All posts by Ashton Hockman

Celebrating first-gen students

Nov. 8 was National First-Generation Student Day! First-generation college students are an important part of the Drake community—about 14% of our campus community are first-gen students. This week we want to celebrate and recognize the achievements and experiences of first-gen students at Drake.

Read about six current Bulldogs who are the first in their families to pursue or earn a college degree. Learn why they chose Drake, and what inspires them.

— Marina Verlengia, Academic Excellence and Student Success

Join a Campus Climate Assessment small group discussion

A series of small group discussions will be held from Nov. 11–20 for students, faculty, and staff to brainstorm ideas and action steps in response to the Campus Climate Assessment. Sign up for a small group discussion.

The Campus Climate Assessment survey, implemented in November 2019, was designed to learn about the experiences and attitudes of current faculty, staff, and students. The public forums held on Nov. 9 and 10 provided our community with the survey data. Through the small group discussions, our goal is to begin the process of coming up with actionable next steps for campus. Our purpose is to identify specific actions that respond to the report’s findings.

— Erin Lain, Campus Equity & Inclusion

University Communications and Marketing responds to survey feedback

Thanks to all faculty and staff who responded to this year’s Administrative Services survey. Feedback provides helpful perspective and particularly so during these challenging times. By necessity, COVID-19 has been top priority for University Communications and Marketing (UCM) for nearly nine months. We have been helping address day-to-day issues and needs, on top of managing the COVID-19 website and issuing an average of 3-4 updates per month to keep campus well-informed. Additionally, UCM has pivoted time and again to create virtual experiences for commencement, admission visits, donor recognition, and other programs that would traditionally be held on campus and in person. All of these efforts have been on top of the team’s normal workload. To call this an extraordinary year would be a gross understatement. 

Despite the many challenges posed by COVID-19, survey feedback signals solid satisfaction with UCM. On a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being highest, campus colleagues rated UCM as 3.77. While that’s a decrease from 3.98 in 2019, the score is still above average and higher than years prior to 2019. And as has been the pattern for several years now, campus colleagues ranked UCM well above average for being courteous (4.42), professional (4.36) and knowledgeable (4.29). We are especially proud of these scores, and we appreciate the support and affirmation.

Survey respondents ranked UCM highest for campus communications (4.11) and branding (4.10). Alumni/donor communications (3.76) and student recruitment marketing (3.75) were perceived as the next-highest areas of strength. Still, UCM has room to improve. Colleagues ranked UCM lowest for responsiveness (3.84), compared to the very high marks for courteousness, professionalism, and knowledge. Some other general areas of desired improvement include better understanding audience needs (3.74), creating unique solutions to challenges (3.60) and making more of a significant impact (3.54). Specific areas of concern are strategic planning (3.38) and unit-level support, particularly in the area of public relations (3.65). Despite these criticisms, it’s worth sharing that UCM came in under budget for FY20 and improved in 15 of its 17 continuous improvement measures, including double-digit percentage gains in performance across platforms—i.e. paid media (advertising), earned media (PR), shared media (social media), and owned media (website and other digital assets). 

Still, we will take some time before winter break to reflect on this past calendar year—from the caucus season to COVID-19—and talk through how UCM might make even more of a positive impact in 2021. In addition, I will reach out to a cross-sample of campus partners in the next few weeks, to try to better understand how they define the main areas of criticism (e.g. “responsiveness”) and to gather more robust feedback on these concerns. Finally, the search for my successor has begun and a new UCM executive director should be in place by the time spring semester gets underway. She or he will have access to the survey feedback and my notes from campus partner follow-up discussions. No doubt this new leader of the UCM team will bring fresh insights and ideas on how to effectively support the University and its many needs.

— Dave Remund, Executive Director, University Communications and Marketing

Uganda travel seminar planned for May 2021

We are optimistically planning for a return to Uganda in May and would be delighted to have you join us in 2021.

BUS 067–Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa is six credits, three weeks in May, meets the Engaged Citizen AOI, and can be a great elective course.

A virtual information session is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 5 p.m. Bookmark the Zoom link and feel free to share it with anyone who may be interested. Also, please post or share the image above.

For questions, contact Professors Jimmy Senteza or Deb Bishop.

— Jimmy Senteza, College of Business & Public Administration

United Way Campaign generates approximately $27,000

Our 2020 United Way Campaign wrapped up at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16. With 146 participants we raised $27,307. Thank you for your consideration and generosity. Your financial support will help meet the needs of our neighbors, many of whom are facing new and exacerbated challenges as a result of the pandemic. If donating to the United Way remains a consideration for you and your family, please know you can do so year around at:

Ryan Arnold, Community Engagement

“Meeting-free day” Nov. 3

On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, we are all called upon to do our civic duty and vote in our national presidential election. Drake recognizes that this responsibility poses some challenges for employees who are juggling competing personal demands and, depending on where you live, a time commitment that can feel restricting. So, the University is declaring Nov. 3 a meeting-free day to eliminate any time sensitive job responsibilities and give faculty and staff the freedom to take the time to vote without consequence. In the coming days, watch for an organization-wide calendar hold to be sent for the entire day, restricting any conflicting meetings to be scheduled and serve as a reminder for us all to make our vote count.

Campus Climate virtual town halls Nov. 9 and 10

The Campus Climate virtual town halls have been rescheduled for Nov. 9 and Nov. 10 at 12 p.m. and will be held virtually. Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to register in advance.

During the town halls, the Office of Equity and Inclusion will review the findings from the 2019 Campus Climate Assessment.

Following the town halls, several roundtable discussions will be held in December to develop next steps.

The 2020 Iowa Constitution Lecture: “Is Iowa a Liberal Democracy?”

The Drake University Constitutional Law Center is pleased to announce James A. Gardner as presenter of the 2020 Judge James Grant Iowa Constitution Lecture. His lecture titled “Is Iowa a Liberal Democracy?” will be delivered virtually on Thursday, Oct. 29, at 3 p.m.

Gardner is the Bridget and Thomas Black SUNY Distinguished Professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School. He is a highly regarded specialist in constitutional and election law. He is a top national authority on American state constitutional law, as well as the principles of federalism upon which it is built. He is a prolific scholar who has published six books, as well as numerous book chapters, articles and review essays. Gardner recently was recognized as one of the 10 most frequently cited scholars in the field of election law by the influential Election Law blog.

The Drake Constitutional Law Center initiated the Judge James Grant Iowa Constitution Lecture Series in 2012 to feature prominent experts on the topic of the Iowa Constitution. Judge James Grant participated in drafting the Iowa Constitution and was known for his public service, integrity, and dedication to the law. The lecture series is made possible by the generous gifts of Patrick Grant, LW’76, and the Grant family.

Register here.

— Theresa Howard, Law School

With a lasting legacy, Diane Caldbeck to retire after 31 years

With more than 31 years of service to her alma mater, Diane Caldbeck, ED ‘72, associate vice president for University Advancement, will retire on Dec. 31. Diane came to Drake to lead the Alumni Relations team and has never stopped building relationships and advocating to advance the mission of Drake University. Over the years, Diane became instrumental in Drake’s fundraising success.  

Chair of Drake’s Board of Trustees, and long-time friend, Peggy Fisher, said of Diane at the October Board meeting, “My nickname for Diane is “relentless,” but relentless in a good way! I don’t think I’ve ever had the guts to say no when she’s asked me for a gift. In fact, I’m not sure she’s ever even “asked” — she just tells me what she wants me to do!”

Diane’s legacy expands well beyond her professional representation to Drake. Diane married Drake graduate Bill Caldbeck, and their three children—Kelly, Peter, and Megan—all graduated from the University. As a family they have been actively involved, including their children establishing an endowed fund in Diane’s honor titled “The Caldbeck Challenge.” Earnings from the fund support fostering a culture of philanthropy among our students. 

Diane’s legacy is as big as the University itself. She has done what we all hope to in life; make a profound and positive difference. All in University Advancement and throughout the Drake community celebrate, with Diane, her upcoming retirement. 

— John Smith, University Advancement

Drake receives Campus Prevention Network Seal of Prevention

Drake has been named a recipient of the Campus Prevention Network (CPN) Seal of Prevention. Presented by EVERFI and Parchment, the CPN Seal of Prevention is awarded to institutions of higher education that have demonstrated a commitment to digital prevention programs tied to student safety, well-being, and inclusion. 

Each recipient of the CPN Seal of Prevention has taken action to create a safer, more inclusive campus through comprehensive, evidence-based digital prevention education on issues such as sexual assault, alcohol misuse, mental health, and discrimination.

“It is extremely exciting for Drake to be recognized for our continued commitment to prevention,” said Lynne Cornelius, Drake University violence prevention coordinator. “Drake has made it a priority to have all incoming students participate in a series of online trainings aimed at creating a safe and inclusive campus community. These trainings are foundational to building a shared understanding of the values we embrace at Drake and our community expectations.”

The criteria for the CPN Seal of Prevention is based on the Principles of Effective Prevention Programs published by Nation, et al. (2003). View a full list of the 2020 recipients of the CPN Seal of Prevention and more information on the awards.