College of Engineering records
Held at: Drexel University: Archives and Special Collections [Contact Us]W. W. Hagerty Library, 3300 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Drexel University: Archives and Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The College of Engineering at Drexel University was established as the School of Engineering in 1914, when Drexel President Hollis Godfrey consolidated three of Drexel's eleven original departments: the scientific department, the technical department and the mechanic arts program. In 1915, the School of Engineering was the first department at Drexel permitted to grant a four-year degree. In 1919, it implemented a cooperative education program, which was extended from a four to five year program in 1925. The Cooperative Education program, the first of its kind at Drexel, placed students within business, industrial and professional assignments as part of the curriculum. In 1945, the School of Engineering was renamed the College of Engineering, and it instituted a graduate program a few years later in 1949. The graduate school conferred its first graduate degrees in 1952. From 1964 to 1968, the College of Engineering was the College of Engineering and Science. Another notable event in the program’s development and history includes its participation in a federal engineering education program to aid in the nations' defense, beginning in 1940.
Influential in the development and evolution of the College of Engineering were deans Arthur J. Rowland, 1893-1918; Ira W. Fisk, 1918-1919; John H. Bringhurst, 1919-1920; Frank H. Linthicum, 1920-1924; Robert C. Disque, 1924-1944; J. Harland Billings, 1944-1945 (acting); Robert C. Disque, 1945-1953; Harry L. Bowman, 1953-1958; LeRoy A. Brothers, 1958-1969; George E. Dieter, 1969-1973; Richard E. Woodring, (1973 acting) 1974-1990; Eli Fromm, (interim) 1990-1991, Yatish T. Shah, 1991-1997; Rajakkannu Mutharasan, (interim) 1997-1999; and Selcuk Guceri, 2000-2009.
From 1958 to 1969, LeRoy A. Brothers served as the dean of Drexel's College of Engineering. Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, Dean Brothers studied civil engineering at North Carolina State College and joined Drexel's faculty as a professor of civil engineering in 1927. With the start of World War II, Brothers took a leave of absence in 1942 to serve in the United States Air Force. In 1945, he formally resigned to pursue a full-time military career. Brothers returned to Drexel in 1958, serving as Dean of the College of Engineering until his retirement in 1969. During Brothers’ tenure, the college grew to include a focus on undergraduate, graduate and research work. Research, largely financed by the National Science Foundation, was encouraged for both faculty and students.
Although the first graduate programs began during Dean Bowman'a tenure, the graduate programs expanded greatly under Brothers’ administration. By 1969, there were five undergraduate, ten masters and six doctorate programs offered. In addition, there were two collaborative masters programs with partner institutions: the Drexel-Martin Graduate program, which began in 1956 and the Drexel-Presbyterian Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program (initially called Medical Instrumentation), which began in 1961.
Brothers also worked with the faculty and business professionals to expand and improve the curricula. The Young Engineering Teachers (YET's) Curriculum Study was formed in 1961 by a group of faculty members. They prepared a report recommending changes to the curriculum. In 1965, the Visiting Committee formed, consisting of approximately fifteen leaders of industry (half of whom were Drexel Alumni). The chief functions of the Committee were for members to visit the various departments and provide advice, criticism, new ideas and viewpoints to the faculty and college regarding the education of the students. The Visiting Committee cooperated on the development of new graduate programs, hired student fellows during the summer and provided financial support to the college.
In addition to his services as Dean of the College of Engineering, Brothers also served as the Acting Dean of Faculty in 1961 and 1962 and as Provost in 1969.
Brothers was also active in several professional associations and organizations, which include the American Society for Engineering Education and the Association of Engineering Colleges of Pennsylvania.
Separate from his duties as dean, Brothers served on the City of Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Board of Health for a period of time from around 1967 to 1969. In 1963, Brothers was the Delaware Valley Engineer of the Year.
This collection contains the records of the College of Engineering between 1930 and 1990, with a bulk of the materials created between 1956 and 1973. The collection is made up of reports, correspondence, manuals, meeting minutes, and grant and program proposals. Approximately a third of the collection is Dean LeRoy A. Brothers’ files, which are mainly correspondence relating to his operational duties as Dean. There are some files that are of a more personal nature and/or are unrelated to the college. There is also a large amount of information related to the development of programs within the college, the curriculum, and faculty and student research projects. These activities are well documented in the annual reports, department heads and faculty meeting minutes, grant award letters, program materials, research proposals, and correspondence from Brothers and the office of the Dean. This collection is of great research value as it evidences a period of the College of Engineering that was previously not well documented.
The collection is divided into seven series: “Reports,” “Accreditation Records,” “Program Material,” “Meeting Minutes,” “Engineering Education Organizations,” “Dean LeRoy A. Brothers subject and departmental files,” and “Correspondence.”
The series “Reports” contains monthly and/or annual reports describing the resources and activities of the College of Engineering and its various departments. The series is divided into three subseries; “Annual Reports,” “Accreditation Reports” and “Other Reports.” The Annual Reports are arranged alphabetically by creative body and then chronologically within those groups. There are annual reports for the College of Engineering from 1947 to 1974, the College of Science from 1982 to 1983, the Chemistry Department from 1930 to 1962, Center for Insulation Technology for 1985, and Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics Department from 1979 and 1983. The Accreditation Reports are arranged in chronological order from 1951 to 1966, and include reports from the Civil Engineering department for the academic year 1951/1952 and the Mechanical Engineering department from 1962. In addition, there is an undergraduate curriculum review from 1962, a proposal for enrollment analysis from 1962, and Engineering faculty personal data forms from 1966. Other reports included in this series are an undated report of "deferred gifts and prospects" and material related to the composition of the Annual Report to the Alumni of the College of Engineering and Science.
The “Accreditation Records” series includes questionnaires created by the Engineers' Council for Professional Development (ECPD) and the reports created by Drexel Institute of Technology in reply to the questionnaire from the ECPD Education Committee. The series is arranged in chronological order and contains records created between 1956 and 1990.
The “Program Material” series includes material created by the College of Engineering, and four departments within the college: Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Materials Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics Departments from 1961 to 1990. This series provides insight into the innovation and creativity of the College of Engineering personnel, and opportunities made available to the College as a result of its alliance with various external organizations and government agencies. The series includes research proposals, program proposals, grant proposals, program development materials, departmental records and some student work. The series is arranged alphabetically by creative department, and then chronologically within those groups.
The “Meeting Minutes” series is divided into two subseries: Department Heads meetings, containing minutes from 1959 to 1968; and Faculty meetings, containing meeting minutes from the 1936/1937 academic year and 1949 to 1967. The series is arranged chronologically.
The “Engineering education organizations” series contains records created by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), Association of Engineering Colleges of Pennsylvania (AECP), and the Engineering College Administrative Council (ECAC) from 1961 to 1967. The ASEE materials are mostly proceedings of annual and regular meetings of the organization, and handwritten notes taken at the meetings. These papers provide evidence of the organization's mission and goals and its attempts to actualize these goals. The AECP materials are merely a group of institutional surveys sent to and completed by Drexel Institute of Technology. The ECAC material gives evidence of the work of the organization's Committee for the Analysis of Engineering Enrollment. This is elucidated by proposals and memoranda, and intra-organizational correspondence. This subseries also includes a set of bound correspondence from 1961 through 1963. Each binder treats a different subject, and is called an “Index of Correspondence.” The correspondence is arranged chronologically within each binder. The series is arranged alphabetically by organization, and then chronologically within those groups.
The “Dean LeRoy A. Brothers subject and departmental files” series is mostly a collection of correspondence between Brothers and various Drexel affiliates, spanning 1955 to 1969. General topics addressed in the series include the activities of the various departments within the College of Engineering; consortial projects with other institutions; the National Institute of Health; and program development and evaluation. The series is arranged alphabetically by subject and/or correspondent and is in original order. Generally, folder titles represent either the subject of the correspondence or the person/institution the correspondence is with. Because this collection was minimally processed, folder titles were not changed and dates for folders were not extracted. It was noted that some folder titles are misleading and some contain information that is only loosely related to the title.
The “Correspondence” series houses a central file used for collecting copies of outgoing correspondence. Files contain unrelated communications to a wide variety of recipients, covering a broad range of topics. The correspondence contained in this series originated from the Office of the Dean and was sent to various recipients among the Drexel administration, the faculty and student bodies. The original order of this series has been preserved. This series is arranged chronologically and contains material from January of 1964 to December of 1973, with gaps from January of 1965 to April of 1966 and from June of 1966 to December of 1966.
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
This collection was minimally processed in 2009-2011, as part of an experimental project conducted under the auspices of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries to help eliminate processing backlog in Philadelphia repositories. A minimally processed collection is one processed at a less intensive rate than traditionally thought necessary to make a collection ready for use by researchers. When citing sources from this collection, researchers are advised to defer to folder titles provided in the finding aid rather than those provided on the physical folder.
Employing processing strategies outlined in Mark Greene's and Dennis Meissner's 2005 article, More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Processing Approaches to Deal With Late 20th-Century Collections, the project team tested the limits of minimal processing on collections of all types and ages, in 23 Philadelphia area repositories. A primary goal of the project, the team processed at an average rate of 2-3 hours per linear foot of records, a fraction of the time ordinarily reserved for the arrangement and description of collections. Among other time saving strategies, the project team did not extensively review the content of the collections, replace acidic folders or complete any preservation work.
- Drexel University: Archives and Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Laurie Rizzo and Eric Rosenzweig
- Finding Aid Date
- The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project. This collection was minimally processed to the folder level.
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Because the collection may contain confidential information, portions are currently restricted pending review by the archivist. See the university archives' policy on access to records for further information.
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