Dear Colleagues, 

Yesterday, President Fry released a statement about the upcoming academic year and budget challenges. I encourage you to review the 2018 President’s Report he shared, as well as continue to monitor President Fry’s university-wide messages and those sent via Drexel Official Mail, as well as news on DrexelNow

Through these operational and administration changes, the College of Engineering will face its own transformation, during which we must strive to preserve our strengths while remaining nimble in our ability to advance Drexel’s mission: preparing each new generation of students for productive professional and civic lives while also focusing our collective expertise on solving society's greatest problems. 

I want to first offer a sincere thank you to the entire college community for the work you do each day. As I near the one-year mark of my time here, I remain assured by your commitment and steadfastness to the College of Engineering. I recognize that over recent years, our community has resolved many issues and made significant progress academically, administratively and financially – we must continue that important work. 

To address a path forward, I have convened the college’s leadership and budget teams to conduct simulations and review our options based on various programmatic scenarios. Related, I’d like to remind you of the college’s strategic planning that is currently underway. I announced at the kickoff event in June that we must be creative, innovative and disruptive. And in times of change, this is never more true. 

Together with the college leadership team, and based on the input collected throughout the strategic planning process to date, we offer these principles that will guide strategic decision-making as we look to the future: 

  • Preserving and improving the student experience: students at the undergraduate and graduate levels deserve support and high quality programs that meet the rigor and demands of a modern education.
  • Prioritizing our research mission: our college played a critical role in Drexel attaining R1 status, and we must maintain an environment conducive to supporting the active research and scholarship of our faculty.
  • Maintaining a safe learning environment: we will not compromise the safety of individuals working and learning in our laboratories. 
  • Maintaining our ranking: we have a collective goal to assert and preserve our position in the national landscape of engineering programs. 
  • Advance our strategic plan: we cannot compromise our future, and must remain committed to moving forward with strategic initiatives, from developing talent among dedicated faculty, staff, and students and for industry, to distinguishing our programs and pedagogy, to aligning our goals with processes and procedures that map to outcomes. 

As President Fry announced, we must “make targeted investments…that support our core teaching and research mission.” These guiding principles offer a framework for us to do just that, and have been critical to conversations and identifying our response to the current situation. 

Of course, realizing the implementation of those changes can be the more challenging stage. Together, we must make important changes in the ways we work and that means making shared sacrifices. Our strategic planning work teams have been busy this summer, organizing into topic areas and gathering data to make recommendations for plan implementation at a retreat on September 18. Later in the fall, we intend to hold another open forum to continue to involve all members of our community in this ongoing process. 

As further changes develop, I will continue to keep you posted on the impact to the college. We will also hold a college-wide meeting, tentatively scheduled for Friday, 8/23 - please stay tuned for more information regarding time and location. 

Thank you for your support, collaboration and commitment to the College of Engineering.
Sharon L. Walker, PhD
Dean, College of Engineering