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James Herbert to Lead University of New England

2/21/2017 8:42:55 AM

Below is a letter written by President John A. Fry and Provost M. Brian Blake concerning Graduate College Dean James Herbert's departure.

Dear Drexel Colleagues:

We want to offer sincere congratulations to our colleague Dr. James Herbert, who has been named the new president of the University of New England, effective July 1. James has excelled in many areas during his distinguished academic career, most notably in his present role as executive vice provost and as the inaugural dean of the Graduate College. In tapping him to lead the century-old private university with more than 12,000 students at campuses in Maine and Morocco, the UNE board of trustees could not have made a better choice.

At Drexel, James is known as a remarkable teacher, prolific scholar, and skilled administrator with a collegial approach to meeting any and all challenges. It was with full confidence in his leadership that James was named dean in 2015. In that post, he has heightened our emphasis on graduate education — at the master’s, doctoral and postdoctoral levels — as an essential strategy to secure Drexel’s place among the nation’s leading research universities.

The Graduate College was created to enhance the graduate student experience and to grow graduate enrollment. Under James’ leadership, and in collaboration with numerous colleagues throughout the University, a unique co-operative education program was developed; graduate minors were added in five disciplines, with 40 more under review; international partnerships and professional development programming were greatly expanded; and various initiatives to grow certificate, master’s and doctoral programs were added. The fruits of these efforts will be realized gradually over the next few years as these programs are implemented. And there are positive signs of progress already, with a significant year-to-year increase in completed applications and deposits for master’s programs.

As executive vice provost, James has been indispensable in working closely with both of us to strengthen and improve academic policies and strategic planning, develop external partnerships, provide insight into major infrastructure projects and enhance fundraising.

Prior to taking the reins at the Graduate College, he served in a variety of administrative capacities that prepared him well for this new role, including interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, head of the Department of Psychology, interim head of the Department of Biology, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, director of the Anxiety Treatment and Research Program, director of the PhD Program in Clinical Psychology and president of the University Faculty. 

Published widely, his work on the application of new technologies to the treatment of anxiety-based disorders has gained national and international media attention. His book "Acceptance and Mindfulness in Cognitive Behavior Therapy," published in 2011 with colleague Dr. Evan Forman, received an endorsement from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who called it “a most beneficial and powerful method for ensuring a healthy mind and heart.”

As UNE president, James will oversee more than 40 undergraduate and 32 graduate and professional programs, a College of Osteopathic Medicine, a College of Pharmacy, and Northern New England's only College of Dental Medicine.

Although James’ departure will be bittersweet for us, we know that the Drexel community shares our pride whenever a peer institution recruits from within the University ranks. We wish the very best for James, his wife Lynn and their family as they prepare for the move to Maine this summer. Please join us in thanking James for his stellar work, and in making him aware how great his influence on Drexel has been.


John A. Fry

M. Brian Blake
Executive Vice President and Provost