For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

International Faculty

Resources for International Faculty: International Faculty Guidebook

PDF Version of the Guidebook

A Note from Dr. Janet Fleetwood
Vice Provost for Strategic Development and Initiatives

The Office of Faculty Development and Equity (FDE) welcomes you to the Drexel University community. The mission of our office is to create a supportive and diverse environment for the scholars, clinicians, and professionals on Drexel's faculty. In particular, this office strives to create an academic climate that fosters excellence in teaching, research, creative and professional activity, and that supports diverse faculty members at every stage of their careers.

We offer this guidebook as a resource for international faculty and their families to assist in the transition to the Drexel community and Philadelphia area. This information is intended to help you and your family to fully participate in the community and, in conjunction with other resources and services provided by our office, facilitate continued personal and professional growth. I encourage you to contact our office with your thoughts and suggestions, and invite you to attend our upcoming events that support your work.

Janet Fleetwood, Ph.D.
215-895-2141
Janet.Fleetwood@drexel.edu
http://www.drexel.edu/fde/

A Note from Dr. Julie Mostov
Vice Provost for Global Initiatives

On behalf of the Office of International Programs (OIP), I would like to welcome you to Drexel University and invite you to explore and participate in our ongoing international initiatives. The Office of International Programs brings leadership, strategic coordination, and institutional structure to the global dimension of the University. Our mission is to bring visibility to international initiatives, promote international research collaboration, and encourage productive global synergies among students, scholars, alumni, and community.

We hope this guide will prove to be a useful tool as you and your families navigate the systems associated with working as a member of the Drexel faculty and living in the Philadelphia region. Additionally, we would like to introduce you to our database tool called GRAND – the Global Research and Academic Network at Drexel (www.drexel.edu/international). We invite you to create a GRAND profile to highlight your research and areas of expertise.

Again, we welcome you and appreciate your contributions to Drexel.

Julie Mostov, Ph.D.
215-895-6793
mostovj@drexel.edu
http://www.drexel.edu/international/

CITY OF PHILADELPHIA – SOME FACTS AND HISTORY

Philadelphia is the sixth largest city in the United States with a population of over 1.5 million residents. Serving as the United States capital during the Revolutionary War and again from 1790 to 1800, Philadelphia has a rich and dynamic history and is widely considered the birthplace of American democracy. The United States Declaration of Independence was signed here in 1776. Prior to the arrival of European immigrants to the Delaware Valley in the 17th century, the area was home to the Lenni Lenape Native Americans in the village of Shackamaxon.

The end of the nineteenth century saw rapid industrialization, and Philadelphia financier and philanthropist Anthony J. Drexel envisioned an institution of higher learning uniquely suited to the needs of individuals wishing to take part in the innovative advancement of such a society. In 1891, he founded the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry. More than 110 years later, Drexel University continues to attract a diverse and talented student body, faculty, and community.

Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods. Drexel University has a presence throughout the city with campuses located in University City, Center City, and in East Falls at our Queen Lane Campus. The “Drexel Network” includes other locations as well as virtual campuses and the Sacramento, California campus.

The Philadelphia region is home to one of the highest concentrations of colleges and universities in the country and is growing as a city of the arts. Philadelphia is the Mural Capital of the World, home to the largest public art program in the United States, and is also central to African American history. To learn more about the history of Philadelphia and the creation of the United States, we invite you to visit the many cultural and historical sites throughout the city. (For information regarding visiting these sites, please refer to the section on recreation and culture.)

HOUSING

Finding a Home

You may find the following websites helpful when looking for a new home in the Philadelphia area. These resources and others are available from the Drexel University Human Resources webpage for employees: http://www.drexel.edu/hr/atDrexel/philly/. Housing information is also available on the website of the Office of Faculty Development & Equity.

Listings:

Philadelphia City Government Housing Agency

Drexel Moving Assistance (in category options select “Moving Services”)

Renting: When renting a house or apartment you will generally have to sign a one-year lease, although a few buildings will rent monthly. Upon securing an apartment some landlords may ask for documentation from Drexel to confirm your income. You will also be required to pay a deposit generally ranging from one to two months’ rent. This will be returned to you upon moveout if you have not done damage to the apartment/house. If you move out before the termination of the lease, the landlord will often keep your deposit and can also demand the rent for any period of time remaining on your lease.

Owning: Please consult with real estate and home loan (mortgage) professionals for information regarding purchasing a home in the Philadelphia area. The Drexel Home Purchase Assistance Program promotes home ownership in the neighborhoods surrounding the University City campus by means of a financial incentive. More information on the program can be found on the Drexel Human Resources website.

Utilities

Regardless of whether you rent or own, you will need to sign up for accounts with utility providers for services such as electricity, natural gas, and water. Please consult with your landlord or real estate agent regarding what companies service your area.

As a renter, some utilities may be included in your rent, but this varies by unit and landlord. It is important to check on this in advance of moving in to ensure that you will have electricity, heat/air-conditioning and water when you move in to your new house or apartment.

Things to consider when signing up for utility accounts: your type of U.S. identification, as well as the length of time it has been in your possession, will determine whether you can sign up over the phone, online, or in-person for your utility service. For example, if you do not have a Social Security card, or if you have only had one for a matter of days, you have to go in person to sign up for a gas account. You should also keep in mind that you may be required to pay deposits in order to open up new utility accounts.

Whichever method you utilize to sign up for utility accounts, please be prepared by having the following on hand: lease agreement or proof of ownership, landlord contact information, photo ID, social security card, credit card, and deposit.

Depending on where you live, your trash and recycling pickup schedule will vary. Consult with your landlord and neighbors regarding the details of this service. It is important to separate your waste into different receptacles by type (i.e. waste and recycling). Not only is this a good environmental practice, but you can receive a fine from the city for not doing so. Usually trash pickup is included in your rent, but if you own a home there may be a separate bill from the city. This is a list of utility companies in the city of Philadelphia.

If you live outside of the city, please consult your landlord or real estate agency for information regarding your utility providers.

Gas
Philadelphia Gas Works
215-235-1000
Center City Office (closed on Wednesdays)
1137 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA
Check the website to find the location nearest your home (days and hours of operation vary by location)

Water
Philadelphia Water Department
215-685-6300
Municipal Services Building,
1401 JFK Blvd., Concourse Level, Philadelphia, PA

Electricity
PECO
1-800-494-4000
2301 Market Street
P.O. Box 8699, Philadelphia, PA

Phone

While most people choose a cell phone as their primary phone line, you may also obtain a home phone, also known as a landline phone. Many living spaces have contracts with particular providers, so we encourage you to contact your landlord to find out if this is the case. If not, contact a local service provider (there are several to choose from) for landline service:

As a Drexel employee, you can receive discounts from certain cell phone providers. Please check the Procurement website for more information:

Laundry

If there is not a washing machine and dryer in your individual unit or home, most apartment buildings will have coin-operated washing machines and dryers in the building. If laundry facilities are not available in your building, there are many laundromats in each neighborhood where you can do your laundry in coin-operated machines. Most laundromats are “self-serve,” but some have attendants who will do your laundry for you for a fee. In general, you should remain with your clothes in a self-service laundromat while your clothes are washing and drying.

Personal Property and Renter’s Insurance

In order to protect the value of your personal property from damage or loss due to an event such as theft, flood, and fire, you may purchase renter or personal property insurance. There are many options and the coverage varies by policy. You can find insurance companies by doing a simple internet search or utilizing a site that will compare companies for you, such as Renters Insurance.

You should also visit the Drexel University Procurement website to see if there are preferred companies that offer discounts for members of the Drexel community.

FINANCES

Currency

American currency is based on the decimal system with 100 cents (¢) to each dollar ($). Currency is issued in coins or bills.

The names and values of the coins are as follows:

Penny – 1 cent – 1¢ – the only copper-colored coin                                     Penny

Nickel – 5 cents – 5¢ – larger than a penny                                                    Nickel

Dime – 10 cents – 10¢ – the smallest coin                                                         Dimel

Quarter – 25 cents – 25¢ – larger than a nickel                                             Quarter

Half- Dollar – 50 cents– 50 ¢ – larger than a quarter (rarely used)                 Half Dollar

Dollar coins (often received as change in SEPTA token machines – see transportation section for information on SEPTA)

Sacagawea Dollar – $1 – 100 ¢ – gold in color                                             Sacagawea Dollar

Susan B. Anthony Dollar – $1 – 100 ¢ – similar size to the quarter                  Susan B. Anthony Dollar

Paper bills come in values of $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 (all the same size):

One Dollar Bill

Twenty Dollar Bill

Five Dollar Bill

Fifty Dollar Bill

Ten Dollar Bill

One Hundred Dollar Bill

Bank Accounts

There are two basic types of bank accounts: checking accounts and savings accounts. With a checking account you can deposit your money in the account and access those funds using your Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card or by writing personal checks. Most likely you will pay your rent and bills with your checks, but most stores do not accept personal checks for purchases anymore. The bank will provide you with a checkbook and checks (there may be a fee depending on how you want to personalize your order). The ATM card is provided for free, but there are often fees for using your ATM card at banks other than the one where you hold an account. Additionally, most checking accounts have a minimum balance requirement. If you go below the minimum, you will be charged a fee.

If you have money that you do not need to use immediately, you may want to open a savings account. The advantage of a savings account is that money in the account earns interest. You can usually deposit and withdraw money from a savings account as you wish. As with checking accounts, there is normally a minimum account balance requirement.

When you go to open your account, take your passport and immigration documents along with any and all U.S. identification that you possess. It is very helpful to get your bank account set up soon after you arrive so you can have your paychecks from Drexel directly deposited into your accounts. There are many banks in the Philadelphia area to choose from.

Taxes

Nearly everyone who works in the U.S. must pay federal income tax. Some states and cities including Pennsylvania and Philadelphia also collect income taxes. There may be a tax treaty between your country and the United States. The University Payroll, Human Resources, and Tax Offices can assist you with your tax-related questions.

Drexel:

Government Tax Agencies:

Tipping

There are a number of circumstances in the U.S. when tipping is expected. Many service personnel depend on tips for the majority of their income.

Expected tips are as follows:

  • Porters, at airports, train or bus stations, and bellhops at hotels: $1.00 - $2.00 per piece of luggage
  • Waiters or waitresses in Philadelphia area restaurants: 18% - 20% of the bill
  • Taxi drivers: 15% of the fare
  • Barbers or hairdressers: 10-15% of the bill
  • Restroom Attendants: $1.00
  • Bartenders: $1.00 per drink
  • Valets: $2.00 - $5.00 when you pick up your car

* Never offer a tip to public officials, including police officers. It is considered a crime to do so.

DOCUMENTS AND IMMIGRATION INFORMATION

Social Security Card

It is important to apply for a Social Security card as soon as possible after arrival. Please refer to the Social Security Administration website and Drexel’s International Students and Scholars Services (ISSS) for a link to the forms you need to fill out and more information about the process. You will need to present your passport, I-94, and any other immigration/visa paperwork relevant to your status such as the I-797.

Permanent Residency

You may be eligible for sponsorship for permanent residency (“green card”). Please refer to the Office of the Provost information on Permanent Residency and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services policies:

Campus Assistance

For on-campus assistance with your immigration needs, including making sure you have the proper paperwork for domestic and international travel, please see the International Students & Scholar Services (ISSS) office. They are also the individuals who will be processing the Drexel paperwork to ensure you and your family can travel here initially.

International Students & Scholar Services Office
Room 210, Creese Student Center
Phone: +1-215-895-2502
intlprog@drexel.edu

TRANSPORTATION

Driver’s License

You must have a valid license to drive in the U.S. The agency that issues driver’s licenses in Pennsylvania is called the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, known as PennDOT, or the Department of Motor Vehicles, DMV.

Pennsylvania honors a valid foreign driver’s license with an international driving permit for a period of up to one year. If the foreign license and/or international permit expire before one year, the individual must apply for a Pennsylvania learner’s permit to continue to drive in this state. If you have a valid driver’s license from another state or country it is advised that you review the Pennsylvania manual to be sure you are aware of all local laws and check with the PennDOT officials regarding validity. (Links are provided below to the manual and website.)

PennDOT also issues state photo identification cards for those individuals who would like to have U.S. identification but do not intend to drive. (Note: Having a state-issued photo ID card is very helpful in many situations including domestic travel.) There are several PennDOT offices located throughout Philadelphia.

The closest full service PennDOT to the Drexel campuses is located at:

1530 S. Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
1-800-932-4600
Closed on Mondays

To obtain a license you may need to take both a written and driving test depending on whether or not you have an international driver’s license. When applying for a license, or photo ID card, you will need extensive documentation including proof of identity, proof of residence, completed PennDOT paperwork, and money order for the fee.

Car Insurance

Pennsylvania law requires all Pennsylvania motor vehicle owners to maintain vehicle liability insurance (financial responsibility) on a currently registered vehicle. Vehicle liability insurance covers the property damage or injuries you may cause others in an automobile accident. (http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/insurance/index.shtml). You should visit the Drexel University Procurement website to see if there are preferred companies that offer discounts for members of the Drexel community:

Seat Belts and Car Seats

As stated in the driver manual, seat belts must be worn by all drivers and front seat passengers even if the vehicle has air bags. It is the responsibility of the driver to see that all passengers obey this law. There are special laws regarding children (anyone under 18) which state that they must always be wearing a seat belt or restrained in an age and weight appropriate car seat, booster seat, or other child restraint system. In addition to state law these rules are also enforced by federal law. Please refer to chapter 5 in the Driver Manual as this information is very important even for those individuals who will not be driving, but riding in other people’s vehicles.

Child safety seats can be purchased at most large stores (e.g., Kohl's, Toys"R"Us, Target). Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has a partnership program with Kohl's for obtaining and installing child seats at discounted rates: 267-426-5000.

Cell Phones

In many states and cities, including Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York, it is illegal to text or talk on a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving.

Campus Parking

If you plan to regularly park on campus, contact the Parking Services office for information regarding permits, rates, and locations. A discount is offered to new members with a Drexel ID.

parking@drexel.edu
215-895-2813

Car Sharing

There are currently two car sharing companies in the Philadelphia area. You must have a valid driver’s license to participate in these programs. Philly Car Share and Zip Car each have a fleet of vehicles parked in various locations throughout the city. You can rent these cars on an hourly basis and the rates generally include gas, insurance and use of the car (limited mileage). These are great programs for those individuals who want access to a car but do not need one for daily use:

Additionally, you can rent a car from a traditional car rental company by the day or week. Most of these companies are located at the airport but also have a few limited pickup areas in the city. A few companies that can be located online are: Enterprise, Hertz, Avis, Thrifty, and Budget. You should visit the Drexel University Procurement website to see if there are preferred companies that offer discounts for members of the Drexel community.

Taxi (Cabs)

There are several “cab” companies in the area. Taxis can be scheduled or you can pick one up in most areas of town where there is a lot of car traffic (non-residential). It is customary to pay the driver 15% of the fair as a “tip.”

A few local companies include:

PHL Taxi
215-232-2000

Old City Taxi
215-338-0838

Local Public Transportation

There are several options for public transportation in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. The name of the public transportation system in Philadelphia is the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority or SEPTA. They operate local buses, subway trains, trolleys, elevated train lines and regional rail transit.

Schedules and maps are available online.

SEPTA has partnered with Google for trip planning and their Google Maps tool can be used to determine the routes for getting around the immediate Philadelphia area by public transportation:

Other regional public transportation includes:

New Jersey
http://www.njtransit.com
http://www.ridepatco.org/

Delaware
http://www.dartfirststate.com/

Train

Train service (outside of regional transportation systems such as SEPTA) is provided by Amtrak. Depending on your trip, train tickets can be more expensive and service less extensive than in many other countries.

Buses

There are several bus services available for travel outside of the Philadelphia region, especially to destinations such as New York, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Boston, many of which offer tickets for only a few dollars when purchased far in advance:

Bicycles

Bicycles are not as common in the U.S. as they are in many other countries, but there are many of them on campus. When riding in the streets you are expected to obey the same road rules as automobiles. Bicycles should be locked securely when parked and some bicyclists even remove the seat or wheel to prevent theft. Drexel Parking Services operates a free bicycle sharing program.

Air

There are several airports in the Philadelphia region. The closest airport to Drexel is Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). Additionally, we are within driving distance of New Jersey and New York international airports: Newark Liberty Airport (EWR), New York Kennedy Airport (JFK), and Atlantic City International Airport (ACY):

Information on transportation options is also available on the website of the Office of Faculty Development & Equity.

All Drexel faculty must register any University-related international travel on the GRAND database.

SHOPPING

Grocery Shopping

There are a few locations in the University City and Center City area where you can do basic grocery shopping. These places are known as super-markets and they contain all kinds of food (both prepared and unprepared), cleaning products, and personal care items. The following are some of the closest:

Trader Joe’s
2121 Market Street

Fresh Grocer (Open 24 Hours)
4001 Walnut Street

Whole Foods (Natural and Organic Groceries)
2001 Pennsylvania Avenue

Pharmacy

If you are prescribed a medication by a doctor, you must take this prescription to a local pharmacy or hospital to receive the medication. Make sure you bring evidence of your health insurance and photo identification. You can also purchase other medication, beauty supplies, and even some groceries at pharmacies. To locate a pharmacy near your home or office, you can check the websites of the following stores that have several locations throughout the city:

Clothing, Electronics, Furniture, Department Stores

There are numerous high-end clothing stores in the Center City area as well as Macy’s department store. Prices vary depending on each store. Many of these stores are within walking distance of Drexel’s University City and Center City campuses.

Wal-Mart and Target are examples of one-stop shipping where one can buy clothing, household supplies, electronics, furniture, tools, toys, etc. They also have pharmacy services and some groceries. These stores are located further away from all of the Drexel campuses but can be reached by subway, bus, and/or taxi.

There is an IKEA located on the south-east side of Philadelphia. Many people go here to purchase their furniture but prices will vary.

Target
179 Mifflin Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148

Wal-Mart
1675 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19148

IKEA
2206 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19148

CULTURE AND RECREATION

Please visit the websites below for more information regarding the many opportunities for culture and recreation in the area. This is only a partial list. Such information is available on the website of the Office of Faculty Development & Equity.

City Guides and Publications:

Arts:

Sciences:

History:

Zoo:

Sports:

WEATHER

Seasons

Philadelphia has four distinct seasons:

Fall /Autumn (mid-September to November): Cool, perhaps rainy, and famous for the changing colors of tree leaves.

Winter (December to mid-March): Cold, windy, and includes much snow and ice. Snow should be shoveled away from your porch and sidewalks where you and others walk. You can be fined by the city if you do not remove snow and ice because it poses a safety hazard.

Spring (late March to late May): Can be very rainy and stormy, but also has many sunny days with a mix of cool, warm and hot temperatures.

Summer (June to mid-September): Can be very hot and humid with regular thunderstorms.

Heating in homes is usually required from mid-October to early April. Many homes have air conditioning for the summer. “Central air” uses the home ventilation system for a constant cool temperature while individual window units can be used to cool smaller spaces.

Emergency and Severe Weather Information

Weather Information is available on all radio and television stations (see communication information below). Also, during the winter, radio stations provide information about schools that might be closed temporarily due to bad weather. Drexel Weather information is available online as well as by telephone:

Drexel University- 215/895-MELT (6358)
Drexel University College of Medicine- 215/762-UNIV (8648)

Fox 29 Television and Radio KYW 1060 AM announce closings and delayed openings by code. The codes for Drexel University's campuses are:

  • University City Main Campus (Day): 103
  • University City Main Campus (Evening): 2103
  • Center City Hahnemann Campus (Day): 185
  • Center City Hahnemann Campus (Evening): 2185
  • Queen Lane Medical Campus, College of Medicine, including Biomedical Sciences
  • Graduate Programs and Professional Studies in the Health Sciences: 213

State Emergency information is also available online.

Time Zones

The Continental U.S. is divided into four time zones. Eastern Standard Time (EST) is five hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Most states change to Daylight Saving Time during the summer months. This means that clocks are advanced one hour on a given date in March and restored to standard time in November. A map of time zones is available online.

MEASUREMENTS

The United States is moving very slowly toward adopting the metric system. In most nonscientific settings, weights and measures are not discussed in metric terms. Many websites offer free conversion calculations between measurement systems, such as onlineconversion.com.

Temperatures

Fahrenheit
Centigrade
32
0
41
5
50
10
68
20
86
30
95
35
104
40
212
100

To change Centigrade (C) to Fahrenheit (F), multiply the C reading by 9/5 and add 32 to that amount. To change F to C, subtract 32 and multiply by 5/9.

Weights

US Customary System
Metric
1 ounce (oz.)
28.35 grams (g)
16 oz = 1 pound (lb.)
453.59 g
2.2 lbs.
1 kilogram (kg)
2000 lbs. /1 ton
907.18 kg

To change kilograms to pounds, multiply by 2.2 pounds.

Distances

US Customary System
Metric
1 Inch (in. or 1")
2.54 centimeters (cm)
12 in. = 1 foot (ft. or 1')
30.48 cm
1 yard, 3 ft.
.9144 meter (m)
1.0936 yards
1 m
1 mile, 5280 ft.
1.609 kilometer (km)

Volume

US Customary System
Metric
1 cup (C) = 8 ounces (oz.)
.237 liters
1 pint (pt.) = 2C
.437 liters
1 quart (qt.) = 2pts.
.946 liters
1 gallon (gal.) = 4qts.
3.785 liters

Area

US Customary System
Metric
1 acre (4,840 square yards)
.405 hectares
2.47 acres
1 hectare
1 square mile (640 acres)
2.590 square kilometers

HOLIDAYS

Official holidays are usually recognized throughout the U.S. On those days, schools, offices, banks, post offices and many stores are closed. The list below includes official holidays, holidays when Drexel is closed (labeled by an asterisk *), and select secular holidays. We understand this list does not include most religious holidays and many observed cultural and/or secular holidays. Drexel makes every effort to support and promote religious and cultural diversity and has policies in place to accommodate individuals who observe holidays that are not officially recognized or included as regular Drexel paid holidays.

For additional information and resources please visit:

*New Year’s Day (January 1) – Official
New Year’s Eve, December 31, is more important in the U.S. than New Year’s Day itself. On New Year’s Eve many people go to parties or watch firework displays. Popular activities on New Year’s Day include watching televised parades and football games.

*Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday (Third Monday in January) – Official
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. organized and led the civil rights movement in the U.S. during the 1960s. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and was assassinated in 1968. Many people perform community service on this day to commemorate Dr. King’s contributions to social justice.

Presidents’ Day (Third Monday in February) – Official
This holiday commemorates George Washington’s birthday (February 22) and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (February 12). George Washington was a General during the American Revolution and the first President of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln was President during the Civil War, 1861-1865. He signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

Mother’s Day (Second Sunday in May)
On this day, Americans honor their mothers by sending them flowers, buying small gifts, sending cards, or taking them out for meals.

Father’s Day (Third Sunday in June)
Fathers are honored on this day with cards and gifts.

*Memorial Day (Last Monday in May) – Official
Memorial Day is dedicated to the memory of all Americans who died in wars. Many families visit graves and decorate them with flowers, and the day is also marked with patriotic parades. This day is considered the beginning of the summer season.

*Independence Day/Fourth of July (July 4) – Official
This is the U.S. National Day. It commemorates the day the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia in 1776. This holiday is celebrated all over the country with picnics, parades, political speeches and community get-togethers that culminate in firework displays.

*Labor Day (First Monday in September) – Official
This holiday was established in recognition of the labor movement’s contribution to the productivity of this country. This day is the last holiday of the summer season and is celebrated with picnics and other events.

*Columbus Day (Second Monday in October) – Official
Columbus reached the West Indies in 1492, and is popularly referred to as the explorer who “discovered” America, although the continent was already populated by Native Americans and had been visited by earlier seafarers. Americans observe the holiday with parades and festivals. In the Northeast, the long weekend is the high point of the season for viewing the brilliantly colored fall leaves.

Halloween (October 31)
This was originally a religious holiday, the day before All Soul’s Day, but its religious character has been lost in the U.S. Traditions include carving out pumpkins, dressing in costumes, and going house to house to “trick or treat.” Traditionally, children dress in costumes, walking from house to house, and adults give the costumed children small bars of candy. If you do not wish to have children ring your doorbell, just turn off your porch light for the evening. Adults often use the occasion for costume parties.

Veteran’s Day (November 11) – Official
Originally established to commemorate Armistice Day of the First World War, the holiday was changed after World War II to serve as an occasion to pay tribute to veterans of all wars. It is marked by parades, speeches, and the laying of wreaths at military cemeteries and war memorials.

*Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November)
In 1621 the pilgrims of Plymouth colony in Massachusetts prepared a feast that they shared with Native Americans to give thanks for the bountiful harvest. It was made an official holiday in 1863. Many Americans give thanks for the good life they enjoy by getting together with family and friends to eat traditional food such as turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.

*Christmas Day (December 25) – Official
Although religious in origin, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas is a holiday celebrated either in a secular or religious way by most of the country. Family members travel great distances to be together for this day on which gifts are exchanged and a traditional dinner is shared. Many houses are decorated with Christmas trees and lights.

COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION

Newspapers

Most newspapers are available online although you can also order a subscription to the paper and have it delivered to your home.

Radio

There are several AM and FM radio stations which broadcast a wide variety of news, music and other entertainment.

The University operates a student radio station:
WKDU FM 91.7

National Public Radio is locally broadcast via:
WHYY 90.9 FM

Television

There are a number of local television stations that broadcast a variety of programs shown nationally. Generally, national and international news is broadcast daily at 6:30pm. Local news is broadcast daily at 6:00pm and 11:00pm. Consult your television guide for a list of channels and program times.

Cable and satellite television is also available for purchase giving you access to more local and out-of-town stations as well as movie channels and news stations. There are charges for installation and monthly service for cable and satellite television. Certain channels from other countries may be available upon special request and for an additional charge. If you are interested, contact a cable or satellite television service. There are also services that provide DVDs of movies and shows in the mail and online:

Drexel has a television station as well as a regular show that airs on several public networks:

Mail

Mail is delivered to your home mailbox once a day Monday – Saturday. Letters can be deposited in one of the dark blue mailboxes that say “United States Postal Service” located on many streets or taken to a post office. All packages must be taken to a post office. If you change your local address the post office should be notified. The main Philadelphia Post Office is located near Drexel’s University City campus:

United States Post Office, Main Branch
3000 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
http://www.usps.com/

Public Libraries

Philadelphia has a public library system that can be accessed by anyone who resides in the area. In addition to free borrowing of books, CDs, movies and computer access, they have programming for children, adults and families. The main public library called the Free Library of Philadelphia is located in Center City and there are small branches throughout the neighborhoods.

HEALTH CARE

It is a good idea to establish contact with a physician and dentist when you arrive here, especially if you have children. You may wish to ask friends or co-workers to recommend doctors. Your particular medical insurance may limit your choice of doctors. Drexel University offers a wide range of benefits to faculty and their families, including spouses and same-sex domestic partners. Please see the Drexel Human Resources website for information regarding your health insurance options and lists of physicians.

It is important to be on time for doctor’s appointments as many doctors will cancel your appointment or charge you a fee if you are late. However, you may experience a long wait to see the doctor – perhaps 45 minutes to an hour. If you go to a “clinic” the wait may be considerably longer. Always take your health insurance card or papers with you to the doctor’s office.

Here is a partial list of hospitals and health care providers in the area:

Children

Schools require a physical examination and vaccinations before a child enters the school system. You will receive proper forms for this when you register your child for school. It is important for healthy children to have regular physical check-ups and immunizations against illnesses. Whenever your child is sick, telephone your doctor’s office for advice or to make an appointment. The doctor or nurse can answer many of your questions over the telephone.

Emergencies

The emergency number throughout the U.S. is 911.

Operators on the 911 line can assist you with medical, fire, or police related emergencies and also have the ability to get interpretation for any non-English speaking family members.

If you cannot contact your doctor, call the Emergency Room of a local hospital. After normal business hours you can normally call your doctor’s telephone number, and his or her answering service will be able to give him or her a message.

In case of a serious emergency, call 911 for an ambulance.

EDUCATION AND CARE OF CHILDREN

Schools

Pennsylvania law requires all children between the ages of 6 and 16 to attend school. Public school is free, while private school is not. Your child will need a physical and dental examination before entering school. Be sure to bring your child’s immunization records to the doctor and the school. The school will also want to see the child’s birth certificate and some indication of the amount of schooling he or she has already had in order to place the child correctly. Schools are divided into three levels: elementary (Kindergarten through fifth grade), middle school (sixth through eighth grade) and high school (ninth through twelfth grade). If you choose to have your child attend public school, your child will generally be placed in a school based on your address although there are also some “charter” or special-interest schools. If your child is a non-native English speaker, please be sure to let the school know this so that they can provide linguistically appropriate educational materials.

Please contact the School District of Philadelphia for more information regarding schooling for children.

For information regarding higher education here is a link to an online guide to colleges and universities in the area.

Also, you may benefit from Drexel’s tuition remission program for family members seeking higher education.

Day Care Centers and Preschools

Please refer to the resource guide on the Office of Faculty Development & Equity web page for information on choosing child care.

DREXEL UNIVERSITY SYSTEMS

Office of Information Resources and Technology (IRT)

The Office of Information Resources and Technology handles Drexel e-mail and other accounts, wired and wireless internet access on campus, provides assistance with computer software problems, and much more:

215-895-2020
consult@drexel.edu

University Libraries

Drexel has several libraries on the various campuses and librarians who can assist you getting materials for your students:

Online Learning

Part of IRT, the Online Learning Team (OLT) is available to assist you with various online teaching tools at Drexel including Blackboard Learn:

215-895-1224
olt@drexel.edu
Room 109 in the Korman Center (15 S. 33rd Street)

University Registrar

The University Registrar handles many logistical aspects of the teaching and learning process here at Drexel and the office website contains information on important policies related to grading, exam scheduling, etc.:

Student Life

The Office of Student Life & Administrative Services is responsible for many aspects of the student experience at the University. It also provides a comprehensive student handbook which students are required to comply with. It is recommended that you review the student handbook to learn about the specific codes of conduct that apply to your interactions with students:

Drexel Center for Academic Excellence (DCAE)

The Drexel Center for Academic Excellence provides workshops and other events specifically created to address faculty needs. You should visit the DCAE website and make sure to note on your calendar the events that you would like to attend:

Global Drexel

There are many programs, offices and initiatives at Drexel related to various international elements of the university. A partial list is included below. You can find links and furtherinformation on the Office of International Programs’ website.

Office of International Programs (OIP).The OIP facilitates multidisciplinary international programs across the university, builds partnerships with international universities, and promotes global awareness and visibility through a Global Research and Academic Network at Drexel (GRAND), International Travel Awards for faculty and graduate students, and student programming. If you are interested in developing new partnerships or getting support for your international work please contact the OIP office:

215-895-6372
oip@drexel.edu

Study Abroad. The Study Abroad office facilitates opportunities for Drexel students to earn credits towards their degree while going to school abroad. If you are interested in starting a new faculty led program for your students, please contact the Study Abroad Office:

215-571-3558

English Language Center (ELC). The ELC has resources for international faculty including courses, tutoring and consultation. For spouses and family members wishing to develop or improve their English language skills, the ELC offers academic English, business English, and TOEFL preparation courses among others. For more information please visit:

International Students & Scholar Services (ISSS). This office assists with immigration processes and programming for incoming international students and scholars. ISSS also runs a program called International Dragon Families. It is a program for the family members of international students and faculty including monthly programs and classes on subjects such as American culture:

215-895-2502
intlprog@drexel.edu
http://drexel.edu/isss/

Equality and Diversity at Drexel

Drexel University has a strong commitment to supporting equality and diversity in its many forms (race, age, sex, religious/ethnic/cultural/socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, gender identity) and offers several resources to faculty members and other university employees in this regard. In addition, the University has instituted policies specifically aimed at ensuring an equitable environment on its campuses.

Office of Faculty Development & Equity. The Office of Faculty Development and Equity plays a leading role in fostering a more supportive environment for faculty, in broadening approaches to recruiting excellent new faculty, and in revising academic policies to provide for flexibility and equity in career development. The office website also offers information on religious and other resources in the Philadelphia area as well as regional and national resources for LGBT faculty.

Office of Equality & Diversity. The Office of Equality and Diversity promotes, supports, and sustains a living, learning, and working environment of diversity, equality, fairness, inclusion, and respect:

CAMPUS MAPS

Disclaimer: The information and links contained in this guide are intended to serve as a resource only. Drexel does not own or endorse any of the outside services, companies, organizations or institutions which may be referenced or linked nor are we responsible for the content of their pages.

Published March 2013 (v2)