May 2, 2012, volume 2, number 14

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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.

Commencement:
We look forward to celebrating with our graduates at Commencement exercises on May 22 at the Izod Center. More than 2,400 undergraduates and 300 graduate students have completed their courses of study and will be joining the celebration. Also joining us will be members of the Class of 1962, marking the 50th anniversary of their graduation. Delivering this year’s keynote address will be Maria Otero, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, U.S. Department of State, and former CEO of Accion International, one of the world’s leading microfinance organizations. Beginning a new tradition, we have elected a valedictorian and salutatorian for this year’s graduating class, based on exceptional academic performance at the University. Nathan Giroux and Julie Minicozzi, valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, will be recognized during Commencement, as will three faculty members selected for outstanding contributions: teaching, Maboud Ansari; scholarship and creative expression, Edward Burns; and service, Rochelle Goldberg Kaplan.

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 third annual Cross-Cultural Arts Festival: Latin America and the Caribbean was held from March 26 through April 14 and included a three-week celebration of performances, workshops, film, art exhibitions, and lectures. All festival events were developed by the University’s College of the Arts and Communication with assistance from the Havana Film Festival New York, Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ), and The Tinker Foundation.

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:
Since the Board’s adoption of the Strategic Plan at its March 18, 2012 meeting, membership on the implementation teams has been set and most of the teams are meeting or will meet before the end of the semester. A large cross-section of faculty, staff, and students will serve on these important implementation teams and each team will provide information so that Committee 2022 can report to the campus periodically on our progress. The teams will recommend the five-year goals for each of the dashboard indicators approved by the Board this year.

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.

Facilities Projects:
Amid 5,000 cheerful daffodils, work on phase one of Morrison Hall was completed on time but an unexpected low-pressure water problem surfaced, delaying occupation of the building. We will move forward with an alternative water piping system but now know that we need to replace about one-quarter mile of clogged pipes originally installed in the 1950s. We expect additional aged pipes will need replacement soon. The University has completed a draft master plan for the academic core utilizing the services of Perkins Eastman who gave several presentations to the Cabinet and Facilities Advisory Committee. The consultants will present to the Board on May 4 and then later we will present to the campus community. The goal of this plan was to envision rebuilding the academic core of the campus around Raubinger and Hunziker Halls as well as to re-evaluate the Coach House and Wightman Gym sites as the 800- to 1,000-space garage develops near Parking Lot One. The garage project is going ahead and we expect to issue a University bond for the expected cost of $21 million. Unfortunately, our hope that this project could be a public-private partnership did not materialize because of the underlying lack of sufficient cash flows from a garage that is projected not to be utilized 12 months a year and on weekends. Nevertheless, the acute shortage of parking spaces on campus today (estimated at 400) and future growth needs (estimated at an additional 600 spaces) leads us to recommend proceeding with the project. When completed, it will create a new entrance to the campus leading directly into the academic corridor, thus necessitating a fresh look at pedestrian traffic patterns and building utilization. We expect to study the concept of a new building in the main corridor to add classroom and faculty office space and which, when completed, will allow us to move programs and classes out of Hunziker Hall in order to begin the modernization of that building.

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.

University Visibility:
Planet Forward’s National Climate Leadership Award: On April 16 our video submission to Planet Forward regarding the solar panel installation and other green initiatives won the overall competition and also took first place for institutions at the Master’s Level. In May, the steering committee from the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), an agreement between nearly 700 colleges and universities to promote sustainability through teaching and action, will select the official 2012 Climate Leadership Award winners. We are proud to be among only 20 national nominees. This is a great acknowledgement of the work we have done on energy conservation, and sets William Paterson apart from our peers as a leader in conservation initiatives. I commend the staff and faculty for seeking new ways to make the campus more energy efficient, and for seeking grant funds to underwrite some of the costs.

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.

 

Sincerely,

Kathleen Waldron
President

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