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Campus & Community

Heard Around Campus: October 2015

October 23, 2015

Heard Around Campus

Over the past month, ground was broken for an important new Drexel building, President John A. Fry was named one of Philadelphia’s top newsmakers and a committee examining end-of-course assessments was established.

Check out what you may have missed during October.

Ground Broken for the Raymond G. Perelman Center for Jewish Life

Philanthropist Raymond G. Perelman came out to the official groundbreaking for the Center for Jewish Life that will bear his name on North 34th Street Oct. 7.

“My father is a man of few words and great deeds,” Ron Perelman, Raymond’s son, told the dozens gathered at the ceremony.

Raymond’s gift of $6 million made the center a possibility. Fry said it will become one of Drexel’s signature buildings and was “a long time coming.”

President Fry Named to the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Power 76

Fry ranked 21st on the Philadelphia Business Journal’s inaugural Power 76 list this year.

A collection of the local leaders who were named the most in the publication for their work in the city, Fry ranked ahead of individuals like Independence Blue Cross CEO Daniel Hilferty and Reading Terminal Market General Manager Anuj Gupta.

“Drexel President John Fry has left an indelible mark on University City, leading initiatives that will bring an estimated $450 million in private investment to areas around the campus in projects that include state-of-the-art student housing, market-rate residential communities and a hotel,” the publication’s profile of Fry read. “Fry has also proven himself as a master fundraiser for the University, his efforts highlighted by a $50 million gift from Philadelphia lawyer Tom Kline.”

Department of Homeland Security Honors Drexel Public Safety

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recognized Drexel for its role in advancing the Campus Resilience Program in a ceremony on Oct. 1.

DHS Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs Philip A. McNamara presented Drexel’s Assistant Director of Emergency Preparedness Irene Opendak with a plaque honoring the University “as a leader in facing challenges and finding opportunity in adversity.” Opendak leads the DrexelReady program and coordinates the Drexel Resilience Team, which consists of administrative and academic officers who represent the most critical functions of the school.

“We are honored to have been named a national benchmark in campus resilience, especially because DrexelReady, Drexel's very own program, has laid the foundation for a national approach to academic resilience,” said Eileen Behr, chief of police and interim vice president for Public Safety. “The benefits of comprehensive planning allow looking beyond a single hazard and preparing the school to withstand and recover after a disruptive event”

In 2013, Drexel was chosen as one of seven institutions nationwide to participate in DHS’ Campus Resilience Pilot Program which goes by the focused on emergency preparedness and resilience planning. 

This pilot is directed by the CARES (Campus Resilience Program) team. Working through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, in partnership with the U.S. Immigration Custom Enforcement, Student and Exchange Visitor Program and the DHS Office of Academic Engagement, the CARES program builds upon best practices and existing resources and promotes FEMA’s Whole Community approach to resilience planning.

Committee on Teaching and Learning Assessment Established

Provost M. Brian Blake, PhD, and Ludo Scheffer, PHD, chairman of the Drexel Faculty Senate, announced this month that the University Advisory Committee on Assessment of Teaching and Learning had been created.

Retroactively effective July 1, the committee is the result of ongoing dialogue.

“This committee of faculty working with the help of staff from the Office of the Provost will study the processes currently in place at Drexel for faculty evaluation and teaching assessment and their relationship to student learning,” read an announcement sent to Drexel faculty and staff from the Office of the Provost Oct. 19.

Citing concerns and “heated” discussions regarding the current system of faculty assessment, End-of-Term-Course-Evaluations (ETCE), the committee will set to work to develop a plan for enhancing both the teaching and learning experience for both students and faculty.

Among the tasks the committee will tackle are researching the field of assessment/evaluation and reporting on best practices, making recommendations for a “comprehensive process of course assessment and evaluation,” and developing a plan for integrating these assessments into curricular improvement.

The committee is made up of 11 faculty members hailing from six different colleges and five members of Drexel’s administration.

Construction/Renovation Update

  • Childcare Mixed-Use/Residential Development ­The University signed an agreement to enter into a ground lease with Radnor Property Group for the development of a mixed-use childcare and market-rate housing development at 3201 Race St. Nobel Learning Communities will be the operator of the 180-person childcare facility. The childcare/market-rate apartment portion of the project will be 176,000 square feet, and the owner-occupied townhome component of the project will be 13,200 square feet (12 units).

  • Daskalakis Athletic CenterConstruction is complete on Phase 4 of the ongoing renovation to the DAC, which includes the new north-end seating and improved concessions.

  • Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center The new, two-story 17,000 square foot addition, which doubles the size of the clinic and is made possible by generous support from Stephen and Sandra Sheller, was open and operational as of June 29. Renovations to the existing building were substantially complete in late October 2015, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opening the new spaces is scheduled for Nov. 11 at 11 a.m.

  • Bossone Research Enterprise Center Renovations Construction is complete for the first-floor expansion of the Core Research Facilities for materials characterization, and for new laboratories for electrochemistry and thin-layer materials fabrication. Equipment is being set up in the new labs.

  • Pearlstein Business Learning Center Renovation Demolition is in progress for renovations on the fourth floor of the Pearlstein Business Learning Center. The renovations will allow the Close School of Entrepreneurship to expand and utilize the full fourth floor. Substantial completion and occupancy are expected in March 2016. This project was made possible by a $1 million lead gift from the Close Foundation.

For a full list of University construction and renovation projects, check here.