recipients of OGS Appreciation Awards), Sandra Golis (recipient of the Outstanding Staff Mentor Award), Kavan Hazeli (Highly Commended for Doctoral Research) and Dr. Teck-Kah Lim (recipient of the Outstanding Staff Mentor Award).

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

The Office of Graduate Studies is proud to recognize the graduating Class of 2013 as they continue on the path to greater success!  This year, 150 Doctors of Philosophy, 42 Doctors of Education, 59 Doctors of Physical Therapy, 7 Doctors of Nursing Practice, and 6 Doctors of Public Health graduated.  At the master’s level, 505 students graduated in the summer of 2012, 397 students in the fall of 2012, 351 students in the winter, and 964 students in the spring for a combined total of over 2,200 students.  In addition, the Office of Graduate Studies awarded 5 Research Excellence Awards, 5 Teaching Excellence Awards, 7 Commencement Awards (including  3 Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Awards, 3 Awards for Great Promise to Enhance Drexel’s Reputation, and 1 Outstanding Master’s Graduate Award), and 6 Higher Education Advocate Travel Awards to fund students’ travel back to their previous institutions in order to talk about their research and advocate for graduate education.

As reported earlier, Drexel students won international awards and fellowships and will travel around the world representing the University.  Kristy Jost, a PhD candidate in Materials Science and Engineering, has received the Lindau Award to attend this year’s annual meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany.  Kristy conducts research on smart textiles and, more specifically, wearable energy storage.  Kevin Freedman, a third year doctoral student in Chemical and Biological Engineering, will spend a year at the Imperial College in London, UK for his Whitaker Scholarship and will conduct research on nanopores for biophysics applications.  Josa Hanzlik, a fifth year PhD student in Biomedical Engineering, will work with the researchers of The Orthopaedic Research Laboratory in the Netherlands with her Whitaker Scholarship to create mathematical models to determine the implant or patient factors that increase the amount of bone ingrowth into porous implants.

Seven Drexel students were offered grants from the Fulbright US Student Program, the most in Drexel’s history.  Lauren Forbes, a master’s student in Public Health, will work with the Ethiopian Public Health Association on a project to improve reproductive health services for adolescents.  Elizabeth Manders, a PhD candidate in Creative Arts Therapies, will join a study on autism in Heidelberg, Germany.  Nathan Taylor, a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering, and in conjunction with Kwangmoon University, will travel to South Korea with the purpose of using electrical plasma discharge to treat water contaminated with pollution from fuel extraction.

In addition to student travels, Dr. Teck-Kah Lim, Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Studies, traveled to Malaysia this past fall.  At the bidding of the International Admissions Office, Dr. Lim visited eight colleges and schools in and around Kuala Lumpur, which resulted in 26 students from Malaysia joining Drexel as undergraduate students thus far, compared to two students last year.  Dr. Lim also helped secure Drexel’s first co-op placement in that country.  In addition, he has been asked to make another visit later this year with the objective of recruiting prospective graduate students.

The Drexel Smart Initiatives Program
By Shivanthi Anandan, Ph.D., Diana Nicholas, and Joan Weiner, Ph.D., Co-Directors of the Drexel Smart Initiatives Program

Mike Magee and DSH team members with a Lightweight Green Roof display.

The Drexel Smart Initiatives Program (DSIP) is a multi-disciplinary initiative that grew out of collaboration between the Drexel Smart House student organization and the University. Academically supported by co-directors Diana Nicholas (Westphal College of Media Arts & Design), Joan Weiner (LeBow College of Business) and Shivanthi Anandan (College of Arts & Sciences), the DSIP combines the student-based Drexel Smart House (DSH) organization, the Drexel Smart House located at 35th and Race streets, and the research interests of the Drexel University academic community. This initiative is focused around urban sustainable research with a new significant component being a proposed academic minor.

The new proposed minor, under the aegis of the DSIP initiative, has received support from Westphal College where the program is housed, College of Arts & Sciences, the LeBow College of Business, the iSchool, the College of Engineering, the School of Biomedical Engineering, and the new Close School of Entrepreneurship This minor is currently undergoing review by the Senate Committee for Academic Affairs.

This past April, working with the Academy of Natural Sciences, the DSIP was proud to host notable researcher and environmentalist Dr. David Orr of Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH. Dr. Orr visited the Drexel Smart House with the leaders of the student organization, and gave a talk at the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building where he also reviewed and discussed student projects, such as the lightweight green roof and integrated biomed sensors. Dr. Orr praised the students' efforts and discussed his vision for scalable sustainable development. A featured speaker for the Academy of Natural Sciences later in the same day, Dr. Orr commented at length on the Smart House and how it related to his own work at Oberlin College.

Professor David Orr with Drexel Smart House students Collin Cavote, Joe Massott, and Kevin Malawski (President).

In addition to Dr. Orr, the DSIP also was pleased to host Dr. Ajla Aksamija who leads Perkins+Will Tech Lab, center for research of building technologies, at a lecture and discussion.  Dr. Aksamija’s research expertise includes building science and sustainability, emerging technologies, digital design and representations, information modeling, and high-performance buildings.  She spoke about her work and new book on sustainable building facades, Sustainable Facades: Design Methods for High-Performance Building Envelopes.

In other news, Michael Magee, a junior in the College of Engineering who is working on an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency P3 grant  - People, Prosperity, and the Plant program, which is a unique college competition for designing solutions for a sustainable future that offers students quality hands-on experience that brings their classroom learning to life - has established a Lightweight Green roof installation on an existing roof in Wilmington, DE and has plans to establish an additional prototype on the porch roof of the Drexel Smart House.  Green roofs use plants to block sunlight and capture storm-water, thus reducing solar heat gain while simultaneously mitigating excess storm-water runoff.   Mike’s Lightweight Green Roof is well suited for the local neighborhood due to the low load capacity of the homes in existing housing infrastructure which are not able to support typical green roof designs.  Additional research related to urban sustainability was recently presented at the College of Engineering "E Senior Design" finals.  These projects were funded through DSH Seed Fund Project grants given out on the behalf of the National Collegiate Innovators and Inventors Alliance (NCIIA).

In addition to the news pertaining to Mike Magee, Kevin Malawski, architecture student and president of the Drexel Smart House student organization, recently graduated.  His energy and involvement with Drexel Smart House will be sorely missed, but he will continue as part of the alumni group and in mentoring roles with ongoing activities. 

The DSIP and the DSH will continue their pedagogical trend of helping to educate students about the multifaceted issue of urban sustainable development.  This summer, four STAR students will work on Smart House-based projects.  These students will be connected with faculty mentors in the College of Engineering and the LeBow College of Business.  Furthermore, the first DSIP co-op student has also been recruited to work on all aspects of the DSIP.  Collin Cavote, a custom design major in the Pennoni Honors College, is currently spearheading the first DSIP co-op, helping to ensure the program engages students on all levels.

College & School News

Product Design Students Bring Green Wind Energy Technology Ideas to Paris Competition
By Jeff Hill, Director of Communications, Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design

Product Design students Alexa Forney and Greg Yeutter, minoring in Product Design, were selected as one of the top 25 teams in Schneider Electric’s “Go Green in the City” design challenge. Their top-ranked project, “Wind Power in the Urban Pedestrian Space,” focuses on the benefits and challenges of installing wind power solutions in urban settings. Forney and Yeutter traveled to Paris last month to present their final design solution in competition with the other remaining teams. Participants in the Go Green in the City contest hailed from Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Turkey and the United States.

A major contributing factor to the strong winds that are a fact of life in many of the world’s greatest cities is the difference in surface temperature between the surrounding land and the buildings, roads, and other objects found in cities. At street level, these winds sometimes create an uncomfortable pedestrian environment. Forney and Yeutter explain that this temperature difference creates pockets of pressure that force air to rapidly flow into the city. “The effect is maximized when the city is surrounded by relatively cool natural features, such as large bodies of water and farmland, and when tall buildings funnel wind in many different directions,” the students wrote in their abstract. “Philadelphia is a good example: huge swaths of farmland and ocean are nearby, and there are 24 buildings with heights of over 120 meters, most in close proximity to each other.”

As part of their project, Forney and Yeutter set out to find a way to not only calm strong winds in the pedestrian space, but also convert the wind energy into useful electricity in a manner that adds to the attractiveness and safety of the pedestrian zone. The students’ design incorporates large, flat “sails” strategically suspended over streets, with small wind turbines mounted to existing poles or as part of the same cable suspension. “The clever part of the design is that it will also cut down on strong winds at street level, a problem that plagues many cities,” says Product Design Program Director Michael Glaser, who served as a mentor on the project. He notes that Forney and Yeutter will not present a final design to the Paris competition, but rather a half-completed prototype. An example system installed over two city blocks in Philadelphia, an area of approximately 280m x 40m, includes six turbines suspended in the middle of the street. According to the project abstract, the cost of materials and installation is $30,000 and estimated maintenance costs over 15 years total $10,000.

“The sample system projects to save $117,950 and 3.16x108 kg CO2 in energy costs over a 15-year period,” Glaser says. “It is also a beautiful, sustainable, cost effective way to successfully integrate wind power into the city.”

Besides reduced energy consumption and CO2 production, as well as a positive cost benefit for the city, Forney and Yeutter say there are additional advantages to this design. “The sail and turbine system will not only cut down on powerful winds, but may also provide protection from precipitation and falling objects. Local businesses will benefit, as pedestrians will be attracted to the more comfortable environment. The presence of a beautiful, ecofriendly device in the city will also help convince residents to consider the environment in everyday decisions.”

Schneider Electric is a global specialist in energy management. It’s Go Green in the City is an international case challenge in which business and engineering students develop ideas for intelligent energy management. Teams of two university students, with at least one being a female, studying either business or engineering must propose an idea for intelligent energy management in the city. The top 100 teams get to work together with a mentor from Schneider Electric to develop their ideas further, which is great experience to gain insight into a truly global company. The resulting top 25 teams are flown to Paris for a two-day final, with all finalists guaranteed an interview for an internship with Schneider Electric. The winning team receives an around-the-world trip stopping at Schneider Electric offices, and potential job offers.

An iSchooler Goes International at the Technische Universität Dortmund
By Kerry Boland, Writer/Editor for the College of Information Science and Technology (iSchool)

This summer, Jordan Jobs (pictured) will be the first undergraduate student from the College of Information Science and Technology (iSchool), to attend the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) program, which places undergraduate students from the U.S., Canada and the U.K. in internships in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences and engineering. Upon recommendation from fellowship advisor and assistant director of the Drexel Fellowships Office, Cindy Schaarschmidt, Jobs submitted her application with her top three choices for research projects, which resulted in her earning her top pick to study at the Technische Universität (TU) Dortmund in Dortmund, Germany.

RISE students work with research groups at universities and top research institutions across Germany for a period of two to three months during the summer, where they are matched with doctoral students who serve as their mentors. Under the mentorship of TU Dortmund Ph.D. candidate Falk-Moritz Schaefer, Jobs will be working on a project titled “Home Convergence Networks” which centers on “smart homes” technology. It may seem unusual that Jobs, a sophomore in the iSchool’s B.S. in Information Systems program, would be placed in a project based in TU Dortmund’s electrical engineering department; however, Jobs notes that her background in information systems will provide a unique and important perspective in researching smart home technology. “Although the program is geared towards more ‘hard-science’ disciplines, and my major does not fit the typical RISE Scholar, I was still able to find a project that dealt with information systems under engineering,” says Jobs. “My contributions will be centered on the user of the smart home, and I am very excited to implement what I've learned in my Human Computer Interaction course [at the iSchool] and research beyond that.”

According to the RISE website, the program began in 2005 with internships being offered to 100 applicants from the United States and Canada.  The program was then extended to U.K. students in 2009.  Today’s RISE program, which hosts approximately 300 students, offers stipends to scholarship holders to help cover living expenses, while partner universities and research institutes provide housing assistance.

Despite her demanding research commitments, Jobs is still finding time to explore her foreign surroundings and practice her German. “Germany has already been a great experience,” says Jobs. “Being in another country is surreal, but I'm enjoying every part of it through the food, practicing the language, and appreciating the differences in cultures.”

In addition to study in Germany, Jobs was recently selected to present at the prestigious National Council on Undergraduate Research held at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse this past April.  Her presentation focused on her research (under the mentorship of iSchool faculty members Drs. Prudence Dalrymple, Lisl Zach, and Michelle Rogers) that examines the lack of patient access and effective utilization existing among online health information sources.

Jobs, who recently finished her first co-op at the University Penn Health System as a web design intern, is a 2012 STAR Scholar and has served as an iSchool undergraduate peer mentor since spring 2012.  She is also an active participant in groups around Drexel's campus, such as the Delta Zeta Sorority Epsilon Zeta Chapter, West Indian Student Establishment, and Technology Chair of Drexel's Panhellenic Council, which promotes unity and oversees all the sororities on Drexel’s campus.

Building Awareness about Hepatitis C in Philadelphia
By Ed Federico, Media & Communications Specialist, Drexel University College of Medicine, Department of Marketing & Communications

Did you know hepatitis C (HCV) infection rates may be up to 10 times more prevalent in urban communities than HIV?  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than three million people may be infected with the virus and most of them don’t even know it. But one Philadelphia program is trying to raise awareness about this disease even if it means going door-to-door.

Drexel University College of Medicine’s Stacey Trooskin, M.D., Ph.D. (pictured), assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine, is part of the “Do One Thing, Change Everything” campaign aimed at combating not only HCV, but also HIV in medically underserved communities in Philadelphia.  It’s one of the first of its kind in the country and aims to dramatically stimulate HCV and HIV testing in communities with high rates of infection. The program utilizes a unique mobile lab that offers free, rapid testing for both diseases. “Hepatitis C is a hidden disease in many Philadelphia communities because of misconceptions about the disease and lack of access to testing and care,” says Trooskin.

“This campaign is aimed at tackling both of those issues through the rapid, mobile testing lab and through community education events.” Philadelphia is serving as the campaign’s model city, with plans to have it offered in other cities in the future. 

HCV is a viral infection that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation which prevents the liver from functioning normally. Most infected people don’t know they have the disease because they exhibit no symptoms. In fact, people who have HCV are usually diagnosed with it because liver damage has been detected during a routine exam, sometimes decades after the infection occurs.

HCV can either be acute or chronic. Acute is a short-term illness that occurs within the first six months after someone is exposed to the virus. For most people, acute infection leads to chronic infection. Chronic HCV is long term. This means the virus has remained in a person’s body for quite some time. It can last a lifetime and can lead to serious liver damage, including scarring (cirrhosis) or liver cancer.

“There are so many people who may be infected and simply don’t know it. We are trying to change that. We want people to know their HCV status,” adds Trooskin. “For those at the highest risk, the mobile testing lab is a quick and convenient way to get tested, find out your status, and get linked to care so, if indicated, individuals can begin treatment so HCV doesn’t progress further into liver disease.” Current treatment regimens for those with HCV can cure more than half of those infected, and there are even more effective therapies in the drug development pipeline.

“Do One Thing, Change Everything” volunteers canvassing the streets of a Philadelphia neighborhood to stress the need for HCV testing.
A group of “Do One Thing, Change Everything” volunteers outside of the mobile testing lab in a Philadelphia neighborhood. The lab offers free, rapid testing for both HCV and HIV.

Per the CDC, HCV is usually spread through contaminated blood, most often through shared needles.  This explains why the disease is so prevalent in drug users between the ages of 18 and 30. The virus is also prevalent in the older generation of drug users because blood-borne diseases were poorly understood in the late ’70s and early ’80s. This is the group of people who may not even know they have contracted the virus for years.  Before screening began in 1992, HCV was also spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants; it is rarely spread through sexual contact, but it is possible.  In addition, a mother can pass HCV on to her unborn child.  HCV is not a disease that can be contracted through casual contact.

To learn more about the “Do One Thing, Change Everything” campaign – a collaboration between Drexel University College of Medicine and Brown University School of Medicine – visit the web site by clicking the hyperlink.  Detailed information about upcoming mobile testing sites and education seminars is also available.

The Honors College Graduates Its First Two Custom-Designed Majors
By Erica Levi Zelinger, Communication Specialist, Pennoni Honors College

Kathryn Gardner (CSDN ’13) (left) sat in the basement of a 150-year-old house near Little Egg, N.J., covered in dust and dirt. Staring at a 20-foot lumber beam, a perfectly intact specimen and the main support for this historic house now in disrepair, Kathryn realized that no matter the work she put in or the advice of the architectural firm she was working for, this home – with its well-weathered history – would be demolished if the plans for rehabilitation were more costly than new construction.  Kathryn, 23, of Forked River, N.J., then a dual major in General Studies and Drexel’s part-time architectural program, decided she needed to find a better way to combine her interests in architectural engineering and conservation. “I've never been content with living inside the lines,” Kathryn says.

She actually considered leaving Drexel.  "The disciplinary ideologies in each of the fields I loved here at Drexel left very little wiggle room to actually get your bearing in the world outside of the major.” However, Dr. Scott Knowles, the director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry, was in the final planning stages of the Custom-Designed Major (CSDN) program within the Pennoni Honors College and Kathryn, a motivated and insightful student, was a perfect candidate for the program.

“The Custom-Designed Major tends to attract students who intuitively recognize how different fields of knowledge relate to one another, and how those relations help prepare the student to tackle complex, real-world problems,” says Dr. Kevin Egan, acting director of the CSDN program.  Thus, Kathryn became the first of two students in the CSDN 2013 graduating class. She focused her program on “Architectural Conservation and Sustainable Living.”  An amalgam of architecture, history, environmental policy/sociology, and construction management along with urban studies, sustainable development, and applied science, the major allowed Kathryn, inquisitive and passionate, to spend six months on the 4th floor of the Main Building, working on a case study for her capstone project, “Embodied Energy – Evaluating Historic Structures Through a Lens of Sustainability.”

“The ideal Custom-Designed Major student has an entrepreneurial spirit – not just entrepreneurial in a business sense, but truly entrepreneurial in his or her approach to life,” Egan says. “This student takes risks, actively advocates for herself, and is equal parts ambitious, innovative, and determined.”  Kathryn adds: “This isn't a major where you settle in and follow a plan. It forces you to constantly adapt to the now and challenge yourself to keep expanding your boundaries within the learning field. You have to have an open mind, and you have to be willing to use it. Ingenuity is more than just being clever, it requires a creativity in the application of intellect; and this is where students that belong in CSDN excel.”

With guidance from Egan, Knowles and academic mentor Dr. Mark Brack, Kathryn concluded that Drexel should reconsider the use of the space on the 4th floor.  “The beauty of the space shouldn’t be lost based on the price tag and lack of effort, says Kathryn.”  By repairing windows, floor, woodwork and skylights, and replacing sealants, paint, glass panes and glazing, Drexel could benefit from an additional 10,000 square feet of ancillary space that has been hidden away for more than 20 years.

After graduating, Kathryn will head to New York as the Questers Scholar in Historic Preservation at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.  “CSDN shows you the ropes on navigating multi-discipline (or anti-discipline) learning strategies in a setting that is designed around the silo system of disciplines,” she says. “If you can successfully learn those skills and understand how to overcome the challenges presented, you've learned an advanced level of problem-solving that employers jump at.” 

Kevin Matthews agrees. As the second graduate of the CSDN program, Kevin (right) is already working full-time at the home office of Urban Outfitters.  Kevin, of Reading, MA, transferred into the CSDN program his sophomore year. Kevin’s major, “Global Fashion Industry,” fuses applied education in design with social sciences and humanities.  “I craved an educational track that would allow me to delve into fashion on a more theoretical basis,” says the gregarious and motivated 23-year-old. “I have been working in the industry since I was 16, so I wanted my education to complement my work experience, but also allow me to indulge in the process of research and academic investigation." The custom-designed major allowed Kevin to evaluate the fashion industry using multiple outside lenses to figure out such phenomena such as how fashion occurs and why it changes.


Kevin worked with faculty mentor Dr. Joe Hancock and Egan to discuss curriculum and career objectives. He finished his thesis in December 2012, presented his research at an academic conference and submitted a paper for publication.  In an industry that must bridge art, design and business to stay profitable, Kevin says, the CSDN major allowed him to not only respect different perspectives and ways of thinking, but to work effectively to bridge those gaps and find similarities in different methods of thinking.  “Anyone considering CSDN needs to have a profound respect and unending desire to dig deeper into their education,” Kevin says. “The major itself requires a lot of perseverance and initiative, but also open-mindedness. You have to be comfortable with fluidity.”

Graduating two high-caliber students like Kathryn and Kevin is a testament to all the strengths that Drexel has to offer, says Egan.  “Access to exceptional faculty across the University, a culture that advocates undergraduate research, the co-op experience, and generous institutional support from the Honors College, have all culminated in two great success stories with our first graduates.”

Drexel to Offer Undergraduate Major in Public Health
By Richard Ochab, Director, Marketing & Public Relations, School of Public Health

Drexel University will offer a new major in public health to undergraduate students interested in improving the health and well-being of communities starting in the fall 2013 term.  The pre-professional program at Drexel University is the nation’s only undergraduate public health major offered with an experiential co-op program for students.

The major joins faculty from the School of Public Health and College of Arts and Sciences.  The degree is conferred by the School of Public Health.

“Students enrolling in the major will learn how to better address such local and global concerns as lack of access to clean water, disease outbreaks, infant and maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, natural disasters, violence and health disparities, while also promoting human rights, social justice and health equity,” said John A. Rich, MD, MPH, Interim Dean, Drexel University School of Public Health (left).  “Public health offers diverse and meaningful career opportunities for students after graduation.”

The interdisciplinary program includes a public health-oriented co-op experience, as well as a culminating three-course capstone during their senior year.  Students declaring the major will enroll in a wide-variety of courses that includes general university education, physical and life sciences, social sciences, public health required courses and electives. 

The School of Public Health works with hundreds of community partners to offer students real-world experience as part of their curriculum.  In fact, students accrue more than 70,000 hours annually gaining practical experience directly with their community partners.  Several students this past year participated in public health projects overseas in The Gambia and India, while others addressed local concerns at partnering organizations within the Philadelphia region.

“We are seeing more Drexel University students interested in making a meaningful difference in the health and lives of communities across the globe,” said Shannon P. Márquez, PhD, MEng, an associate dean and the director of the Global Public Health Initiative at the School of Public Health.  “The major degree program allows students to learn the best public health approaches to addressing some of our society’s most pressing concerns.”

Co-ops at Drexel University are different than traditional internships in that they usually last significantly longer, the practical experience is always related to the major, and students receive academic credit that is included on their academic transcript.

The faculty participating in the degree program reflect the diversity of the curriculum with expertise and research in public health history, ethics, emergency preparedness, environmental impacts on health, public health infrastructure, maternal and child health, violence and human rights.

The major degree builds on the undergraduate minor degree in public health, which was started by the School of Public Health in the fall 2011.

“Our community-collaborative approach fosters leadership and provides opportunities for students to learn real-world skills that sets them apart upon graduation,” said Jennifer Breaux, DrPH, MPH, CHES, director of undergraduate public health programs and an assistant professor at the School of Public Health.


Developments in Assessment
By Stephen L. Di Pietro, Associate Vice Provost, University Assessment Operations, Office of the Provost

As previously announced, Institutional Research, Assessment and Effectiveness (IRAE) will provide ongoing professional development opportunities for faculty and administrators in the area of student outcomes assessment beginning with the 2013-2014 academic year. Commencing this October, workshops will be offered on a variety of topics, as listed below:

  • How To Develop Course Level Outcomes
  • Developing Direct Assessments of Course Level Outcomes/DSLP’s
  • How To Develop Program Level Outcomes
  • Developing Direct Assessments of Program Level Outcomes/DSLP’s
  • The Development and Use of Rubrics
  • Curriculum Mapping
  • Using Reflective Analysis as Part of Your Assessment Plan
  • Integrating the DSLP’s into Your Curriculum
  • AEFIS Training – offered monthly by AEFIS Management
  • Portfolios as Effective Assessment Tools
  • How to Envision and Align Course-Embedded Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) with Program Level Outcomes. 
  • How To Assess University Student Life/Campus Activities
  • How to Use Hyperion to Generate Robust and Useful Data Reports

All pertinent workshop information will be available on the Assessment website http://www.drexel.edu/provost/institutional_research/assessment/ this September where those interested can register and receive automatic confirmation.  Please contact Steve DiPietro at sld343@drexel.edu with ideas pertaining to additional workshops, express interest in delivering a workshop, or to obtain additional information.

Assessment Newsletter

Look for the development of a quarterly newsletter on assessment, teaching and learning to be launched beginning in Winter Term of the 2013-2014 academic year. The newsletter will contain such features as best practices, new technologies, conference and presentation information, letters to the editor, featured faculty, and results.  Please contact Steve DiPietro at sld343@drexel.edu with thoughts or ideas on this project.

September 2013 Conference on Evidence-Based Learning: Insights and Experiences
By Jan Biros, Ed.D., Senior Vice Provost for Budget, Planning & Administration, Office of the Provost

Drexel University’s Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Effectiveness, Office of Information Resources and Technology, and the Drexel Center for Academic Excellence will sponsor a one-day workshop on September 11, 2013 entitled “Evidence-Based Learning: Insights and Experiences.” In this changing higher education environment with escalating tuition costs and increasing demands for accountability and return on investment, it is essential that a framework of essential tools and resources are developed and utilized for conducting effective assessment and that results are disseminated and used to improve education.

The Evidence-Based Learning: Insights and Experiences conference will offer presentations, panel discussions, and opportunities to discuss the importance of linking assessment and instruction, critical to effective learning.  Sessions will include an assessment primer for those new to formal assessment techniques, information about tools and techniques for conducting effective direct assessment, and sessions on the Program Alignment and Review (PAR) process currently underway.  In addition, this conference will provide the opportunity to learn more about integrating the Drexel Student Learning Priorities (DSLPs) into courses and programs and determining if they are truly being acquired and assimilated.  Attendees will leave with tools and techniques that can easily be incorporated into courses in order to better assess student performance and outcome attainment.

Dr. Robert Dickeson will be the conference’s keynote speaker.  He will speak on “Adapting to a Changing Environment: Why We Need to do Program Reviews-An Economic Storm and Possibilities” and will discuss three aspects of his work with evidence-based learning: the continuing need to demonstrate results in our academic programs; eight trends in using metrics in higher education; and, a new scoring rubric for assessing program effectiveness, efficiency and centrality.

Dr. Dickeson is the President Emeritus of the University of Northern Colorado.  From 2000 to 2005, he was co-founder and senior vice president of Lumina Foundation for Education where he led the national initiative on college costs, based on his monograph, Collision Course: Rising College Costs Threaten America’s Future and Require Shared Solutions (Lumina Foundation, 2004).  His book, Prioritizing Academic Programs and Services (Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1999, 2010) was based on his extensive consulting experiences including serving several hundred two- and four-year private and public colleges as well as corporations ranging from hospitals to bank holding companies.

Ongoing informal and formal assessment – in and out of the classroom – is the bond that holds teaching and learning together and necessary to gauge student learning and understand their experiences.  Please plan to register and attend this important conference, which will take place in the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Center.   A “Call for Proposals” has been sent and more information about conference specifics will be made available in the near future.  Please contact Joanne Robinson, jsr55@drexel.edu, if you would be interested in presenting, added to the conference agenda, or with any questions you may have.

2014 Drexel Regional Conference on Assessment, Teaching and Learning
By Stephen L. Di Pietro, Associate Vice Provost, University Assessment Operations, Office of the Provost

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. The September 10, 2014 conference theme is “Myths & Movements - Re-imagining Higher Education Assessment.” While currently in the planning phase, participants identified thus far are Dr. Peggy L. Maki and Dr. Steven D. Hales. Dr. Maki is a higher education consultant who specializes in assisting institutions integrate assessment of student learning into educational practices, processes and structures. Formerly Senior Scholar and Director of Assessment at the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE), she has conducted over 250 workshops on assessment both in the U.S. and abroad. Her articles on assessing student learning have appeared in AAHE’s Bulletin, Change Magazine, The Journal of Academic Librarianship, NetResults, Assessment Update, and AAHE’s Inquiry and Action series. Dr. Hales is a noted skeptic of outcomes assessment. A professor of philosophy at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, he works primarily in metaphysics, epistemology, and popular philosophy, Dr. Hales was a past winner of Bloomsburg University’s Outstanding Teaching Award and was recently Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Philosophy, School of Advanced Study, University of London.

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 to come. A “Save the Date” will be sent early this fall and a website published that will provide all of the information pertaining to the conference – the full schedule, plenary and keynote speakers, debate participants, hotel information and registration.

Drexel Center for Academic Excellence Starts New Tradition Highlighting Innovations in Teaching at Drexel
By Allison Keene, Administrative Coordinator, Drexel Center for Academic Excellence (DCAE), with appreciation from Barbara Hornum, Ph.D., DCAE Director, Office of the Provost

Last month, the Drexel Center for Academic Excellence (DCAE) hosted the First Annual Showcase of Teaching, aimed at highlighting the innovative teaching practices used by Drexel faculty members across all disciplines.  The event included more than 70 presenters, and each college or school was represented. Starting at 10:00 a.m., the event hosted two sessions of five concurrent roundtables, and a two-hour poster session.   The Office of the Provost sponsored the plenary lunch, which featured Distinguished Professor of English Dr. Paula Marantz Cohen, who spoke about “What I Have Learned in 30 Years of University Teaching.”  Following the lunch, there were two more sets of concurrent roundtable discussions and a second, two-hour poster session.

During the event, participants were asked to rate the top three posters from both the morning and afternoon sessions.   For the morning session, first place went to Kevin Scoles, College of Engineering, for his poster entitled “Enhancing Spatial Visualization Skills Online.”  Second place went to Meshagae Hunte-Brown, College of Arts & Sciences, for “The Accidental Learning of the Disengaged Student.”  Third place belonged to Steven Peitzman, College of Medicine, with his poster “History of Medicine in a Day and a Walk.”  Winners for the afternoon session include Mitchell D’Rozario, a Ph.D. student in the College of Arts & Sciences, who took home first place with “Teaching Workshops for Graduate Students.”  Albert Tedesco and Dave Culver, from Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, won second place with their poster “The Marconi Lab:  A ‘Hands-On’ Experience Designed to Teach Non-Technical TV Management Graduate Students the Physics and Romance of Telecommunications.”  Kevin Smith, a Ph.D. student from the College of Arts and Sciences, took third place with his poster entitled From the Lab to the Field: Expanding the Role of Experiential Learning.”   All session abstracts and a full list of presenters and links to posters are available on the DCAE website http://drexel.edu/dcae/workshops/showcase/

The DCAE is thankful to everyone who presented and participated in this year’s event.   As a university that continues to pursue innovative teaching strategies, it will continue to highlight the strides faculty are making in the classroom, and it looks forward to hosting the Second Annual Showcase of Teachingin Spring 2014.

In addition to the Showcase, the DCAE played host to the Tri-State Teaching and Learning Consortium, holding the group’s Spring meeting this past May.  Representatives from Temple University, Widener University, Rider University, the University of Delaware and Delaware State University were on hand to discuss their respective teaching and learning centers and the possibility of future intercollegiate collaborations and co-sponsored workshops for faculty from multiple universities.  The group will reconvene at the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education (POD) Conference in early November to begin to lay the groundwork for future collaborations.  The POD Conference will take place in Pittsburgh.

The end of Spring also marked the close of the DCAE’s first year of Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs). Throughout this time, the DCAE sponsored five FLCs where participants across multiple disciplines engaged in scholarship and an exchange of ideas regarding a particular topic related to teaching and learning.  Sample topics included “Teaching with Technology”, “Online Teaching and Learning” and “Working with International Students: Challenges and Opportunities.”  Due to positive feedback received from previous FLC members and facilitators, the DCAE will once again sponsor five FLCs during the 2013-2014 academic year.  Multiple applications for both new topics and continuations of previous topics have already been received.  Following a peer-review process, the selected topics will be announced to the Drexel community and the application process will open in Fall 2013.

Please visit the DCAE website www.drexel.edu/dcae for more information on future events, workshops and initiatives.  Questions can also be forwarded to the DCAE e-mail address, dcae@drexel.edu.

Faculty Panel on Time Management
By Maria Gritz, former Senior Academic Coordinator, Office of Faculty Development & Equity, with appreciation from Janet Fleetwood, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Strategic Development and Initiatives, Director, Office of Faculty Development & Equity, Office of the Provost

This past May, Drexel faculty from various schools and colleges gathered for a Faculty Panel on Time Management, co-sponsored by the Office of Faculty Development & Equity and the Office of Faculty Affairs & Professional Development at the College of Medicine. The presentation was launched by Michele Kutzler, Ph.D., Assistant Dean of Faculty Affairs & Professional Development, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Assistant Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, College of Medicine, who, along with the panel, presented insights, best practices and tips about time management,, highlighted special resources, and responded to individual questions from the participants.  

Loni Philip Tabb, Ph.D. presents her tips for time management to her fellow panelists and Drexel faculty members.

Panelists – including Nily Dan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Chemical & Biological Engineering, College of Engineering; Donna Murasko, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences; Nancy Spector, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Associate Chair of Education & Faculty Development, College of Medicine, and Residency Program Director, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children; and Loni Philip Tabb, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, School of Public Health  –  presented their top five tips on time management, highlighted special resources, and responded to individual questions from the participants.

To access the materials associated with this event, including tips from the panelists and recommended readings, please click here.  If you have any questions about this event, please contact the Office of Faculty Development & Equity at fde@drexel.edu.

Program Alignment and Review Update
By Stephen L. Di Pietro, Associate Vice Provost, University Assessment Operations, Office of the Provost

The pilot cycle for the first five departments to undergo the Program, Alignment and Review (PAR) process launched this past fall is now complete.  The Business and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, English and Philosophy, Chemical Engineering, and Physics self-study teams have submitted extensive self-study reports and met with external reviewers of exceptional scholarship and reputation.  Recommendations made by the external review teams will lead to action items developed by the Provost and each respective dean.  One of the pilot chairs made the following observation, “…this process will be transformative for all the programs involved, and is perhaps among the most important initiatives that Drexel has launched.”

Fifteen departments have been identified to begin the PAR process this fall, self-study teams identified, and an orientation held.  For more information on all PAR activities, visit http://www.drexel.edu/provost/par/.

Online Learning Council Fellows
By Allen C. Grant, Ph.D., Assistant Clinical Professor, Program Director for Educational Administration, Program Director for the Ed.D./Philadelphia Area, School of Education (with contributions from Fellows Frances Cornelius, Ph.D., Judith Giering, Ph.D., Karyn Holt, Ph.D., Marlin Killen, Ph.D., Raymond Lum, Ph.D., Linda Marion, Ph.D., and John W. Via, Ph.D.)

The mission of the Online Learning Council Fellows (the Fellows) is to serve as ambassadors and champions of the Online Learning Council (OLC) to the larger Drexel community.  The Fellows are comprised of eight faculty and instructional designers who have served as Ambassadors to the Online Learning Council to promote institutional transformation through program development and delivery, training, consultation, planning, outreach, and support of the efforts of the OLC and its subcommittees.  These services are customized and can be utilized at any point in the continuum—in the early development of a course or when reviewing/updating an existing program or course.

The Fellows program launched at the inception of the 2012-2013 academic year, with the goal of designing a high quality and collegial course review process through implementation of the exceptional work completed by various subcommittees of the Online Learning Council in prior years.  The review process has evolved to include self-review and peer review using an OLC created rubric, as well as full course reviews using the Quality Matters rubric.  To date, the Fellows have reviewed more than 30 courses across various schools and colleges of the University. 

It became clear that the work of the Fellows needed to expand to include projects designed to assist the Drexel community in creating and designing high quality course content prior to the review process.  The Fellows collaborated in the development of two self-paced online courses: Drexel University Core Design Element Checklist and New Online Faculty Training.  These courses run in webinar and in ‘face-to-face’ formats.  The Fellows have also planned, facilitated and presented numerous workshops and brown-bag sessions within the academic enterprise (Core Design Element Checklist, July 2012; Creating a Culture of Assessment, August 2012; e-Learning 3.0 conference, March 2013; and, Raising the Bar: Online Quality, April 2013). To highlight the work of the OLC and OLC Fellows on a global stage, seven Fellows presented 3 peer-reviewed papers at the 7th Annual International Technology, Education and Development conference in Valencia, Spain this past March.

The Fellows program continues to develop as the various units of the University align to President Fry's Strategic Plan.  A recently completed project involved the development of short video clips designed to assist both veteran and novice online educators in developing strategies for quality online teaching.  Likewise, the Fellows are working with the Learning Assessment and Evaluation team, led by Steven DiPietro, to not only help plan and contribute to the September 2013 Assessment Conference, but also to help put assessment initiatives into practice following the conference.   Another important effort involves current conversations around academic integrity, which includes the exploration of opportunities for conducting research related to academic integrity, collaborating with specific faculty to develop online/technology classroom-based cases on academic integrity and collecting data from a broad group of faculty on academic integrity design and teaching practices. 

The core function of the Fellows remains the collegial peer review of online courses for the Drexel Community.  For those interested in starting a conversation about course design or any other issues surrounding online teaching and learning, please visit the Fellows online at http://www.drexel.edu/inspire/

Research Connections: A Faculty Destination in W. W. Hagerty Library
By Jennifer James Lee, Marketing and Events Associate, Libraries

Drexel faculty now have a place in the W. W. Hagerty Library to connect with other researchers, retreat for a quiet respite to read, or find a change of scenery to grade papers.  In early March, the Libraries unveiled the “Research Connections” room, with the intent of fostering cross campus connections among faculty and researchers.  Located on the second floor of the library, the renovated space offers 12 comfortable and mobile chairs, a white board, a projector and a phone with conferencing capabilities.   The room is available for faculty use between 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and can also be reserved for collaborative meetings.

Drexel faculty interested in getting more information about Research Connections or making a reservation should contact the Libraries Administrative Office at 215-895-2750.

Global Drexel: Engaging and Celebrating our International Campus Community
By Adam Zahn, Program Coordinator, Office of International Programs, with appreciation from Julie Mostov, Ph.D., Vice Provost, Global Initiatives, International Programs, Office of the Provost

The Office of International Programs (OIP) continues to develop programs that celebrate the robust, growing international campus community at Drexel University and within Philadelphia. This city has always been a hub for international diversity and multiculturalism, and the OIP is proud to present academic initiatives and programming for international and domestic students and faculty at Drexel University and showcase the diverse experiences and exchanges within our communities and in the classroom.

This past spring, OIP launched a pilot program of six Global Classrooms led by Drexel faculty members and their counterparts abroad.  These global classrooms engage Drexel students with students at one of our international partner universities through a range of on-line and electronic technologies, and address global challenges and solutions.  With new and continuing global classrooms each term, the goal is for all students to have an opportunity to participate in such a class and collaborate with their international peers.  By engaging with students overseas, OIP is bringing the study abroad experience directly into the classroom. OIP is currently seeking applications for upcoming Global Classrooms in the Fall Term.

Anne Cecil, Program Director, Design & Merchandising, presents “Introduction to Global Classrooms” on her ongoing collaboration with City University Hong Kong to faculty and staff at one of OIP’s Faculty Forums.

During the past academic year, OIP supported Global Classrooms with partner universities such as the City University of Hong Kong, Ahemdabad University in India, Hebrew University and the Palestinian Center for Policy Survey Research in Jerusalem, Ben Gurion University in the Negev, and IUAV in Venice, Italy. Some of these initiatives may evolve into “face-to-face” international experiences and all create vibrant international campus-community experiences here at Drexel.

Our recently launched Student Global Advisory Board (S-GAB) is comprised of 30 outstanding graduate and undergraduate students from across the University who are passionate about international opportunities and programming at Drexel.  The S-GAB students also seek to strengthen international ties among the campus community.  S-GAB member and international student from Uzbekistan, Nozima Botirovia (CoAS), partnered with OIP to organize a “Cross Country Conversation” entitled “’Confessions’ of International Students.”  This event featured both international and domestic students discussing their respective experiences at Drexel University and abroad, and fostered cross-culture communication and understanding, highlighting the challenges and advantages of being an international student.

Looking ahead, this fall the OIP will again sponsor the celebration of the United Nations International Day of Peace.  In partnership with Peace Day Philly and the American Society of Media Photographers, OIP will open its first exhibition in the James E. Marks Intercultural Center, a campus venue located at 33rd and Chestnut Street for events, speakers, workshops, exhibitions, and programs that foster cultural and religious respect and understanding among all groups.  The exhibition will feature the work of top Philadelphia photographers demonstrating the international diversity of Philadelphia’s communities.  OIP will also hold various events during the month of September that pay tribute to the theme of global justice and peace, and will join in Global Philly 2013™ celebrations through October.

The panel of Drexel students shares their experiences moderated by Dr. Gabriella Ibieta.

For more information on OIP programming, or to apply for our next round of Global Classrooms, please visit the OIP website at www.drexel.edu/international, or contact Adam Zahn, Program Coordinator, at alz26@drexel.edu.

An Update on Faculty Portfolios
Jan Biros, Ed.D., Senior Vice Provost for Budget, Planning, and Administration, Office of the Provost, and Danuta A. Nitecki, Ph.D., Dean of Libraries

The Faculty Portfolio application is available for any Drexel faculty member to create and maintain a profile of academic achievements.   “By spring 2014, faculty will be expected to have a profile in the system with data for at least the last three years of accomplishments,” notes Provost Mark GreenbergAssistance in preparing and updating profiles is available through the Libraries.   This summer and fall, orientations and hands-on sessions will be scheduled with academic departments, and library liaisons will be available for consultations.  

In Fall 2012, Drexel contracted with Thomson Reuters to develop the Faculty Portfolio program – a campus enterprise system that centrally gathers data about faculty academic accomplishments.  The database will become a rich resource for identifying faculty with similar research interests, assembling information for merit and promotion reviews, and analyzing Drexel’s academic record in comparison to other institutions.

A faculty advisory group has assisted the project team of technical programmers, librarians, and user support staff to configure and tailor the Thomson Reuter product, Research in View, for effective use at Drexel.   Faculty members participating in the five pilot Program and Alignment and Review self-study teams were the first to use the system in early February.   A “soft launch” opened the system to others in March.  Work will continue to further tailor the tool to Drexel’s needs and the technical group has already successfully programmed downloads of faculty biographical information from Banner into the Faculty Portfolio database.

Liaison Librarians will schedule additional workshops to guide faculty on how to create their profiles and are negotiating data entry assistance with departments.  A video overview of the program, created with assistance from the iSchool, is available for future promotion and instructional sessions.  As of mid-April, 67 faculty portfolios have been entered in the system.  

During the course of the months ahead, additional improvements to the tool will include a means of transferring data from Banner for course and HR position information, a transfer of data to web sites, improved data categories for creative expressions and grants, customized report templates, and more.   For more information, contact Jan Biros at biros@drexel.edu or Danuta Nitecki at dan44@drexel.edu.  To get started on building your Faculty Portfolio, go to https://drexel.researchinview.thomsonreuters.com/.  For more information or to see an informational video about Faculty Portfolios, please visit the Libraries website, http://library.drexel.edu/facultyportfolios.


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