President's Report 2021

Ensuring the Success
of our Students

A rigorous and purposeful academic experience has always been a hallmark of the University of Delaware, where our students’ success is reflected in their accomplishments both in and out of the classroom. 


Our vibrant and growing faculty continues to challenge students, while opening new fields of research and discovery. We have redoubled our commitment to scholarly excellence at UD, as well as extending our reach to prepare students before they even apply for admission and serve alumni and adult learners throughout their lives. Read how UD is leading students to success in the stories below. 

The 170th Commencement Ceremonies for the University of Delaware which graduated the Class of 2019. The commencement speaker was Matt Nagy, a UD alum from the class of 2001 and  the first UD alumnus to earn a head coaching position in the National Football League, becoming head coach of the Chicago Bears in 2018.

On-time graduation rate is among nation’s highest

The University of Delaware’s four-year completion rate is 73% — ranking in the top 10 among primarily residential public universities in the United States. That’s because UD commits significant resources — expanded advising services, predictive analytics, modest “success” grants and more — to help get students across the finish line on time. 


The Blue Hen Success Collaborative is a data-driven initiative that helps our advisors guide students and alert them to potential academic trouble, even if the student is not struggling yet. Far more students are now completing at least 30 credits in their first year so they stay on track to graduate within four years. 

During the pandemic, UD allowed students to “float” up to six credits from the fall semester and apply them to either the winter or summer sessions. More than 10,000 students — 40% more than normal — used those reserved credits in the winter session, keeping them from losing ground during a difficult time.

Jackie Means '24 is known as the "STEM Queen" and she has a large social media following and produces short, fun science experiment videos to get children who are typically underrepresented in STEM fields interested in science.

Honors College elevates UD’s top academic program

Launched in 1976, the University of Delaware’s Honors Program has challenged thousands of top students to dream bigger, reach higher and achieve more. That same pursuit of rigor and creativity drove UD to form the new Honors College and build an even stronger program in the future. 


The Honors College is a perfect fit for students like Jacqueline Means, a first-year Medical Diagnostics major who promotes science, technology, engineering and math as the “STEM Queen” through the organization she founded, the Wilmington Urban STEM Initiative. 

"I hope to bring more young women into the STEM fields,” said Means, who has made numerous national media appearances. “Because we've been excluded, there are things we've missed, discoveries that we could have made. We belong in the field. Young women just haven’t been shown that yet."

The Honors College is defined by an immersive living-learning community of enthusiastic students, highly engaged professors and unique opportunities for cross-disciplinary study. The Honors College has taken a leading role on campus helping UD students apply for and win prestigious national awards. Honors students are frequently recognized nationally for their efforts promoting diversity and inclusion, and Honors graduates typically advance to elite graduate or professional programs, as well as working at leading companies.

“Like our highly accomplished students, we’re committed to stretching — even exceeding — our limits to simply become the best we can be,” said Michael Chajes, dean of the Honors College. 

Students Satvika Kadiyala (royal blue top), Delaney “Laney” Crosley (grayish blue top/lt blue yoga pants), James “Jamie” Kassiotis (gray shirt/PTF shirt), Andrew Yan (black hoodie) and Hayden Atkinson (red shirt/bike) participate in a Admissions post card aimed at getting the Class of 2025 to apply to UD.

New dual-enrollment option expands pipeline to UD 

All Delaware high school students can now take University of Delaware courses online — for free — to earn up to a full semester of credits. The Early College Credit Program, launched in fall 2020, is the only program in the nation offering high school students such an opportunity that is both statewide and free.


And it’s already a success: Nearly 300 students from 13 Delaware schools are participating this year, greater than all of our other dual-enrollment opportunities combined. In some of those schools, only 50% of the graduates go to college, so this program will attract some students to UD who never thought they could attend or afford college.

Next year, we expect to offer more courses to about 600 students in 20 schools. 

The Early College Credit Program is a tremendous benefit to students, and it complements UD’s many other pipeline programs, including the College Readiness Scholars Institute, the Teachers of Tomorrow program, the Edge Summer College Program and others specializing in education, health sciences, engineering, entrepreneurship and more.

The growing comfort level with online learning presents even more potential to expand the reach and impact of the University in many more ways in the future. 

Associate in Arts Program students in Daniel McDevit’s BISC103 Principles of Biology class get out of the classroom for some experiential learning. In additional to their in-class actives, students got hands-on (or gloves on, as it were) experience with bees and beekeeping tending to a hive hosted at the Wilmington WYCA where the also helped out with a community garden.

UD to build on successful Associate in Arts Program

The Associate in Arts Program has helped more than 2,000 students over the past decade earn their bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, providing a critical education pathway for Delawareans. 


Now, UD is reimagining the AAP to ensure it aligns with the educational needs of today’s students, building on what has worked so well to reach out to more students who otherwise wouldn’t or couldn’t pursue a four-year degree.

In the AAP, students take courses taught by UD faculty at Delaware Technical and Community College locations, earning credits toward their bachelor’s degree. About 57% complete their AA degree within three years — far above the national average of 34% for community college students. Students then transition to the main campus — they are already UD students, so they are not transferring — where they complete their bachelor’s degree.

Under the reimagined program, UD expects to offer new pathways for students to pursue four-year degrees in engineering, health and other fields.


Teachers of Tomorrow:

Partnerships strengthen PK-12 education in Delaware

As Delaware’s land-grant institution, the University of Delaware is deeply engaged in working with school districts and teachers throughout the state to support public education from pre-kindergarten classrooms all the way to high school graduation. 


UD recently began recruiting top high school seniors into the Delaware Teaching Fellows program to prepare highly effective and committed teachers for the state. For each year that a graduate teaches in a high-needs Delaware school, the program will forgive one year of their student loan, up to four years.

Other programs help prepare the next generation of teachers. Through UD’s teacher residency partnerships, seniors teach full-time in a high-needs school or in a high-needs content area, such as special education. The Teachers of Tomorrow program brings Delaware high school juniors and seniors, primarily from underrepresented minority groups, to UD in the summer and on weekends to help guide them into our teaching majors. 

To help teachers continue improving their skills, UD provides summer institutes and coaching support, which has helped several districts make dramatic improvements in student achievement. In partnership with the Delaware Department of Education, UD provides a rigorous 18-month training opportunity that qualifies educators to become special education administrators. 

UD also supports Delaware school administrators through programs like the Assistant Principal Academy, which helps those administrators prepare for the next level of their careers, and the Superintendents’ Study Council, which meets monthly to sharpen and freshen their leadership skills.

Throughout the pandemic, child-care centers have turned to UD as the source of reliable information and guidance about how to open and operate their facilities safely. Also, faculty members in our School of Education have provided numerous webinars, training sessions and virtual office hours to help Delaware educators improve their online teaching skills.


Artistic expression is core to UD experience

Whatever field students pursue at the University of Delaware, the arts provide them with a creative outlet to understand the world and their place within it. 


United Nations stamp project incorporated the work of senior Chiara Fiori, who created a digital painting of a hospital worker wearing a mask covered in the words “thank you” in multiple languages.  

Sophomore Alexis Edmonds conducted research using poetry, song and dance to help middle and high school students express themselves and talk about race, equality and mental health. 

Leia Sofía Méndez, a first-year student, composed an orchestral piece in celebration of the Hubble Space Telescope’s 30th anniversary, which was the focus of a web seminar for teachers hosted by the National Science Teaching Association. “I love the idea of integrating science and art,” Méndez said. “We live in a world where nothing can be its own separate thing, in its own separate box. There is too much overlap and interconnection.”

Spurred by the social unrest of 2020, Amir Campbell, who is earning a master of fine arts, painted a mural in Philadelphia depicting a young girl blowing bubbles that spell out “love.” “I needed to create something that gives people a sense of nostalgia from their childhood when they walk by it and allows everyone, no matter what race or creed they are, to get a sense of happiness despite all the chaos that is going on,” Campbell said. “We all need to spread that message of peace.”


Advanced Education Continues Growth

New programs — a PhD in Neuroscience, an MA/PhD in Education and Social Policy, and a Certificate in Sustainability — are helping to expand the University of Delaware’s Graduate College this year. 


Several programs created in anticipation of the formation of the Graduate College in 2019 — including an MS in Data Science, the PhD in Microbiology and the Community Engagement Certificate — will now be administered in the Graduate College.

Graduate enrollment at UD has grown 13% since 2016, reaching a record 4,285 in 2020. The University has committed significant resources to attract and support graduate students, including launching the Accelerate to Industry program to link students to career opportunities.


“Since we formed the Graduate College in 2019, we’ve experienced exciting growth in new students, new programs and new opportunities to make an impact through research and scholarship,” said Louis Rossi, new dean of the Graduate College and vice provost for graduate and professional education at UD.

Rankings recognize UD's excellence


The University of Delaware remains one of the best higher education institutions in the nation, meeting the needs of our students and their future employers.


Notable rankings include the nation’s top Physical Therapy program and the consistently high Chemical Engineering program, as well as UD’s online masters’ programs in education and online MBA, both of which rank among the top 10% in the nation.


Other notable rankings include:


  • College of Engineering *
  • School of Education*
  • Biden School of Public Affairs and Administration*
  • Military Friendly School, #4 in the nation (VM)
  • Best of the Best Veteran-Friendly School (USVM)


  • Business*
  • Chemical engineering*
  • Computer science*
  • Engineering*
  • Entrepreneurship††

Rankings key:

U.S. News & World Report (*)

National Research Council (†)

Poets & Quants (**)

The Princeton Review (††)


U.S. Veterans Magazine (USVM)

NOTE: Ranking categories do not necessarily align with UD academic program names.



  • Biomedical engineering/bioengineering*
  • Chemical engineering, #8 in the nation*†
  • Clinical psychology*
  • Criminology*
  • Education policy*
  • Elementary teacher education*
  • Environmental/environmental health engineering*
  • Kinesiology†
  • Linguistics†
  • Materials engineering*
  • Mechanical engineering*
  • Online MBA** ††
  • Online master’s programs in education*
  • Online masters’ programs in engineering*
  • Physical therapy (#1 in the nation)*
  • Public finance and budgeting*
  • Public management and leadership*


Warner Hall:

New campus center promotes all aspects of wellbeing

Opening soon, the new Wellbeing Center at Warner Hall will serve as a central hub for health and wellness services and resources for University of Delaware students. 


Following an $18 million refurbishment of a historic campus residence hall, the center will offer individual and group counseling, sexual assault victim advocacy, substance misuse counseling and a plethora of education and prevention programs.

The center helps address the needs of UD students — like their peers nationwide — who are feeling anxious, overwhelmed or depressed in response to a barrage of stressors caused by social and political turmoil and economic and technological disruptions. 

Students will have convenient access to a complete array of health and wellbeing resources in one place, so they can reach their full potential here on campus and pursue fulfilling lives long after graduation.


Tour the Whitney Athletic Center:

Whitney Athletic Center supports the whole student-athlete

After nearly two years of construction, the new Whitney Athletic Center opened in 2020 to provide the University of Delaware’s more than 600 student-athletes with the academic, athletic and wellbeing support they need for holistic success.


The 90,000-square-foot facility is named for Kenneth C. Whitney, Class of 1980, and his wife, Elizabeth K. Whitney. The center features a state-of-the-art strength and conditioning center, spacious athletic training area with hydrotherapy pools, a nutrition center and an entire floor dedicated to student success in academics, career readiness and leadership development.

The center also features additional training areas and grab-and-go healthy food options selected by a UD nutritionist in partnership with campus dining services. In the area of Sports Medicine, the center has space for additional exam rooms, an x-ray machine and a special sport psychology area to provide mental health resources through private consultations, team workshops and athlete educational sessions.

UD’s commitment to the wellbeing of student-athletes also drives the interdisciplinary HensWEAR project. Students and faculty in engineering, physical therapy, health sciences and fashion & apparel studies collaborate on innovative wearable technology to help student-athletes recover from injury and improve their performance. For example, a mechanical hamstring helps injured athletes return to the field sooner and with less chance of re-injury.

Along with the Whitney Center project, the Delaware Stadium west side renovations included the creation of premium seating, game day club space and press box.


Programs Cultivate and support

lifelong learners


Tony Powell graduated from several Social Media Marketing classes held by Professional and Continuing Studies (PCS) and was photographed for a PCS brochure.
Tavis Miller is a graduate of the Professional and Continuing Studies “Professional Drone Pilot Training Academy” which teaches students about operating Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) commercially. Miller uses his drones as part of his job with the State of Delaware.  -
Liisa Traia is a art teacher and willing participant in the Osher Lifelong Learning Center in Dover through Professional & Continuing Studies.

Stronger and more dynamic platforms for education delivery are making the University of Delaware accessible to more people throughout their lives/careers and in more places around the world.


With many more courses being offered online, more non-traditional students are starting their education with UD.


Also, thanks to online course delivery and workforce-relevant topics, certificate programs are reaching more professionals in more states than ever before.


And UD’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute has grown to the largest in the nation in terms of online program offerings. The program has been a boon to socially isolated seniors in Delaware and 12 more states during the pandemic. 


Ensuring the Success of our Students | President's Report 2021 | University of Delaware
Ensuring the Success of our Students | President's Report 2021 | University of Delaware
Ensuring the Success of our Students | President's Report 2021 | University of Delaware
Ensuring the Success of our Students | President's Report 2021 | University of Delaware
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