University & Community Partnerships

Drexel President John Fry has charged the entire university to align our core functions in an effort to fulfill the mission that Anthony Drexel set before us. The Office of University & Community Partnerships (UCP) has a centralized coordinating role, supporting the civic engagement missions of our colleges and schools, and convening networks of partners around place-based priorities. The Office works to link Drexel’s academic mission to its vision of citizenship and service, in part through the following centers and initiatives.

Centers and Initiatives

Located on 1.3 acres in the heart of the West Philadelphia Promise Zone, the Dornsife Center is a neighborhood hub that embodies the spirit of collaboration. The Center brings neighbors together with all of Drexel's colleges and schools, our administrative units, and our many nonprofit partners to offer stakeholder-driven programming that supports the health, wellness and stability of the surrounding neighborhoods.

The Lindy Center plays a crucial role in fulfilling the university’s promise of civic engagement, focusing on four interconnected concepts: community-based learning, student civic leadership, community partnerships and volunteerism. The Center’s signature programs include:

  • CIVIC 101, a one-credit civic engagement course for first-year students.
  • Lindy Scholars Program, which matches Drexel students with middle school students for tutoring and mentoring sessions.
  • Certificate in Civic Engagement, an undergraduate certificate designed to provide an intellectual grounding for engaging with issues of public, community concern.
  • Student leadership opportunities that move beyond one-time volunteer experiences.

UCP’s Economic Inclusion initiative seeks to align Drexel’s business practices to support local economic development: buying, hiring and building local. The staff act as facilitators, connecting West Philadelphia organizations and business to the Drexel units that handle human resources, procurement and constructions. The initiative also helps to stabilize single-family homeownership in neighboring communities through Drexel’s employee homeownership benefit.

Drexel’s West Philadelphia Action for Early Learning (AFEL) initiative aims to build awareness about how high-quality early childhood education increases children’s life-long success. AFEL works to improve the quality of childcare providers, links Pre-Ks to Kindergartens to ensure seamless transitions for families, and supports a strong emphasis on literacy so that children are better prepared to read by third grade. Through AFEL’s connections with Drexel UCP, Drexel's School of Education and other University departments, AFEL is working to create a family support pipeline that provides quality educational experiences from cradle to career.

The Promise Neighborhood is a U.S. Department of Education-funded program to support cradle-to-career opportunities for children living or attending schools in the West Philadelphia Promise Zone. The Promise Zone is roughly two square miles that are bounded by 48th street to the west, the Schuylkill River to the east, Girard Avenue to north and Sansom Street to the south. The program seeks to improve education, health and economic successes for children, their families and communities.

Get Involved!

There are many ways to get involved with the Office of University and Community Partnerships: