Brian Ellis, PhD, has been appointed to lead the Goodwin College of Professional Studies as executive director. Ellis previously served as associate dean for program administration in the LeBow College of Business and has over 18 years of experience in higher education, holding leadership and administration roles at both Drexel University and Rutgers University.Ellis’ appointment will help to increase synergies between Goodwin and LeBow, deepening collaboration and strengthening programs across undergraduate, graduate, executive and continuing education.
In LeBow, Ellis oversaw all administrative functions related to undergraduate and graduate student services including advising, recruitment, career services and programming to support student retention and success. In 2012, he created LeBow BRIDGE, an academic enrichment program for underrepresented minority students. The award-winning program yielded a 90 percent graduation rate for its first cohort with graduates landing career placements at Google, Amazon, LinkedIn and more. Ellis holds a PhD in Global Leadership from the Indiana Institute of Technology, where his research interests focused on the constructs of marginalized populations, social movements, student development, inclusion and equity. He currently serves on the advisory council for ManUp PHL, a Philadelphia-based, non-violence and mentorship program, and is a member of the Washington Township Board of Education.
In his new role, Ellis will oversee all administrative functions of Goodwin, with particular focus on undergraduate-level programming, including the First-Year Exploratory Studies and degree completion programs. He will also maintain a portion of his portfolio in LeBow, serving as associate dean for undergraduate programs. The continuing professional education and graduate programs of Goodwin will be overseen by Kris Risi, PhD, associate dean for executive education and innovation in LeBow, aligning closely with the innovative corporate and executive education portfolio Risi has built in LeBow.
Ellis will continue to report to the dean of LeBow — currently, Interim Dean of the LeBow College of Business Vibhas Madan, PhD — as the leadership of Goodwin has done for the past seven years. While some of the administrative functions of the two colleges have been aligned, the two units will continue to be distinct schools and brands to external audiences to best attract right-fit students.
In a message to Lebow and Goodwin faculty and professional staff, Madan thanked Tim Gilrain for his leadership of the Goodwin College as assistant dean for over five years. During his tenure, Gilrain guided the development and growth of numerous programs including First-Year Exploratory Studies, Military Transition Program, The Skills Hub and the Mandela Washington Fellowship, as well as numerous master’s programs. Goodwin’s First-Year Exploratory Studies program became the fastest-growing at the University in 2019 — starting with an inaugural class of 12 and rising to nearly 200 within two short years of its inception.
“With a keen understanding of the needs of working adults and non-traditional learners, Gilrain sought to make a Drexel education flexible and accessible to all and built a high-performing team of staff and faculty at Goodwin College, all of whom greatly valued his leadership,” said Madan. “I am confident that under Brian’s leadership, the College will continue to provide exceptional programming to meet the educational needs of its diverse student population.”