Building on Our Foundation
Drexel’s College of Engineering has arrived at an inflection point as the world around us continues to evolve and grow. The program that began as Drexel’s first bachelor’s degree offering in 1914 and later launched co-op education with just 152 engineering students in 1919, continues today as the University’s flagship, with over 3,500 students and a place among the nation’s top private engineering programs.
It is my honor to lead our engineering community and I am pleased to share with you our latest strategic plan. We sought to make this process as inclusive and transparent as possible, from hosting one-on-one interviews and focus groups beginning in January 2019 to convening planning committees and college-wide open forums through the subsequent winter quarter. What follows is the culmination of more than one year of conversations, planning and collaborative effort of our faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends. I am proud of the work we have done together and am deeply grateful to all of the stakeholders who have engaged in this process.
By nature, the creation of this strategic plan has served as a critical mechanism of self-assessment and reevaluation of our college’s mission and goals. This valuable exercise has only heightened our awareness of the unprecedented situation facing higher education—particularly as society is challenged by the coronavirus pandemic, among other social and environmental issues—and emphasizes how essential it is that we create a shared vision of how engineering will foster sustainable advancements as a citizen of the University, the region, the nation and our world. Drexel Engineering has a rich history of leadership in engineering education, and now more than ever we must remain flexible and responsive in adapting our curricula and support systems to meet new student and workforce needs.
Our dual mission of education and research remains constant; I am grateful, too, to my predecessors, Dr. Joseph B. Hughes, who led the college through its previous strategic planning effort, and Dr. Guiseppe Palmese, who served as interim dean during a period of transition. Now we must forge ahead and adapt to the changes around us, which involves regularly reexamining, renewing and revising our efforts.
To that end, everything from our academic degree and research programs to our administrative and financial operations will be guided by the call: to respond efficiently to rapid change; to provide the tools and approaches for maximum impact on creating a sustainable future; to promote collaborative engineering solutions; and to advance engineering education through research on engineering pedagogy.
These emerging themes are part of a continuing conversation that builds on our past and paves the way for our future—this is a new beginning. This is how we will deliver on our mission, how we will provide a distinctly Drexel engineering experience and how we will build on our tradition for a better tomorrow as we collaborate and innovate together.
Sharon L. Walker, Ph.D.
Dean and Distinguished Professor