Summer Time...

Summer Time

The start of the summer term is always different from the other terms. There is a more relaxed, congenial atmosphere on campus. Students lounge outside; and green and flowering portions of campus signal urban summer. 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 Provost’s Office will be busy working with colleges to prepare for the busy fall term and many new students. In light of the sluggish job market and the unfortunate cutbacks among so many universities, this is a welcome problem to tackle, and we do so with relish.

This issue of the Newsletter contains terrific profiles of our global engagements and our research efforts, among other topics, and I encourage you to peruse it at your leisure. Our summer in Academic Affairs focuses on three important projects (each elaborated in articles, below): 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.

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 academic organizational structure, recommending alignments, re-alignments, or new configurations to enhance teaching, learning, and research at Drexel. 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 during this past year, 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 are assigning areas of responsibility for each of the key initiatives in the plans and have developed an interactive spreadsheet 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. 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.

Mark


In This Issue...

FEATURED
FACULTY FEATURES
ACADEMICS
ADMINISTRATION
RESEARCH

Feature

Drexel in China
by Heidi West

Drexel is continually expanding its global impact and this spring, a delegation of Drexel representatives, including President John Fry and Provost Mark Greenberg, traveled to China to celebrate and deepen relationships with scientific, education, industry and arts institutions. The Drexel Delegation traveled to the Chinese cities of Beijing, Tianjin, and Shanghai in tandem with The Philadelphia Orchestra’s historic 2012 residency, the first extended residency of a U.S. orchestra in China, for which Drexel served as the educational sponsor.  
Provost Greenberg speaking at the Grand Opening of the SARI Center in Shanghai

During the diverse activities, Drexel engaged alumni, prospective students and their families in outreach events that emphasized the initiative, innovation, and the insatiable drive for success that characterizes the University. In Beijing, the delegation toured Tsinghua University, one of the leading educational institutions in China, which currently has an exchange program and faculty research collaborations with Drexel.

In Tianjin, members of the Drexel Delegation met with Mayor Huang Xingguo, and Vice Major Zhang Junfang, who is responsible for education in this city of over 10 million citizens. Tianjin is Philadelphia’s sister city and one of the leaders in financial reform and industrial innovation in China, as evidenced by the new Eco-City community. The community is to be built upon a former industrial wasteland and will house 350,000 people, which is especially interesting to Drexel as we strive for environmental sustainability.

Arguably the most momentous event of the trip was the grand opening of the Drexel-SARI Research Center in Shanghai. President John Fry and Dr. Jiang Mianheng, President of the Shanghai Branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, zealously led the unveiling ceremony, which was followed by a tour of the brand new facilities and an exclusive concert by members of The Philadelphia Orchestra. The Center will house new research collaborations and educational activities with students and faculty of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Drexel.

Also in Shanghai, students attended the launch of the Mandarin translation of The Man Who Made Wall Street: Anthony J. Drexel and the Rise of Modern Finance, a biography of Drexel’s eponymous founder written by Daniel Rottenberg. President John Fry, Julia Wu of HSBC Bank, and other distinguished representatives from partner universities discussed Anthony Drexel’s vision and legacy.

Building on our existing partnership with Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Provost Greenberg met with Dr. Jin Ma, Dean of the School of Public Health, to discuss possibilities for new collaborations between our students and faculty in the health sciences. These significant relationships offer opportunities for faculty and students to pursue studies and research with top institutions in China. You are encouraged to contact the Office of International Programs if interested in pursing these opportunities.

Moving into the future, Drexel must continue to expand its visions of research and experiential learning across the globe to welcome students and faculty of all cultures. In this way, the University will exchange not only scholars, but share new perspectives that can only be discovered through cross-cultural engagement.

The following photographs capture some of the highlights from this exciting and productive trip:

President John Fry greeting Drexel alumna Diane Feng, alongside Vice Provost for Global Initiatives Julie Mostov and U. S. Consul General Robert Griffiths
 
President John Fry and Vice Provost Julie Mostov visioning the Tianjin Eco City exhibit and model
A musician from The Philadelphia Orchestra, whose instrument case was lost by the airlines en route from Guangzhou, improvised by using equipment from the SARI Center laboratories and kitchen
Dr. Jiang Mianheng, President of the Shanghai branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, speaking with Drexel alumnus and Fulbright fellow Daniel Tedesco
An incoming Drexel freshman asks University President John Fry a question about Drexel founder A.J. Drexel
 

Faculty Feature

Prof. Dave Goldberg Makes Physics Matter: In and Out of Academia
by Rebecca Ingalls

Ask Professor Dave Goldberg what brought him to teaching, and you’ll find that his explanation permeates both his work as a professor and his research as a scholar. “There’s the process of discovery,” he explains, “and then there’s ‘I’ve learned this really cool thing. Let me tell you about it.’” Goldberg, whose major research focus is on gravitational lensing, teaches the introductory physics course to majors here at Drexel, as well as advanced courses in general relativity, electromagnetism, and cosmology. His curriculum vitae demonstrates the rigor of a distinguished scientist whose knowledge of the universe is far and beyond what the layperson might be able to comprehend; but sit down and talk with him, and you’ll find that he’s remarkably able to make that knowledge seem not only exciting, but also important to our daily lives.

Craig Newschaffer, PhD

The 2006 winner of Drexel’s Allen Rothwarf Award for Teaching Excellence, Goldberg has made his mark at this university as a devoted, innovative teacher and researcher of physics. Beyond the classroom, however, and even beyond the university itself, Goldberg has taken his keen ability to make physics matter to the public. His first book, A User’s Guide to the Universe: Surviving the Perils of Black Holes, Time Paradoxes, and Quantum Uncertainty (Wiley 2010; see usersguidetotheuniverse.com), which he co-authored with former Drexel grad student Jeff Blomquist, integrates both scientific expertise and humor to address popular inquiry about cosmology. He explains: “People hear that you’re an astrophysicist, and they want to know whether the answers to certain questions are true. They’ve seen things in the movies, heard them on NOVA: the universe is expanding; what is it expanding to? Does it have boundaries? There’s a pile of questions like that. A reasonably aware person can hear off-the-cuff comments, and say, ‘That makes no sense. Could you explain more?’” And that’s just what this book aims to do: explain, in tangible terms, more. Organized by large-scale issues like “randomness,” “time travel,” and “the future,” the book divides these issues up into bigger and smaller questions that folks like you and me (likely, non-astrophysicists) have probably considered. And, aside from delivering it to us with hilarious examples and drawings (thanks to co-author Blomquist), the book promises to make this general argument: “physics itself is quite interesting. No, really!” And it succeeds.

Additionally, Goldberg hopes his work will affirm our civic responsibility to develop an accurate knowledge about our universe. Another tough task. Says Goldberg, “Understanding the scientific process is incredibly important from a policy standpoint. Making scientists visible and respected is also important. That said, you quickly get to the place where if you talk about things that are too speculative, people start to see it as a luxury, not as a necessity (like reading a science fiction novel). There’s a difficult balance to strike with it. But it’s an important part of the human condition. People who make policy decisions need to see that applied and basic science are important things that an advanced society should be focusing on.” And in case you’re wondering whether it’s easy to capture the mysteries of the universe in humorous, accurate ways for an audience outside of academia, it’s not. There is, Goldberg explains, a “gap between the work that you’re doing and the language you’re using to talk about it.” Bridging that gap is challenging work. One more reason to applaud him.

In his second book (forthcoming from Dutton in 2013), The Universe in the Rear-View Mirror: A High-Speed Tour of Antimatter, Evil Twins, and Other Symmetries, Goldberg continues his mission to bring science to a curious, public audience. This book, less sarcastic than the first, is more thesis-driven: “There are fundamental questions of why is there something rather than nothing,” says Goldberg. “Why does the arrow of time go in one direction and not the other? Is the universe infinite? Why is it dark at night? We have some of the answers to these questions by understanding how symmetry works. There are other things that, until you think about them, aren’t as obvious in terms of why certain things are the case. Why are we made from matter and not anti-matter? Is there an objective left and right? [Yes, there is!] Physicists will throw around words like ‘symmetry’ or ‘elegance,’ and some people passively knowledgeable will assume that it has something to do with science, but have no idea of how.” Goldberg’s second book aims to bring principles of symmetry, some of which have “trickled down into public consciousness” but remain intangible, to light in relevant ways, to “answer questions [the audience] never knew it had.” It’s a way of making science fascinating and entertaining, but it’s also a way of guiding the audience toward accuracy. “If there is no explanation,” he cautions, “[some scientists] might be forced to say ‘trust me on this,’ or ignore that there is a conflict.” Goldberg wants his audience to know what’s what in the realm of what we can prove, and what we’re still not sure about.

No doubt, he continues to enrich his own (and Drexel’s) wisdom with primary research and publication in the highly competitive physics community of peer-reviewed journals (the list is impressive). But Goldberg’s not-so-secret agenda behind making physics matter that he willingly shares is also one that reflects the spirit of an institution striving to make innovative science, to merge science with art and industry, and to exist organically in its urban environment. And, for him, it has been a joy to be a part of that endeavor: “I’ve been thrilled in a lot of ways. I remember a frozen Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. when 500 people showed up to hear about the expanding universe. And last summer, I gave a talk in the middle of Ontarian wilderness to a group of amateur astronomers. These are the people you want to arm with deep knowledge.” And he does something that works. After leaving our interview, I felt smarter about the universe. Not just because he’d educated me about Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism, but because I somehow felt persuaded (by his wit, his energy, and an unmistakable glint in his eye) that I should learn it.

Rebecca Ingalls is Assistant Professor of English.


Academics

Career Development Awards

On May 10, the Office of Faculty Development and Equity (FDE) hosted its fifth annual Career Development Awards luncheon to honor the six junior tenure-track faculty members who received awards for the Academic Year 2012-2013. This year, the awardees represented five different schools and colleges, with two of the first awardees from the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. The Career Development Award recipients for the 2012-2013 year are Paul Block, Ph.D., P.E. from the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, whose project is entitled “Predicting Change: Elucidating Near-Term Climate Change Information to Guide Water Resources Decisions and Foster Sustainability;”  
Provost Mark Greenberg, Dean Allen Sabinson, honoree Jichen Zhu, and Vice Provost Janet Fleetwood at the Career Development Awards

George Ciccariello-Maher, Ph.D., from the Department of History and Politics, whose project is entitled “Thinking Globally: A Colloquium in Comparative Political Theory;” Linda Kim, Ph.D., from the Department of Art and Art History, whose project is entitled “Polychromy: Sculpture’s True Complexion;” Daniel Marenda, Ph.D., from the Department of Biology, whose project is entitled “The First International Mini-Symposium on CHARGE Syndrome;” Alison Ventura, Ph.D., from the Department of Nutrition Sciences, whose project is entitled “Cognitive Deficits Induced by Iron Deficiency: A Novel Predictor of Food Neophobia in Infants and Toddlers?;” and, lastly, Jichen Zhu, Ph.D., from the Department of Cinema and Television, Digital Media Program, whose project is entitled “Envisioning the Future of Computer Game Design.”

The Career Development Awards provide up to $7,500 for select early career faculty to develop mentors or networks, nationally or internationally, to create long-term collaborations. Over the first three years, the 13 faculty members who received Career Development Awards generated $6.4 million in grant funding for the University. Thanks to the awards, past recipients have also published numerous articles, served on national panels, and established sustainable collaborations in academics and industry in nine foreign countries and on four continents.

Four Sessions on Teaching & Learning with Guest Speaker Dr. Todd Zakrajsek

On May 17 and 18, the Office of the Provost with the Drexel Center for Academic Excellence (DCAE) hosted four sessions on best practices in Teaching and Learning, featuring Dr. Todd Zakrajsek, Executive Director of the International Teaching Learning Cooperative and immediate past Executive Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Zakrajsek presented on the topics of Enhancing Student Learning: Emerging Research and Innovative Strategies; Overcoming Apathy and Creating Excitement in the Classroom; Documenting Good Work: Good Practices in Evaluating Classroom Instruction; and CATS (Classroom Assessment Techniques), Examinations, and Paper: How Do We Know They Know?

2012 Co-op Awards

On May 22, The Steinbright Career Development Center, in conjunction with the Office of Alumni Relations, hosted the 22nd Annual Co-op Awards Ceremony. The Co-op Awards highlight outstanding Drexel students, employers, and faculty for their exceptional efforts in fulfilling the goals and ideals of cooperative education. We are pleased to share the following:

Each year, one student from each college is recognized and nominated by a co-op employer for exemplary service on the job. Employers acknowledge students for their initiation, creative thinking, dedication, dependability, and professionalism. This year’s awardees, pictured above, are (from left) Laura Johnson, Philip Hagerty, Lauren Reiter, James Andorko, Adrienne Mangroo, Holden Nardini, Laurel Hostak, and Kristian Calhoun (Not pictured, Erin Daley and Aimee Hildenbrand).

Two Employer of the Year Awards were presented. Provost Mark Greenberg presented the Employer of the Year Award to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, nominated by three students for its partnership and dedication to the co-op program for over ten years (shown in the picture above, 2nd from the right is Patti Clifford, Clinical Nurse Specialist and Director of NICU). In addition, Senior Vice Provost DiNardo presented the Employer of the Year Award to L-3 Communications.

The Faculty of the Year Award was presented to Dr. Steven Wrenn (pictured above, far right), Associate Department Head of the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department and the Assistant Dean of Graduate Affairs for the College of Engineering by Dean Joseph Hughes.

Second ScholarSip Event

On Monday, June 11, over forty Drexel faculty and professional staff gathered to toast the last day of spring classes and partake in cross-disciplinary conversations at the second ScholarSip event. Drexel’s athletic director and Carl R. Pacifico Professor of Neuropsychology, Eric Zillmer provided the evening’s ‘food for thought’ with an insightful presentation on the psychology of terrorism. Most of Drexel’s colleges and a variety of departments and administrative offices were represented at the event, held at Drexel’s Academic Bistro. Contact the Libraries to receive a personal invitation to the next ScholarSip event at libraries@drexel.edu.

Faculty Mentoring Program

The Office of Faculty Development and Equity (FDE) invites all faculty members to participate in a new faculty mentoring program at Drexel starting in September 2012. The goal of this program is to enable any faculty member who would like mentoring in a specific skill area to find a faculty member at Drexel who can mentor them in that skill. The program is built on the concept of a “mosaic of mentors,” in which individual faculty members have multiple mentors for various skills, and may have different mentors at different points in their career, to help the mentee achieve competencies in a wide range of areas.

The FDE is still accepting mentor registration for the Academic Year 2012-2013. If you are interested in mentoring another faculty member at Drexel, please complete this brief survey. You will be asked to identify any faculty-related skills that you feel confident you have mastered and are willing to share with another faculty member. By completing this survey, you are adding your name to the list of faculty mentors, which will be posted on the FDE website once complete. Please note that the full mentor list, the procedure for finding a mentor with specific skills, as well as resources for mentors and mentees will be publicized to all Drexel faculty in the early fall. Please let our office know if you have any questions about this program by emailing fde@drexel.edu.

Drexel Center for Academic Excellence:
Learning Communities & Conference Sponsorship

The Drexel Center for Academic Excellence (DCAE) is pleased to announce that it will be sponsoring three new Faculty Learning Communities in the coming academic year. Faculty Learning Communities are small groups of faculty from different departments, led by one or two faculty facilitators, who gather throughout the year to discuss a topic of interest to members, such as Writing across the Curriculum and Teaching International Students. The program will culminate in a workshop open to the larger faculty community in June 2013, which will give each group the opportunity to present its work. To gear up, several faculty members attended the 13th Annual Faculty Learning Community Developers’ and Facilitators’ Institute at the Kellogg West Ranch at California Polytechnic State University in Pomona, California. Barbara Hornum, Ph.D., Director of the DCAE, as well as other Drexel faculty conference attendees will use the tools and skills they developed at this conference to facilitate Faculty Learning Communities at Drexel throughout the Academic Year 2012-2013. Information about this new program will be sent to all Drexel faculty members at the start of the fall term. Please emaildcae@drexel.edu with any questions and visit the DCAE website to learn more about our programs.

Additionally, the DCAE helped support several faculty members’ participation in regional conferences this past spring. Drexel faculty members Kathy Geller and Karen Nulton attended the Teaching Professor Conference in Washington, D.C. June 1-3, thanks to support from the DCAE. The DCAE also provided funding for 12 faculty members to participate in the Lilly National Conference in Bethesda, Maryland on May 31-June 3, including Barbara Hornum, Jennifer Taylor, Anne Cecil, Dana D’Angelo, Neil Desnoyers, Joyce Pittman, Leonard Finegold, Craig Bach, Alexander Moseson, Linda Dayer-Berenson, Scott Warnock, and Marlin Killen. The Office of the Provost also sponsored Drexel faculty members’ participation in the Lilly National Conference, including Michel Miller O’Neal, Allen Grant, Shivanthi Anandan, Cyndi Reed Rickards, and Fran Cornelius.

Libraries Announces 2012 – 2017 Strategic Directions

Access, environments, connections and organization. Four key directions shape the future of Drexel University Libraries as a vibrant learning enterprise. Many individuals have helped to shape these directions and the plan’s focus to:

  • Ensure access to ideas and authoritative information sources, regardless of time or geography for Drexel’s diverse community to learn, contribute to scholarship, and serve society
  • Build learning environments in physical and cyber spaces
  • Deepen Drexel’s connections with scholarship through expert guidance across knowledge communities, authoritative publications, and unique data sources
  • Model a collaborative and entrepreneurial library organization that effectively leverages university and external resources to serve students, enhance teaching, and support researchers.

To learn more about the directions and the work already underway, visit http://library.drexel.edu/strategicplan.


Administration

Transforming the Modern Urban University:
Drexel University Strategic Plan 2012-2017 & the Drexel University Priorities for Academic Quality: 2012-2017

In late May, President John Fry launched Drexel University’s Strategic Plan by hosting four well-attended Town Hall meetings at all three Philadelphia campuses as well as a videoconference to the Sacramento Center for Graduate Studies. Approximately 570 faculty, professional staff members, and students gathered to learn about the plan, which can be accessed electronically on the Strategic Plan website. All members of the Drexel Community are invited to watch the video recording of the town hall meeting held at the Center City campus. Over the summer we will be developing a Strategic Action Plan, with measurable quantitative and qualitative outcomes, timetables, and designated units of responsibility. We continue to welcome your feedback and suggestions at strategicplan@drexel.edu.  
Craig Newschaffer, PhD

Simultaneously and in concert with the University Strategic Plan, the Office of the Provost developed the Drexel University Priorities for Academic Quality: 2012-2017. This document reflects several months of work and the input of deans and school directors, faculty members, administrators, and representatives from the student body from all schools and colleges. The Priorities align closely with the University Strategic Plan while fleshing out the primary academic initiatives. This document encourages us to pursue the six Interanimating Academic Priorities: Create a Culture of Academic Excellence; Foster Experiential Learning; Increase Admissions Selectivity, Student Engagement, and Graduation Rates; Promote Discovery and Scholarship; Boost Innovation, Civic Engagement, and Societal Impact; and, last but not least, Develop One University. In order to put these priorities into practice, the Provost’s Office will create implementation strategies, identify those responsible for advancing them, and establish metrics for measuring progress.

The Program Alignment and Review Project (PAR)

The term “Par” is usually associated with the game of golf and the number of strokes an expert golfer is expected to need to complete an individual hole, or all the holes on a golf course. However, that is not what this term refers to in this case. PAR is the Program Alignment and Review project which is about to take place as we become involved in studying our academic programs. You will be seeing this acronym frequently in the days ahead.

Most of you who have read Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin may remember the expression “Grow’d like Topsy” and, like Topsy, Drexel has grown over the last fifteen years. Not only have we added new faculty and students to our community of learners, but many new courses and programs, as well. As we hold our freshman enrollments steady for a few years, and with the benefit of the recent Middle States report and the new Strategic Plan to guide us, the University is undertaking a project to review all academic programs that are offered. In this regard, a standing PAR committee composed of Deans, faculty, and staff from across the University has been assembled to create a process for conducting an ongoing and consistent examination of all academic programs for quality, viability, expansion, or consolidation. While many peer universities have similar well-developed initiatives with long histories, formal university-wide academic assessment is fairly new to Drexel, something that will soon change as it becomes a part of our fiber and culture. As this unfolds, this forum will be used as an avenue to provide you with a status report on the current PAR initiatives underway:

  • The PAR committee is currently in the process of gathering materials to define and guide the PAR process. These resources will help to steer the individual program review committees formed within each school or college by its respective Dean.
  • Units to be reviewed will be identified by the Deans, and their associated timelines will be established, accommodating other accreditations taking place.
  • Communications to the University community about the PAR process will begin this summer and will be ongoing.
  • This fall, a handful of pilot programs will be launched.
  • The Office of the Provost will provide extensive, quantitative information to be factored into the review process for each program being reviewed.
  • Each program review will involve the participation of external reviewers that will result in recommendations for improvement.

The process of continuous quality improvement has become important in higher education, given the rising costs and increasing expectations for accountability and evidence of student performance and learning. This is a significant undertaking involving all academic units and many individuals. It affords us the unique and invaluable opportunity to examine the Drexel academic experience and determine how to align all of our academic programs with our mission and vision.

Deans’ Strategic Hiring Retreat

One of the goals of the new Strategic Plan is to hire 100 new tenured/tenure track faculty over the five year life of the plan. This is an ambitious, but necessary goal to maintain and grow the stature of the University. The boundaries between and among disciplines are blurring, and content fields are becoming more interdisciplinary and interdependent, requiring us to approach faculty hiring in an integrated, collaborative way.

To begin the process, the Provost hosted a Deans’ Strategic Hiring Retreat on May 31. Each college’s or school’s Dean, Associate Dean for Research, and one other representative met for a full day to discuss major areas of research that we have either made progress in or have targeted for future strategic growth. Focusing on specific areas in which our researchers can make a significant contribution within the parameters practical for the University, Deans discussed involvement in areas such as energy, healthcare, big data, sustainability, cyber security, and the legal/social/and ethical issues related to these fields. These discussions are being summarized and distilled through ongoing conversations at Deans’ Council meetings. In addition, Colleges will create collaborative search committees to define positions and to recruit and select faculty for new positions involving multiple schools and disciplines.

This Strategic Plan goal will identify a number of positions each year, and will be in support of the areas we have committed to pursue aggressively. Drexel will always need core faculty positions and will continue to recruit high quality academics for all of our positions. However, a new interdisciplinary approach to a few key positions will help us to strategically develop our research enterprise, attract talented faculty and graduate students, and grow the Drexel reputation.

Research

Research Activities and Achievements of
Junior Faculty Member Mitra Taheri

The life blood of our University is our great faculty. In this quarterly forum, I plan to shine a spotlight will be shown on one or more exceptional members of our faculty community. In this inaugural Faculty Spotlight feature, I have chosen to share with you some of the terrific accomplishments of Dr. Mitra Taheri, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering. Mitra has been a standout member of our faculty since joining us in 2008. As the Hoeganaes Assistant Professor of Metallurgy, she and her students use in situ Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) to perform microstructural characterization of materials, examining a material while it is failing, rather than after it has failed.  
Dr. Mitra Taheri, Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering

In 2012, Mitra was one of 68 (of 850) junior faculty from around the country selected to receive the 2012 Department of Energy (DOE) Early Career Research award – a five-year award DOE provides to exceptional researchers during their crucial early career years when many scientists do their most formative work. With this award, Mitra and her students will study nanocrystalline materials and the ability of these materials to withstand high doses of radiation in advanced nuclear reactors. Mitra is the first faculty member at Drexel to earn this honor.

In the same year, Mitra also received a five-year NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award for her work on the analysis of the combined effects of temperature, environment, and grain boundary type on corrosion-causing precipitation mechanisms. Her work in this area promises to lead to the development of more corrosion-resistant alloys. The NSF-CAREER program recognizes junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research.

Receiving not only one, but two of these very distinguished awards is an exceptional accomplishment and points to the quality of Mitra’s research and education contributions to date, and the promise of her work in the future.

“Much of my research concentrates on materials for next generation energy applications, like electronic vehicles, solar, advanced nuclear and wind power,” Taheri explained. “Part of my role at Drexel is to add innovative technologies and capabilities to the University, and to contribute new insight into predicting materials behavior.”


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