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Message from the Dean

Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Maria Schultheis, PhD
Interim Dean Maria T. Schultheis, PhD

Drexel University was founded on an innovative ideal: that human progress and fulfillment lies at the intersection of art, science and industry. With President John Fry’s arrival in 2010, the University expanded its focus, taking on the challenge of also becoming the most civically engaged university in the nation. This engagement requires a deep appreciation and understanding of the human condition — a focus that underpins the foundation of all liberal arts colleges.

While the traditional liberal arts approach has come under attack in recent years, Drexel’s College of Arts and Sciences has answered the critique with a pledge: to serve as the model of a modern liberal arts college — one that combines a breadth of academic exploration in the humanities, social sciences and sciences, with the depth of knowledge that comes from real-world experiences and hands-on application.

Time and again you will hear people speak of Drexel’s Cooperative Education program (co-op). I cannot underscore enough the value of this experience. Six to eighteen months of full-time work can change the course of a student’s life more than any summer internship. Year after year, I have heard students emphasize the rewards of co-op: making real connections to professionals in their field; gaining valuable, résumé-worthy experience; and sometimes, importantly, learning what they don’t want to do with their lives. These three outcomes inevitably lead to better, more fulfilling careers after graduation.

In the past few years, the College has also developed a unique repertoire of courses that extend Drexel’s experiential focus even further. Our community-based-learning courses send students all over the Philadelphia area to learn from the community, from inmates to veterans to hospice patients. These courses are not service projects; they are opportunities for our students to grow as citizens, professionals and human beings as they study alongside, and learn from, the perspectives and experiences of their fellow citizens.

Similarly, our travel-integrated courses bring students deeper into their course material by combing international travel and cultural exposure with the opportunity to create an original research project. These experiences are significantly shorter than a traditional study abroad, making them more accessible for many students to participate.

Drexel is a challenging environment that requires motivation, self-discipline and hard work – it also provides unparalleled experiences that prepare students for the world in ways other programs cannot. At Drexel’s College of Arts and Sciences, we provide a comprehensive, real-world education that empowers our graduates to respond confidently to the world’s most pressing issues – now and long into their future.


Maria T. Schultheis, PhD
Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences