Drexel University President John A. Fry held the last of his four town hall style meetings at the New College Building in Center City May 4. The event marked the last of his scheduled meetings where students and faculty would be able to gather to listen and ask questions for the future of Drexel’s programs and the school itself.
The meeting focused on a few main topics such as recruitment of students, a healthcare center in Center City and planning for an improved graduate college program. Fry stated that many of these topics were ongoing and progress was being made in each avenue. The meeting, being held in the Center City campus, focused mainly on addressing the College of Medicine and uniting it with University City campus’ goals.
Recruitment was a large part of the series of meetings, where Fry spoke about revising both the requirements and qualifications when recruiting students and improving the retention rate overall.
“[We have] a goal of recruiting a highly-qualified class that will be properly packaged with financial aid to support [them] to maximize the likelihood of their success,” Fry said. “Huge changes are being made and fingers are crossed. This is a big transition year for us, but it is absolutely necessary for us to do this to put us on a more competitive path.”
Future goals for the College of Medicine include building a better health center, which will create a better relationship with the Tenet Healthcare Corporation. The relationship would benefit both the Queen Lane and Center City campuses. Additionally, the dean of the College of Engineering, Daniel Schidlow, discussed the possibilities of interdisciplinary relationships between schools of study, citing both the College of Engineering and the School of Public Health as a promising venue.
Fry held three meetings before May 4 that also covered these target goals for the University as well as additional topics. These meetings took place on multiple university campuses — Queen Lane, Center City and University City. The audiences varied greatly each time, mixing faculty and students from the College of Medicine and the other schools located on the main campus depending on the location. The the second and the third meetings concentrated on the future development of Drexel, covering the master plan, which is planned to go through 2015 to 2019.
Drexel’s new university strategic plan covers the development of the school in the years to come. The plan is comprehensive, covering topics such as student lifecycle, global impact of the school, research projects and the master plan of the school’s development. One of the newest renovations planned is for the Korman Center and the quadrangle, which was recently given $8 million towards the redesign of the area.
“I think its an ambitious goal to redo the quad again, especially since it follows the completion of the construction of the new LeBow building and the courtyard by Main,” Malay Desai, a senior accounting and international business major, said. “The town hall meetings are good updates to keep everyone in the loop because we’ll see construction happen out of the blue one day and only wonder what’s going up,” he said.
Fry’s meetings garnered approximately 500 attendees over the span of his month long schedule. Fry stated that much of the feedback was positive and encouraging.