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Executive Planning Committee Survey Results

Findings drawn from the Executive Planning Committee's survey of faculty and staff in March 2020 are informing the direction of the University's Strategic Plan

The EPC surveyed faculty and staff in late February and early March 2020 to gather input on the following questions:

  • In your opinion, what are Drexel's greatest competitive strengths as a higher education institution?
  • In your opinion, what are Drexel's greatest competitive weakness as a higher education institution?
  • In your opinion, what should Drexel's most important strategic priorities be as a higher education institution over the next decade?
  • Are there any other comments on Drexel's planning for the future you would like to share?
  • Are you a member of the faculty or staff, or would prefer not to answer?

The EPC received 573 total responses (around 16% of faculty and staff), with roughly equal distribution of faculty and staff participation (259 faculty responses, 249 staff responses, 65 participants not identifying as faculty or staff.) The feedback received is being used to inform the development of the Universities 2020-2030 Strategic Plan, and an updated mission and vision for the University. It's important to note that the survey was completed prior to Covid-19 impact on campus operations so its results do not reflect these current concerns and its impact on long-term plan. Results are summarized below, followed by a slide presentation of full findings:


  • Key strength of Drexel identified as the Co-op program, with ~70% of respondents identifying this as a key strength of the university.  
  • The next closest strength identified was Drexel's location in Philadelphia, with ~30% of respondents identifying this as an area of strength.  
  • Strengths identified were similar across faculty and staff


  • The most significant challenge identified by respondents was Drexel's price of tuition and costs to students, identified by ~45% of respondents. 
  • Other challenges identified by a significant number of respondents include Organizational Structure and Processes, Resource Allocation and Facilities Quality, all identified by ~20% of respondents as a key challenge
  • Faculty were more likely to identify organizational structure and processes and resource allocation as key challenges
  • Staff members were more likely to identify facilities quality and student experience as challenge areas.
  • Tuition and costs was the most frequent challenge cited by both groups

Strategic priorities

Respondents identified a wide variety of strategic priorities, including:

  • Streamlining organizational processes
  • Reducing tuition costs
  • Diversifying and solidifying financial state
  • Improving student experience
  • Increasing research funding

Faculty were more likely to list research funding and program support as priority strategies while staff more likely to list tuition reduction and improving student experience. 

Overall findings

Drexel Executive Planning Committee Community Survey Findings [PDF]

How the input will be used

Feedback helped to shape how the EPC is explicating five focus strategies which will act as pillars for the plan:

  • Grow basic and applied research that generates new knowledge and impactful solutions.
  • Deliver agile curricula responsive to rapidly changing societal needs.
  • Provide an array of engaging, immersive learning experiences that prepare students to lead purposeful and positive lives.
  • Leverage Drexel's unique academic design to serve as a national model for reshaping the relationship of universities to external partners.
  • Engage community partners to contribute responsible, sustainable solutions that improve the quality of life in the region and beyond.

Areas identified as strengths, like Drexel's co-op and its location in the heart of University City, are central to the strategic plan in building upon existing assets. Co-op is core to strategies to support immersive learning experiences, along with the less prominent civic engagement and international programs. Research was identified as a top priority, particularly for faculty, and consideration is being given to how to fund and link across disciplines to maximize impact. Top challenges, like education cost, organizational structure, resource allocation and facilities quality, cut across strategies and are being considered through enabling functions like enrollment, living and learning environments, and revenue generation. The strategy for developing agile curricula is also expected to address community concerns by positioning Drexel to be responsive to the market and cost-competitive in the evolving higher ed landscape. Finally, while partnerships were not identified as a top strength or weakness, its role in co-op and preparing students for success in the workforce and community was seen as underpinning other strategies and will be explicated as part of the EPC's work.

If you're interested in reviewing the raw survey data, please contact us.

What's next

Due to restrictions on community gatherings, plans for in-person community conversations have been postponed, and the EPC is developing plans for generating feedback through additional surveys and online focus groups. The EPC will reach out to share invitations to participate as he plan takes shape in the coming months.