To the William Paterson University Community
As we near the end of the 2011-12 academic year, I would like to share some of the highlights of a very active and exciting spring semester.
Completed Searches for New Faculty and Staff: We have made significant progress in filling faculty and staff vacancies at the University. Last fall, we authorized 35 faculty positions and we have successfully filled 29. We are pleased with the quality of the new faculty and their diversity. Six searches are ongoing and we anticipate successful conclusions here as well. These new faculty will join us on September 1, 2012.
In July, we will welcome Dr. Joel Thierstein as Dean of the College of the Arts and Communication and Eric Rosenberg as Chief Information Officer. Jane B. Stein has been named Executive Director of University Performing Arts; the search for Dean of the College of Science and Health is ongoing. We anticipate starting the search for the Dean of the Cotsakos College of Business in the fall.
Major Events on Campus:
The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) held Research and Scholarship Day on April 5 with presentations and posters by more than 100 individual faculty and student presenters. Events were held throughout the day with presentations and panels by the American Democracy Project, and faculty from the College of Science and Health, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Cotsakos College of Business, and the College of the Arts and Communication. Research and Scholarship Day is a team effort that required a great amount of planning and deliberation by members of the Faculty Senate Research and Scholarship Council in coordination with OSP.
This was the sixth year that William Paterson hosted the Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. This symposium is the project of Prof. Jaishri Menon of the Biology Department and is focused on increasing the number of students involved with faculty on undergraduate research. The program provides professional venues where students engage with peers as well as faculty from other institutions to discuss their research findings while learning about the research activities and interest of others. More than 300 students and faculty mentors from 20 institutions presented their research in oral and poster sessions.
The William Paterson University Foundation hosted the 22nd Annual Legacy Awards Dinner on April 27 at The Villa at Mountain Lakes. Margaret Lam, chief executive officer of Prosperity Resources International, Inc., and David Yen, a retired investment banker, received the Distinguished Friends Legacy Award. Dennis F. Marco ’75, managing partner of Hamilton Public Affairs, received the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Approximately 220 guests attended the event, our principal fund-raising event for student scholarships.
Noted author and feminist Gloria Steinem will be on campus Friday, May 4 as part of the Distinguished Lecturer Series. We are delighted to host Ms. Steinem as part of the 32nd season of the series.
The Strategic Plan and College of Education Accreditation:
The College of Education greeted its accreditation site team from April 29 through May 1. The College is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and hosts an accreditation review team every five to seven years.
We continue to study renovation of the residence halls and a sequencing of projects. Work continues on major deferred maintenance projects as we move ahead with the Morrison and Raubinger Hall projects, the placement of new roofs on the Cheng Library, Shea, Hobart Hall, and Wightman Gym, and planning for the renovation of two music recital rooms in Shea.
Many people know that we made a serious offer on the real estate for sale on Hamburg Turnpike and Pompton Road. After much deliberation, our offer for the 3-plus acres occupied by the former Borough Jeep dealership was rejected as the sellers wanted double the appraised market value. Although we have desired that property for years, we did not believe it appropriate to pay double a fair price, especially in these economic times. The plot adjacent to the campus, now housing a lawn service company, also went on the market and was quickly purchased by a private developer for reportedly over $3 million. We expect the developer will build a 120-bed acute care facility there and we are discussing possible collaborations.
I was invited by the New Jersey Bankers Association to moderate a panel on “Successful Leadership in a Changing Environment” on April 3. The conference drew more than 400 professionals from the financial services sector, many of whom represent employers we seek out for cooperation with William Paterson.
The capital needs of the New Jersey higher education community was the focus of a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. I hosted a WSJ reporter on campus, discussing the capital funding needs of higher education and touring some of our buildings with the greatest deferred maintenance. William Paterson appeared in the article, and a picture of one of our greatest need classrooms was featured in the article. We are working closely with our elected officials to strongly encourage a bond issue for capital funds in 2012.
I was selected to receive an award from the Executive Women of New Jersey at their “Salute to the Policy Makers” Dinner on May 17, 2012. This award honors women who serve on corporate boards, senior level officers in New Jersey corporations, or hold senior positions in other New Jersey institutions. I am honored to be included among this group of women, and particularly honored to be affiliated with an organization that has given out over $1 million in scholarships to more than 300 women in New Jersey pursuing graduate studies.
With the designation of the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park on November 7, 2011, William Paterson professors and administrators are now providing input to the programming for the site. Coordinated by Steve Hahn, associate provost, faculty and staff from various departments have convened to discuss their interests in programming which includes investigating the immigration and contributions of people from diverse ethnic and national backgrounds, initiating arts projects related to politics, comparing the economic history of early Paterson to other urban and industrial sites, explaining the history of trade and production as it relates to the city, curating collections and artifacts, and developing music programs. In addition, I have joined the board of the Hamilton Partnership, a non-profit entity that will work with the U.S. Department of Parks and the city of Paterson to develop the national park.
A symposium designed to educate others about flooding will be held on campus tonight (May 2). Panelists at the symposium provided North Jersey residents will discuss the scientific and public policy implications of continued flooding in the Passaic River basin. It will also provide an open forum where flood victims will have the opportunity to share their experiences. Several federal and state officials will speak during two panel discussions and we expect nearly 200 attendees.
On May 14, the University will host the 29th Annual Orlando Saa Foreign Language Poetry Recitation Contest. More than 700 middle and high school students from 60 schools from northern and central New Jersey and New York’s Rockland County are expected to participate and recite poetry in a range of languages.
We will begin a new marketing campaign this fall and have hired Forge Academia to begin the creative work and plan media placements. The new campaign will build on our first campaign but will include two major new directions. First, we will be focusing on graduate and undergraduate programs where in the past we concentrated more on undergraduate. Second, we will accelerate our growing emphasis on digital marketing and reducing print media all the while keeping our financial commitment approximately equivalent to prior years. The selection of the firm was a collaborative effort between Stuart Goldstein, associate vice president for marketing and public relations, and a faculty/staff/student advisory committee that earned accolades from the Faculty Senate for a collaborative process. We await the new campaign with great anticipation.
Our fund-raising efforts continue to move along. We have increased the monthly personal contacts with potential donors this year through better organization of best practices, consolidation of special events, and more accountability for results. Year-to-date new gifts and commitments total $3.3 million, compared to $3.09 million last year at this time. At the same time, we now have 30 Foundation Board members who are becoming increasingly helpful at providing introductions and contacts.
We currently have nearly 4,000 major gift prospects and the Institutional Advancement team focus is to build the pipeline of potential donors. We are in the process of hiring an additional director of major gifts to assist in these efforts. Alumni contacts have also increased through the efforts of our alumni team. Recently, they hosted a Greek Reunion, and several career webinars, and participated in the Pioneer Salute by welcoming graduating students to the Alumni Association. They are also planning the Class of 1962 50th reunion, Senior Send-Off, the Commencement celebration with members of the Pioneer Society, an alumni corporate event at UPS, Staycation for our young alumni (weekend on campus), a trip to a Yankees game, and an annual summer alumni bash at the shore.
I look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of our students at Commencement, and I wish everyone a productive and enjoyable summer.
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