A Message from Dean Dave Jones

 Drexel prides itself on its tradition of experiential learning—learning by doing, learning on the job.   It is essential to Drexel’s identity; the depth and extent of Drexel’s commitment to it distinguishes us from most other Universities. While Drexel’s century-old Cooperative Education Program lies at the core of Drexel’s emphasis on experiential learning, the idea and practice of incorporating real, practical, hands-on experience into academic study have permeated Drexel’s curricula.  Almost every major program at Drexel requires students to complete a senior project of some sot in order to graduate.  In numerous cases, the senior projects are presented to the public in the form of shows: the annual Film & Video Show, the increasingly famous Drexel Fashion Show, and various poster days exhibiting in summary form the research or creative work of Drexel’s seniors.   And these shows offer at most just a glimpse of the experiential learning that characterizes a Drexel education.

Although experiential learning is not the focus of every story in this issue of The Honor Roll, it is something they have in common.  One of our first students to pursue a custom-designed major has a deep commitment to working with disabled students. She has financed her education partly by working with disabled children.  She is also participating in a Travel-Integrated Course on the Paralympic Games in London this September.  A Biomedical Engineering major whose extensive hands-on research began with his participation in the STAR Program as a freshman earned an invitation to present his work  this summer at a prestigious venue in China.  A grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research enabled him to attend.  A recent Drexel graduate whose immersion in experiential work, along with enormous help for the Fellowships Office, earned him a Goldwater Scholarship and an NSF Scholarship, is now a Hess Scholar at Columbia University.  STAR mentors Professor Bill Fennelly and Dr. Glen Muschio are working with students on, respectively, a production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream and virtual-reality projects for institutions associated with Independence Hall.  And a Drexel couple who have engaged in experiential learning—he in engineering, she in international studies—are applying for Fulbright Scholarships and should have a good chance to win them. 

There is an additional element common to these stories.  The STAR Program is an Honors College Program.  So is the Office of Undergraduate Research.  As is the Custom-Designed Major.  The Travel-Integrated Course on the Paralympics is an add-on to the 2011-12  Great Works Symposium (on Health), another Honors College Program.   The Fellowships Office is a unit of the Honors College.   Study Abroad was nurtured in the Honors College. The couple applying for Fulbrights met as freshmen in the Honors Residence Hall.  And all the students are Honors students.

We are proud of them.

Dave Jones