Communication Skills

With the newly acquired Drexel InterView, along with the online arts and culture journal the Smart Set, as well as the newly redesigned Cultural Passport, the Pennoni Honors College has become a cultural nexus, linking arts and ideas both on and off campus. Dean Dave Jones takes a moment here to discuss the role of the Drexel InterView and the Smart Set within the Honors College.

The Smart SetHow would you describe the Smart Set and the Drexel InterView?

The Smart Set and the Drexel InterView are outstanding representatives of their kind. The Smart Set offers brisk, readable, sophisticated interpretations of a wide range of cultural events, broadly defined. The Drexel InterView features lively, intelligent interviews with significant figures in the arts, sciences, and occasionally other fields.

What do these two media entities provide for Drexel? What is the value of the Smart Set and the Drexel InterView?

Probably the most important thing they do is project to the broadly educated public an image of Drexel as a locus of lively, vital discussion of the humanities and the sciences. They reach audiences who don’t necessarily associate Drexel with literary excellence or humanistic concerns. They target people who otherwise might not have even heard of Drexel, or knew of us but imagined us as primarily a technical, professional school, discover Drexel as a comprehensive university.

Why is the Honors College a good home for these cultural ventures? How does it fit with the mission?

Being produced in the Honors College frees these two cultural ventures from suspicion of being narrowly public relations ventures. The Honors College gives them a cachet of academic legitimacy.The mission of the Honors College is to provide for Drexel’s academically ambitious students the broad educational exposure that they might not get in their academic majors. With its co-op tradition and emphasis on practical experience, Drexel is superb at preparing students for early success in their chosen fields. The Honors College helps Drexel students get a taste of the broader kind of education available at, say, a liberal arts college, but with an experiential emphasis. The Smart Set and the Drexel InterView are projections to the outside world of Drexel’s applied emphasis, but in this case applied humanities — good writing and good discussion.

What have been the noteworthy successes of the Smart Set and the Drexel Interview?

The Smart Set has reached a level of over two million site visits a year, has been linked more than 80 times on the prestigious Arts & Letters Daily (where it often shares representation with the likes of the New Yorker, Atlantic, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and various other prestigious journals, some scholarly, others more popular). The Drexel InterView is now carried on more than 325 public and other noncommercial television stations in the United States and Canada.