To the Campus Community:
Welcome to the start of the 2014 spring semester! While many of you are returning to campus, some are experiencing Rutgers–Camden for the first time. In either instance, there are many reasons to be excited about our campus this semester.
During the coming days and weeks, you will hear more about the achievements of our faculty, students, staff, and alumni; about our innovative civic engagement initiatives; and about the groundbreaking research conducted by our faculty, often with the participation of our undergraduate and graduate students. I would like to update you on our progress in other key areas of the Rutgers–Camden experience:
BUILDING A DIGITAL CAMPUS
As a result of the 2012 Higher Education Capital Facilities bond approved by the citizens of New Jersey, Rutgers–Camden is poised to undergo a dramatic upgrade to the technological capacity of our campus this spring.
Supported by $11.7 million in funds from this bond, every classroom on our campus will be upgraded to incorporate wireless and tablet technology into the learning process. Our students and our faculty will be able to share data instantaneously, between individuals and with the entire classroom, via hand-held technology.
Our faculty and student researchers will benefit from a new high-speed network designed to implement the sharing of complex data. The overall wireless capacity will be upgraded, as will computer stations across our campus. New simulation labs for our nursing students will improve their ability to learn, while enhancements to our science labs will be readily apparent.
When completed by the end of the semester, Rutgers–Camden will emerge as a digital campus for the 21st century, with the requisite tools to enhance the productivity of our students, faculty, and staff. I look forward to keeping you apprised of this progress.
PLANNING FOR GROWTH
The universitywide strategic plan has been completed and awaits a final review by the Board of Governors. The plan received feedback from every constituent group across all of Rutgers, including from many here in Camden. I thank those who participated in this process and encourage everyone to learn more at http://universitystrategy.rutgers.edu.
President Barchi has advised the campus chancellors to begin their own planning processes. Thanks to the good work from so many of you last year, Rutgers–Camden’s strategic plan is well-evolved. During the spring, our strategic planning committee – comprised of faculty, staff, and students – will reconvene to review the work to date and to finalize the plan, which will serve as our shared blueprint for the coming years. The completed plan will be made available to the entire campus community.
UPCOMING WORK ON OUR FACILITIES
In October, we celebrated the start of our Nursing and Science Building construction project, a significant undertaking with the potential to transform both our campus and our host city. This spring, we will advance the design for this state-of-the-art facility, so that construction might then proceed in earnest.
During spring break, we will complete work on the second floor of the Paul Robeson Library, resulting in much-needed study space for our students. The renovated area will include 14 group study rooms and open and comfortable space for quiet, individual study.
Work on our Alumni House at 312 Cooper Street is underway, and will continue with the goal of opening Rutgers’ first-ever Alumni House later this summer. Similarly, the careful and detailed work necessary to renovate the national historic site at 305 Cooper has begun in an effort to create our Writers House.
Just prior to the end of the semester, our School of Business received the welcome news that it has been awarded an extension of accreditation from the prestigious AACSB, which reaffirms the excellence of our faculty and students and the rigor of the academic program. Please join me in congratulating Dean Jai Ganesh and the entire School of Business community on a job well done.
We are preparing to launch new academic programs in 2014, including a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree-granting program through the School of Nursing and a digital humanities certificate offered by the College of Arts and Sciences and utilizing the new Digital Studies Center. We also are revitalizing the interdisciplinary general sciences degree to offer greater flexibility to meet the interests of students interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields.
ENGAGING OUR COMMUNITIES
Even as Rutgers–Camden expands its reach across the world, we continue to deepen our connections with our host city and region. Yesterday, I joined more than 200 Camden children and Rutgers students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends in Martin Luther King Day of Service activities held on our campus and around the city. Together, we made a meaningful impact on the lives of so many Camden children, families, and neighborhoods.
Our work is not constrained by one day. Rutgers–Camden students and faculty incorporate engaged civic learning into undergraduate and graduate courses in ways that are both thoughtful and impactful. I encourage you to learn more at http://www.camden.rutgers.edu/page/office-civic-engagement-0.
BUZZING WITH ACTIVITY
As befits the southernmost campus of New Jersey’s comprehensive public research university, Rutgers–Camden will be buzzing throughout the semester with an impressive schedule of scholarly events, cultural activities, alumni gatherings, NCAA sports matches, and much more.
Universities offer the unparalleled opportunity to participate in a diverse array of experiences. In that spirit, I have created the Chancellor’s Signature Event Series, which serves to attract high-profile speakers to our campus. As one example, award-winning graphic novelist Chris Ware will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29; more information is at http://www.camden.rutgers.edu/news/award-winning-cartoonist-and-graphic-novelist-chris-ware-present-lecture. On Feb. 4, a Forum on Urban Inequality will attract prominent scholars to Rutgers–Camden for an open discussion about this national crisis; more details are at http://www.camden.rutgers.edu/pdf/UrbanInequality.pdf.
Events at Rutgers–Camden afford us the chance to increase what we know about our world; expand our imaginations; and strengthen our campus community. Some of these activities – such as athletics and theatrical performances – showcase the considerable talents of our students, while others spotlight the excellence of our research faculty.
I’d like to take a moment to note that our men’s soccer team continues to command honors for its historic 2013 season, which ended only in the final overtime of the final game for the NCAA national title. On Monday, Jan. 13, the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly issued a resolution honoring our team for its tremendous success, while ESPN has included Keegan Balle among the nominees for the first annual ESPN Sport Science Newton Awards in commemoration of his 75-yard goal during the semifinal game.
As the semester starts, we know that we will face new opportunities and challenges in the coming months. I always welcome your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and best thinking, and hope that you will share them with me at any time. My email is email@example.com.
Please accept my best wishes for a successful semester.
Wendell E. Pritchett, J.D., Ph.D.