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Highlights from our Strategic Planning Town Hall

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the Strategic Planning Committee, I thank everyone who participated in our College Strategic Planning Town Hall Meeting on this past Wednesday. For those of you who missed it, I wanted to send along the presentation we used at the meeting, provide some context for it, and share with you some of the important messages we heard.

President Fry and Provost Greenberg both offered brief opening remarks emphasizing the College's role as "the cornerstone" of Drexel, both historically and in the University's future as described by the Drexel Strategic Plan. Recognizing our enormous physical space woes, President Fry made a very tangible commitment, pledging a "down-payment" to the College of 60,000 square feet of newly renovated space in 3101 Market Street, some of which will become available beginning in 2013.  In speaking of his expectations for the College strategic plan, the President urged us to think big about our future, crafting bold, transformative ideas and embracing the vision of One University by identifying how we will work with the other Drexel colleges to optimize the University's impact on its region, the nation and the world.

In his remarks, Provost Greenberg spoke with excitement of the once-in-a-career opportunity that we have at this juncture to participate in shaping the future of our College and the University. Dean Hughes shared his expectations and urgency for a compelling plan: sufficiently bold ideas and aspirations-ones that may require significant resources-will set the stage for investment in intellectual and physical capacity, enabling the kind of impact and recognition the College has long sought.  

So where do we stand in our strategic planning process?  Our presentation at last Wednesday's meeting outlined several common themes expressed by our faculty, students and staff in the stakeholder forums held in September. (Detailed summaries of these sessions can be viewed on the strategic planning website.) Of these themes, the first three (slide #5) - defining a distinctive research agenda, innovating in engineering education, and creating a student-focused College experience - represent overarching "domains" for the strategic plan - areas in which the SPC believes we can generate truly galvanizing goals and bold initiatives. The other six items on this list arose in nearly all of the stakeholder discussion and seemed to the SPC to be cross-cutting concerns that should be examined with respect to each major domain described here as well as others that will arise in the planning process.  

While these domains and cross-cutting issues will inform the SPC's work, they are not intended to represent a draft of the strategic plan itself or even the major goals of the plan. It was the SPC's hope that by presenting back to the College community our take on what you said in the stakeholder sessions we could, first, get your sense of how well these themes capture the College's main strategic challenges, and second, stimulate additional thinking and feedback in the Town Hall meeting to inform the SPC's continued work.

So, are we getting it right? You and your colleagues voiced concern on a wide range of issues, elaborated on many of those we presented, and called our attention to other important ideas not represented in the presentation. By circulating the presentation now, we seek to stimulate additional reflection, dialogue, and debate. Thinking about the themes presented here as well as others you may identify, tell us: What bold, ideas will rally our community, ratchet up Drexel Engineering's visibility and reputation, and make the College a leader in addressing the most pressing societal issues of our time? 

The impact of a clear and bold strategic plan on the successes of your students-your professional legacy-can be profound.  For these students, Dean Hughes and I need your help in defining and shaping your plan-our College's plan-for success. I hope we can count on you.

Jon Spanier

Dr. Jonathan Spanier

Associate Dean

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