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December 4, 2013, volume 4, number 3

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To the William Paterson University Community

As the first half of the academic year draws to a close, I would like to share news and highlights from a very productive and exciting fall 2013 semester.

College Completion Initiatives: Over the last two years, the University has made college completion a strategic, focused priority initiative.  For the benefit of our students—academically, financially, and professionally—the University aspires to perform at levels above our peers and above the national norms. To that end, we have put concrete measures in place that have a direct impact on our students’ ability to move through their academic programs in a more timely manner.  Some of the initiatives already in place include: reduced tuition and fee increases; focused fundraising to increase scholarship support; introduction of free pre-college summer program for basic skills; lowered the required graduation credits from 128 to 120; changed and heightened admissions criteria; centralized advisement for most first-year students; introduced advising during summer first-year and transfer student orientations; reduced late summer admits; revised policy on registration blocks; and changed pre-packaging of course load for first-time freshmen. There is more work to do in both the short term and long term.  Proposed goals for retention and graduation have been developed by the Strategic Enrollment Management Committee and presented to various campus groups and the Board of Trustees. These goals are based on reasonable increases over a five-year period that will move the University above New Jersey sector and national norms.  Seven other next steps have been identified and are in various stages of implementation, including the Finish in Four initiative, increasing and revising financial aid distribution, expansion of academic development services, reviewing procedures for declaring a major, and reviewing the number of major credits required for graduation.

Fall 2013 Enrollment: Overall enrollment at the University is relatively flat from fall 2012, with 11,414 enrolled students, although the goal of increasing the freshman class was achieved.  Undergraduate enrollment declined by .6 percent, but graduate enrollment increased by 4 percent, reversing a 10-year declining trend. For freshmen, overall CSAT scores remained constant (1,015) but high school GPA rose to 3.17. The racial/ethnic makeup of entering undergraduates shows a significant increase in the number of Hispanic students and modest increases in African American and Asian students, as predicted.  Residence hall occupancy was lower than expected and we are evaluating some of the causes of the decline.  While we assume cost is a factor, we also note the age and quality of the older residence halls.

Academic Highlights: The Department of Communication held a grand opening of the University’s newly redesigned television studios. The $2.5 million high-definition upgrade to Hobart Hall’s two-studio TV complex provides students with access to equipment and technology aligned with the current television industry standard, continuing the University’s well-known tradition of preparing students for careers in television and beyond. Professor Joanne Lee provided the welcome and acknowledged the donors and corporate partners and the University administration for their generous commitment to enhancing and renovating the studios.  More than 100 people attended including numerous alumni in the TV production industry.  Professor Loretta McLaughlin-Vignier introduced a video produced by the students of a broadcast they did about the studio update. 

William Paterson has been named one of this year’s Fulbright Program Top Producers.  Top-producing institutions in all Carnegie classifications were highlighted in the October 28 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education.  The Fulbright Program’s sponsor, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the Institute of International Education, acknowledged the University’s “… fantastic work to ensure the program’s success at William Paterson University.”  Digital “badges” will be available this year for top-producing institutions to use in publicizing this achievement in digital and social media. 

The University has been awarded $85,000 in grant funds from the U.S. Department of Education as part of the Fulbright-Hays Short-Term Projects Abroad program to support a project for six teachers and six William Paterson students to study in South Korea in summer 2014. The project is one of only 16 funded nationally and the only group project funded in New Jersey.

Professors Cesar Perez-Alvarez and Mahmoud Watad were honored with a New Jersey Bright Idea Award for their winning paper, “Cultural differences in information technology settings: Impacts on creativity and knowledge-sharing.”  The winning paper was one of the top 10 manuscripts from over 143 publications submitted in the statewide competition sponsored by the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall University and the NJPRO Foundation, the public policy research affiliate of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA).

Political science Professor Christine Kelly was featured on NJTV on November 5 to analyze the election results and report on youth voting trends.

Associate Dean Jean Fuller-Stanley of the College of Science and Health has been selected by the Liberty Science Center Women’s Leadership Council as one of its eight awardees for 2013 for her contribution to science.  The award was designed to honor women in New York and New Jersey who are shining stars in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. The award will be given at a luncheon on December 9, 2013 at the Liberty Science Center.  The LSC Leadership Council is dedicated to encouraging women and girls interested in STEM fields, while providing some of the tools and resources they need to grow in their profession.

The Graduate Program in Communication Disorders received unconditional reaccreditation by the Council on Academic Accreditation of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The program was first accredited in 1981, and it was the first program in New Jersey to have this distinction. Since its initial accreditation, the program has been reviewed five times and has received unconditional reaccreditation in all instances.   Congratulations to the program director, Professor Jim Tsiamtsiouris, Associate Dean Jean Fuller-Stanley, Dean Kenneth Wolf, and all the faculty and staff who helped prepare for the successful reaccreditation.  It is a great achievement.  We look forward to the future of this program in its new home.

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) awarded the College of Education a $3.2 million, five-year grant to prepare and support educational leaders in partnership with Paterson public schools.  The U.S. DOE’s Office of Innovation and Improvement awarded the grant to support the development, enhancement, and expansion of innovative programs to recruit, train, and mentor principals for high-needs school districts. William Paterson is one of 20 projects funded nationwide, and the only New Jersey university to receive funding.

Professor Robert Quicke led campus radio station WPSC 88.7 FM in its second annual College Radio Day on October 2. The event has grown to include 585 college and high school radio stations in 29 countries and has received a great deal of national and international publicity. The stations participated in the 24-hour live broadcast celebrating the unique programming of student radio.

Student News: William Paterson freshman Brittany LaBruna was honored as both the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Tennis Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year, earning all-conference singles honors, and posting a 17-1 record at first singles.  She is the first freshman to win both major awards since 2006.  We congratulate Brittany and wish her much continued success on and off the tennis court.

William Paterson hosted the New Jersey Future Educators Association (NJFEA) Conference on October 25. More than 400 students who are interested in becoming teachers attended the event from approximately 40 New Jersey high schools. The Garden State Partnership for Teacher Quality, the New Jersey Education Association, and the Center for Future Educators at The College of New Jersey also partnered with the University for the event.

Daniel DiVizio of New Milford, Giuseppe Roveccio of Pompton Plains, and Brian Schiess of Ridgefield Park, three students in the Cotsakos College of Business, won two events at the Financial Planning Association’s 2013 National Financial Planning Challenge held in Orlando, Florida.  The team competed with seven other finalist teams. The students won first place in the game show-style knowledge bowl segment of the competition. They also placed first in the financial planning case study presentation, where they created a financial plan for a mock client.  All three students are members of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, an honor society chapter for AACSB-accredited business schools. The University’s chapter was named an Exemplary Chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma for 2012-13.

Facilities Update: The University held a groundbreaking ceremony on October 10 to celebrate the beginning of construction on a new academic building. The first step in a long-range plan to modernize facilities in the main academic core of the campus, the $40 million project will be funded in part by $30 million from the “Building Our Future” Bond Act. The building will be a 78,000-square-foot teaching and research facility housing 16 general-use classrooms that will serve a minimum of 4,000 students per semester.

Campus Highlights: On November 8, the University held its first Retiree Luncheon.  More than 70 retirees attended and were welcomed back to campus by administrators, faculty, and staff.  I provided a message of thanks and gratitude to the retirees for all the years of service given by the group.  Updates of the University’s progress and growth were shared with the audience.  Robert Taylor, trustee emeritus of the Board of Trustees, offered some reflections on service to the University and thanked the retirees.  The event was a great success and true celebration of the service and contributions made by our retirees.

I was also proud to host the Fourth Annual Veterans’ Day Luncheon to honor our veteran students, faculty, and staff.  It is a wonderful opportunity to say thank you for all that our veterans have done for our country and every one of its citizens.  This year, decorated Navy veteran Robert De Blasi ’63, MA ’64, and his wife Marie De Blasi ’60 joined the celebration.

I hope you share my pride in all that we have accomplished on campus during the fall semester. I extend warm wishes to the entire campus community for a wonderful holiday season and look forward eagerly to all that we will achieve in 2014.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Waldron
President

 

William Paterson University
300 Pompton Road, Wayne, New Jersey 07470     973-720-2222     president@wpunj.edu