From Book Editor to Lawyer, a Gamble Pays Off
Judith McCarthy graduates from Rutgers School of Law-Newark with a position at a national firm....
Rutgers Computer Scientists Receive Google Grant to Develop Personalized Data Search System
Computer scientists Amelie Marian and Thu D. Nguyen received a grant from Google to develop a personal data search system that draws from social media pages, personal calendars, bank account information, email, Skype conversations and work documents, among other things.
- University News
Chancellor's Annual Address to the Rutgers-Camden Campus Community (Sept. 23, 2010)
Wendell Pritchett, Chancellor
Welcome, and thank you for your contributions to our campus as we embark on a new academic year. We certainly have many challenges, as does our nation and our world, but we have many things to celebrate. Even more importantly, I think we have much to look forward to as we continue to play a crucial role in our region, state and nation as an elite research and teaching institution that provides access and personalized education to our students while making a significant economic and social impact in our region. Rutgers–Camden, I believe, is well-positioned to play a leadership role in the national conversation about higher education, and I look forward to working with all of you to see that we take our proper place in that discussion.
As I just stated, we have a lot going for us. Last May, we celebrated the graduation of 1,431 students. We sent these young, and some not so young, people into the world to make a difference. Nothing we do here is more important. Just weeks before that, we also welcomed our alums, who returned for the largest reunion ever. We saw first-hand their successes and heard from them the important role we have played in their lives.
As you all know, we have a full campus this fall. Our enrollment is at approximately 6,600 students – an all-time high. Obviously this is creating some difficulties. Try, or don’t, to get lunch at the Campus Center on a Tuesday at 12:15. But, think about it: 6,600 students. That’s something to be proud of. It’s a testament to the hard work and long-term vision of pretty much everyone in this room. More importantly, it’s a testament to the wonderful institution that is Rutgers–Camden. A high-quality university conducting cutting edge research and preparing students for lives of success. It’s thanks to your ongoing hard work that we have reached this milestone, and you all deserve credit.
I want to acknowledge the work of the admissions office, which, along with our financial aid staff, has done a fine job of bringing in the class. They had help from every academic and administrative unit on campus. And in its debut year, the Office of New Student Programs helped to streamline the process for getting our new students through the testing and into the flow of campus life. Thanks to all of you.
I focus on some groups of people who have led our enrollment effort, but really, everyone has been involved. The campus looks sparklingly beautiful, thanks to our facilities and maintenance staff. We have challenges in many of our buildings, but I know that they and others have been working hard to keep them up and running.
I’ve had the honor of showing off our campus to a lot of people over the past year, and they constantly remark on its beauty. They also remark on how helpful and friendly the staff is, particularly the police, security, and events staffs, and they admire how happy the students are. These are all things for which we should be proud. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said to me, “this is place is wonderful. I never knew.” Our task of course is to continue to elicit the first part of that statement while making the second part less common.
While we celebrate our achievements, we also mourn the loss of a member of our campus community. Nicole Ayres, an undergraduate sociology major and a member of our softball team, was found slain in Burlington County on Sept. 13. As a campus, we grieve her loss and cherish her memory. I know that we will continue to rally together to support Nicole’s family and friends during this most difficult time.
Budgetary Impacts and Opportunities
There is a lot of good news. But we also know that it is set against the backdrop of a difficult budget environment. Rutgers received a $46 million cut in state support for the 2010-11 fiscal year. In actual dollars, that brings Rutgers to the lowest level of state support since 1994. We don’t yet know exactly what that means for our campus, but we know this will be a difficult year in our efforts to serve more students with reduced funding.
These cuts have caused difficult decisions by the Rutgers administration. None of us are happy that these decisions were forced on us, but, as President McCormick has stated, they were made in order to prevent us from having to make even more difficult decisions that would involve significant lay-offs.
Regardless of the state budget, we will continue working to increase our prominence as a small public research institution serving talented students from New Jersey and elsewhere; as a center for world-class scholarship and research from established and emerging faculty; and as an anchor for our host city and the entire Delaware Valley region.
We have made considerable progress in these areas, and we will continue to do so by pursuing additional resources to support our academic programs. For example, in the business school, the Rutgers Institute for Management and Executive Development is building upon its success in delivering Rutgers training programs tailored to the needs of business organizations. During fiscal year 2010, Rutgers IMED earned almost $1.5 million in revenue, a 12% increase from the previous year’s income; IMED also served 330 participants in non-credit certificate programs, an increase of 36% from the previous year. Through Rutgers IMED, Rutgers–Camden serves such companies as Caterpillar, Mercedes Benz, Cisco, and Sirius XM Radio.
We’ll also extend access to a Rutgers–Camden education through off-campus programs. Just this month we signed an agreement with the Department of Defense to provide courses at the Joint Base at Fort Dix. We will soon be announcing new programs at Camden County College. Both of these new initiatives, and others that we are exploring, will build upon the strength of our ongoing programs at Atlantic Cape Community College, Raritan Valley, Western Monmouth, and Mount Laurel. We now have almost 400 students in these programs. These programs enable us to expand our resources while serving students who cannot travel to Camden.
Even in this challenging economic climate, we will pursue and secure funding from external entities. During fiscal year 2010, Rutgers–Camden raised more than $4.6 million from private donors. In October, the university will begin the public phase of our fundraising campaign, and our efforts to secure donations for research, scholarships, and programs will only increase. This year, our faculty and programs also secured more than $7.3 million in sponsored research grants. It is through efforts such as these that we will take control of our future by generating the resources that we need to grow. Rutgers–Camden is known through the system as the most entrepreneurial campus. I’m confident that we’re up to the task.
We’re also going to need to make difficult, often painful, choices to protect our core mission. For example, with the decreases in state support, we no longer can afford to subsidize the Rutgers Camden Technology Campus business incubator at its current level. We petitioned the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, our landlord at the Camden Waterfront Technology Center, for rent relief for the business incubator, but were denied. As a result, we have advised the incubator clients that the RCTC, which is a corporate entity separate from Rutgers, that their rents and expenses will need to increase. This is a painful decision, but a necessary one if we are to marshal our resources on behalf of our students and our academic mission.
All of the achievements I have mentioned, our enrollment increases, our alumni success, our new programs, are rooted in the core strength of our campus: our faculty. Clearly, I could stand here all day reporting on the accomplishments of our faculty. But then we wouldn’t get any teaching or research done. Let me just call out a few examples of how effective our Rutgers–Camden professors are:
Sara Allred, assistant professor of psychology, just received the highly competitive NSF CAREER Award for her research project entitled "Novel Approaches to Integrating Color Perception and Color Memory.”
Myra Bluebond-Langner, distinguished professor of anthropology, has become the UK’s first chair of pediatric palliative care at the University College London Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital. She’s currently on leave executing that role.
Ken Kendall, distinguished professor of management, was Educator of the Year for the Association of Information Technology Professionals.
Law Professor Beth Stephens was seated with counsel as part of a winning argument before the U.S. Supreme Court. Her law faculty colleague, Greg Lastowka, already is generating buzz for his upcoming book, Virtual Justice: The New Laws of Online Worlds, published by Yale. And just to underscore the point, a recent survey ranks our law school among the top quarter in the nation in terms of faculty productivity.
These scholars are joined by 12 new tenured, tenure-track, or clinical faculty members who will further burnish our reputation. They will help to build our new PhD programs in public affairs and computational and integrative biology, and they will accelerate the progress of our academic centers, such as the Center for Computational and Integrative Biology, which welcomed its new director, Andrey Grigoriev, last spring. Almost a decade ago, we embarked on a plan to expand our graduate offerings in fields of interdisciplinary strength. I am pleased to report that this initiative has been extremely successful, and I am confident that our new PhD programs will follow the path of our world class Childhood Studies program.
It’s thanks to our faculty that Rutgers–Camden is growing in national reputation. But let me offer another opportunity for you to view the evidence: I hope you will join us for the second Faculty Research Day, which will be held on Nov. 4. More details will be forthcoming.
In addition to world-class faculty, the campus is blessed with strong decanal leadership for our academic units. In August, Jai Ganesh joined our community as the dean of the School of Business. If you don’t know him yet, you will very soon. He has a dynamic vision for advancing Rutgers business education throughout our region, building toward a national presence. Jai, once again, welcome to Rutgers.
We owe a debt of thanks to another dean, Ray Solomon, who, in addition to his regular duties as dean of the School of Law, took on the decanal responsibilities for the School of Business during the search. Ray, thanks to you, the business school is well poised for the growth that Jai and his faculty envision. Thank you for all that you do on behalf of our campus.
Over in Arts and Sciences, we say “hello again” to Mike Palis, who once again is in the role of interim dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences while we search for a successor to Margaret Marsh, who, of course, can’t be replaced, and who will retire from administrative life at the end of this year. As I mentioned in an email earlier this month, the search committee has been charged, and I once again thank Mary Bravo for serving as co-chair of the committee, along with Ray Solomon.
During this transition period, Margaret has agreed to serve as executive dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which allows us to continue to access her extraordinary vision and talents.
I’m teaching an undergraduate class this fall called "Urban America: Past and Present," and I am reminded of two things: one, and you all already know this, teaching is hard work. But it’s hard work for the best of reasons, which is my second point: we have very smart, naturally inquisitive students. They come to us from high schools across the region; they transfer from county colleges and four-year institutions to earn their Rutgers degrees; and they choose our graduate programs from top undergraduate colleges nationwide.
They choose Rutgers–Camden first and foremost because of our faculty. They also choose us for our location and for our value. And they choose Rutgers–Camden, because this is the place where the all the attributes of a world-class research university are presented within a nurturing liberal arts college environment.
As a result, these students enjoy life-changing opportunities, such as internships at area organizations. Just ask Gillian Alston, an undergraduate who spent the summer interning with NBC10 in Philadelphia, or Michael Gallagher, a law student who conducted a summer externship with the Congressional Oversight Panel charged with monitoring the nation’s TARP program.
They conduct research working closely with their professors, and they generate new knowledge at a level that impresses many. In November, for example, Psychology Professor Luis Garcia will lead a team of students to present their original research at a convention of the Society for the Scientific Study for Sexuality. Or they work with biologists Dan Shain and Nir Yakoby on truly futuristic research seeking to understand how fruit flies and ice worms can teach us to extend the lives of human organs being transported for transplants.
Our students also engage the community around them. This semester, for example, students in Gayle Porter’s Human Resources class will develop core competencies for city workers and design training programs to help them improve government services. In his public administration class, Jim Garnett and his students will craft a communications strategy for our host city.
Our Honors College continues to attract the very best students to Rutgers–Camden. Our nursing program is doing likewise. Last year, we announced plans to launch a comprehensive Rutgers School of Nursing here in Camden. This fall, we welcomed the first class of freshman nursing students. We are moving forward with our plans for the school and anticipate approvals within the next few months. To support this crucial initiative, we are exploring funding possibilities with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Glaxo Foundation, and others.
Two weeks ago, we held a student organization fair outside the Campus Center during free period. You might be aware that the number of student groups has exploded in the past few years. This is a wonderful thing. As I wandered the tables and talked to the students, I was constantly impressed by their commitment to our campus and our community. Whether their focus is the environment, political advocacy, fraternal organization, professional development, mentoring, or something else, our students are getting involved in significant numbers.
To continue to support them, we’re aggressively seeking new sources of financial assistance. Rutgers is still a value, but our students are struggling to pay the bills, and all too often they carry a heavy debt load upon graduation. We need more scholarships and other types of financial support for our students, and we are slowly making progress in this area. For example, just this year an anonymous donor contributed $1 million to create a scholarship fund for the School of Law and a $200,000 bequest has allowed us to create the Elizabeth Crowther Boehret Nursing Scholarship. We need to do more, and we will.
Engaging our City and Region
In addition to growing our research and teaching capabilities, during the past year we continued and expanded our efforts to engage our host city and our region. Andrew Seligsohn joined us as director of civic engagement, and both Debbie Bowles and Nyeema Watson took on new roles as associate chancellor for college access and director of public school partnerships, respectively. Working with the faculty and other key stakeholders, we’ve done a great deal. Let me give you a few examples:
Earlier this month, we filed an application to secure the Community Engagement classification of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. This process, which had the support of a large number of faculty and administrators, provided us with a clearer understanding of our achievements, our resources, and our opportunities to connect with our city and region. Receiving such recognition would mean a great deal to our campus prestige, and I am optimistic about our chances.
During 2009-10, we offered six new community-based learning courses and planned seven new courses to be offered during 2010-11. These courses—and the work students perform—address key issue areas in Camden’s revitalization, including abandoned properties, public safety, effective local governance, civic participation of new immigrants, and resident health. They build on existing—and continuing—academically based civic engagement, including our model law clinics.
College access is also critically important to our work, as it speaks to the heart of our mission as The State University of New Jersey. Working with the Camden City School District, we have laid the groundwork to launch a university-assisted community schools initiative in the three K-8 schools in North Camden. The initiative aims to revitalize these schools not only as venues for the education of young students but also as centers of community life.
We have also formed a coalition of Rutgers, UMDNJ, Rowan, and Camden County College to develop a college access program which will expand higher education opportunities for Camden residents, young and old. And our Rutgers Future Scholars Program continues to be a model for the entire university, and has attracted the support of external funders.
To highlight these activities and contribute to the national conversation started by President Obama, who has set a goal of increasing the number of college graduates by fifty percent in the next decade, we will be hosting a national symposium on college access and advocacy. The keynote speaker is Greg Darnedier, special assistant and advisor to Education Secretary Arne Duncan. More details will be provided soon, but the date is Nov. 19.
Finally, we welcome Camden residents to Rutgers through the LEAP Academy University Charter School. Working closely with our academic units and the Center for Strategic Urban Community Leadership, LEAP continues to prepare Camden’s young adults for success in college – and we’re pleased to report that they’re choosing Rutgers in ever larger numbers.
As with our work with LEAP students, many of our efforts to engage the community derive from the scholarly centers directed by our faculty. For example, the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs worked closely with the city and county agencies to open the Opportunity Reconnect center, which offers recently released ex-offenders the chance to acquire the information and skills that they need in order to begin a new life.
Through our Center for State Constitutional Studies, Rutgers–Camden faculty are advising the State of New Jersey and states across the nation on issues related to constitutional reform. Their conference on Federalism and the Global Financial Crisis last week attracted top scholars from around the world to our campus, and truly was a signature event.
The Center for Children and Childhood Studies continues to lead the way in professional preparation for early childhood educators and will soon be expanding its efforts to older children. And the Center for the Arts secured Rutgers–Camden as a site for the NEH’s The Big Read program in 2010—we’re the only New Jersey site selected for The Big Read in 2011.
Administrative Changes and Current Initiatives
As I approach the conclusion of my formal remarks, I want to mention some administrative changes and initiatives.
First of all, we welcome Rodney Morrison as the associate chancellor for enrollment management. Rodney comes to us from Mount Saint Mary College in New York, and he has a wealth of experience in the field. Rodney will lead our efforts to attract talented students at the undergraduate and graduate levels and to grow our enrollments in strategic areas. Welcome to Rodney, and thanks to Mary Beth Daisey and the search committee for their hard work in finding him for us.
As you all know, we said goodbye too soon to our registrar, Camilo Garcia, this summer. We are in the midst of a search for a new person to lead that office, and we thank Stephen Roberts for stepping up to serve as acting registrar.
You may have noticed the completion of construction at the new office of the Rutgers School of Social Work on Sixth Street. We’ll celebrate the opening of that beautiful building in October. We also have begun construction on the new home of the Early Learning Research Academy, on Fifth Street. We look forward to the opening of that beautiful building, which will serve the children of our community, next year, and we say thanks to Gloria Bonilla-Santiago for her tireless work to see this project completed.
As you all know, with 6,600 students, classroom space is at a premium. We are currently undertaking an inventory of all our spaces to make sure we are using them as efficiently as possible, and I welcome all and any ideas you have on this matter.
We do have some good news to report in this area. You may be aware that we are planning to renovate the Johnson Library so that it can be used for classes as well as campus and community events. We had been in a dispute with a tenant of the building over this plan, but last week we moved closer to resolving that dispute, and we are optimistic that renovations will begin soon. When complete, the space will provide an opportunity for medium size classes as well as other activities.
We’re also continuing renovations to the Robeson Library. By the end of the academic year we hope to have a fully renovated first floor with a high quality computer laboratory and other spaces. When we finish that project, we’ll start on renovations to other spaces in the building. Since I’m discussing the library, let me publicly thanks the staffs of the Robeson and Law Libraries for their perseverance during the first week of school. They kept their cool, even while temperatures in the building escalated.
The graduate dorm, while not proceeding as quickly as I would like, is also moving forward. We are in the midst of discussions with the Camden County Improvement Authority to finalize the design and the financing plan. It is my hope that we will be able to take this plan to the Board of Governors in December and begin construction early next year. This project, which will be located at Third and Cooper and which I expect to house approximately 350 graduate students, is crucial to the success of our campus, and we will not stop until it is built.
This year we’ll continue our efforts to expand our campus, both in enrollments, where appropriate, and in facilities, where we can. We’ll continue to build upon the wonderful foundation of our faculty to expand our inter-disciplinary programs and see them flourish. And we’ll continue to find ways to leverage our human capital, and limited actual capital, to help the city and region grow.
We’ll be investigating ways to expand our international efforts, both in recruiting students to our campus and exposing our students to experiences abroad. Because of our strong faculty connections, we have great opportunities to connect with universities in countries around the globe. We have been in ongoing discussions with the leaders of the Universities of Pretoria and Western Cape in South Africa, the University of Havana in Cuba, and the Fundacao Getulio Vargas in Brazil, all of which I think will bear fruit in the upcoming year. These initiatives, along with other international opportunities, will provide significant benefits to our faculty and students.
Despite the financial difficulties we currently face, we will continue to recruit faculty to our campus. And, as we recruit the best and brightest to Camden, we will redouble our efforts to increase the diversity of our faculty. We serve a diverse student body and live in a diverse community, and it is important that we reflect that diversity. Earlier this year, I expanded the standing committee on Equity and Diversity and asked Nancy Rosoff and Kim Mutcherson of the law school to serve as co-chairs. I am confident they will help us to achieve this goal.
We’ll also continue to expand, in a strategic and careful way, our relationships with county colleges in the region. I’ve asked Chris Dougherty to chair a committee on off-campus and online education that will be advising me how to serve our region in new and creative ways while maintaining the academic standards we all consider crucial. We look forward to their guidance and to continuing to play this important role.
Looking Foward with Confidence
I’ve just spent some time detailing all of the reasons that I’m bullish on the future of our campus, and those reasons are many. Make no mistake: This is a challenging time for Rutgers, and we are confronted with difficult decisions in order to advance our core mission. But during the past year, you’ve all reminded me of what I knew before I ever arrived on campus as chancellor: Rutgers–Camden is a community of students and faculty, staff and alumni, all working together with a shared sense of optimism and confidence.
Those defining characteristics allow us to identify and maximize opportunities to grow new streams of revenue for our campus. Your hard work – in our classrooms, in our research centers, on our grounds, and in our region – extends our growing reputation for excellence in scholarship, teaching, and service every day. And your commitment to collaboration, to the proposition that we all benefit when we help our colleagues on campus and our neighbors in the region, exemplifies all that is best about Rutgers, Our State University of New Jersey.
Our trajectory aims high, and our momentum is strong. I know that my talk today is framed as a “campus address,” but that’s really not accurate. It’s a continuation of our open campus dialogue about our current environment and our aspirations for the future. While our challenges are sobering, we can see our potential for growth with clear-eyed optimism.
I hope that you share my enthusiasm for Rutgers–Camden. I look forward to working with you, and to participating in our communal discussions about our campus.