Drew, a distinguished small university notable for the quality of its academic programs, has three parts: the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), the Theological School, and the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies (CSGS). Altogether, they enroll 2,700 students and have 155 full-time faculty.
Drew University was established in 1867 as a seminary, the antecedent of today’s Drew Theological School. In 1928, a gift led to the addition of the College of Liberal Arts, which began as a small college for men, became co-educational during the 1940s, and grew significantly beginning in the 1960s. In the early 1980s, it was granted what is still only the fourth Phi Beta Kappa chapter in the state. With about 1,700 students and 130 full-time faculty members, the CLA is today the largest unit within the university. The Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, which is devoted to advanced study in the humanities, followed in 1955. Both its established humanities-based Ph.D. programs and its new degree programs in fields such as medical humanities are closely aligned to the curricula of the other two schools, from which it draws most of its faculty.
This distinctive cluster of schools – a classic liberal arts college, a humanities-centered graduate school, and a theology school with Methodist roots and ecumenical concerns – offers unusual opportunities to pursue knowledge across the conventional boundaries of the academy. The hallmarks of Drew’s approach to higher education include: clarity of commitment to the liberal arts and experiential learning in small classes, emphasis upon interdisciplinary studies, and the international character of the Theological School and the presence on Drew’s campus of students from throughout the world.
At Drew, civic engagement is a signature emphasis valued across our curriculum and throughout our campus. Our students do more than simply volunteer; they put learning into practice, using classroom knowledge to address real problems within a community. Students in a seminar on the Sudanese refugee crisis traveled to Egypt to assist relief efforts; those in a course on grassroots development in Africa wrote business plans for Cameroon villagers—and raised money to fund the best ones. Drew demonstrates its commitment to this intense brand of community-based learning through many initiatives, including a Center for Civic Engagement; the Civic Engagement Awards; and the Civic Scholars program, which includes a scholarship for entering undergraduates who have given extraordinary service to their communities.
Innovation has thrived at Drew. The College of Liberal Arts, for example, has often been a trail blazer: In the 1960s it was among the first American colleges to adopt semester-long off-campus study programs blending traditional and experiential forms of learning. In the 1970s, Drew was a leader in integrating field work and internship programs with more traditional class work, introducing a first-year seminar program, and establishing a summer term that combined off-campus study with campus-based course work. In 1984, Drew became the first liberal arts college to provide computers to its students as part of their regular tuition and fees.
The university has been a leader in integrating informational technologies into every aspect of its teaching, research, and campus life. It has an impressive library of 500,000 volumes that houses several major research collections, including the United Methodist Archives and History Center and one of the country’s leading concentrations of material on Willa Cather.
Drew’s campus is home to the Charles A. Dana Research Center for Scientists Emeriti, which is housed in Drew’s Hall of Sciences, and The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, an independent professional theatre.