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Drexel’s New Graduate College to Create Programs, Improve Existing Ones

August 12, 2015

Rendering of the design for the new Graduate College offices. Courtesy of CDA&I Architecture and Interiors.
Rendering of the design for the new Graduate College offices. Courtesy of CDA&I Architecture and Interiors.

At Drexel, it’s a good time to be a grad student.

The University has completely reenergized its efforts to give graduate students the space, support, opportunities and, quite frankly, the overall Drexel experience they deserve.

The biggest change came in the summer when Drexel announced the establishment of a new Graduate College and introduced former Interim Provost James Herbert, PhD, as its founding dean.

“Graduate studies have become more and more important at Drexel as our research reputation has grown,” Herbert said. “PhD programs are a core component of a research university. As we have given ourselves aspirations to become a world-class research university and as we are already making strides in that direction, our PhD programs are critical to those efforts.”

Herbert said another key focus of the college would be on the University’s master’s programs — enhancing the unique niche filled by each program and improving the student experience.

James Herbert, founding dean of the Graduate College.
James Herbert, founding dean of the Graduate College.

“We have such a diversity of master’s programs, including traditional face-to-face, online and hybrid programs, and still there is a lot of room for growth,” he said. “We must clearly identify, at the master’s level, our core strengths and our niche, and communicate that to potential students and other stakeholders.”

The college has a team of core and support staff with four main objectives: continuing and expanding the great work already set in motion by the former Office of Graduate Studies in supporting and advocating for grad students; fostering interdisciplinary research and graduate programs; offering various professional development opportunities to students, and communicating the “Drexel difference” as a way to strengthen promotion of the University’s programs.

This fall, the Graduate College will have its very own home: a newly renovated suite on the third floor of Main Building that will serve as a place for graduate students to gather and collaborate with the dean (and to grab coffee and snacks too). This new space is a much more visible location for the new college (the previous Office of Graduate Studies was tucked away in Randell Hall).

Herbert added that he also plans to work with graduate students to renovate the Graduate Student Lounge on the basement level of Main Building. “Renovating that lounge is an important priority,” he said.

Drexel’s new provost, Brian Blake, PhD, was the dean of the graduate school at the University of Miami before joining Drexel in August. In his role as executive vice provost, Herbert will work closely with Blake.

“Given our new provost’s deep experience with graduate education, I certainly won’t have to convince him of the importance of graduate education at Drexel,” Herbert said.