State of the College Celebrates Engineering Achievements, Outlines Future Plans

Drexel University’s College of Engineering marked five years of progress under the leadership of Dean Sharon L. Walker, PhD , and unveiled plans for the future at its 2023 State of the College event on Thursday.

The event celebrated Walker’s reappointment to a second five-year term as dean. “We are extremely lucky to have Dean Walker with us,” said keynote speaker Margaret C. “Peggy” Burns (BS ’73), chair of the college’s Executive Advisory Council. “I cannot wait to see where she takes Drexel Engineering over the next 5 years.”

In her remarks, Walker highlighted alumni accomplishments, saying graduates make an impact "right after and long after" graduating from Drexel. Examples included alumna Elizabeth Hoffman (BS ‘02, PhD ’07) being nominated as vice president of ASM International and alumnus Archibald Filshill (MS ’95, PhD ’10) being named Delaware Valley Engineer of the Year .

"Just when I think my pride level has been fulfilled by the achievements of our alumni, it reaches new heights as they go on to do even more," Walker remarked.

Walker also highlighted specific honors received by engineering faculty members, including Caroline Schauer, PhD, being awarded the 2023 Elizabeth W. Bingham Award from the Philadelphia chapter of the Association for Women in Science; Charles Haas, PhD, being profiled in Risk Analysis for his pioneering work in microbial risk assessment; and Yury Gogotsi, PhD, receiving the Jan Czochralski Award from the European Materials Research Society and earning induction into the National Academy of Inventors .

In enrollment, Walker reported increased undergraduate applications and admits over the last year, along with positive momentum in first-year retention. She also lauded growth in faculty awards for sponsored research, which grew 43% over the previous year, to $18.7 million. The college also launched new faculty seed grant programs to encourage collaboration.

Walker also highlighted diversity, equity and inclusion efforts within the College of Engineering over the past year. She mentioned programs aimed at expanding recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities, including the Dragons Prep and DELTA summer bridge programs. In the past year, the college's DEI Committee participated in admissions events, launched discussion series, and honored students, faculty and staff of color through new legacy awards. Looking ahead, Walker said the college will continue focusing on supporting student retention, offering training programs, and engaging alumni.

"Creating a culture of inclusion and belonging takes time. We have made great strides over the past five years, and looking ahead, we will continue to focus efforts on supporting student retention, identifying and offering programs and training for faculty, staff and student involvement as well as alumni engagement," she remarked

In industry partnerships, Walker highlighted new graduate degrees and certificates developed in collaboration with companies like Lockheed Martin and Baltimore Gas & Electric . "These new offerings are a direct response to workforce needs and valuable credentials for those who want in-depth exposure to management roles," she said.

Looking ahead, Walker said the college is developing a phased approach to upgrading engineering facilities, starting with renovations underway in the Center for Advanced Technology and Engineering. She also highlighted gifts toward scholarships, faculty positions and diversity initiatives in the past year, noting 100% giving participation from the Executive Advisory Council.

Walker also took time to recognize the staff who help to recruit, advise and mentor students. She acknowledged the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders who collaborated on the accomplishments she had listed during the address.

“Today is an opportunity for both thoughtful reflection on the last year, and purposeful planning for the year ahead,” she said. “It is a time to acknowledge the progress we continue to make on our strategic plan implementation, while being thoughtful and intentional about where we go next.”

In This Article