Mead 207

Message from the President

Photo by Bob Handelman

I’m truly excited by Drew’s ongoing development of a new strategic plan. I know, I know. “Strategic plan” is one of those concepts with all the excitement of counting dots on acoustical ceiling tile. My family jokes about my excitement. In our kitchen, we now have a strategic pan. Last night at a restaurant, my wife ordered a strategic flan. And so on. My passion, I’d argue, is understandable, especially now that we’re seeing four big goals in The Plan for Drew emerge, the fruit of the tireless efforts of a President’s Task Force of 15 faculty and staff, a separate planning group and a team of committed students. The first two goals mingle the permanent values of a liberal arts education with Drew’s future directions. Our first goal—intellectual engagement—speaks to Drew’s great tradition. We must ensure that students are exposed to the life of the mind, and to the human history of thought and achievement, without which any other goal becomes tantamount to an empty suit.

Help Me Help Drew

I invite you, the Drew community, to share with me what made your own experience of Drew special. It will help me bridge the Drew of the past with the Drew of the future. Please read The Plan for Drew and leave comments by February 15 at

But the second is a departure. It takes account of the ways a liberal education (one befitting a free citizen, as defined by Cicero) is changing. For much of the 20th century, universities defined the liberal arts in opposition to the material world, emphasizing the theoretical over the practical. But we began to see how such an absolute separation fails to empower students and shortens the reach of those academic disciplines that rightly should inform major social decisions. Drew, after all, was created to employ learning to benefit others. Thus the second goal calls for social engagement—applying classroom learning to social urgencies and taking those real-world experiences back to the classroom. It calls as well for global engagement, for widening our horizons to the international in all fields, for no nation will prosper if the world fails. And finally it includes professional engagement—asking how an academic interest might lead to a practical career. As Louis Menand argues, if we fail to teach our students how the actual world works, we create the ignorance of the well educated. The third and fourth goals are themselves more practical. They involve branding the university to define more sharply and compellingly Drew’s identity and ensuring our financial stability. Ultimately Drew’s future depends on growing new sources of revenue that feel right to us in terms of our academic ideals. Gently and gradually increasing the undergraduate population so that we can grow our faculty and curricular offerings, launching master’s degrees that lead to rewarding careers and expanding our offerings to local adults can provide more academic impact while garnering resources for Drew that will raise the quality of everything we do. Robert Weisbuch

2 Responses to “Mead 207”

  1. Stephanie Arbour says:

    I was greatly inspired to continue life plans worthy of a Drew graduate after reading the Mead 207 message from the president and, especially the entire magazine. When asked to recall in that article what made Drew special, I recalled the excellent professors that not only opened our vistas in class but also interacted on a personal level. I recalled the lovely wooded atmosphere that gave Drew the name “the college in the forest.” I recalled the challenging curricula, that left us all better for it and the well funded library in which one could research for hours and still research subjects of interest more. I recalled the state of art use of technology with the new advent of personal computers in the 80′s and the friendly American, ethnic American, and international American student population that gave drew it’s flavor.

  2. I love your plan. Drew was always a great school, and one of the reasons for this, in my opinion, is the schools ability to grow and develop, while reaching out to all that life entails. Drew has had great presidents, and Dr. Weisbuch rates among the best. I look forward to his article in each issue of the “Drew” magazine, and it makes me proud to read of the envolvement of my school in dealing with current issues that affect the human story. I enrolled in the DMin. program after attending an orientation at at Camp Carroway, NC in 1985. I was impressed with the practical aspects of the program which followed the intensive course work, and a curriculum which included issues regardng minorities such as myself. I enjoyed the freedom of expression on all issues in class, and also in my professional project which I completed in 1992. It is important that we as alumni commit our support Drew, morally and financially.

    Howard Walte Jones, D.Min.

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