Spring Address, February 19, 2019

Acting Provost Sandy DeYoung 

Hello and welcome to the spring 2019 semester. Thank you all for being here today.  It has been a pleasure to be back among you this year.  The work is challenging but it is gratifying to re-immerse myself at William Paterson and to see all the good work we do across the campus.

I’d like to begin the semester by welcoming our newest colleagues who have joined us since September:

Uzma Ali, Admissions Coordinator, Psychology
Stacy-Ann Brown, Information Specialist, Financial Aid
Laura Hertzog, General Counsel
Kaitlyn Howarth, Assistant Director, Student Center Operations
Steve Marks, Resident Director, Residence Life
Maureen O’Connor, Director of Major Gifts, Institutional Advancement

Several of our colleagues have retired since last September:

 Ann Appleby, Development
Leila Bohan, Undergraduate Admissions
Anthony Cavotto, University Commons
Cable Carmichael, Custodial Services
Sandra Green, Technology Services
Glenn Jones, General Counsel
Carlos Kong, Police and Public Safety
John Livingston, Department of History
Charlotte Nekola, Department of English
Cesar Perez, Department of Marketing and Management
Ronald Reinhardt, Grounds
Ousseynou Traore, Department of Africana World Studies
Gerald Vandepolder, Print Shop
Kevin Walsh, Department of Educational Leadership and Professional Studies
Aubrey Warner, User Services
Robert Wolk, Cheng Library

We thank them for their service and dedication to this University and wish them well in their retirement. 

Over the past several years faculty have been working diligently to develop new academic programs and revise existing ones. The result is a record of number of new programs enrolling students for the 2018-2019 academic year.

These programs include the: 

  • BS in Actuarial Science
  • BA in Urban Science and Society
  • MS in Applied Business Analytics
  • MS in Materials Chemistry
  • Executive MS in Sales Leadership
  • Master of Public Policy (formerly the MA in Public Policy and International Affairs)

Despite the short amount of time available to market new programs between final approval and initial implementation, two of these programs, the MS in Applied Business Analytics and the MS in Materials Chemistry have exceeded their first-year enrollment goals. 

Also exceeding enrollment expectations, with 57 students enrolled in its first year, is the new Pre-Professional Certificate offered through the Biology Department for post-baccalaureate students seeking admission to medical, dental, and other health-related professional schools. This program follows on the success of the post-baccalaureate MBA Pathway Certificate that has grown in enrollment from 28 students its first year to 58 students this year.

Clearly, new professionally oriented graduate degree programs and certificates are finding an audience and should guide us in our future new program development. 

And our faculty continue to produce new curricula with additional new programs approved this year and in the pipeline for 2019 and 2020.

A BA in Disability Studies offered through the College of Education was recently approved by the Board of Trustees and has been submitted to the New Jersey President’s Council for approval. Also, a new MS in Finance and Financial Planning has been approved by the Faculty Senate, received a positive external review, and will be considered by the Board of Trustees this spring. Additional new degree programs currently in various stages of curricular review include an accelerated BS in Sport Medicine/MS in Athletic Training program, MS programs in Discrete Mathematics and Applied Statistics, an MS in Medicinal Biochemistry, and a new MEd concentration in teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM).

At recent meeting, the Faculty Senate also passed an accelerated 4+1 program leading to the MS in Biotechnology. This brings our number of accelerated 4+1 programs to six, including the English BA to Creative and Professional Writing MFA (new this year), the Business BS to MBA, the BA in Sociology and BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice to the newly accredited MA in Applied Sociology and the BA in Political Science o the Master of Public Policy. Music has a 4+1 option in the works and, when approved, the BS in Sport Medicine to MS in Athletic Training will include a 3+2 accelerated option.

With a critical mass of professionally oriented and accelerated bachelor to master options, we have an opportunity to attract new cohorts of incoming freshmen and transfers seeking a career pathway as well as offering these options to our current students. I want to thank the faculty for their work on these programs.

As always, the past few months have been active on campus with many new developments and achievements for our faculty, students, and staff:


  • As you may have heard, the University has formed a Cannabis Research Institute to provide evidence-based scientific and economic information on topics related to cannabis, as well as opioid drugs and other substances. The Institute is currently comprised of more than a dozen University faculty and staff from a range of academic disciplines who conduct basic, clinical, and public health research, as well as analyze data to inform policy makers, provide information for drug-related counseling, and inform curricula. I’d like to thank Rahi Abouk, associate professor of economics, finance and global business and a specialist in health economics and the economics of substance abuse, for agreeing to serve as chairperson of the Institute. The institute gained significant publicity when it was announced in January and we look forward to continuing publicity as the Institute begins its work of reaching out for grants and disseminating information through conferences, lectures, and forums.

  • Tomorrow, numerous faculty and staff will gather in the University Commons Ballrooms as we launch the Propel Paterson initiative, a new partnership between the University and the City of Paterson designed to support Paterson’s revitalization through learning, research, and action. This action-oriented conference will include city leaders, state legislators, and economic redevelopment experts along with University faculty and administrators to discuss ideas in healthcare, education, business, social services, and arts, culture and tourism that can lead to sponsored faculty research and community development projects.

  • Dean Kara Rabbit, along with professors Steve Shalom, political science, Keumjae Park, sociology, and Carrie Hong, educational leadership and professional studies, have received a $190,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to expand the University’s instruction in Middle Eastern and Korean studies, and the development of a minor in Korean studies.
  • The College of Humanities and Social Sciences’s Contexts Conference 2018 last October drew a packed crowd to discuss the topic of Sex, Power and the #MeToo movement. The day once again highlighted ways in which diverse disciplines can share a commitment to the discussion of critical and fruitful study of key collective questions.

  • Bill Kernan, public health, received a $20,000 grant from the N.J. Department of Health, Division of Community Health Services, New Jersey Prevention Network to fund a Passaic County Youth Tobacco Action Team focused on reducing tobacco use among young adults in New Jersey. Professor Kernan and United for Prevention in Passaic County will establish the County Youth Action Team for Passaic County.

  • The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Violence against Women awarded $299,999 to Librada Sanchez of the Women’s Center and Eileen Lubeck, assistant dean of students, for the University’s Campus Violence Prevention Program. This grant will continue the work of previous grants will adding infrastructure and resources to enhances current programs and services.

  • Bernadette Tiernan, executive director of the School of Continuing and Professional Education, received multiple awards totaling $263,000 from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development to support programs that provide training assistance and certification for managers and employees of New Jersey businesses in the range of fields.

  • Our University radio station, which won the 2018 Marconi Award for non-commercial station of the year, continues to add to their award nominations. The station has been nominated by the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System for Best College Radio Station in the U.S. (among institutions with more than 10,000 students) for the seventh time in eight years. WPSC-FM was named Best College Radio Station by IBS in 2012, 2013, 2017, and 2018. Also, the University’s television station, WPTV-6, is nominated for Best College TV Station along with nominations for awards in six other categories. IBS began offering video/TV awards in 2017.

  • We were also excited that a University student team won first place overall in the 12th annual Sales challenge hosted by our Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales. Our team successfully competed against the best sales students from 40 other schools across the nation and abroad. Congratulations to Cotsakos College of Business seniors Michaela Campo and Meagan Trozzo.

  • This past Sunday, alumnus Alan Hicks ’07 won a Grammy Award for Best Music Film for Quincy, a documentary he co-wrote and co-directed about the life of the American record producer, singer and film producer, Quincy Jones. Also, our own Dante Portella, who is an audio technician in broadcast and production services, served as sound engineer for Lansing McLoskey’s oratorio Zealot Canticles: A Musical Plea for Tolerance, which won a Grammy Award for Best choral Performance. And, our jazz studies director Bill Charlap continues to bring accolades to the University. He received a Grammy nomination as artist, arranger, and co-producer in the “Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album” category for his work on the new album by Tony Bennett and Diana Krall, Our Love is Here to Stay. "S'Wonderful," from the album, was also nominated in the “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” category.

  • And, on Monday we learned that the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, the country’s first foundation dedicated wholly to science, announced that chemistry Professor Jay Foley is one of 24 scientists throughout the country who are recipients of its 2019 Cottrell Scholar Awards. These awards provide $100,000 to each recipient who is identified as a leader in integrating science teaching and research at a top U.S. research university or a primarily undergraduate institution. Professor Foley was selected for his research on Polaritonic Chemistry with Hybrid Nanoparticles. Congratulations to Professor Foley on this very impressive award.

The momentum on campus will certainly accelerate through the spring semester. Some examples are:

  • There are numerous events on campus in recognition of Black History Month through the end of February, and there will be another series of events and activities celebrating Women’s History Month in March. Please check the calendar and the announcements for details
  • Explorations, our annual celebration of research, scholarship and creative expression, kicks off in April with numerous activities, including interdisciplinary presentations, poster sessions, community programs, Honors Week student research presentations, and our Undergraduate Research Symposium. This year marks the University’s 20th anniversary of highlighting research, scholarship and creative expression on our campus.

  • We are continuing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Distinguished Lecturer Series, following a very successful event in December with the Judy Woodruff, the anchor and managing editor of PBS Newshour. While we were expecting to present the actor, comedian, and Tony Award-winning playwright John Leguizamo this spring, his filming schedule now precludes his visit. We will be announcing a new speaker shortly.

  • The Jazz Room Series continues its 41stseason with a wide range of performers, including William Paterson jazz alumnus and drummer Jaimeo Brown, jazz alumna and saxophonist Roxy Coss, and an intimate solo performance by our own director of jazz studies, Bill Charlap.

  • The Music Department presents two special events this semester. Collage! 2019, which features the many student performing groups in our Music Department, will be held on March 1. This biennial event is a fundraiser for the Music Department Scholarship Fund. And, on April 12 and 13, the department will stage a performance of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta “The Pirates of Penzance.”

  • Finally, I would like to encourage all faculty and staff to participate in this year’s Commencement ceremonies. Our undergraduate ceremony will be held on Wednesday, May 15 at 9 a.m. in the Prudential Center in Newark, and our graduate ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 16 at 7 p.m. in the Sports and Recreation Center on campus. Please confirm your attendance via the Faculty/Staff RSVP link on the commencement home page.  I look forward to seeing you all there.