Letter from the Provost - Winter 2013
Letter from the Provost - Winter 2013

A Settlement of Snow

Last year at this time, I shared with you Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Mont Blanc.” Since your reception of Shelley’s great poem and its message were so gratifyingly strong last year, my gift to you again this year are lines (cited later in this message) from another fine meditation on winter: Richard Wilbur’s “Year’s End.” I encourage you to ponder this ode on the passage of time and how we mark it, reprinted below. As we emerge from the Holiday season to begin another term, days are short, temperatures chill, and we know that this is but the middle term of the Drexel academic year. Nevertheless, ideas bubble up, life moves on at a clip, and new challenges emerge from the apparent barrenness and cold of the season. We desire what we cannot have: certainty and order; ironically, these may only emerge from our reflections occasioned by year’s end.

Deans Searches

During this winter, our colleagues are helping narrow the field for two very important deans’ searches. The LeBow College of Business Search Committee, ably chaired by Dean Roger Dennis, Earle Mack School of Law, is conducting preliminary interviews with a dozen candidates as I write. Our goal is for this process to result in three finalists being identified during the winter and a new dean named late in this season. Dean Gloria Donnelly, College of Nursing and Health Professions, is chairing our search for a new dean for the School of Public Health, a maturing academic unit developed over the past decade by Dean Marla Gold and characterized by exceptional faculty dedicated to improving human wellbeing. Recently charged by President Fry and me, we expect to name a new dean during the spring.

Strategic Plans

Our University and Academic Strategic Plans, having been approved by our Trustees, are fully under way. President Fry has asked that the implementation of the Strategic and Master Plans, like their development, be a responsibility shared and overseen by those involved with it, including faculty, administrators, and staff. Consequently, we have established eight task forces, involving some 85 stakeholders, to develop specific initiatives, budget to support the work, and metrics for tracking progress. Task forces meet with the President and me quarterly to report on progress. The first such meetings are currently in progress.

Program Alignment and Review Process

During Spring, 2012, our Office established a standing Program Alignment and Review (PAR) Committee, composed of senior faculty, deans, and senior staff from the Office of the Provost and chaired by me. Its mission is to oversee ongoing review of all Drexel academic programs and also to review duplication or misalignments of programs across the University. It will advise me regarding fundamental academic priorities and recommend, systematically and strategically, based on its findings, resource allocation to fund improvements and, in some cases, program elimination. Our goal is to drive excellence and impact in teaching, learning, research, and creative work.


All Drexel academic units (typically, departments) will be reviewed on a five-year cycle. Reviews will involve an intensive self-study, followed by evaluative visits from experts in each discipline, asked to assess all aspects of enrollment, teaching, research, and culture in each unit and to recommend specific ways in which we can improve the unit. Five full-scale pilot reviews are currently taking place in the following departments: English & Philosophy; Physics; Business and Engineering; Chemical Engineering; and, Mechanical Engineering.

We have developed a handbook to help guide the process, with detailed objectives, questions, and procedures articulated, and have held workshops with faculty involved to ensure rigor and comprehensiveness in reviews. Meanwhile, I am addressing faculty in each College or School about why we are engaging in this process, the outcomes desired, and how the process will lead to measurable improvements.


Where there exists duplication or thematic overlap among academic programs or joining of disparate disciplines for no apparent academic reasons, PAR is empowered to review and recommend actions that will create optimal alignments, consolidations, or greater coordination—all aimed at increasing Drexel’s impact on learning and discovery. Instruction and research in Computing, spread across at least five colleges and schools, is one example of an opportunity to re-think where and how we offer instruction; a single department that conjoins anthropology, sociology, communications, criminal justice, and foreign languages, another.

PAR’s first recommendation regarding program alignment was to return the School of Education to independent status and to re-imagine the role of Goodwin College. The Provost concurring, and following discussions with the faculty in each unit, the School of Education is now again free-standing, reporting to the Provost, and two task forces have been formed. The first is dedicated to re-imagining the SoE and its unique role in urban education; the second is focused on Goodwin as extension/professional education portal.

Are Quarters The Best Way to Organize Learning?

Academic excellence is driving the conversation, and a broadly-representative group is meeting to investigate and discuss this ancient question. It includes representatives from Student Life, Senate, Enrollment Management, Co-op, and the Provost’s Office. We are learning about other quarter-calendar schools that have changed to semesters and will be surveying faculty, students, alumni, and staff regarding their views about Drexel making such a move. We recognize that this will entail a great amount of work; our fundamental question centers on whether the return on this investment merits undertaking it.

Winter Enrollment: Access to Drexel

Many other distinguished universities have developed admissions programs designed to prepare students who just miss their admissions criteria to join an academic unit designed to prepare them to matriculate. The best such programs are described by universities like Tulane and Boston University as having the characteristics of an “honors program”—featuring small classes, a cohorted approach to a specific curriculum rich in writing and computational content, dedicated space, and close advising. The success of these programs over time in preparing students to “mainstream” at their respective universities convinces us that we could develop a year-long program to serve this population at Drexel. The increasingly-rigorous academic benchmarks Drexel requires for regular admission to the freshman class causes a number of able students, desirous of a Drexel education, to go elsewhere, often to community colleges, and then to reapply to transfer to Drexel. Designing this program from scratch allows us to craft a curriculum, taught by Drexel faculty, and overseen by someone with vast experience in educating Drexel undergraduates, Professor Patricia Russell, with faculty from the College of Arts & Sciences selected by Dr. Russell and approved by Dean Donna Murasko. Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs John DiNardo is supervising this project, and a task force including representatives from Student Life, Enrollment Management, and the Provost’s Office, is developing this program for launch in January, 2014.

Convening Family Events

Many convening events bring us together, and I was delighted to invite my colleagues and their families to attend two Drexel Basketball games sponsored by my office along with Drexel Athletics. I hope you are able to accept my invitation to join me and my family at one or both of them. Consider this a post-Holidays gift and an invitation to join with other faculty and staff in supporting our great Drexel athletes. With both teams coming off historic seasons, the 2012-2013 Drexel Dragons men’s and women’s basketball seasons promise to be nothing but exciting.

On Saturday, January 5, 2013 – Men’s Basketball takes on Towson at 4:00 PM, with Dragons junior Frantz Massenat named the league’s Preseason Player of the Year and sophomore Damion Lee a First Team Preseason All-CAA pick.

On Sunday, February 3, 2013 – Women’s Basketball will face Georgia State at 2:00 PM, with senior Hollie Merson, a Second Team All-CAA performer last season, named to the Preseason First Team All-CAA.

For these events, interested Drexel Faculty/Staff member receive one free ticket for her or himself and one guest ticket (for those age 13 and over), as well as unlimited free tickets for children under 12.


All that I have described, the effort, the accomplishments, the failures and successes, all obtain meaning upon the reflection which this time of year calls forth. That’s why the frozen and still winter so appeals to poets. As Richard Wilbur’s poem observes about year’s end,

"These sudden ends of time must give us pause. / We fray into the future, rarely wrought / Save in the tapestries of afterthought."

May your winter days be filled with new imaginings, winter quiet that “still allows some stirring down within.”


Year’s End
By Richard Wilbur (b. 1921)

Now winter downs the dying of the year,  
And night is all a settlement of snow;
From the soft street the rooms of houses show  
A gathered light, a shapen atmosphere,  
Like frozen-over lakes whose ice is thin  
And still allows some stirring down within.

I’ve known the wind by water banks to shake
The late leaves down, which frozen where they fell  
And held in ice as dancers in a spell  
Fluttered all winter long into a lake;  
Graved on the dark in gestures of descent,  
They seemed their own most perfect monument.

There was perfection in the death of ferns   
Which laid their fragile cheeks against the stone  
A million years. Great mammoths overthrown  
Composedly have made their long sojourns,  
Like palaces of patience, in the gray
And changeless lands of ice. And at Pompeii

The little dog lay curled and did not rise  
But slept the deeper as the ashes rose
And found the people incomplete, and froze  
The random hands, the loose unready eyes  
Of men expecting yet another sun
To do the shapely thing they had not done.

These sudden ends of time must give us pause.  
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
More time, more time. Barrages of applause  
Come muffled from a buried radio.
The New-year bells are wrangling with the snow.

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.



This past September, environmental science students hit the ground running in Drexel’s new Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science (BEES). Located in the College of Arts and Sciences, the new department brings together Drexel’s headline-making environmental science faculty with the impressive researchers of the Academy of Natural Sciences. Dr. Jerry Mead is an assistant scientist and section leader of the Watershed and Systems Ecology Section of the Academy—and an assistant research professor in the new BEES department. Below, Mead shares the excitement of introducing students to the diverse possibilities of the field.

by Jerry Mead, Ph.D., Assistant Research Professor
Biodiversity Earth and Environmental Science, Academy of Natural Sciences

One of the most difficult things in life is to identify your calling, place, or future career. It could be anything: doctor or lawyer, stay-at-home dad or mom, truck driver, or even the President of the United States. Finding this place can be difficult, but it is well worth the search. My first Drexel class, ENVS 101: Introduction to Environmental Science, is for students who are just starting the journey, who believe they want to become environmental scientists, but who aren’t yet sure what that might mean.

Students in ENVS 101 started with an introduction to the basics of environmental science research, including hands-on lessons in the many sampling devices used in the field—everything from surveying equipment to the large hoop nets used to catch fish and turtles. Students also learned the basics of recording their data in field notebooks and protecting the delicate monitoring equipment used to survey and evaluate water quality.

In the months that followed, our class geared up for the field every Thursday and Friday (in the spirit of the BEES motto “Experiential Learning, Early and Often”). Along the way, they established what will surely be long-lasting friendships, and experienced the many joys (and dirty clothes) of being an environmental scientist. Before each trip, I lectured about the goals of our upcoming field experience and its larger importance to environmental science. Students would tumble off the bus, break into teams of three or four, get their gear and dive in—and they were great at that. One of my biggest jobs was making sure they completed each activity on time; they were just having so much fun in the field.

These trips required a lot of preparation, but Teaching Assistant Kevin Smith and BEES Operations Manager Roger Thomas put everything into motion. I often called upon additional expertise from colleagues at the Academy, like Dr. Tracy Quirk, who helped with marsh ecology trips, and Dr. Richard Horwitz, Paul Overbeck and David Keller, who assisted with fish collection and identification. Frank Anderson from my staff was also happy to help us with the stream ecology field trip. We splashed into Darby Creek sampling algae, macroinvertebrates and fish, and then used measurements of the physical and chemical conditions of the sites to understand how and why certain aquatic life lived in particular habitats within the stream. This concept of the distribution of organisms along environmental gradients (e.g., low to high intensities of light in the forest and differences in stream/lake depth, temperature, or dissolved oxygen) was one of the overarching themes in the course and was emphasized in almost every lab.

Some of our other field excursions brought us out to places like Tinicum marsh near the airport (pictured at left), where we cored soils and measured vegetation; Edgewood Lake in FDR Park, where we collected fish from an electro-fishing boat to examine the impact of the invasive Northern Snakehead fish on the ecosystem; and, into the forest to sample soils and measure the rate of water infiltrating the ground to assess storm water control in cities.

The students in this first class of the new BEES department were a joy to teach. I can see the power and place for this program at Drexel, particularly after witnessing the impact of experiential learning on the success of our majors thus far.

A field excursion brought us out to places like Tinicum marsh near the airport (pictured), where we cored soils and measured vegetation.

My hope is that many of these students will hear a calling for environmental science and decide early on to make it the focus of their college careers. I believe that passion and purpose go hand-in-hand and can transform any student into a deeply engaged scholar.

BEES Teaching Assistant Kevin Smith said recently, “I cannot wait to see how well these students perform on their co-op. They often come into field work inexperienced, but these students will be ready to go from day one.” And, that is what we want for all of our students in the environmental science program at Drexel; the knowledge and experience to succeed from day one.

College of Medicine to Address Urban Health Equity
by Rachel Sparrow
Media & Public Relations Director, Drexel University College of Medicine

As part of its commitment to improve access and quality of healthcare for underserved populations, Drexel University College of Medicine has created a new Office of Urban Health Equity, Education and Research. The office will be led by Ana E. Núñez, M.D., professor of medicine and the director of the college’s Women’s Health Education Program, as well as principal investigator of its National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health.

“Regrettably, health inequities are prevalent,” said Núñez. “Whether it’s age, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual minority, immigrant, single-parent household status, etc., not everyone has access to the same level of health education and health care delivery. As innovative as the Philadelphia health care community is in terms of research, medical school curricula, and health care delivery, we can still promote our excellence to a higher level by improving our outreach to and engagement with the communities we serve.”

Ana E. Núñez, M.D.
Professor of Medicine
Drexel University College of Medicine

A national leader in community engagement, Núñez is currently the principal investigator on a community-centered initiative funded by the Department of Health & Human Services called the Philadelphia Ujima™ Project, one of 10 nationwide sites that serve as models of effective outreach and care.

In directing Drexel University College of Medicine’s new Office of Urban Health Equity, Education and Research, Núñez and her team will work with various constituencies to engage and sustain the urban communities of Philadelphia by:

  • Providing a dedicated office that connects urban-based health advocates and citizens with expert health care providers;
  • joining educators and researchers with local health advocates to bring disease prevention information to urban communities;
  • convening conversations with citizens and health care providers to seek solutions to complex health care issues;
  • bringing the important perspectives of gender, trauma and social networks to research and education in health care delivery; and,
  • promoting an urban culture that values health and wellness.

“The goal of our office is to work together to promote self-care and health and to identify and replicate models with a realistic approach that will have a larger impact so that people become better, more informed health advocates – for themselves, their family, friends and colleagues,” said Núñez.

Specific practical examples Núñez cites:

  • Increasing awareness that blood pressure is under-screened and helping people get into care earlier to prevent consequences from untreated hypertension;
  • improving skills and boosting confidence when it comes to reading food labels by playing a card game that helps people select the best food choices;
  • increasing youth understanding about health by helping children select better snacks;
  • aiding seniors in developing skills in physical activity that don’t require expensive gym memberships or machines, but can help with mobility and minimize falls; and,
  • identifying healthy aspects of close relationships and helping people become aware of signs of unhealthy ones.

“Based upon our ongoing success with the Philadelphia Ujima™, we have a robust network of community collaborators and a model that has proven to be effective,” Núñez said. “We are excited about expanding our current collaborations and identifying new individuals and organizations who wish to bring a movement of health awareness and self-advocacy into our vibrant, diverse city.”

A New Model for a Comprehensive University Cooperative Extension Comes to Drexel
by Jennifer Britton, Food Access and Urban Agriculture
With appreciation from Lucy Kerman, Vice Provost, University and Community Partnerships

With help from major donors including Dana and David Dornsife and Phil Lindy, a team of Drexel faculty and staff are developing a hub for bringing the university and its neighbors in Powelton and Mantua together for collaborative problem-solving. The Dana and David Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships will anchor a range of projects and programs that will connect university knowledge with community needs. As the community centerpiece for Drexel's applied experiential learning approach, the Center will be a site for participatory coursework, clinical practice and research, and where interdisciplinary collaborations can be forged. As it phases in programming operations, the Dornsife Center will offer a number of academic and research opportunities for students and faculty who are interested in using their work as a bridge between the university and the residents of the Powelton and Mantua neighborhoods.

Inspired by the American land-grant universities’ cooperative extension mission, the Dornsife Center will coordinate resources and establish a location where Drexel’s teaching and research missions dovetail with its place-based neighborhood investments. Technical assistance, participatory learning and research, and creative collaboration with neighborhood residents will create the Center’s operating framework.

The site occupies the north side of the 3500 block of Spring Garden Street, and in its former lives was the home of a wealthy 19th century family in the textiles industry, a Catholic diocese school for children with hearing impairments, and most recently a small adoption agency. As Drexel’s Dornsife Center, each of the three buildings on the site will take on new and distinctive identities.

The Center’s Learning Building is a 19th century mansion that will house meeting space and community classrooms. The Earle Mack School of Law is set to establish a free law clinic in the space, giving Drexel’s law students a place for their required pro bono service experience, and offering neighborhood residents access to free legal services. Financial education and tax-time services will give LeBow College of Business and law students, along with volunteers with organizations like LIFT, a chance to get practical financial services experience while contributing to local problem-solving and wealth building.

The Community Health Building is the property’s former carriage house, and its high ceilings and open spaces create an appealing location for health promotion programming and research. Multi-purpose rooms in this building will be renovated to host workshops focusing on topics like behavioral health awareness, smoking cessation, management of chronic health conditions, and creative arts therapies. Designed to integrate health and wellness service and research, this aspect of the Dornsife Center will provide faculty researchers a place for implementing and evaluating community-based projects. The Maker Building is a 1950s school building with character that lends itself to studio and fabrication space. A design studio, a wood and metal shop, an electronics workshop, and a computer classroom could host a range of creative programming. With an emphasis on design, fabrication, and repair, the Maker Building can become host to some of the built-environment and material aspects of community problem-solving. Some of the prospective examples of activity in this space include an Inventorium program in which Biomed students and young adults from the Mantua neighborhood could hone their skills together at electronics innovation, repair and recycling. Senior design students in engineering and architecture programs could likewise use the space to collaborate with neighborhood project clients.

Programming at the Center will not be limited to spaces inside the buildings – sustainable site landscaping will facilitate BEES department coursework on sustainable native plants. A fundraising plan is likewise underway for a research greenhouse that can house faculty investigation of green infrastructure and plant sciences, with opportunities to launch citizen-science-supported research. A set of raised gardening beds will be available for research and coursework that might bring neighborhood gardeners together with Drexel faculty and students.

Faculty Feature

Nitecki’s Vision: Knowledge Creation, Lifelong Learning, and the “Story of Drexel Research”
by Rebecca Ingalls, Director of the Freshman Writing Program
Assistant Professor, Department of English & Philosophy

Step into Dean Danuta Nitecki’s office on the 2nd floor of Hagerty Library, take a turn, and you will notice two remarkable things: the line of zaftig potted geraniums that border the large windows along two walls, and the wall-turned-whiteboard behind you that is full of idea sketches in an array of colors. Indeed, all is alive and growing in the intellectual and creative laboratory that is Nitecki’s hardworking, collaborative, visionary leadership of Drexel’s libraries. The contributions Nitecki has made so far to the repositioning of the library at our growing research institution are well timed, and her great respect for Drexel’s swift and steady attention to innovation shows that she is a tremendous match for a university that is only becoming more competitive by the year.

Craig Newschaffer, PhD
Danuta A. Nitecki, Ph.D.
Dean of Libraries

The truth is, Nitecki has been a Dragon for far longer than she has been a dean. A Drexel MIS graduate in 1972, she served as an Associate University Librarian at Yale University from 1996 until joining us at Drexel in 2010. And, with this dedication and prestigious experience to support her candidacy, Nitecki perceived a return back to Drexel as a terrific opportunity. When I ask her what drew her back, she reflects, “I think I would characterize it as the challenge to redefine the library for the 21st century in a setting I saw as really conducive to not only conceive of it but also to try it out. Drexel is big enough and ambitious enough to want to be an amazing research university. And the people… There was an interesting willingness to be out there and try things, with no preconceived ideas of what the position would be, but the confidence to put me in and see what I could do. What more could you ask for than that?”

The truth is, Nitecki has been a Dragon for far longer than she has been a dean. A Drexel MIS graduate in 1972, she served as an Associate University Librarian at Yale University from 1996 until joining us at Drexel in 2010. And, with this dedication and prestigious experience to support her candidacy, Nitecki perceived a return back to Drexel as a terrific opportunity. When I ask her what drew her back, she reflects, “I think I would characterize it as the challenge to redefine the library for the 21st century in a setting I saw as really conducive to not only conceive of it but also to try it out. Drexel is big enough and ambitious enough to want to be an amazing research university. And the people… There was an interesting willingness to be out there and try things, with no preconceived ideas of what the position would be, but the confidence to put me in and see what I could do. What more could you ask for than that?”

With that vast canvas (note the wall-sized whiteboard) on which to start sketching her vision, Nitecki began to tackle some of the challenging questions facing the library: Where does the library fit in the larger mission of the university? How can/should the library respond to changes in the way information is being provided, accessed, and used? How can the primary role of the library be redirected from a center that “collects, organizes, and preserves resources,” to one that imagines new ways to cultivate educational space as a “learning enterprise,” support faculty growth, and partner with faculty across the disciplines in curricular initiatives? And, how does a new dean engage people in thinking about these questions? Thanks to support from her library colleagues and input from faculty and students across Drexel, Nitecki was able to tackle one of the most pressing issues, Drexel-wide - space. The Library Learning Terrace at 33rd and Race was imagined in the Fall of 2010 as a space where students could access resources, think/write through ideas, collaborate (and move furniture as needed); it would be a reflection of Drexel’s goal to cultivate self-directed inquiry and learning among our students. By Spring of 2011, it was up and running, and doing exactly what it was intended to do. “Now that’s speed,” says Nitecki.

And there’s more on the horizon, thanks to Nitecki’s leadership, her keen ability to see an endless sea of perspectives on what is and isn’t possible and leverage the former, and inspire her colleagues in the library and in academic programs to work together “on equal footing.” The vision she has led forward is foundational to the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan of Drexel University Libraries, which was informed largely by the Future Search Conference Nitecki and colleagues organized in the Summer of 2011. Guided by four major components—access, environments, connections, and organization—the vision is clearly a reflection of Nitecki’s ethic as a leader and her dream of how excellent Drexel can become. She explains, “We’ve switched to emphasizing not a single central library, but embedding it as a core element of the university.” In the spirit of Drexel’s hope to instill invaluable transferrable skills to students that they will take with them into their professional lives, Nitecki is very focused on how that core can coach students in their professional development. The role of being a core element in a university, she explains, has to take into account the importance of educating students about being not only “good consumers of information,” but also “knowledge creators, lifelong learners, and scholars.” And, it means being rigorously up to date with technology, the collection and accessibility of raw data, and the many new and emerging formats of research in order to create a Drexel graduate who is “confident, savvy, and knows how to navigate the world of information.”

This “embeddedness” of the library system will also strive to support scholarly, creative, and civic faculty work, particularly the output of faculty data. In the near future, Nitecki envisions a library that will support “a source of data management” that will enable faculty to more clearly and effectively “position themselves in their research area,” making their work visible evidence for tenure and promotion, grant applications, and collaborations, not to mention what Nitecki calls the “story of Drexel research.” Helping faculty to market themselves to their university and their programs? Showing faculty just how much their work has been cited across the disciplines? What a gift that will be to the many teacher-scholars taking advantage of Drexel’s incentive and striving to do work that hasn’t been done before.

No doubt, Nitecki herself is included among Drexel’s illustrious teachers and scholars. As a full professor in the iSchool, Nitecki is most dedicated to teaching courses about academic libraries, and looks forward to extending here her previous teaching in library service quality and improvement metrics, pedagogy that organically grows out of her extensive research published in peer-reviewed journals and her two most recent book publications. Her 2009 book, Viewing Library Metrics From Different Perspectives: Inputs, Outputs, and Outcomes (Libraries Unlimited), is the collaborative effort of three library experts, and examines how librarians can draw assessment into a library system in order to measure just how useful it’s being to its “clients” and to create a culture of accountability. Her latest book, Engaging in Evaluation and Assessment Research (Libraries Unlimited, 2011), is a continuation of the strong authorial collaboration of the previous book and of the topic of library assessment. In this latest volume, Nitecki and co-authors take a broad look at library management and offer librarians a foundational understanding of what assessment and evaluation are in the context of today’s library systems. The text presents a tangible model, and research design, process, and presentation guidelines that librarians can use as they “create a culture of evidence gathering” in their management.

True to her ideals and her practice, Nitecki aims to pull together all of the strands of what makes a university library successful and sustainable: partnerships, resources, perspective. Sit down and talk with her, and you will hear the wisdom in her words. And, you’ll want to be on board with her next initiative.

Wondering what that next initiative is? Read In Circulation, the monthly newsletter of Drexel Libraries.


Many Milestones for Graduate Studies
by Sandra Golis, Administrative Coordinator, Graduate Studies
With appreciation from Teck-Kah Lim, Associate Vice Provost, Graduate Studies

The Office of Graduate Studies is proud to recognize some of its milestones of the past quarter.  To begin, its 500th travel subsidy award for graduate students to present their research at various professional conferences has been issued.  Students have successfully competed in Best Poster and Gold Awards competitions, as well as chaired sessions at such meetings held across the nation.  In addition, the Office features students’ published research and conference presentations in our Graduate Student Research Highlights.  Furthermore, Graduate Studies awarded its 120th Provost Fellowship.  Aimed at recruiting talented students who are required to apply for external fellowships in the second year of their fellowships, the program has succeeded beyond expectations, with a large number of our fellows having gone on to win GRFP Fellowships, GAANN and IGERT Fellowships and Best Dissertation Awards.

The addition of the Graduate Student Lounge adds to the above highlights.  Partnering with the Graduate Student Association, Graduate Studies is working to provide regular programming that will include workshops and office hours hosted by Drexel University Libraries, the Writing Center, Steinbright Career Development Center, the Office of International Programs, and University Archives.  At its fall quarter meeting, the GSA Senate discussed future development of these programs, future activities of the member groups, and new partnerships with neighboring institutions and outside vendors.   Slides from this meeting are available for download.  Academic programs have included Thesis Boot Camp, Teaching Portfolio Workshops and Books & Bagels: Conversations on Interdisciplinary Research.

At the end of the last quarter, Graduate Studies and GSA hosted its first Books & Bagels at the Academy of Natural Sciences.   Students, ANS staff and invited guests gathered to discuss the current research projects of three students, which included cost-value analyses of various responses to an anthrax attack, the use of neural networks to predict the outcomes of NFL games, and recognizing the prevalence of PTSD among our military.  Culminating the productive quarter, Graduate Studies and GSA hosted the first Graduate Research Photo Contest in which students were asked to submit photos that captured the essence of their research.  All 29 submissions and the four winning photos are currently on display in the Graduate Student Lounge.

What do Graduate Studies students do when not conducting research?  They support a good cause; demonstrated by the first annual GSA Academic Casino fundraiser, which raised over $1,300 for the 11th Street Family Health Services Center, and collecting toys for the Center for the 2012 holiday season.

Graduate Studies and GSA hosted its first Books & Bagels at the Academy of Natural Sciences
Student Volunteers at the GSA Academic Casino Fundraiser raised $1,300 for the 11th Street Family Health Services Center

The Office of Graduate Studies looks forward to an exciting year and wishes everyone a happy, healthy and successful 2013.

Highlights from the Office of Faculty Development & Equity (FDE)
by Maria Gritz, M.Ed., Senior Academic Coordinator, Office of Faculty Development & Equity
With appreciation from Janet Fleetwood, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Strategic Development & Initiatives

This past Fall, the Office of Faculty Development & Equity (FDE) focused on overseeing the new Skills-Based Faculty Mentoring Program, sharing our Five-Year Report with the Drexel community, and running the sixth annual series of Workshops for Faculty Search Committee Chairs.  These workshops are presented by Vice Provost for Strategic Development & Initiatives Janet Fleetwood, Ph.D., and are part of a University-wide initiative to support excellence and diversity in faculty recruiting.  Since the beginning of the current academic year, the FDE has trained approximately 30 search chairs, and over 125 since the 2007-2008 academic year.

This past December, the FDE sponsored a workshop and luncheon entitled, “Improving Work-Life Satisfaction for Individuals in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medicine (STEMM).” The workshop featured guest speakers from the Association of Women in Science (AWIS), Donna J. Dean, Ph.D., Consultant and Past President, and Cynthia Simpson, M.Ed., C.A.E., Director of Programs and External Relations. This interactive presentation, with nearly 50 faculty members registered from 10 of Drexel’s colleges and schools, gave participants the opportunity to craft a personalized plan to improve work-life satisfaction.

Drexel faculty members interact at the FDE event on December 14, 2012.

Looking ahead, the FDE is accepting proposals through 4:00 p.m., January 25 for the sixth round of the Career Development Awards.    To cultivate the creation of long-term collaborations, this highly successful program helps junior faculty develop professional networks, both nationally and internationally.  If you have any questions about the FDE’s programs, please email fde@drexel.edu.

A Busy Fall for the Drexel Center for Academic Excellence (DCAE)
by Barbara Hornum, Ph.D., Director, Drexel Center for Academic Excellence, and Allison Keene, Academic Coordinator, Drexel Center for Academic Excellence

To increase the activities of the Drexel Center for Academic Excellence (DCAE) with faculty in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) disciplines, we are pleased to announce Associate Professor of Biology Shivanthi Anandan, Ph.D., as the new DCAE Associate Director effective January 1, 2013. She will be working closely with the DCAE Director on a variety of activities across the University, to include promoting the Drexel Student Learning Priorities and planning various key events and initiatives. Dr. Anandan is active as a DCAE Fellow, facilitator of a Faculty Learning Community that actively supports international faculty; mentor in the Academic Faculty Portfolio workshops; and, as a presenter of various DCAE workshops, national conferences in her discipline and in higher education.

In addition, the DCAE launched its 2012-2013 workshop series this past Fall with a fascinating look into the question “Who Are our Students?” presented by Senior Vice President of Enrollment Management Joan McDonald and Assistant Vice President of Admissions Erin Finn. Grading and assessment took the spotlight in the second workshop entitled, “To Grade or Not to Grade: Assessment in the Classroom,” presented by Writing Center Director Scott Warnock, Ph.D., and Associate Professor of Chemistry Daniel King, Ph.D. “Engaging Students in Different Course Formats” was the final workshop of 2012, which explored large and small classes, laboratory-based classes, and online instruction. Attendees were exposed to the advantages and challenges associated with each type of classroom setting and provided with real-life examples from presenters Shivanthi Anandan, Ph.D., Daniel King, Ph.D., and Assistant Clinical Professor of Nursing Janet Zimmerman, M.S., R.N. Furthermore, two live broadcast workshops were co-sponsored by DCAE and Student Life & Administrative Services, entitled “Managing Students in Crisis” and “How to Best Serve Our International Students.” Participants included members of our faculty in Sacramento.

This past fall also marked the official beginning of our newest initiative: Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs).   Five small groups of faculty members have been actively engaged in FLCs, which promote collegial exchange of information and best practices throughout the academic year.   Each FLC will be featured in the 2013 Spring Teaching Showcase; an opportunity for all Drexel faculty to share their scholarship related to teaching and learning with colleagues across all disciplines.   Stay tuned for more information on this event, scheduled to take place in June.

Later this term, the DCAE will announce its new name and mission statement, which will clarify the focus and mission of the Center while more fully aligning it with the University Strategic Plan.  For more information on the FLCs or any of our initiatives, please visit the Center’s website at www.drexel.edu/dcae or e-mail dcae@drexel.edu.

Bringing the World to “U” Global Campus Programming
By Adam Zahn, Program Coordinator and Heidi West, Program Manager
With appreciation from Julie Mostov, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Global Initiatives and International Programs

Do you want to learn about the Chinese higher education system? What about health care in Cuba or Borders in the Horn of Africa? Do you want to collaborate with your Drexel colleagues and our international partners to address global challenges?

Drexel’s Office of International Programs is delighted to support an ever increasing number of on and off campus international programs. In accordance with its mission and Drexel’s 2012 – 2017 Strategic Plan, it is committed to ensuring that Drexel’s global initiatives are accessible to the entire Drexel community. This past fall this challenge was taken to new heights as the OIP organized more events than ever before in its history.

The OIP looks forward to collaborating with units across the university to bring innovative and substantive programming to campus; programs that facilitate dialogue and relationship building and that are driven by and recognize the outstanding research and service of Drexel students and faculty.

For example, in addition to its regular programs, such as the Cross Country Conversations, a number of collaborative events took place with both on and off campus partners including: a screening of the film Two Universities and the Future of China with the Office of the Provost; “Stitching Resistance”, a lecture by Professor Marjorie Agosin with DUCOM, School of Public Health and the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies; “ICafés” with International Area Studies; “Peace & Public Health” forum with local violence prevention groups; and, a program on opportunities in East and Southeast Asia with Steinbright Career Development Center, Alumni Relations, and Study Abroad. Finally, the Fall Quarter marked the beginning of the Faculty Forum series, through which faculty and staff were assisted with accessing and developing international opportunities for research and education.

Watch for these exciting international events and more during Winter Quarter: Faculty Forum “Focus on Israel & Turkey” (Jan. 17), Cross Country Conversations: “Crisis in the EU” (Jan. 23), and our Annual Student Conference on Global Challenges: “Security” (March 1).

The OIP looks forward to seeing you at one of its upcoming events and welcomes you to partner on international programming for students, faculty, and staff.

Honoring Drexel Authors
by Danuta A. Nitecki, Dean, University Libraries

Drexel faculty and staff who are identified as an author of a book that has been published in 2012 will be honored at a reception currently scheduled for February 28, 2013 from 4:00-6:00 p.m.; more details to follow.  Provost Mark Greenberg will be present to introduce Drexel authors, who are also invited to donate a copy of their book for display in the exhibit case located outside the Office of the Provost suite of offices in the Main Building.  The Libraries will also obtain a copy for its collection and include citation access through its catalog and international indexes.   All are invited to enter their publication information in an online faculty publication collection

If you qualify as a 2012 Drexel book author, or know someone who is, please contact Danuta A. Nitecki, dan44@drex.edu.

International Co-op at Drexel
By Jill R. Marateck, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Steinbright Career Development Center
With appreciation from Peter Franks, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Career Education

Growing Drexel’s presence internationally is a top priority of the new 2012-17 University Strategic Plan, and it is no surprise that Co-op is a part of the University’s global expansion. In this regard, the Steinbright Career Development Center has made some enhancements to the international Co-op program.

While the program has been around for several years, Steinbright recently created an International Co-op Team to offer guidance to students interested in this unique experience. The team is working diligently to expand the international Co-op offerings throughout the world. In fact, during the course of the past year, Drexel Co-op students worked in 35 different countries.

In addition, this past fall, the Steinbright Career Development Center launched an updated International Co-op website designed to highlight the growing opportunities for Drexel Co-op students to work abroad. The site provides a menu of international jobs for students to explore, manages the application process, and provides resources for housing, funding and work visas.


The Drexel Online Learning Council Fellows
By Fran Cornelius, CNHP Associate Clinical Professor

The Drexel Online Learning Council’s mission is to bring the Drexel University community together to develop, demonstrate and share strategies that enhance the design, delivery and outcomes of online, hybrid, and face-to-face courses. The Office of the Provost named eight Online Learning Council Fellows from across the University to act as ambassadors, disseminating the work of the Council to the Drexel community and serving as resources for innovation and quality education. The OLC Fellows are: Fran Cornelius, CNHP; Judy Giering, SoE; Allen Grant, SoE; Karyn Holt, CNHP; Marlin Killen, COAS; Ray Lum, SPH; Linda Marion, IST; and, Ann Solan, GCPS.

In the last few months, the OLC Fellows developed several new resources for faculty:

  1. The Online Course Design Review Program:  This program provides faculty with confidential, collegial, constructive feedback on online course design. Those interested in requesting a review of your course design, please go to http://drexel.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_bdQ6QIazijNFrtH.
  2. Drexel University Core Design Elements Checklist Training: This self-paced online training course, developed in conjunction with members of the OLC, provides faculty with feedback and help in understanding and applying the Drexel University Core Design Elements Checklist. Training is available through Blackboard Learn.
  3. New Online Instructor Training: This resource offers information and guidance to faculty who are new to online teaching or who might be considering online teaching in the future. Live, remote, and online sessions of the training are available.

Furthermore, the Fellows were active in planning, coordinating, and presenting at the “Evidence-Based Learning” summer workshop, “TechFest 2012”, providing consultation and faculty support, and developing a new website for faculty that focuses on course design, teaching and technology. Additionally, the Fellows have been consulting with faculty on approaches for aligning program and course learning outcomes, incorporating the Drexel Student Learning Priorities and Student-Centered Syllabus Checklist, and advancing course quality, student engagement, and assessment strategies.

Faculty Portfolios Service to Manage and Promote Drexel Faculty Research and Academic Work
Danuta A. Nitecki, Ph.D., Dean of Libraries

How can a new faculty member identify others who share research interests at Drexel or elsewhere in the world? In what disciplines does Drexel’s scholarship rank in the top tier among leading universities? What are the research strengths of Drexel’s various academic programs? Faculty and administrators who seek measurable evidence of faculty research and academic output will soon be able to more easily answer these questions.

Drexel University has partnered with the IP & Science business of Thomson Reuters to design and implement Faculty Portfolios, a campus service that will be launched this year to comprehensively collect and manage information about faculty academic activities from various sources. This service will also use analytic tools to identify research collaborators; produce evidence for tenure, promotion and program reviews; and, formulate comparisons and ranking of Drexel research and academic output with other institutions. Data will include such information as publications, creative expressions, civic engagement activities, teaching, and research funding, giving administrators a complete picture of the University’s intellectual assets and enabling them to highlight the full scope of their scholarly contributions. Librarians, with expertise in the scholarship of specific disciplines, will assist and train interested faculty and administrators in contributing data to a centralized database and creating customized reports. These reports will, subsequently, be utilized by the Office of the Provost for academic program reviews as well as annual faculty reviews.

With sponsorship from the Office of the Provost, an implementation team is currently working closely with faculty, staff and the vendor to configure the Thomson Reuters system for use at Drexel. A variety of training and assistance will be offered to support faculty wishing to create their own profile in the new service, particularly faculty involved with the first five departments undergoing Program Alignment and Review (PAR).

Anyone wishing to learn more about the program is invited to come to any of the hands-on sessions where experts from the Libraries and Thomson Reuters will be available to give assistance and overview, dates and times are indicated below:

January 14, 15 and 17: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
January 18: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon
W. W. Hagerty Library, Computer Lab, Ground Floor, Room L-14

For more details, please contact Danuta A. Nitecki, Dean of Libraries, dan44@drexel.edu, or 215-895-2750.

Language by Design in ODP
By Barbara Hoekje, Director, English Language Center
and Karen Yee, Graphic Design, Undergraduate Program

Over the last few years, the international student population at the English Language Center (ELC) has grown, leading to an overcrowding of the existing facilities at the Language and Communication Center (LCC) on N. 33rd Street. The subsequent expansion into brand new classrooms at One Drexel Plaza (ODP) garden level provided a wonderful opportunity for the ELC and its students to not only have a larger space to study, but also to engage with other university students in the ODP classroom area.

This past Fall, the academic term began with ELC students having classes from 8:00 a.m to 3:30 p.m. each day in seven new ODP rooms. The students study English as a second language in an intensive program consisting of six levels and four skill areas, which focus on speaking, listening, reading and writing, and academic study skills. This new space was bright, new and modern, but needed to have the warm feel and personal touch similar to that of the LCC. To accomplish this, the ELC collaborated with the Antoinette Westphal College Graphic Design Program in its Typography courses taught by Associate Professor Shushi Yoshinaga and Adjunct Assistant Professor Julie Colton. The intent of the collaboration was to ask the design students to help create a space that would reflect and enhance the ELC students’ study of language, experiences in the classroom, and cross cultural involvement.

From the design perspective, this project involved learning how to visually display multiple languages beyond alphabet letters and different typefaces. Students created typographical compositions to complement the already existing space, taking into account features such as the multicolored carpet. The design students also had to learn how to interact with clients; in this case, the staff and students of the ELC. The design students visited ODP to see the space and talk with its language students. This also offered the students the opportunity to visit a class to ask the language students for words that would describe their experience of the space. For the design students, this was a motivating experience: “It gave us more ambition to work on the project because we knew that it would be for other Drexel students,” said one design student. Words were also taken from the ELC mission statement to reflect the purposes of the Center. “This is called the garden level,” said one teacher. “We wanted the designers to use the metaphor of a garden of teaching and learning.”

After the words were identified in English, they were then translated into other languages with different scripts, including Chinese and Arabic. Arabic was a particular challenge because Arabic letters are different when standing alone as in an alphabet versus being connected in a word. One of the technical challenges of the project was learning how to work with different language scripts as typefaces that are then shaped into designs.

The students’ work was on display in ODP for a week in December, during which time feedback was collected from faculty, staff, and students.

Student Work on Display at One Drexel Plaza

A reception is scheduled for January 18 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. in ODP and is open to anyone interested in seeing the selected designs. Winning designs will be implemented, as feasible, in the winter and spring terms.

For more information, contact Barbara Hoekje (hoekje@drexel.edu or 215 895-2067) or Shushi Yoshinaga (shushi@bee.net).

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