Throughout the fall semester, Drew University has released information on its newest addition to the curriculum: the Launch program. With this program’s implementation, Drew seeks to make sure that students graduating are “career-ready” by having been exposed to several professional development opportunities.
President Baenninger defined Launch in her email on Nov. 1 as “Drew’s new, comprehensive approach to undergraduate education.” Although the program will officially begin when the class of 2023 matriculates in fall 2019, current students will also benefit from the administration’s “efforts [that] are devoted to purposefully developing students for a life of meaning and success after Drew.”
One of the key additions that Launch will bring for new students is the creation of a team of advisors, comprised of anyone from faculty and staff members to alumni and community partners. In an interview with The Drew Acorn, Dr. Daniel Pascoe-Aguilar––who was recently hired in order to create the University’s Center for Experiential Education and Career Development––said, “The components of mentoring and experiential education as requirements of the curriculum are to me the main difference [for the new class]. Walking with a team of mentors is going to be so different.”
Dr. Juliette Lantz, a professor in the Chemistry department and Associate Dean of Curriculum in the College, was involved in the research project which served as the first phase of development of Launch. When asked why Drew needed a program like Launch, Lantz said, “Drew is a leader among liberal arts colleges in developing experiential opportunities. Many of these high-impact practices are nationally recognized and embed students in a professional world in particularly creative ways.”
Eric DiPietro (‘19) after being asked by Dean Jessica Lakin, the Associate Provost for Academic Administration, represented the student body in the on-campus focus group to provide input on Launch components. In this role, DiPietro, a business major, sat in on various meetings to develop the Launch program. “Our voices were definitely heard and we felt we were an integral part of some of the decisions made,” said DiPietro. “All of the advisors in the group knew our place on campus and that students [are] the ones experiencing the university, and they loved hearing accounts and thoughts from our student networks through the entirety of the process.”
While the details of how current and future students will benefit from the program will not be revealed until the spring, in her email President Baenninger assured students already at Drew that they will have access to “all of the new and exciting career and professional development opportunities” while there will be “a few curricular requirements in general education that will only be required of new students.”
“The students currently at the university and students to come can expect a much more hands-on world experience through college career preparing you to be “Launched” from the University into the working world,” concluded DiPietro.