The video highlights students working in the home of Tim Urness, professor of computer science. The students are collaborating to solve complex coding problems, all while enjoying pizza. The gathering was a practice for an annual regional programming competition.
Urness was the recipient of the 2018 Madelyn M. Levitt Excellence in Teaching Award. Both students and faculty nominated Urness for the honor, citing his enthusiasm for the discipline, his passion for developing students, and his geeky humor. His personal relationships with students are one of the hallmarks of a Drake education.X
With an interest in research and a passion for a project regarding epinephrine auto-injectors, known as EpiPens (due to her own food allergy), Caroline Jones, then a sophomore pre-pharmacy student, worked with Drake professors to provide critical answers on EpiPen shelf life.
Jones’ research led her to earn a Drake Undergraduate Science Collaborative Institute (DUSCI) research fellowship and a NASA merit scholarship. She also had the opportunity to present findings alongside pharmacy professors at a national conference.
“It’s definitely shown me career options,” says Jones. “I’ve known I’ve wanted to go into clinical pharmacy, but this has shown me that I also have a passion for research. I’m now considering earning a Ph.D. and going into academia. Without this experience, I don’t think I would have figured it out so early.”X
On Jan. 28, 2019, the first day of the spring semester, Drake University hosted a CNN town hall in Sheslow Auditorium with presidential candidate Kamala Harris. The event was an opportunity for several students, such as first-year Darby Holroyd, to experience the political process. Holroyd worked alongside CNN producers as an intern, helping to set up for the nationally televised town hall. The event was the most-watched cable news, single candidate, town hall ever.
Since the event, Drake has also welcomed presidential candidates Bill Haas and Andrew Yang. As Des Moines’ largest private university, Drake is proud to have earned a reputation as the capital of the Iowa caucuses. Between February 2015 and February 2016, the University hosted more than two dozen political events on campus. With each event, Drake strives to maximize student opportunity and fulfill the University’s core responsibility to promote civil dialogue. Students benefit from paid internships with national media outlets, personal meetings with candidates, interactions with hundreds of journalists, and top seats to prime-time news events.X
In 2013, Drake instituted the Crew Scholars program to offer minority students a network of support from faculty, staff, and peers; encourage participation on campus, and build camaraderie among members. In the third year of the program, then-junior Anthony Pawnell spoke about his experience as a Crew Scholar: “I think the biggest difference it has made is giving me a place to express myself and talk to people I know understand,” he said. “It makes this place, Drake University, feel like home, instead of just a place I’m living.” Since the program originated, retention of black students has increased from 73.3 percent to a high of 87.5 percent, with Crew participant retention ranging from 90.5 to 100 percent.X
The Drake University football program and jazz band traveled to the People’s Republic of China in May 2018, providing students with a myriad of cultural and academic experiences. While there, the Bulldog football team became the first NCAA Division I football team to play in China. In addition to the game, team members facilitated youth football clinics and participated in volunteer service work. Leveraging longstanding University ties with U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad, the Drake jazz band and football team attended a reception at the U.S. Embassy, in which jazz students delivered a performance. Students also had an opportunity to engage in various cultural activities, such as a visit to the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City. Academically, students spent time in the classroom learning about the country’s culture and economy.X
Commonly referenced as the capital of the Iowa caucuses, Drake University welcomed more than two dozen political events during the 2016 presidential campaign cycle. Events ranged from small candidate Q&A sessions to a nationally televised debate with political players such as Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson. With the ability to experience American democracy first-hand, it’s no wonder that Drake students self-reported that their “Knowledge of how to participate effectively in the democratic process” significantly improved while at Drake. In November 2017, Drake received a bronze seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for its above-average student voter participation rate. Approximately 80 colleges and universities received the seal, including Harvard, Brown, and James Madison University. In addition to voting at an exceptionally high rate, 82.8 percent of Drake students registered to vote in the 2016 election. Drake strives to serve as a hub for civic and political engagement in order to maximize student opportunity and fulfill its core responsibility to promote civil dialogue.X
Drake leverages data in many ways to drive purposeful action. A recent example can be found in our internal effort to increase the retention rate for our students. A cross-collaboration team met with each college to determine specific areas of action. Retention rates were reviewed at a detailed level to identify opportunities. Based on this data, specific tactics were determined, per college. The outcome of this effort has been prioritized projects to support increased retention for our students. As updated data becomes available, new tactics will be determined, focusing on areas of need.X
Collier-Scripps Hall and the Science Connector Building are the result of Drake’s $52 million STEM@DRAKE initiative. The new academic buildings connect students and faculty in the sciences, technology, education, and math, creating an increased emphasis on teamwork and interdisciplinary collaboration. Faculty and students enjoy the buildings’ collaborative work spaces, updated technology, and experiential learning opportunities, like that of the new greenhouse on the roof of the Science Connector Building. The greenhouse is bigger, giving more room for plants, students, and opportunities to teach a wider array of courses.X
Drake Public Safety is staffed by 20 full-time officers who patrol campus on foot, on bicycles, and in vehicles around the clock. The officers are also trained to assist in medical emergencies. In 2017, Drake Public Safety and Environmental Health & Safety collaborated with Methodist Medical Trauma Center to be the first University in the state to offer Stop the Bleed training for department staff. Stop the Bleed was created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to train first-responders in life saving techniques used to stop severe bleeding from a traumatic event, before advanced medical care arrives.X
The Office of Information Technology Services is committed to providing Drake University with a secure technology environment. In the last year, participation in the University’s annual anti-phishing campaign more than doubled. The campaign provides robust education and training—including simulated phishing attacks—to faculty, staff, and students on how to spot fraudulent emails. This heightened awareness of phishing, along with the University’s email security filters and network firewalls, protected Drake from more than 120 million malicious emails sent to campus last year. In addition to cyber protection, Information Technology Services lives up to its mission to ensure campus systems are efficient and available. Throughout the 2017-2018 academic year, the University’s ten most critical technology services have been available more than 99.9% of the time.X
Brent and Diane Slay partnered with Drake to create the Slay Fund for Social Justice, which is directed by Professor Renee Cramer. This is the first formal organization on campus dedicated to social justice issues. The Slay’s generosity has provided numerous students with experiential learning opportunities and connected Drake with Des Moines community non-profit agencies. Through support from the Slay’s, Law Professor Brent Pattison was awarded a grant to support an innovative project called #KnowJustice, in which Drake Law School students teach in-need youth about their civil liberties through art. Volunteers from the Drake Law School Legal Clinic facilitate workshops on school policies, juvenile courts, and immigration, and encourage the children to express themselves and illustrate their understanding of what they learned through art.X
Drake alumnus John Lorentzen, BN ’77, AS ’77, and spouse Penney Fillmer challenged Drake University in late 2017 to increase its commitment to sustainable practices. Responding to the challenge, Drake’s Facilities Planning and Management team identified several projects that would reduce the University’s carbon footprint and save Drake more than $40,000 annually in energy costs. These projects included a new lighting system in the Knapp Center, the installation of LED lights across campus, and solar panels on the Tennis Center, which are scheduled to be installed this summer. Thanks to a generous matching gift from the Lorentzen’s and support from alumni and friends, Drake fully secured the funds needed to make these projects a reality. As a result of this shared vision, Drake is one step closer toward achieving its carbon reduction goal.X
One of the things that makes Drake so special is its culture of service. According to the University’s most recent community impact report, about 80 percent of undergraduate students engage in community service by the time they graduate. Next Course Food Recovery Network, a student-led organization on campus, works in partnership with Eat Greater Des Moines’ Move the Food Program to recover and distribute left over food from Hubbell Dinning Hall to local shelters and pantries. Since the group’s conception in 2014, more than 27,000 pounds of food have been donated, which would have otherwise been thrown away.X
In May, the Drake softball team won its fourth Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title. The win secured an automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Tournament, scheduled for the same weekend as commencement. This meant the team’s three seniors, Kailee Smith, Kelsey Wright, and Ashlie Chambers would miss their graduation ceremony. Thus, President Martin, decked out in full academic regalia, held an individualized commencement ceremony following the game, right on the team’s home field.X
At Drake, we strive to provide convenient and eco-friendly ways to get around campus in order to lower our carbon footprint, preserve green space, and prevent congestion. In August 2018, Drake began a partnership with Enterprise to bring CarShare to campus. The car-sharing program allows faculty, staff, and students to rent and use a car anytime, at an hourly rate. The program is intended to reduce the number of cars on campus. In addition, the University provides the campus community with many transportation alternatives. All students, faculty and staff can ride the Des Moines Area Regional Transit (DART) bus system all over Des Moines for free. BCycle, a bicycle sharing program, provides four bicycle stations around campus and many others throughout the city at a low cost. The Bike Library, located in the student center, offers a free and convenient way for students, faculty, and staff to check out a bike for use around campus.X
Drake University’s Annual Economic Impact
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Bulldogs help drive the Des Moines metro area economy. According to a Drake-commissioned study by Impact DataSource, University spending per year totals $413.5 million, student spending totals $55.2 million, visitor spending totals nearly $15 million, and central Iowa alumni spending totals $2 billion.X
Drake University coaches and athletic staff volunteered at five local, non-profit organizations as part of #515Day, a day of service dedicated to giving back to the Des Moines community. Coaches and staff worked on service projects with Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity, Meals from the Heartland, Food Bank of Iowa, Goodwill of Central Iowa, and Des Moines Parks and Recreation. The service day was an opportunity to serve and thank the Des Moines community for its loyal support of the University and its student-athletes.X