Rebecca Weidensaul, PhD
In her role as Assistant Vice President, Dr. Weidensaul oversees the following:
- Center for Learning and Academic Success Services (University City and Center City Locations)
- Peer Tutoring: College of Nursing and Health Professions, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies, and the Dornsife School of Public Health, as well as for select courses for students participating in CLASS programs.
- Peer Academic Coaching
- Professional Academic Coaching
- Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation
- Bridge to the Doctorate
- Office of Inter-college Advising
- Office of Veteran Student Services
Her February 2011 appointment in Student Life brought to a close nearly two decades of leadership in the Athletics department at Drexel University. Prior to her tenure in Athletics, Weidensaul worked in Undergraduate Admissions with a designated position as liaison with the men's and women's Athletics departments; she also served as the University's point of contact for NCAA initial eligibility prior to the establishment of the NCAA Clearing House. Dr. Weidensaul came to Athletics with the purpose of establishing the University's first NCAA Compliance office and comprehensive academic and support services program for student-athletes. It was her vision that division I student-athletes should have every opportunity to be scholars and athletes. This vision predicated the development of the ACHIEVE Center, a dedicated space for the delivery of academic and support services for student-athletes. The ACHIEVE Center became a frequented place in the Daskalakis Athletic Center for student-athletes to study, receive tutoring, academic advising, and participate in leadership and life skills programs. Twelve academic all-Americans passed through this infrastructure under Weidensaul's supervision, and she often stated "…at Drexel University, the student in student-athlete, really does come first." Under Weidensaul's leadership as Associate Athletic Director, the graduation rate among student-athletes was consistently higher than the University's average (91% 10-year average) and the GPA of all student-athletes was a cumulative 3.18 in her last year.
In addition, Weidensaul worked closely with the NCAA in development of what is now known as the CHAMPS/Life Skills program, an educational initiative to serve as the foundation for the NCAA's most recent campaign that student-athletes "go pro" in more than just sports. Dr. Weidensaul became a national leader and served on many CAA and NCAA committees. She was appointed to the NCAA's CHAMPS/Life Skills National Advisory Board and served for nearly a decade. She participated in a variety of Student Life related panels and summits, bringing expertise on the area of academic services and student development in student-athlete populations. Weidensaul has been a facilitator for several NCAA National Student-Athlete Leadership conferences, NCAA CHAMPS/Life Skills Continuing Education conferences and as a general assembly panelist at the annual NCAA National Convention in 2007. While in Athletics, Dr. Weidensaul also used her organizational and competitive skills to work closely with the American Red Cross and the Drexel University community to create several of the biggest one-day blood drives in the region. The success of the Colonial Athletic Association Blood Challenge at Drexel not only led to five consecutive CAA Blood Drive Challenge "championships," but also led to the collection of over 1,000 pints of usable blood in one day, thus saving thousands of lives. As a result of her commitment, Dr. Weidensaul served on the Board of Directors of the Penn-Jersey American Red Cross for several years.
In her most recent post, Dr. Weidensaul has brought leadership to support several communities within the student body, assessing and championing their specific needs to develop comprehensive resources and services to ensure student success. During her first three years, Dr. Weidensaul worked on several key initiatives to support unprecedented growth in the international student population, student-veterans and LGBTQA interest groups. In fall of 2011, Weidensaul orchestrated the opening of the University's first Veteran's Lounge on the auspicious date 11-11-11 and in the fall of 2013, cut the ribbon at the opening of the University's first LGBTQA Student Center under the direction of the Student Center for Inclusion and Culture. She has been instrumental in the planning and implementation of several diversity and inclusive excellence initiatives that support holistic student success. Weidensaul has also provided extensive oversight of Student Life for the College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP), located in Center City. CNHP is the University's largest college and models a brand of Student Life where academic achievement, career readiness, and service seamlessly intersect and are simultaneously nurtured and supported. And, under Weidensaul's leadership, the Office of International Students and Scholars Services provided high quality immigration services and regulation compliance education while participating in an unprecedented number of student retention initiatives with campus partners. Dr. Weidensaul has also participated in the planning of a new Intercultural Center on campus, attending to the spiritual and religious practices of students and maximizing the opportunities for students to engage in cultural exchanges that build a welcoming, inclusive, respectful, and engaging campus community. Finally, she worked side by side with Drexel Hillel and campus partners for the Fall 2016 opening of the Perelman Center for Jewish Life.
This year, Dr. Weidensaul will be working with her talented colleagues from two of the University's learning centers (Drexel Learning Center and Center for Academic Success) to provide academic services for all students as a unified department, the Center for Learning and Academic Success Services (CLASS). The center will continue to provide tutoring support to the College of Nursing and Health Professions, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies and the School of Public Health and programmatic support for the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LS-AMP), Bridge to the Doctorate, the ACT 101 program, Drexel Autism Support Program (DASP), Dragon Navigators, and the Dragon Scholars program. In addition, CLASS will roll out a number of strategic initiatives including peer and professional academic coaching, peer facilitated study groups, workshops, partnership with the Learning Alliance (other tutoring/academic support centers on campus), and faculty to provide course-based support. The Centers are welcoming places where students can find study space, computer labs, digital media, and lending libraries. Dr. Weidensaul is working with campus partners to make academic support easy to access and highly valued by students, faculty and professional staff.
Dr. Weidensaul is a graduate of Gettysburg College and earned two degrees at Drexel University (Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and Goodwin School of Education). In 2001, Weidensaul completed her PhD in Educational Leadership and Learning Technologies at Drexel with her research focus on "Creativity as a Life Skill." In 2006, she was the recipient of the American Creativity Association's Torrance Graduate Student Research Award. Throughout her years at Drexel, she had taught numerous courses on leadership, creativity, and life skills and currently has an appointment in the Goodwin College as an Adjunct Associate Professor.