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David Fenske Concluding Service as Dean

With more than a decade of experience as a leader at Drexel, David Fenske, PhD, will conclude his time as a dean this summer.

A letter from Interim Provost James D. Herbert and Drexel President John A. Fry announcing Fenske's plans follows:

Dear Colleague,

After 16 successful years as a Drexel dean, David Fenske, PhD, will end his service in that role and become dean emeritus when his current five-year term concludes on June 30. He will take a year’s sabbatical and then return to his work extending his entrepreneurial leadership on subjects including digital library development, new contract research development and knowledge management tools.

David joined Drexel in 1999 as dean of the College of Information Science and Technology (IST), bringing the industry-savvy perspective of a former IBM consultant combined with a reputation as a digital library pioneer earned when he led Indiana University’s Cook Music Library. He drove IST toward real-world relevance and Internet-era innovation, and the result was one of Drexel’s academic jewels — a college ranked in the top 10 nationally by U.S. News & World Report, including a No. 1 ranking for specialized programs in information systems. David is the final dean still in office out of the five founding deans of the iSchool Consortium, which now includes 60 international universities on three continents. David will co-chair the March 2016 iConference, the annual meeting of the iSchools, which will be held in Philadelphia.

IST was home to the nation’s first fully online master’s degree, and David kept the college in the vanguard of Drexel’s successful expansion of online learning. He also oversaw the launch or reinvention of outstanding research initiatives including the Center for Visual and Decision Informatics (a multi-university project funded by the National Science Foundation), the cross-disciplinary Institute for Healthcare Informatics and the Applied Informatics Group.

In 2013, David was instrumental in creating the College of Computing & Informatics (CCI), which joined together Drexel’s offerings of IST, computer science and computing and security technology. As founding dean, David positioned the college as a source for information-age talent as well as critical research in library science, software engineering, human-centered computing, big data and more. Among CCI’s early achievements was the establishment of the Cybersecurity Institute, which was recently named one of six academic partners helping the U.S. Army train reservists to become cybersecurity professionals. The inclusion of CCI and Drexel University in a large U.S. Army INSCOM contract is among several new initiatives that will be inherited by the next dean.

David’s leadership was an important thread in the fabric of Drexel’s resurgence over the past two decades. His legacy is a college that is ready to solve the challenges posed by the inclusion of data-rich computing in every facet of modern life. We will make a separate announcement in the near future about a national search for the right person to continue David’s great legacy.

Please join us in thanking David for his service as dean and his positive impact on Drexel, and in wishing him continued success as a valued member of our faculty.


James D. Herbert 
Interim Provost

John A. Fry