President's Message Introducing Launch, 11/1/18.
Dear Drew Community Members,
I am excited to introduce you to Launch, Drew’s new, comprehensive approach to undergraduate education. Launch ensures that all students will graduate from Drew ready to begin their careers, pursue their passions, and add to the world’s good.
Launch will officially begin when the new first-year class matriculates in fall 2019. New students will join current students in a community where everyone’s efforts are devoted to purposefully developing students for a life of meaning and success after Drew. In particular, throughout their four years at Drew, students will be guided by a team of advisors to support their exploration of interests, to formulate their Drew and post-Drew strategies for developing professionally, and to help build their career trajectories.
The identity of the College of Liberal Arts as a liberal arts college will remain unchanged. Launch is designed to augment and complement the core liberal arts and sciences education that is deep within Drew’s DNA. With Launch, students’ foundational liberal arts education will be complemented by and integrated with the development of key skills required in today’s economy through engaging coursework, multiple guaranteed professional experiences, opportunities to earn industry-recognized credentials, full participation in our vibrant and diverse campus community, and powerful support from peers, mentors, alumni, and other professional connections. Coupled with exciting co-curricular programming that supports these same goals, Launch will quickly become an undergraduate experience rivaled by no other.
As part of this effort, we hired Daniel Pascoe Aguilar, PhD, MDiv, as our new associate provost for experiential education and career development. Daniel will create the University’s Center for Experiential Education and Career Development, which is designed to bring together the existing Centers for Global Education, Civic Engagement, and Internships and Career Development, as well as undergraduate research programs. The new Center will advance the University’s efforts to increase undergraduate and graduate student participation and engagement in meaningful experiential learning. It will also ensure that this is seamlessly integrated into the Drew experience in a way that expands students’ future career and study opportunities. Daniel joins us from Ithaca College, where he was the executive director of career services, and he has held similar roles at the University of Oregon, the University of Seattle, and the University of North Texas.
The decision to develop Launch as central to our students’ undergraduate experience was informed by a major research project, concluded last year. This project, which included data collection from hundreds of prospective students, current students, alumni, and donors, affirmed for us all of the reasons why Drew is such an amazing place—the connections Drewids make with faculty, staff, and peers; the stellar academic preparation they receive; and the experiential opportunities that are available to them.
The research also provided insight on why some prospective students don’t currently choose Drew, how some current students experience more difficulty than others in translating their successes at Drew into a meaningful career arc, and how we might engage alumni more directly with our current students and with the University generally.
We took the research very seriously. Launch was the culmination not only of the research itself, but of an additional year’s development of the concept and the programming associated with it. My faculty and staff colleagues at Drew and I are committed to improving both the experience and the outcomes of current and future students and alumni. Launch will be an undergraduate experience that is both true to Drew and responsive to the needs of current students.
I’m sure that current students will have questions about their opportunities to merge into the program. The short answer to this is that all of the new and exciting career and professional development opportunities will be available to current and new students. A few curricular requirements in general education will be required only of new students. Much more detail will become available in the spring.
Everyone on campus is very excited to be a part of planning for Launch. I know that I will be able to count on your support in these efforts as well—they will be critical. Please visit the Launch website for more information, and thank you for your wonderful support of Drew.