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Drexel Universitys Launches Computing Academy in Place of Governors School of Excellence

March 12, 2009

The iSchool at Drexel, College of Information Science and Technology and Drexel University’s Department of Computer Science from the College of Engineering announced their co-sponsorship of the newly formed Drexel University Computing Academy.

DUCA is an outgrowth of the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for Information, Society, and Technology (PGSIST), which was hosted at Drexel from 1998 through 2008. In February 2009, funding for PGSIST was eliminated, one of many programs affected by sweeping state budget cuts. DUCA was developed as an alternative program to meet the demand for a quality summer educational experience for college-bound high school sophomores and juniors.

“We see this program as essential to the economic development of the state,” said iSchool Dean David E. Fenske. “It is imperative for us to encourage students to begin exploring the potential for careers in information science, computing and technology at the high school level in order for us to attract the best and the brightest — those students who will later become leaders in these fields.”

The Drexel University Computing Academy’s curriculum will be similar to that of the Governor’s School program, but with a reduced number of students. There will be some notable differences between the programs. While PGSIST limited its enrollment to Pennsylvania high school juniors, the Drexel University Computing Academy will be open to both sophomores and juniors from across the United States. Drexel University Computing Academy will be a tuition-based program; however, students who choose to enroll at Drexel University will receive a partial scholarship.

“It is our goal to maintain previous standards and to take a step forward and enhance them to the best of our abilities,” said DUCA Executive Director Thomas J. Smith. “This is an opportunity for students to invest in their futures, and we will continue to offer them a superior educational experience with, of course, fun and creativity included as well.”

In previous years, the eight Pennsylvania Governor’s Schools of Excellence were hosted at seven higher education institutions across the state. At this time, Drexel University is the only institution to continue the tradition of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Schools of Excellence by providing an independent alternative for qualified high school students interested in computer and information science.

“When budget cuts were announced, calls and e-mails from students and parents started coming in,” said Fenske. “There is a demand for this type of program, and we will do what we can to meet this demand.”

Founded in 1892, The iSchool at Drexel educates students in information science and technology at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels and features Drexel University’s Cooperative Education program. The College’s mission is empowering society by uniting people, technology, and knowledge through innovative education and research. The iSchool at Drexel is a founding member of the iSchools Caucus of 21 prominent colleges dedicated to immersing students in the iField — connecting people, information and technology. For more information visit

Building on Drexel University’s tradition of Engineering Excellence, the Department of Computer Science (CS) emphasizes interdisciplinary and applied research providing expertise and education in software engineering; artificial intelligence; cognitive modeling and human-computer interaction; computer vision and graphics; high-performance computing; networks and security; symbolic computation; and computer science education. The department recently established a joint gaming curriculum and research lab. CS currently offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. For more information, visit and


News Media Contacts:

Susan Haine, The iSchool at Drexel, 215-895-6271 or

Niki Gianakaris, Director, Drexel News Bureau 215-895-6741, 215-778-7752 (cell) or

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