Among the greatest mysteries of Drexel University is that of the Goodwin College of Professional Studies, a school that most of Drexel’s student body might not have ever heard of. Nonetheless, Goodwin college provides several helpful services and advisors for students who aren’t quite sure how to go about obtaining their college education.
In 1892, the Department of Lectures and Evening Classes was first founded. Following a handful of slight name changes here and there, Goodwin College of Professional Studies was eventually christened as what is essentially the University’s night school. Today, Goodwin is responsible for the general studies degree completion program, non-matriculated courses and the first-year exploratory program for freshmen who have yet to declare their majors.
“We see our focus related to collaborating with the entire University, supporting three different student populations: exploring first year freshman, degree completion students, and non-degree seeking students who are more interested in learning a new skill,” The Executive Director of the Goodwin College, Tim Gilrain, said. “Goodwin has a long history of supporting part-time professional students and this is an area we continue to focus with our general studies program.”
The general studies program refers to Goodwin’s Bachelor of Science in general studies, which is designed as a flexible and practical degree for professionals with incomplete credits from other undergraduate programs.
“Goodwin’s degree completion programs provide opportunities for students; mostly part-time and often those with adult responsibilities and concerns, to take courses which help them earn undergraduate degrees and or update their knowledge base for their own personal or professional edification,” Lamont Wilson, director of the degree completions programs, said. “Our Bachelor of Science in general studies degree completion program is a compelling option for students looking to get the maximum return on credits they earned previously, while minimizing the time and expense of completing what, in many cases, they started years before coming to Drexel.”
Notably, this program is reportedly taken advantage of by military veterans. “We are collaborating with Enrollment Management and Student Success and Drexel University Online on a plan to facilitate the matriculation of military veterans looking to complete undergraduate degrees at Drexel,” Wilson continued. “Veterans with military transcripts can benefit greatly from the flexibility of Goodwin’s B.S. in general studies degree completion program.”
Similarly, Goodwin College’s non-matriculated options allow interested students to gain particular skills or knowledge a la carte, without ascribing to an actual major and the consequential time and tuition commitment. “We will continue to invest in non-credit studies which will provide an additional revenue stream for the university and create a gateway into other credit based programs across all of Drexel,” Gillian said.
The third pillar of the Goodwin College is the first-year exploratory studies, headed by Regina Ruane, the exploratory program director. “The purpose of the first-year exploratory studies program is to provide freshmen the opportunity to explore academic and career options before declaring a major at the end of their first year,” Ruane explained. “Students in the program follow one of two tracks, business, humanities, and social science or science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”
“Our first-year exploratory studies program is a cross-college collaborative program that allows students to experience courses in multiple areas of study before deciding on their major after the first year,” Gilrain added.
The first-year program is meant to appeal to the student without a concrete plan, and aid in avoiding mistakes early in a college career. This year, 13 freshmen enrolled in the program.
“[The program] emphasizes the importance of the freshmen year experience and the retention of our students,” Ruane continued. “The first-year exploratory program gives students the freedom to examine and explore their academic options with guidance from Goodwin College advising staff. This guidance enables students to make well-informed decisions in selecting the right degree program and the best career path while gaining valuable information about themselves, their academic interests and goals, and career aspirations.”
Shared by the entirety of the Goodwin College, nonetheless, is a mission to strengthen the student body and provide a service to the Drexel community and beyond. “Goodwin is uniquely positioned to provide access that is affordable and promotes diversity,” Wilson concluded. “The flexibility of our programs, particularly with online delivery options of Drexel’s quality, supports university, regional and federal, civic engagement initiatives for increasing the educational level of our communities—locally, nationally and globally.”