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Drexel Establishes Paul Peck Problem Solving and Research Institute

October 22, 2010

The U.S. may be losing its competitive edge in the global economy, falling two places to fourth in the rankings of the World Economic Forum’s 2010-2011 Global Competitiveness Report.

Drexel University is among those higher education institutions taking on a more comprehensive role in keeping the nation competitive. Drexel announced this week the creation of the Paul Peck Problem Solving and Research Institute, a center for research, teaching and thought focused on ways to develop students into expert technological leaders with strong critical thinking and communication skills, an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit and global awareness.

Made possible by the generosity of Drexel alumnus Paul Peck ’64, the Institute will bring together Drexel faculty and students from across disciplines to create new university and K-12 educational approaches and research methodologies that improve engineering, science, mathematics and technology education, expand the pipeline of pre-college students to technological careers and initiate interdisciplinary research.

“This Institute will significantly improve education and advance Drexel’s leadership by creating a 21st century educational model that integrates education and basic and applied research,” said Peck. “I hope it will make a strong contribution to improving American competitiveness and quality of life.”

The official announcement of the Institute, as well as the naming of the Paul Peck Problem Solving and Research Building (formerly the Academic Building) at 33rd and Arch Streets, took place on October 21 at 3 p.m.

The Peck Institute will concentrate its efforts in four areas:

Undergraduate Education The Institute will focus on helping Drexel students become critical thinkers and entrepreneurial leaders through Sound Fundamentals©, an enhanced curriculum taught initially to 50 specially chosen Peck Scholars from science- and technology-related majors. Those students will take courses in leadership, entrepreneurship and policy, with expanded emphasis on effective communication and enhanced cooperative education experiences.

Research Each year, up to four Drexel faculty members will be appointed research fellows in the Peck Institute to develop new pedagogical strategies, programming and interdisciplinary research projects. Applicants for the fellowships will submit proposals for research or new undergraduate or graduate academic programs that advance the mission of the Peck Institute.

Outreach The Institute will establish relationships with K-12 schools as well as informal science education organizations and non-profit and community partners to create a pipeline to science, technology, engineering and mathematics studies by inspiring young students to pursue those fields. Activities will be centered primarily in the Philadelphia region, with the aim of creating a model that can impact students in urban environments across the country.

Think Tank A core component of the Peck Institute will be a “think tank” that will drive the Institute’s research and pedagogical approaches. Think tank members will develop public policy recommendations and help bring multidisciplinary Drexel expertise to bear on technological and economic issues facing business and government.

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News media contact: Niki Gianakaris, director, Drexel News Bureau 215-895-6741, 215-778-7752 (cell), ngianakaris@drexel.edu

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