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The Graduate College Moves to New Space

2/24/2016 12:00:00 AM

If you've walked on the third floor of Main Building sometime during fall or winter term, then you've probably passed the construction site for Drexel's Graduate College. After months of renovation, the Graduate College has finally moved into its brand new home in Main 301 and is opening its doors for graduate students.

"One of the primary functions of the Graduate College is supporting the experience of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows across the University,” said James Herbert, PhD, dean of the Graduate College, executive vice provost and a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Our new home in the Main Building will help us improve the student experience, while also facilitating collaboration among the faculty and professional staff dedicated to graduate education.Graduate College staff members moved into the newly renovated suite on Feb. 19, after previously being separated in three different offices. Some were located in the former Office of Graduate Studies in Randell 240, with others worked just next door in Randell 241. Vice Dean Adam Fontecchio, PhD, director of the Center for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning Excellence (CASTLE) and professor in the College of Engineering, had been working from the Bossone Research Enterprise Center.

“The new space is a huge improvement because we will be together within the same suite,” said Bonnie Shea, program coordinator in the Graduate College. “Operations will be smoother and students, faculty and staff will be able to find us all in one place for anything they may need. Another major upgrade is having a conference room, which also improves our ability to conveniently meet and collaborate.”

Engineering PhD students James and Cem enjoy the first cups of coffee in the suite with Director of Graduate Student Organizations Michael Ryan.
Engineering PhD students James and Cem enjoy the first cups of coffee in the suite with Director of Graduate Student Organizations Michael Ryan.

Graduate students will also continue to have access to the Graduate Student Lounge, located in the basement of Main Building (Main 010A), a space that can be used for studying, meeting and attending seminars and other events. According to Herbert, the college is working with the Graduate Student Association and the Office of Institutional Advancement to raise funds to renovate the lounge and further enhance these offerings.

Like the Graduate Student Lounge, the new Graduate College space four floors above it offers graduate students free coffee — a huge bonus, as most graduate students will tell you. Based on coffee consumption, Shea estimates about 100 graduate students visit the Randell office every day to meet with advisors to discuss their courses and research, among other things.

“In Randell 240, the coffee was next to the copier and there wasn’t much room. In the new space, there is a designated area for coffee and a chance for students to take more of a break,” said Shea.

The new and improved space on the third floor of Main Building further marks the Graduate College’s presence at Drexel since it was announced over the summer and opened for the 2015-16 academic year.

“We have ambitious plans for the college, and this beautiful space sets the stage for realizing these goals,” said Herbert.