Engineering UD's Future
Heading toward his junior year as the president, Pat Harker is forming partnerships that will give the school an international reputation. (If it can just get its hands on that Chrysler plant…)
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Given the state of Delaware’s unique standing in the corporate world, business and law studies at UD would seem to go hand in hand.
“A law school with a specialty in corporate law would be extraordinarily successful, not just in training lawyers, but in developing legal research and scholarship,” says law professor Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance. “It would solidify the brand. The president is absolutely on-target with this.”
Harker seeks to build faculty strength under “an umbrella” of business law: corporate, intellectual property, environmental, even sports management. “We can be intellectual partners with the [chancery] court system, which is a great franchise for the state,” he says.
A UD law school is far from a done deal, but in the coming years, the university may be making a strong case.
Today UD students are studying in 40 countries on seven continents, and nearly half of them have had at least one study experience abroad.
The school’s theme of diversity extends overseas. The London Centre is in a Georgian town house that breathes Dickens and Churchill. The Paris semester revolves around a storied building with a flowering courtyard. “In Africa, they’re living in tents,” says Lesa Griffiths, director of UD’s Center for International Studies, which will be expanded into the Institute for Global Studies, with an increased push for partnerships with other schools and countries.
“President Harker’s focus is on strategic partnerships, showing how they can benefit both institutions,” Griffiths says. “Right now there’s a greater emphasis on China.”
All of which is consistent with the reality of a growing, though currently wounded, global economy—and which has implications beyond international commerce.
Less than six months into his presidency, Harker said, “In the decades ahead, the University of Delaware must become even more engaged as a public university that educates global citizens and scholars, that applies knowledge to the critical needs of the state, the nation and the world.”
Close to home, the university is advancing on several fronts. New faculty chairs in energy, the environment and health sciences have been funded by a grant from Wilmington-based Unidel Foundation. New vice provost posts in Graduate and Professional Education, and Research and Strategic Initiatives, have been filled. The Lerner College of Business opened a Venture Development Center, a training ground for student entrepreneurs, last November. An energy institute started last September and Environmental Research was set to debut this spring.
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