As has become tradition, I write to welcome you to the new academic year, to share with you an update on activities that occurred over the summer, and to preview some of our plans for this academic year.
The Provost structure, in place for a little over one year, has fundamentally changed the ways in which the three academic schools interact and collaborate, as well as the ways in which we develop and support our students. I would like to highlight a few examples of the things we accomplished together this past year:
Among other benefits, these structural changes produced and supported notable curricular developments in all three schools. The Theological School concluded a two-year process that resulted in approval of new degree programs, a comprehensively transformed curricula, and new policies governing faculty workload and expectations to support the implementation of the project ahead. The Master of Arts in Teaching degree as well as the History and Culture program in the Caspersen School underwent significant curricular revision, and we developed new programs in Teacher Education and Finance at the graduate level. In addition to the many majors and minors that faculty in the College revised, new majors in Public Health and Environmental Science were approved, a Bachelor of Science degree was approved, and a framework for a reimagined undergraduate experience (the CRUE project) was endorsed.
Each of these programmatic initiatives is critical to our ability to attract new students to all three schools, and our new and streamlined administrative processes are making both our work and our students’ experiences better supported and more seamless integrated. We were only able to make this much progress in a single year because of the supportive attitudes and hard work of many people – faculty, staff, and the academic leadership team – and I’m grateful that our entire community was so engaged in these efforts.
Many faculty and staff members were also involved last year in bringing to Drew a truly phenomenal group of new faculty, and I want to offer a sincere thank you for these efforts. Joining the Drew faculty this fall are:
In addition, I am especially pleased to welcome three faculty members who have been teaching at Drew for a collective thirteen years into new positions: Sangay Mishra (Political Science & International Relations) and Yahya Madra (Economics & Business) are moving into tenure-track lines, and Rory Mulligan (Art) is now a full-time member of the faculty.
We’ve also welcomed a number of key new staff members to the academic division at Drew:
This summer has also been extremely busy:
As President Baenninger wrote in her fall 2018 welcome note, our efforts to become more efficient and grow the student body over the past few years have been successful and we must continue as we work towards a sustainable Drew. To this end, the academic team has continued work over the summer on our major initiatives–LAUNCH for the CLA and Curriculum Transformation for Theo–to strengthen existing and develop new educational offerings in a way that helps us pivot to better meet the market.
After the endorsement of the the CRUE platform last spring, Juliette Lantz, Ryan Hinrichs, and Mike Fried took the lead on generating a process for how to proceed with design development of the curricular elements of the framework. A first discussion of this process has been had with a joint meeting of the Curricular and Assessment Committees, with representation from Dean’s Council. We are also putting together an ad hoc committee of faculty and staff to coordinate the overall implementation of the co-curricular and curricular elements of the framework. For the curricular components of CRUE, this group will work with standing committees in the College, and the faculty more generally, with the goal of bringing a newly designed curriculum forward for a faculty vote by December. I will be sending a separate email to Arts & Science faculty with more information about this process. As MaryAnn’s letter explains, we have named this our LAUNCH program. “Launch” will serve as Drew’s one-of-a-kind, leading edge path to an undergraduate degree, syncing rigorous liberal arts education with professional and career development and powerful community engagement.
In addition, the academic and admissions teams have continued to establish partnerships with other institutions to create pathways into our graduate and undergraduate programs. For example, we have finalized Memorandum of Understanding with several institutions including Gettysburg College, Dickinson College, and Bloomfield University, for seamless entry into our Master in Finance program. In Teacher Education, Kristen Turner (and her team) and Bob Massa have taken the lead establishing partnerships for entry into our 4+1 BA/BS-MAT, including with Raritan Valley Community College and County College of Morris. They also finalized MOU’s with Chester, Morris, and Madison School Districts for student teaching placement and preferred entry into our M.Ed.. We also have contract agreements to provide ongoing professional development with three school districts and one additional high school.
This summer we have re-structured several areas that are part of the Office of the Provost:
The Compensation Monitoring Committee met over the summer, and the chairs (Chris Apelian and Hillary Morgan) have been planning their agenda for the year with Maria Force; the first meeting during the academic year will be very soon. President Baenninger and I have also agreed that the faculty representation on the Annual Planning and Budgeting Council should be elected. There will be one faculty representative from the Theological School and two from Arts & Sciences. If you are interested in running for one of these positions, or if you would like to nominate someone else, please email this information to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, September 4th. An electronic vote will be held the week of September 10th in order to ensure that the committee is staffed prior to its first meeting, which is on September 18th. (Please note that this committee meets approximately biweekly on Tuesdays from 10:30-12:00).
We begin this fall welcoming 425 new first-time undergraduate students, 66 transfer undergraduate students, 43 new pathway students and 11 students in Academic English, 135 new Theological students, and 80 new CSGS students to our community! This includes 13 students in the new Masters of Finance program and 11 in the new Master of Education. These numbers represent significant growth over last year in all three schools, and represent some of the largest classes that we have brought to Drew in the past seven years. These outcomes would not have been possible without the work of the Admissions and Communications teams as well as INTO Center staff, so I thank them for their efforts. Additionally, Frank Merckx, Michelle Brisson, and their teams have done an excellent job welcoming and orienting our new undergraduate students to campus, and Melanie Johnson DeBaufre, Joanne Montross, and Beth Babcock, who staged excellent orientation programs for our newest graduate students.
We’ve affected and experienced a tremendous amount of change recently and I am heartened by the ways we have worked thoughtfully and collaboratively to make such progress. We are on the right path, and with the amazing talent of Drew’s faculty and staff, we can together navigate the challenges facing Drew and higher education today. I look forward to continuing our work, and to re-connecting with each of you as the new semester begins.
Dean of CLA and CSGS