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Office of Research Restructuring

September 4, 2019

As you know from President Fry's recent communication, Drexel University is currently facing significant financial challenges. These hardships are directly attributed to the situation with our College of Medicine and declining graduate student enrollment. We have made numerous critical changes in our efforts to weather these times, and now find it necessary to take additional measures to close a sizable budget gap. Every unit across Drexel has had to make cuts in order to reach our reduced budget amounts for fiscal year 2020, and unfortunately, we were required to make tough decisions as part of this process. 

Over the past few months, we have been analyzing our business finances, operations, and organizational structure to identify areas of redundancy, and it is now with great regret that I must inform you of two positions that are being eliminated.  Effective today, Sept 4, 2019, Executive Director of Pre-Award, Stacia Levy, and Executive Assistant to the EVPR, Maryann Skedzielewski, will be leaving the Office of Research. We truly appreciate their years of dedication and thank them for their service to the University. Sadly, these layoffs were unavoidable given the financial challenges. We wish them both success in their future endeavors.

In addition, due to the recent restructuring under my leadership of the former Office of Corporate Relations and Economic Development, now the Office of Applied Innovation, and the added responsibility that this creates for our office, I have decided that additional restructuring is warranted. The Pre-Award team will now report to Associate Vice Provost of Research Operations and Compliance, Kairi Williams who will work closely with Gia Boersema, Chris Arasin and the whole Pre-Award team to ensure as smooth a transition as possible. Ultimately, I envision taking this unfortunate opportunity to re-assess our Pre-Award services, with the goal of creating an Office of Sponsored Projects, which will allow us to further support Drexel's research enterprise. 

Kairi and I will meet with the Pre-Award Grants and Contracts teams to discuss the restructuring and the plan to move forward. I know that this notice will come as a disappointment to the employees of the Office of Research, and for that, I extend my sincerest regrets. This has been one of the toughest decisions I have had to make while leading the University's research enterprise. In the coming weeks will organize an all hands meeting to discuss our role in supporting the research and innovation missions of the University. 

I want to extend my thanks to you for your understanding and efforts toward helping the University face these challenges. If you have questions or need further details, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly, contact Kairi or our human resources business partner, Keyanah Jones.


Aleister Saunders
Executive Vice Provost for Research & Innovation