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On PAR: Early Accomplishments

At the beginning of the 2012-2013 pilot year of Drexel’s Program Alignment and Review (PAR), the PAR Standing Committee recommended the establishment of three task forces.  Each task force focused on the alignment aspect of PAR.  The composition of those task forces represented a diverse membership across constituent groups at Drexel.  The three task forces were the Computing Task Force, the Goodwin College Task Force, and the School of Education Task Force.  We have seen the changes recommended by the task forces in Goodwin College, the College of Computing and Informatics, the College of Engineering, the School of Education, and the Center for Hospitality and Sport Management.

While some of the accomplishment below are the direct result of the self-study teams and task force recommendations, others, like the new Department Head in Mechanical Engineering, were in the pipeline already, but were supported and underscored by both the PAR self-study and external review team findings.

Recruit mechanical engineering department head with demonstrated leadership skills

This recommendation has been completed with the hiring of Suhada Jayasuriya, PhD, on August 1, 2013. Jayasuriya is Distinguished Professor and Chair. More information is available in the College of Engineering press release.

Update the lab equipment available to mechanical engineering undergraduates

The implementation of this recommendation has begun. At the end of the spring term,  over $70,000 worth of additional equipment was purchased to include such items as: four 3-D Printers from Makerbot for use in the courses MEM 435, 437, and 438 and senior design;  an industrial laser cutter for use in the courses MEM 435, 437, and 438 and senior design; and, finally, an industrial sewing machine for use in the courses MEM 435, 437, and 438 and senior design.

Establish a new College of Computing and Informatics

President Fry announced the creation of a new College of Computing and Informatics (CCI) on September 9, 2013. President Fry stated that the new college will be able to leverage University-wide strengths to better prepare a diverse range of computing, informatics and data science professionals and stimulate discovery and innovation. This new college, which is unique among universities in the Northeast, responds to the pervasiveness of computing and informatics and their impact on society. More information is available in the Drexel Now press release.

Migrate the software engineering and computer science programs from the College of Engineering to the College of Computing and Informatics

The PAR Standing Committee recommended migrating two Engineering programs (Computer Science and Software Engineering) as well as Goodwin College’s Computing and Security Technology program to the new college to better align and unite these programs with the mission and vision of the new college. The College of Computing and Informatics now houses these programs.

Establish a new Center for Hospitality and Sport Management

Drexel University has launched the Center for Hospitality and Sport Management as a new academic unit reporting directly to the Provost. This change reflects the growing economic importance of tourism and leisure in Greater Philadelphia and across the nation, as well as Drexel’s strength in producing outstanding professionals for those industries. As we attract more outstanding students, we are hopeful that the Center will grow into a college or school. The Center for Hospitality and Sport Management is headed by Dr. Jonathan Deutsch, who previously directed the hospitality, culinary and food science programs in Goodwin College. More information is available in the Drexel Now press release.

Migrate the Computing and Security Technology program from the Goodwin College to the College of Computing and Informatics

This recommendation has been completed. The program has been migrated to the College of Computing and Informatics to better align and unite this program with the mission and vision of the new college.

Migrate Construction Management, Engineering Technology, Project Management and Property Management programs from Goodwin to the College of Engineering

This migration from Goodwin to the College of Engineering has been completed as recommended by the Goodwin Task Force. These programs will be organized in the new Division of Engineering Management and Technology in the College of Engineering.

Split the Goodwin College and the School of Education into two distinct entities

The separation of the Goodwin College and the School of Education has been achieved and both are now stand alone entities.

Create an Associate Dean position for Research for the School of Education

This recommendation has been implemented with the hiring of Dr. Dom Gullo, appointed Associate Dean for Research.  Gullo has been serving in that capacity for several months. More information is available in the School of Education press release.

Create two divisions within the School of Education

The School of Education (SoE) has implemented this recommendation and created two academic units: 1) Department of Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum (Dr. Mary Jo Grdina, Interim Chair) and 2) Department of Policy, Organizations, and Leadership (Dr. Allen Grant, Interim Chair). The divisions were initially constituted as academic units, but the SoE recently passed a new set of by-laws to support their independent status and, by virtue of that document, converted the units to "departments" with "department chairs" in order to more fully align with University practice. This document also obliges the SoE to ensure that all policies and by-laws are in compliance with University policies. For more information, visit the School of Education website.

Create an executive management team  for the School of Education

The School of Education has implemented this recommendation with the establishment of a Leadership Team and two Dean's Advisory groups. The Leadership Team is comprised of the Dean, two Associate Deans, and two Department Chairs.  The advisory committees include:  The SoE Executive Council comprised of the leadership team plus three elected representatives from the faculty  and a Dean's Executive Council which includes the Dean and rotating representatives of each program in the SoE with guests invited from time to time. All groups meet monthly except for the leadership team which meets twice per month normally. Additionally, the by-laws created a Faculty Steering Committee comprised entirely of faculty to provide represent faculty issues/concerns and communicate advice to the Dean. Visit the School of Education website.

Develop a culminating senior activity/social for recent mechanical engineering graduates

The Department of Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics (MEM) has accepted this recommendation to develop a feeling of community among undergraduate and graduate MEM students, staff, and faculty by implementing a social activity for senior members of the class. In implementing this recommendation, the department hopes to foster non-academic, fun interactions among the different constituencies, produce respect for challenges that each face, and reduce tensions among them.

Develop an annual Chemical Engineering faculty retreat on PAR progress/monitoring

The Department of Chemical Engineering has implemented this recommendation and has committed to holding annual faculty retreats to discuss department affairs and set unit goals. By so doing, the department expects to maintain a high level of communication, collaboration, and mentoring. The first retreat was held September 16, 2013, and will be repeated annually in order to promote a free exchange of ideas and group goal setting. This will be particularly needed as the size of the department grows.

Schedule meetings with the College of Engineering to discuss/reshape the Business and Engineering curriculum

The Business and Engineering program accepts this recommendation and has begun to develop a business practice to establish a schedule of formal meetings to ensure collaboration on curriculum revision and development.

Increase tenure track faculty hiring for the Chemical Engineering department

The Department of Chemical Engineering has implemented this recommendation and has committed to strategic hiring practices for the next five year period in order to achieve the following goals:

  • Lower faculty to student ratio
  • Increase research output
  • Increase competitiveness among Chemical Engineering programs

The first hire, who began his employment on September 1, 2013, is Dr. Aaron Fafarman. Three new hires are set for the 2014 cycle. It is also projected that there will be one new senior level hire.

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