President's 2014 Report to the University Senate
September 19, 2014
Introduction and Overview
Coming down College Avenue from Old Queens today, I was struck by just how much the University has changed over the past two years. The construction cranes and the steel rising from freshly poured foundations—the Honors College clock towering above the Raritan—are certainly indicative of Rutgers’ ongoing transformation. But as anyone who has been near the heart of any of the Rutgers University Campuses this month knows, it is the human element that makes them feel so vibrant and alive. You can feel the energy. It starts with our students—with more than 67,000 undergraduate and graduate students now at Rutgers, the largest enrollment in our nearly 250-year history. Our student body is more diverse and better qualified than ever before. These students arrive at Rutgers this year knowing that their professors rank among the world’s preeminent faculty, winning prestigious awards for their research. They enter Rutgers knowing that it is investing in new services to transform student experience, and excited that their university is rapidly improving its academic ranking and reputation.
Energy emanates from the faculty, who have reason to be proud of their standing and remarkable careers. Defined by world-class research and a commitment to our students’ education, our faculty are the foundation for our University’s continued growth and success. One can feel the excitement among students, faculty, and alumni about our entrance into the Big Ten conference and Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the conference’s academic counterpart. And one hears the buzz among New Jersey’s business community, our legislators, and our alumni about our growing partnerships with our civic communities in Newark, New Brunswick, Piscataway, and Camden and partnerships that now, through healthcare and health-related research, agriculture engineering and business incubators, and our many celebrated institutes in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, stretch across and well beyond the borders of New Jersey. These partnerships create an environment where the city, the state, and university are connected as collaborative teaching, learning, and research spaces for our faculty and students.
The construction projects underway across our university system today are driven by this collaborative, people-centered energy. They reflect the mobilization of University resources in support of your strategic plan, and they underscore our commitment to making our collective vision for the new Rutgers a reality. Projects like the new Chemistry and Chemical Biology Building and the Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health in New Brunswick, the Life Sciences II Building and the mixed-use renovation of the grand art-deco landmark, 15 Washington Street, in Newark, and the Nursing and Science Building in Camden will provide our faculty and students with state-of-the-art teaching and learning spaces needed to train our graduates for productive careers. These projects for our future will enable our faculty to conduct the research that will benefit our local and global communities.
The breadth of faculty research has been transformed by the successful integration of much of the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) into Rutgers on July 1, 2013, joining with existing Rutgers health sciences schools and programs to form Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS). Although the intensive work of building a world-class integrated health sciences research, education, and delivery entity will continue for years to come, the results are already being felt. Rutgers is now a comprehensive university—and a legitimate research powerhouse to rival the best public institutions. The new Rutgers’ R&D expenditures totaled over $700 million in fiscal year 2013, placing us among the top 30 U.S. universities for research spending. The expanded Office of Research and Economic Development, led by Dr. Christopher Molloy, will allow us to expand our partnerships with pharmaceutical, biotech, and healthcare companies throughout the State to facilitate the development of new diagnostics and treatments. Our goal with RBHS is to develop a pipeline that moves research from our labs, through clinical trials, and into the hands of healthcare providers to administer potentially life-saving treatments.
Capitalizing on this energy at Rutgers demands that we find the most talented and capable individuals available to organize our efforts and lead us forward. Our success in attracting outstanding academicians this year to lead Rutgers University–Newark, Rutgers University–Camden, and RBHS reflects Rutgers’ new trajectory. Together with our chancellor at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, we now have the benefit of seasoned leaders at each of these institutions whose experience at world-class universities can be leveraged in promoting our exceptional faculty, students, and staff as we take Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey to the next level. With the start of a new year, you just can’t help getting excited.
Our Heart and Soul—The Rutgers Faculty and Students
Ultimately, the strength of an institution’s faculty distinguishes a great university from among its peers. By this measure Rutgers excels. This year members of our faculty have been elected into prestigious academic academies, awarded international academic prizes, and received distinguished fellowships. We all benefit from the innovative research they conduct. Yet no one benefits more immediately from this thriving intellectual activity and robust, collective, and research-oriented enterprise than our students. Through in-class training, through applied learning in the field, lab, and archive, and through extracurricular educational programming, our faculty and staff play a vital role in the transfer of knowledge from teacher to student, from theory into practice, from an intensive, first-class education into a vibrant career. This is the Rutgers I see today. This is the Rutgers the nation sees: a world-class faculty teaching high-achieving students in state-of-the-art facilities supported by accomplished and dedicated administrators and staff.
Rutgers graduated its largest class in history last spring: we conferred 16,445 degrees to students in Newark, Camden, New Brunswick, and at RBHS—a 15 percent increase from academic year 2012-2013. Two weeks ago classes began for over 67,000 Rutgers students—the highest enrollment in our institution’s history. Across the University system, we welcomed almost 8,000 first-year students and enrolled 4,400 transfer students. The class of 2014’s profile is impressive: driven by a seven-point rise in scores at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, average SAT scores University-wide rose four points last year to 1808, a generous lead over the national average of 1498. More than a thousand students admitted this year were in the top 5 percent of their high school classes. Finally, we continue to sustain and have even increased our impressive lead as the most diverse public university system in the nation. Bar none, Rutgers University–Newark is the most diverse public university in the nation. University-wide more than half of our students identify as racial and ethnic minorities. We are also proud to say, we work hard to create a welcoming environment for other forms of human diversity and experience, including our LBGTQ students, staff, and faculty; our students with disabilities; our growing veteran population; and the increasing numbers of individuals in our community who represent the breadth of our ethnic and religious diversity.
As our new students look to the promising future Rutgers offers, they will find impressive examples of undergraduate achievement. This year, Rutgers is the only university in the nation whose graduates won four of the most prestigious and competitive national fellowships, including the Churchill, Luce, Mitchell, and Soros Scholarships. In total, our students received 32 national fellowships, more than any other Big Ten/CIC institution except for the University of Michigan. Among all American research universities, Rutgers ranked 3rd in the total number of Fulbright Scholarships awarded—narrowly trailing only Harvard and Michigan. Employers have taken notice of our students’ achievements and exceptional education both inside and outside the classroom. Recruited from a Big Ten/CIC school, our new Executive Director of Career Services has transformed career opportunities for our students. Last week, University Career Services hosted thousands of students and more than 300 corporations at its “Career and Internship MEGA Fair”—a 22 percent increase in employer participation over last year, which was itself a dramatic increase over previous years. This increased employer interest in our students emblematizes Rutgers’ strengthened position as a great comprehensive university and in helping our students and alumni achieve their career aspirations.
Over the past year, members of our faculty have garnered impressive honors. On the whole, our faculty, from across the disciplines, are in the vanguard of innovative research. We now have 37 members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine on our faculty, including four newly elected members in 2013. In the past year, our faculty have continued to showcase their talent on the world stage: two were awarded Sloan Foundation fellowships, three of our scientists were named to the National Academy of Inventors, six became Faculty Fulbright Scholars, and one was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. These honors increase the prestige of our institution and give our undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to learn from mentors recognized as leaders in their field.
Faculty and academic support staff continue to create new opportunities for our undergraduates. The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) in Rutgers University–Newark received a $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) this year to continue its statewide program to increase minority student participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. As part of Rutgers’ commitment to New Jersey and to diversity and excellence, the Rutgers Future Scholars program has mentored and tutored over 1,000 8th-12th-grade students from low-income families geographically located around each of our universities. Rutgers Future Scholars participants have a 97 percent high school graduation rate (compared to 66 percent for some districts and a statewide average of 83 percent), and 95 percent of Future Scholars alumni have gone on to pursue higher education, including more than 200 at Rutgers. In recognition of the program’s impact and success, this June, First Lady Michelle Obama invited the Rutgers Future Scholars program to participate in the National Summer Learning Day Fair at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. The John E. Morgan Foundation has awarded Rutgers University–Camden a $1.5 million challenge grant toward creating a $3 million endowment that will support the John S. and James L. Knight Early Learning Research Academy’s childhood education programs. This academy works to assist students in their educational development from early childhood through high school.
The Rutgers community is at the forefront of the national campaign against sexual assault on college campuses. Because of our strong record of developing innovative and effective violence prevention and response programs, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault named Rutgers as one of only four institutions to support the development of a unified federal approach to ending campus sexual assault. Beginning in New Brunswick this fall, our University community will launch the iSPEAK student survey, the next step in improving our response to sexual violence. Soon to be institutionalized across the country, this survey will gather information about student experiences and awareness of campus sexual assault, and it will measure student attitudes about sexual violence. What we learn will inform the development of better programs to prevent sexual violence, respond effectively when assaults occur, and support victims of sexual violence.
Rutgers has begun to realize the potential of our having become a comprehensive research university. According to one significant index, the Center for World University Rankings, Rutgers University–New Brunswick now ranks 33rd among the world’s top 1,000 universities, and of the 229 American universities in the top 1,000, we ranked 24th—10th among public universities. Focused largely on student career outcomes, education quality, and collective faculty prestige, this ranking is an impressive indicator of how far we have come. In fact, our dramatic rise in this ranking is as significant as this year’s position rank: 72nd in 2012; 43rd in 2013; 33rd in 2014. Additionally, Rutgers University–Newark made big news this month. Among national universities, Washington Monthly ranked it 14th for “Best Bang for the Buck.” Focused on three main criteria—access, affordability, and student outcomes—this ranking reflects Rutgers University–Newark’s commitment to community and to providing New Jersey and metro-area students with access to a world-class education, regardless of their socioeconomic background. Rutgers University–Camden was also touted for its outstanding educational value. Washington Monthly ranked Camden 11th among “masters universities” as a “Best Bang for the Buck.” Since aggregate rankings such as U.S. News and World Report are typically lagging indicators, I believe that this is only the beginning of the recognition of our growing prestige as an institution that is broadly recognized for its excellent teaching, preeminent research, and commitment to local and global service.
A New Direction Requires New Leadership
While the caliber of our faculty and the strength of our students ultimately determines our success, Rutgers, like all great public research universities, must have a strong administrative structure to support them. Contrary to received wisdom, when benchmarked against the other 64 institutions in the Association of American Universities (AAU), Rutgers has a lower ratio of administrators to faculty than 90 percent of our peers. Because we need to maintain a lean administration, we had to have the finest—most accomplished, experienced, and talented—administrators we could recruit in order to operate effectively and efficiently. During the integration of UMDNJ, we eliminated several senior management positions, consolidated roles, and sought leaders with a broader capacity to manage the complexities of multiple areas and divisions. During the past year I have focused on recruiting the best nationally recognized faculty-administrators to help guide Rutgers. We now have outstanding chancellors at Rutgers University–Newark, Rutgers University–Camden, Rutgers University–New Brunswick, and RBHS. All four Chancellors are internationally respected educators and scholars—two have been elected to national academies—and they are proven administrators who can lead their University communities in fulfilling their unique missions and in advancing Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
Nancy Cantor began her tenure as Chancellor at Rutgers University–Newark in January 2014. Dr. Cantor came to Rutgers from Syracuse University, where she spent nine years as Chancellor and President, and she brought with her a lifetime of nationally-acclaimed leadership experience and expertise, having served as the Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and as Provost at the University of Michigan. Chancellor Cantor is a celebrated scholar and educator—a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences—and she is deeply committed to advancing the role of universities in our society and within their communities, with particular emphasis on urban settings and urban renewal and growth through equal, distributed, and educationally-enhanced opportunities.
Recruiting a proven leader in the health sciences was another top priority last year. Ensuring that we are able to grow the broad research, education, and clinical-care missions of our health care faculty and schools while we integrate their financial and administrative services has been a monumental task. Last fall I appointed Dr. Brian Strom—a physician, epidemiologist, and accomplished academic—as the chancellor of RBHS. He, too, is a proven leader: a founder of the field of pharmacoepidemiology, a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and an experienced clinician and academic administrator who established and chaired the department of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he recently served as Executive Vice Dean for Institutional Affairs at the Perelman School of Medicine and Senior Advisor to the Provost for Global Health Initiatives. Chancellor Strom gives RBHS the world-class academic leadership it needs to realize its aspirations and bring Rutgers to the fore of health science research and education.
Phoebe Haddon is the latest addition to our senior academic leadership team. She began her tenure as Chancellor at Rutgers University–Camden in July. Joining us from the University of Maryland, Chancellor Haddon served as the dean of the School of Law since 2009. The first African-American dean in the law school’s nearly 200-year history, she increased the law school’s student scholarships; recruited and retained nationally-eminent faculty; and increased the diversity of the student body. Chancellor Haddon is nationally recognized as one of the top academic legal minds. She is a brilliant scholar and administrator, and I look forward to working with her as she continues to transform Rutgers University–Camden.
Finally, I am pleased to report that this June we confirmed Richard Edwards, who has served as Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs (EVPAA) and Interim Chancellor since 2011, as Chancellor of Rutgers University–New Brunswick. Chancellor Edwards has been an outstanding leader for Rutgers since coming to the University in 2005 as Dean of the School of Social Work, and he served us well as Interim President prior to my arrival. I am fortunate to be able to rely on his broad experience in managing our largest university. In addition to leading the strategic planning process for Rutgers University–New Brunswick, Chancellor Edwards has, in his role as EVPAA, been helping to oversee the implementation of the 100-Day Initiatives from the University Strategic Plan, which are critical to the plan’s overall success.
Over the past year, responding to requirements in the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act, we have also appointed provosts in Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick who will work closely with their respective chancellors and school deans to support faculty recruitment, develop innovative academic programs and partnerships, and support our faculty’s research and teaching. In Camden, Rayman Solomon, formerly Camden Law Dean, became the inaugural Interim Provost, and Chancellor Haddon will run a national search for a Provost this year to work with her in developing partnerships and interdisciplinary collaborations among schools and units in Camden and throughout New Jersey. Todd Clear was named Provost of Rutgers University–Newark, where he brings his extensive knowledge and experience as Dean of the School of Criminal Justice and as Interim Chancellor to his work with Chancellor Cantor. In New Brunswick, we appointed Dr. Lily Young as Provost. Dr. Young is an exceptional academic. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Microbiology. Widely respected by her fellow faculty in New Brunswick, she brings to her new role a broad understanding of faculty scholarship and teaching from across the system. She will work closely with the PRC committee and faculty units to enhance recruitment and retention, and to support faculty. Finally, in accordance with the legislation guiding the Rutgers–UMDNJ integration, two provosts have been named in RBHS to oversee faculty matters for units located in New Brunswick and Newark. Dr. Jeffrey Carson will serve as Provost for New Brunswick, as well as Chief of General Internal Medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. His counterpart as Provost in Newark is Dr. Robert Wieder, currently the associate director of clinical and translational cancer research and a professor of medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.
We continue to recruit strong new leadership to our schools. At Rutgers University–New Brunswick, for instance, the School of Arts and Sciences welcomed its new Executive Dean, Dr. Peter March, on July 1. Dean March joins us from Ohio State University, where he served as divisional dean of natural and mathematical sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences since 2010. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks to Rick Falk for his leadership as Interim Executive Dean of SAS. Last August, we welcomed Cathryn Potter as the new Dean of the School of Social Work. In RBHS, Dr. Vicente Gracias assumed the leadership of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School as Interim Dean in February. At the beginning of this month, Wanda Blanchett became the new Dean of the Graduate School of Education, joining us from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and at Rutgers University–Newark, Shadd Maruna, an internationally acclaimed scholar in criminal justice who was previously at Queen’s University, Belfast in Northern Ireland, began his tenure as Dean of the School of Criminal Justice. Gary Aston-Jones will join us this fall as Director of the Brain Health Institute, a new initiative that bridges between Rutgers University–New Brunswick and RBHS.
The strategic planning process helped provide a clear view of the work being done across our schools and units and helped us see where reorganization might better facilitate research and teaching efforts. Our nursing schools were one area where this was the case. A strong nursing school is critical to Rutgers, and, as of this July 1, the Rutgers College of Nursing joined with the legacy UMDNJ’s nursing programs to form the Rutgers School of Nursing. William Holzemer, who previously served as dean of the College of Nursing, is now dean of the new Rutgers School of Nursing, where he is joined by Susan Salmond, who was appointed vice dean after serving as the dean of the School of Nursing in UMDNJ. Combining these two programs heighten the visibility of our nursing programs and, more importantly, improve our ability to educate and train nurses and provide care to our communities. I want to express my gratitude to all the staff—the faculty, administrators, and deans—who worked with great care and energy in forming this new unit.
Implementing the Strategic Plan
I am grateful to all of the members of our University community who labored in committee, faculty, staff, and student forums and town halls to develop our first comprehensive strategic plan in nearly twenty years. We now have an articulated blueprint to guide us during this transformative period in the University’s history. Approved by our Board of Governors last February, this comprehensive document offers a fair but frank assessment of where we stand today and provides an ambitious plan for where we will go in the next five years. If we continue to implement these recommendations, we have the opportunity to become one of the finest public university systems in the nation. Yet we have not yet finished thinking big. During the past academic year, using the University-wide strategic plan as a guide, the chancellors in Camden, Newark, New Brunswick, and RBHS have been guiding the strategic planning process for their academic communities, and they will present those plans to the Boards and the University community this fall. As we approach the 250th anniversary of Rutgers in 2016, our institution’s future has never been brighter and its path forward has never been more clear.
The University community’s involvement in the strategic plan not only ensured a collaborative process, but also allowed us to leverage the knowledge and experience of literally thousands of experts in a range of disciplines and professions in creating a plan that will both help us meet the pressing challenges facing higher education today and strengthen Rutgers’ position among the nation’s top research-intensive universities. Yet, like you, I have too often seen this kind of collaborative effort come to little purpose. Strategic plans are often shelved as soon as they are printed. For that reason, I have stressed throughout the planning process the importance of developing initiatives and recommendations that are actionable, with measurable progress, and that will produce immediate and longer-term results. It is for this reason that I announced a set of 100-Day Initiatives directly following the Board of Governors’ approval of the Strategic Plan in February. These initiatives were designed to kick-start the transformational process in the areas most critical to our future success. Funded by the Office of the President, these initiatives are well underway. I am pleased to report that, thanks to the support and continued contributions of our faculty, students, and staff, they are already yielding tangible results.
Envisioning Tomorrow’s University: The strategic planning process helped us develop an understanding of our own aspirations as a statewide system with differentiated strengths in research, teaching, and service to community, and it helped us think through some of the thorniest challenges facing higher education in the twenty-first century. We must plan within a context of declining state support for higher education, increased competition for funds, shifting models of education, and how technology is changing expectations of the educational experience. We captured these challenges in the framework of our strategic priority to Envision Tomorrow’s University, which set forth a roadmap for building our future in the context of both Rutgers’ unique mission and vision and of the altering landscape of higher education nationally. As a major initiative of this strategic priority, I formed two University-wide committees tasked with assessing two areas crucial to our continued growth: one is assessing the organization of our schools and academic units; the other is examining the challenges of and opportunities for evolving instructional technology to our educational mission.
Chaired by Professors Linda Brzustowicz and Clement Price, and composed of leading faculty from the schools and units in New Brunswick, Newark, Camden, and RBHS, the faculty committee on Academic Unit Organization will make recommendations for potential realignments within our academic units to facilitate collaboration and resource sharing, particularly for schools and units that span our geographical locations. They will also assess gaps in our academic offerings and the potential formation of new schools or academic units that would align us, where appropriate to our mission, more closely with our public peer-aspirant institutions. The full membership of this committee can be found on the University Strategic Plan website. This committee convened in June. It will provide an interim report in one year and a final report to the University community in two years.
The University-wide Committee on Instructional Technology, led by Professors Susan Albin and Darrin York, draws on the expertise of faculty and instructional technology experts from across the University. This committee’s membership can also be found on the University Strategic Plan website. Last May, I asked this committee to develop a tactical institutional plan for exploring, testing, and implementing new instructional technologies that will help Rutgers keep pace with this rapidly evolving pedagogical area. In addition to assessing the effectiveness and feasibility of pedagogical tools and digital environments that range from “flipped” and synchronous classrooms and simulation technology, to MOOCs and interactive online courses, the committee will also review the effectiveness of our current suite of learning management systems and recommend a path for unifying and evergreening these technologies. The committee will provide an interim report in eight months and a final report in eighteen months. Both the committee on Academic Unit Organization and the Instructional Technology Committee will produce reports with practical, actionable recommendations that will help us envision and realize the university of tomorrow.
Henry Rutgers Professorships and Term Chairs: To support the growth of our outstanding faculty—a key priority identified in the strategic plan—we created the Henry Rutgers Professorships and the Henry Rutgers Term Chairs. We will use the Rutgers Professorships to recruit and retain preeminent senior scholars, while we will use the Term Chairs to recruit, retain, and support outstanding associate professors, who have demonstrated exceptional scholarly potential. Following the strategic plan, priority for these appointments will focus on areas and disciplines that align with the broader goals of the plan, particularly areas that fall within the five Integrating Themes.
We solicited proposals for an initial group of appointments in both categories early this year from academic units across the system. A review committee led by the chancellors then evaluated submissions, and based on the committee’s selection, we have already recruited A. Van Jordan, an award-winning poet and professor, from the University of Michigan. Professor Jordan has joined the English department at Rutgers University–Newark as the first Henry Rutgers Professor. The committee has also selected a range of other proposals for Henry Rutgers Professorship and Henry Rutgers Term Chair searches, including earth, marine and coastal, and atmospheric sciences; emergency and disaster preparedness; big data; Hispanic and Latino/a studies; ethics and bioethics; global health; and digital filmmaking. We look forward to recruiting faculty who, like Professor Jordan, bring international prestige to Rutgers.
Over the next five years, our strategic plan calls for a net-new increase of an additional 150 faculty. The Henry Rutgers Professorships and Term Chairs are an important part of that plan, with the objective of expanding this cadre to 30 Henry Rutgers Professorships and 25 Henry Rutgers Term Chairs. While our initial wave of five Henry Rutgers Professorships and five Term Chairs in the 100-Day Initiatives is supported by special purpose funds from my office, we anticipate that traditional University resources will be used to support the remaining new recruitments. By adding internationally recognized thought leaders and rising scholars to our faculty, we will solidify our standing in the fields and areas from the strategic plan and foster the kinds of cutting-edge, interdisciplinary scholarship that our University community has identified as central to our identity and mission.
Scholarships and Graduate Fellowships: All of the elements of the strategic plan have one shared objective: to enhance our students’ academic experience. As a research university, we are committed to supporting our faculty’s research, and our success as an institution is the sum of all of our individual innovation, dedication, labor, and commitment to excellence. A faculty’s ability to mentor and train the next generation of thought leaders, however, ultimately distinguishes great universities. That is why, in an effort to attract the finest students and position them for success, we established the Henry Rutgers Merit Scholarships and the Presidential Graduate Fellowships as critical pieces of the 100-Day Initiatives.
This fall, 125 undergraduates received the new Henry Rutgers Scholarships, and we plan to add at least 100 new scholarships each year over the next four years for a total of 400 scholarships for outstanding New Jersey students. The Office of the President funds these scholarships directly to augment existing need- and merit-based scholarships available to our students. Along with other strategic initiatives that target the best students in our State, such as the Honors Colleges at our three Universities, additional financial assistance will ensure that New Jersey’s highest-achieving students, regardless of their financial means, enjoy the State’s finest public education.
The Presidential Graduate Fellowships were created for a similar purpose: to enable Rutgers to provide attractive funding packages to our most promising graduate student applicants. This year we awarded seventeen Presidential Fellowships to incoming graduate students, eleven in New Brunswick and six to students in Newark in disciplines ranging from literature, music, and creative writing, to criminal justice, computer science, microbial biology, and mathematics. These five-year fellowships will supplement standard graduate student funding, providing assistance for our outstanding graduate students during their time at Rutgers.
International Symposia and Integrating Courses: Our strategic plan identified five integrating themes to help direct our academic focus. To facilitate the incorporation of these themes into the academic life of the University, the 100-Day Initiatives include support for innovative symposia and courses in each area. A faculty selection committee lead by EVPAA Edwards evaluated proposals from across the University and approved two Integrating Symposia. The first—Global Climate Change and Inequality: Local to Global Perspectives, proposed by Professors Steven Brechin (SAS), Robin Leichenko (SAS), Karen O’Neill (SEBS), and Thomas Rudel (SAS; SEBS)—will explore climate change and related socio-environmental disasters through an interdisciplinary lens, with a focus on the differential impact on regions, nations, communities, individuals, and natural ecosystems. The symposium will examine the cultures, lives, and nations that these disasters will affect first and how best to address the environmental, economical, and political vulnerabilities of populations and states most at risk.
The second symposium will address Sustainable Biotechnology, Bioenergy, and Biomedicine. This international symposium was proposed by Professors Eric Lam (SEBS), Pal Maliga (Waksman Institute), and Eric Garfunkel (SAS), and it will be an expansion of the 9th Tripartite Workshop held by Rutgers in partnership with Ohio State University and the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil. The additional funding provided by the 100-Day Initiatives will ensure that colleagues from Rutgers University–Camden, Rutgers University–Newark, and RBHS have an opportunity to participate and collaborate. Faculty and graduate students from Rutgers, Ohio State, and the University of Sao Paulo will showcase their current research on the issues surrounding sustainable biotechnology, bioenergy, and biomedicine. Earlier this month, the Office of the EVPAA sent out a second call for proposals and we will continue the review process for new symposia to be developed in the next academic year.
After a review of numerous excellent proposals, the first Integrating Themes Course has been approved, and we plan to offer it beginning in spring of the 2015-2016 academic year. Proposed by Professors Deborah Carr (SAS; IHHCPAR) and Johanna Schoen (SAS; IHHCPAR), this course on Health, Culture, and Society will examine our health and well-being through an interdisciplinary lens and consider how our understanding of health varies across time, cultures, and populations. The course will draw on a range of popular and scholarly sources and look specifically at four health conditions: body weight, mental health, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. Ultimately, the course will examine how scholarship improves both medical practice and public health policy.
New Academic Institutes: The strategic planning process has led to the creation of two new academic institutes that will bridge our three universities and RBHS. These institutes will build on the Integrating Themes and strategic priorities of the University-wide strategic plan, and foster interdisciplinary scholarship, teaching, and community engagement in these important fields of study.
The new Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (IEOAS) will draw on Rutgers’ traditional strengths in these fields and provide a unified, interdisciplinary unit that will coordinate and enhance our research efforts in these vital areas. IEOAS will begin operations later this fall under the direction of Dr. Mark Miller, professor of Environmental Science and director of the graduate program in atmospheric science. The new institute will subsume the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences (IMCS), one of the nation’s premier oceanographic institutions, and it will draw on other areas where Rutgers has existing strengths, including the biological, physical, and mathematical sciences.
Launched this June, the Institute for Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security will coordinate experts from a range of academic disciplines, including medicine, engineering, public policy, and law, and from the private sector to help better understand and prevent disasters and improve national security against a variety of modern threats. Led by Dr. Clifton Lacy, a physician and former President and Chief Executive Officer of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, the institute will focus on developing policies, disaster preparedness protocols, clinical and practice enhancements to combat biological threats, and community outreach programs to educate the public. The institute will work closely with academic and private partners and align itself with a number of federally funded research efforts, many of which are led by Rutgers faculty, run through agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, the National Institutes of Health, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Institutional Diversity and Community Engagement: A foundational element of our strategic plan highlights Rutgers’ long history of leadership in diversity. Our diversity is a source of great pride for our University and State and an example to other public research institutions. Our student body is among the most diverse in the nation—Rutgers University–Newark is consistently rated as the most diverse university in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, and Camden and New Brunswick trail closely. Our faculty are nationally recognized for their research on diversity issues in a broad range of disciplines. Yet, when I arrived at Rutgers two years ago, I was surprised to discover that we lacked a formal organizational structure to support diversity initiatives across the University. I am now pleased to report that with the establishment of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion (OIDI), under the leadership of vice president Jorge Reina Schement, and of the President’s Diversity Council, we have the robust organizational structure and exceptional leadership in place that reflects the importance of diversity to the intellectual and social fabric of our University. The work of OIDI and the Diversity Council has helped our University community recommit to studying and promoting diversity in all its forms, and to building an inclusive environment to educate the next generation of global citizens.
Signature initiatives launched by OIDI in its first year include the First Annual Diversity Forum, which brought together members from across the Rutgers community to engage in a day-long event to explore how to advance diversity at a large, complex research university. Faculty and administrators led discussions on a range of topics, including how to enhance diversity initiatives, promote inclusion in STEM fields, and provide broader access to higher education. The event featured keynote speeches by Professor Clement Price of Rutgers University–Newark and Professor Abigail Stewart from the University of Michigan. At the President’s Diversity Council’s first meeting in April, I charged the committee with three key tasks: developing policy recommendations that will enhance the recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty, administration, and student body; providing recommendations for academic programs that will give our students the opportunity to engage diversity as a civic value; and producing recommendations that will raise our distinction as a national leader in the research, study, and teaching of diversity. I look forward to the committee’s reports and to OIDI continuing to build on our strong foundation of diversity by developing new initiatives and recommendations to help Rutgers enhance its presence as a national leader on diversity issues.
In addition to bolstering our diversity initiatives, our academic leaders have continued to develop outstanding student-centered programs in all of our geographic locations. In Camden, for instance, community service is deeply integrated into the student learning experience, providing students at one of the most diverse universities in the nation with practical, community-based learning opportunities. Faculty offer courses, including opportunities to travel abroad, which bring together theory and practice in real-life settings. Last year, Rutgers University–Camden students spent 300,000 hours engaged in community service projects, and over 1,000 students engaged in community service as part of a credit-bearing academic experience. In New Brunswick, programs that support student access and academic success have been consolidated into a unified office in Undergraduate Academic Affairs that is better positioned to share resources and, ultimately, to serve our students. The new Office of Student Access and Educational Equity (SAEE) combines existing programs to provide integrated academic, personal, career, and financial advising and support; tutoring and mentorship programs; and undergraduate research opportunities for first generation college students and students from low income households and underrepresented populations. In Newark, RU Ready for Work is partnering with local foundations and public stakeholders to close the opportunity gap for students from the city’s high schools. Through a year-long program that offers academic support and professional development—including internships with more than 30 local professionals and organizations—RU Ready for Work prepares 60 students a year for college and careers. Since the program’s inception in 2009, an average of 82 percent of RU Ready for Work graduates have gone on to pursue a college education—100 percent in the last two years—reflecting Rutgers University–Newark’s commitment to providing opportunities for the citizens of its host city.
The Honors College System
New Jersey is the largest net exporter of college-bound students in the nation. Each year, nearly 30,000 New Jersey high school graduates—many of whom are in the top 10 percent of their class—leave the State to pursue their higher education elsewhere. In order to attract more of these top students to Rutgers, we have laid the foundation for an expanded Honors College System that will span our three universities and build on our current system of school-based honors colleges and programs. This expanded system will create a compelling, nationally-competitive undergraduate experience. The Honors Colleges in Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick will provide our students with a research-intensive and faculty-connected education and introduce students early to interdisciplinary scholarship and academic engagement with the most critical issues of our times. By offering a residential experience that integrates social and academic life, our Honors Colleges and programs will create a community think-tank of the brightest young minds in New Jersey.
While the FAS/N Honors College at Rutgers University–Newark already provides students with enhanced opportunities both inside and outside the classroom, and is grounded in a challenging and diverse academic curriculum that emphasizes experiential learning, the Newark leadership is planning a new residential honors college that will be a living-learning community with both an urban and global focus. Targeting first-year and transfer students—specifically those who, due to socioeconomic hardship, would not otherwise have access to a residential experience—the Honors College will leverage Rutgers’ academic strengths and hands-on learning opportunities available in the city of Newark. Through the College’s four-year curriculum, students will focus on arts, culture, and technology through one-on-one learning with faculty while also engaging with the vibrant culture and business community in the city of Newark itself.
The Honors College at Rutgers University–Camden offers a curriculum centered around seminars that position students to interact with professors in small classroom settings while also providing a diverse range of learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. Established in 1997, the Honors College moved to a newly renovated space at 319 Cooper Street last year and now includes more than 400 undergraduate students who are invited to join this prestigious program. In addition to forming a close-knit, interdisciplinary academic community, the Honors College’s curriculum emphasizes extracurricular service and engagement, and Camden Honors College students often take on leadership roles in student and community organizations.
In the fall of 2015, Rutgers University–New Brunswick will open its new Honors College. Overlooking the Raritan River, the Honors College facility is rapidly taking shape at the top of the Voorhees Mall on the College Avenue Campus and its clock tower will soon be a Rutgers landmark. The newly developed academic program will create an unparalleled educational experience for Honors College undergraduates. With a residence hall, seminar rooms, advising offices, study lounges, a café, and faculty apartments, the Honors College will provide a fully integrated 24/7 academic and social experience.
Developed by a broadly representative faculty committee, the new Honors College curriculum will guide students from their introduction to scholarly inquiry, through the development of critical thinking skills, to applied research and the formation of new knowledge. As with the Honors Colleges in Camden and Newark, the New Brunswick Honors College will work in tandem with a student’s major course of study, enabling us to take advantage of our world-class academic departments. It will rely heavily on many of our current successful programs, like the Byrne First-Year Seminars and the Aresty Research Center, that create opportunities for students to engage with faculty research as soon as they arrive at Rutgers. By drawing on thriving programs like these, our Honors College will deliver an academic and research-focused experience that I believe will rival the best in the country.
The Rutgers-wide Honors College System complements existing school and departmental honors programs. While the Honors College will focus on the top five percent of students in New Jersey, we cannot afford to neglect other high-achieving students for whom an honors experience and merit scholarship are decisive factors in coming to Rutgers. Our honors programs will continue to attract and serve many of the best students in Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick, especially those for whom a residential experience is less desirable, or who prefer alternative living-learning environments such as the Douglass Residential College or discipline-specific living communities. The Honors Colleges will build on the strengths of existing honors programs by providing an integrated curriculum that spans disciplines and creates a uniquely immersive educational experience for the very best students.
The Big Ten and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC)
This July, a huge community celebration in High Point Solutions Stadium marked our official entry into the Big Ten Athletic Conference, completing our formal alignment with our institutional AAU peers in public higher education. As our billboards across the State have emphasized, Rutgers’ membership in the Big Ten is about big time academics and big time athletics, not simply athletics. We can look forward to exciting competition and building new athletic traditions, as our student athletes compete against some of the most celebrated university sports programs in the country. But during the past year we already enjoyed the tremendous academic benefits that accompany our membership in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), the Big Ten’s academic counterpart, which we joined in July 2013. Participation in the CIC creates vast resource sharing opportunities, and will significantly enhance academic collaborations, enabling us to advance research, teaching, and service to our communities.
Our move to the Big Ten has generated tremendous excitement throughout the University community and across the State, and this excitement is also reflected tangibly in our fundraising efforts. We have seen a record level of donations to the athletic department this year, including a 19.5 percent increase in total fundraising receipts (from $11.61 million in FY2013 to $13.87 million in FY2014), a 58 percent increase in donor participation, and a 69 percent increase in donations to annual scholarship support. Ticket sales are also at record highs: season ticket sales for football are up more than 30 percent from last year and up nearly 60 percent since 2012.
The public universities that comprise the Big Ten are our academic peers, and we bring to the conference our own unique tradition and history, our excellence in research, and our exceptional and diverse students and student athletes, who excel both on the field and in the classroom. This year three Rutgers athletic teams received public recognition from the NCAA for top academic performance based on their multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores. Rutgers is the only public university to have a football program ranked in the top 10 percent in APR over the last seven consecutive years. Already we rank near the top of the Big Ten in terms of our student athletes’ academic performance—the Rutgers football program’s APR scores are tied for 3rd in the conference, behind only Wisconsin and Northwestern—and our director of intercollegiate athletics, Julie Hermann, has emphasized the importance of academics for all of our teams, underlining our longstanding commitment to the academic success of our student athletes.
Perhaps the most noticeable changes accompanying our entrance into the Big Ten are the crowds at athletic events and the media attention that has been brought to our New Brunswick campuses. At last Saturday’s Penn State game, for instance, High Point Solutions Stadium was completely sold out, with a record attendance of 53,774—which will likely be the first of many packed houses. The increased media coverage we receive as a member of the Big Ten will only enhance our national visibility, ensuring that the rest of the country will be reminded regularly of all Rutgers has to offer. The Rutgers academic message, captured in new video spots, was viewed in millions of households in New Jersey and nationally this past weekend alone. This is the kind of national academic exposure that membership in the Big Ten/CIC affords, and this sustained visibility of Rutgers’ history and academic activities will benefit both student and faculty recruitment in the years to come. Moreover, our membership in the Big Ten will enable us to achieve what has been a primary focus of mine for our athletic department: fiscal self-sufficiency. Once we are fully vested in the Big Ten, Rutgers Athletics will be able to use the new revenue from television contracts and enhanced branding to move toward budget neutrality, releasing valuable capital resources for our academic mission.
The economic advantages and national exposure we gain from our athletic affiliation with the Big Ten are only a part of the broader realignment that our entrance into the conference represents. In fact, I am equally excited by the opportunities that our membership in the CIC will provide for our students, faculty, and staff, and for our institution more broadly. Our students now benefit from formal collaborative arrangements with our peer institutions, enabling access to a vast range of academic resources, including distance learning opportunities that make available to them areas of unique academic expertise at other CIC institutions and library access to more than 10 million titles that are not on the shelves at Rutgers. Our staff members are already taking advantage of institutional collaboratives and sharing best practices with our peers in areas ranging from disability services to human resources. We are now able to realize significant cost savings, thanks to the shared purchasing power we gain through our CIC membership. Our faculty can now collaborate more effectively with colleagues at some of the finest public and private universities in the nation to advance their research.
One example of these academic collaborations that has already emerged from our CIC membership is the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium. Drawing on cancer centers at member institutions, including the Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ), we are leveraging the collective research and clinical expertise of our institutions and taking a collaborative approach to improving our understanding of cancer in the lab and our treatment of cancer in our hospitals. This year, the consortium elected Dr. Susan Goodin, a professor at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, to serve as its director. Our entrance into the Big Ten and CIC is already having a tremendous impact on our academics, athletics, and national profile, and I am excited to see us continue to expand our involvement with our peers.
Across U.S. public higher education, state support has steadily declined over the last twenty years. New Jersey is no exception to this trend, and the burden of this decrease in public support for higher education cannot simply be transferred to our students and their families through tuition increases. It is imperative for us to seek new avenues for funding, including augmenting traditional revenue opportunities, improving the efficiency of administrative services, and expanding innovative fundraising models. Amid these pressures, the Rutgers University Foundation is working to bolster our fundraising effectiveness by cultivating a culture of philanthropy with alumni, current students, faculty and staff, and external stakeholders, securing the private funding we need to realize our strategic vision.
Under the leadership of our new Foundation president Nevin Kessler, Rutgers concluded a record year for fundraising this July, with $148.4 million in gifts and new commitments for the fiscal year. In the month of June alone, we raised more than $28 million, including an anonymous pledge of $10 million to support our cancer-related research programs in Rutgers University–New Brunswick and RBHS. Currently, the “Our Rutgers, Our Future” campaign total is over $957 million—well on its way to our $1 billion goal set for December of this year. Within that campaign, Rutgers University–Newark has surpassed the $100 million mark, exceeding its campaign goal by 20 percent. In fact, every school and unit in Newark has exceeded its campaign goal, and these donations—such as the anonymous gift of $1.5 million to fund the Farris Chair in Entrepreneurship—support faculty research, student scholarships, and capital projects. Rutgers University–Camden had its best fundraising year as part of the “Our Rutgers, Our Future” campaign in FY14, raising $4.6 million. Schools in Camden received many gifts to fund student scholarships, including a $400,000 bequest intention to the Judge Joshua Martin Scholarship at School of Law–Camden.
Our record setting year in donations contributed to an increase in our alumni participation rate, a critical metric of the strength of our institution. Last year we registered the first increase in our alumni participation rate in a decade among Rutgers University–New Brunswick alumni. The percentage of alumni who give, regardless of amount, helps determine our ranking by national services such as U.S. News and World Report. The strategic planning process identified fundraising, including alumni participation, as an area of relative weakness. Our 450,000 living alumni, strong potential partnerships with local corporations, and proximity to metropolitan hubs in New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. position us to improve our performance in this critical area.
The momentum generated by our strategic plan, our entrance into the Big Ten and CIC, and the capital construction projects that are transforming the physical landscape of our University system will continue to drive private fundraising and alumni giving as we look forward to our 250th anniversary celebration in 2016.
Strengthening Our Infrastructure
Enterprise Risk Management: As the public profile, size, and complexity of our institution increases, so too does our need to manage the risks inherent in its operation effectively. Last December, we created the Office of Enterprise Risk Management, Ethics, and Compliance, enabling us to more effectively assess, mitigate, and monitor institutional risks. Though athletics might provide high profile examples of potential ethical and reputational risks, we have similar exposure in areas like human resources, clinical trials and research, emergency response, and public safety. I have charged this office with creating an early warning system capable of identifying these risks throughout the University, and helping our faculty and staff mitigate and resolve problems before they threaten the well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. The Office of Enterprise Risk Management, Ethics, and Compliance reports directly to the Board of Governors and to the University President, acts separately from every other department, and has full independence.
Over the past six months, this new office has been working to identify the most pressing areas of institutional and reputational risk at Rutgers. One of the key steps in that process was the establishment of an Enterprise Risk Council, composed of senior officials throughout the University. This Council is then broken down into subcommittees, which are specifically designed to have experts from every field identify, assess, and prioritize the most critical risks our University faces in their respective domains, and then develop plans to mitigate those risks. This is an ongoing, iterative process, creating a risk matrix that is refreshed each year and tracked longitudinally. I’m confident that, with these new safeguards in place, we can move forward with the confidence that we are taking the necessary steps to reduce all potential risks and keep our University community safe.
Administrative Information Systems: During the strategic planning process it became apparent that our ability to serve our students and our faculty is compromised by siloed and outdated business and student services technology platforms across Rutgers. The UMDNJ integration underscored inherent weaknesses in the aging financial and planning systems of both institutions. Discussion of faculty research activity quickly led to an appreciation of the inadequate nature of our research computing infrastructure. Each of these factors point to an information system infrastructure that is dated, technologically inadequate, and at risk for failure.
To address this challenge, I called last year for the development of a comprehensive strategy for updating the University’s core Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform, moving us to a consolidated suite of systems for finance, human resources and payroll, procurement, and research administration that reflects best practice for R-1 universities. The administrative team responsible for this effort was asked to analyze the various legacy systems now in place, compare them to current best practices, and provide recommendations for a pathway to upgrade our platform to best support our growing institution. Last October, through an extensive “Fit/Gap” analysis (examining “fit” of features and “gaps” in functionality in available systems) we began the complex task of identifying the business requirements for each of our operating units and matching those against the capabilities of various systems either in use or currently available. This involves analyzing how we conduct business today, examining what works and what doesn’t work, and determining how we can most efficiently and effectively conduct business in the future. To be successful, we have had to break through organizational silos to identify best practices across units, review examples at other leading institutions, and assess Rutgers’ readiness to adopt changes in our business practices to improve efficiency.
The goal of our “Fit/Gap” analysis is to redesign the organizational structures, work paths, and support services needed for effective operation, with the goal of making it easier to do business at and with Rutgers. Our upgraded platform will include functions not currently present as well as a completely new chart of accounts and extensive reporting capabilities. We expect to present a working project plan for this ERP refresh to the Board of Governors by late fall. In the meantime, we are implementing changes to our procurement system, and next month we will launch a project to redesign our business practices to provide a “customer-oriented” model for research administration.
The strategic plan calls specific attention to the urgent need to unify and simplify student data systems. In a project that will be completed at the end of this month we have conducted an analysis of business requirements and best practices for these critical academic support functions. We will make a product selection by the end of the fall and present an implementation plan to the Board shortly thereafter.
A number of other information system initiatives—several funded by technology grants from the State of New Jersey—are underway that will provide the strong foundation for our core systems and streamline and improve operations across the institution. Critical among these are plans for off-site high-level data centers that provide secure locations for hosting core systems in redundant virtual server environments, ensuring business continuity and effective disaster recovery; unifying email and calendaring systems to allow for simplified workflow and scheduling and relieve support requirements; upgrading the network fiber “core” and connections to key buildings to provide greater bandwidth where it is needed; and expanding and improving wireless capabilities.
Academic Computing: Since the demands of an administrative computing platform differ from the needs of our faculty and students, we are also working to ensure that Rutgers has the necessary infrastructure in place to support the opportunities that new technologies hold for research and pedagogy. Advanced computing cyberinfrastructure plays a central role in a number of fields, including the physical sciences, medicine, engineering, and business. We are currently crafting a plan to improve research faculty capabilities and productivity, and provide cutting-edge educational opportunities for our students. An interdisciplinary team of administrators and faculty led by Helen Berman (SAS), Manish Parashar (RDI2/SOE), Don Smith (OIT), and Margaret Brennan (ORED) is examining these issues across fields and preparing recommendations for Rutgers’ strategic investments in research computing infrastructure.
Financial Management and Budgeting: In overhauling our core support capabilities, one of my chief priorities has been establishing a responsibility center management (RCM) budget model that enables each administrative and academic unit to understand both its sources and uses of funds and to better control its own budget. This RCM system will create greater transparency and allow us to align resources more efficiently. After developing the general framework for RCM in fiscal year 2014, we have now moved to a fiscal year in which RCM and All-Funds systems will run in parallel, allowing our financial team to identify and resolve any issues that may arise during the ultimate changeover. The final transition to the RCM format will take place next July. This fall, we will also configure and implement budget tools that follow the RCM reporting model for the major operating units and the responsibility centers within each. These tools will be used to prepare the FY2016 budget (year beginning July 1, 2015). With full participation from budget administrators and academic leaders across Rutgers, we have already developed standard allocation principles and formulae for support costs for University-wide and unit-specific services, and we are applying these to FY2014 data to further test their accuracy in the RCM model. For example, we have been working to consolidate our space and facility data into a single database and management system that will allow us to collect space-related costs by building and function. We will continue working with departments and units this fall to validate their occupancy and space needs. This information will provide the basis for space cost allocations in the RCM model, and it will serve as the subledger for facility-related financial information for the new consolidated financial model. Finally, the Senior Vice President for Finance and the Chancellors have been reviewing each unit that is not a responsibility center to classify them appropriately for allocation.
Between review of FY2014 data for responsibility centers and parallel testing of RCM reporting using FY2015 data, we will be able to assess whether the data integrity for financial, space, and statistics are sufficient and reliable for use in the FY2016 budget.
Capital Projects Related to the Strategic Plan
With our strategic vision established and the leadership to realize that vision now in place, we can turn our attention to providing state-of-the-art facilities that will create an academic environment worthy of a premier public research university. With the help of the Building Our Future Bond Act and the generous support of foundations, nonprofit organizations, and private donors, we have been able to capitalize on this historic moment. We have taken the critically needed initial steps toward this goal with nearly $800 million of new capital construction projects already in progress or starting shortly at our locations across the State. The new Life Sciences Building in Newark, the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Building and the Honors College in New Brunswick, and the Nursing and Science building in Camden are excellent examples of infrastructure investments currently underway that will provide immediate support to the priorities of the strategic plan.
The Life Sciences II building, which will begin construction soon in Newark, will be a $59 million home for chemistry and biology research labs, teaching spaces, and lecture halls designed to integrate technology and collaboration into the classroom. To support technology transfer, part of this space will also be devoted to entrepreneurial scientific research labs. Scheduled to open in early 2017, this facility will allow our faculty and students to make powerful contributions to the national and local scientific community by developing patentable projects and cultivating start-up companies.
On the Busch Campus in New Brunswick, Governor Christie recently joined us in breaking ground on a 145,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility for Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Chemistry has long been one of our areas of particular strength in the natural sciences. In fact, no other chemistry program in the country compares to Rutgers in terms of annual research activity. Yet, our department has been in critical need of lab space and classrooms that will allow the students and faculty in this renowned department to advance their research and learning. The new $115 million building—on track to open its doors in fall 2016—will play a vital role in our ability to attract the best researchers and students to Rutgers.
In Camden, we broke ground for our new Nursing and Science building at a ceremony that included Governor Christie, former Rutgers University–Camden Chancellor Wendell Pritchett, New Jersey State Senator Donald Norcross, and Camden Mayor Dana Redd. This $62.5 million project, which began last October, embodies our commitment to Camden and the State of New Jersey, and it will serve over 1,000 nursing students at the graduate and undergraduate levels. With state-of-the-art classrooms and workspaces, our students and faculty will have the facilities they need to create rich learning experiences and perform valuable research to enhance medical research in the State. In his annual address, the Governor called on Rutgers to leverage its resources and expertise to improve healthcare delivery to the citizens of the State, and this new facility will help us meet that challenge. By fall 2017, the new Nursing and Science building will provide a hub for research and teaching in biology, chemistry, physics, and nursing in Camden, while strengthening collaborations between Rutgers University–Camden and Cooper University Hospital.
We are also working to revitalize existing residential space and construct new living and learning spaces across our geographical locations. In Newark, renovations are underway at the historic 15 Washington Street building, a 1920s high-rise neighboring the Broad Street Train Station and Rutgers Business School. This elegant, neo-classical skyscraper—designed by the same architectural firm that designed Newark City Hall and the National Newark Building on Broad Street—had fallen into neglect. The current $85 million renovation project—which will open next summer and include apartment space for nearly 400 graduate and undergraduate students, common areas, seminar rooms, and study spaces—will ensure that it once again becomes a landmark for Newark. Moreover, the top floors will be the residence for Newark’s Chancellor, embodying Rutgers University–Newark’s commitment to integrating the University’s educational mission into the intellectual, cultural, and economic life of the City of Newark.
In New Brunswick, three major projects, totaling $295 million, will create dynamic new teaching spaces and expand residence facilities in the heart of the College Avenue Campus. The first is the new Honors College, already discussed above. The second is the Rutgers Academic Building that is being constructed in the footprint of the former New Brunswick Theological Seminary facility. It is the first new academic building in more than 50 years on the College Avenue Campus. As part of the Seminary Place redevelopment project, the Rutgers Academic Building will incorporate College Avenue’s historic brick architecture with classrooms and learning spaces that feature the latest instructional technology and encourage innovative pedagogy and collaboration among students and faculty. In addition, with classroom space for 2,500 students, the Rutgers Academic Building will help alleviate classroom shortages across Rutgers University–New Brunswick. And the third, just a block away on the corner of College Avenue and Hamilton Street, is a 500-bed apartment complex that will help address the critical need for expanded and updated housing options for our students near academic and retail spaces. Together, these three projects will help to intertwine academic and social environments for our undergraduates in New Brunswick.
A number of other important projects are underway across our University. In New Brunswick, the $13 million Bishop Quad Residence Halls project, slated for completion in 2015, will upgrade these historic residence facilities at the heart of the College Avenue campus. The $10 million Jameson Dormitory Complex on Douglass will provide 20,000 square feet of housing, classroom, and recreation space for the Global Village Learning Community, creating an integrated and supportive living-learning experience. The new Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health is 50 percent complete and on schedule to open its doors next summer. In Camden, the planning and design has been completed on the Alumni House and Writers House. Once completed, the Alumni House will provide a gathering place for all Rutgers graduates and office space for Camden’s alumni relations and development offices. The Writers House will provide a hub for English and Creative Writing faculty and students. Both renovation projects will begin this fall and are scheduled for completion in 2015.
In both Newark and New Brunswick, renovations to lab and teaching spaces will provide much-needed space to RBHS schools and units, including a $37 million addition to the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy in New Brunswick that will provide 57,000 square feet of state-of-the-art lab and classroom space when it opens in 2017. The School of Dental Medicine Oral Health Pavilion in Newark is undergoing a $13.5 million renovation that includes new clinical operatories that replicate the environment in which students will ultimately practice. And a $4 million project at the School of Health Related Professions in Newark will fund clinical lab renovations. Together, these projects will ensure that RBHS has the laboratory, teaching, and clinical spaces needed to support cutting-edge research and train the next generation of health sciences professionals.
We have also begun to address the backlog of needed renovations in some of our existing classrooms and research labs, including a $900,000 renovation to the Boyden Anatomy and Physiology Lab at Rutgers University–Newark, as well as a multimillion dollar renovation to our recreational and student life facilities in Newark, including a $1.4 million renovation of the Golden Dome Recreational Center and a $1 million dollar renovation to the Paul Robeson Student Center. The renovation of the iconic Hahne & Company department store is now moving through the approval process. This project will create a mixed-use space designed to facilitate publicly engaged scholarship with the arts, culture, and media in Newark. In Camden, the Robeson Library underwent significant renovation this year to improve book storage and create well-lit and inviting study spaces for students on the first floor and state-of-the-art technology and collaborative seating arrangements on the second floor. In New Brunswick, the newly renovated Tillett Hall opened its doors last fall, providing 19,000 square feet of state-of-the-art classroom space, the largest infusion of classroom space at Rutgers University–New Brunswick in the last 50 years. Digital Classroom Services (DCS) has also installed custom-built digital podium systems in 88 classrooms across the New Brunswick campuses, with planned upgrades for 31 additional classrooms and lecture halls in this calendar year. This ambitious project will ultimately overhaul all classroom technology and provide an “evergreen” fund to keep them up-to-date. These ongoing efforts to improve the student experience will be strengthened with the release of the physical master plan, which will tie together existing initiatives with our broader strategic priorities.
The Physical Master Plan
Now it is time to look forward, beyond the next two to three years, to develop a long-needed comprehensive plan for our physical infrastructure to help us realize the long-term goals set forth in the University Strategic Plan. To become the university we aspire to be requires a built environment that demonstrates and enables our commitment to research, teaching, and community. Our Physical Master Plan will work in tandem with the Strategic Plan, providing a roadmap for our capital investments over the next three to ten years. As with the strategic planning process, the University Physical Master Plan has been an opportunity to engage all members of our University community—faculty, staff, students, alumni, and external stakeholders—in designing the Rutgers of tomorrow.
The plan is broad in scope and will incorporate all aspects of our built environment, from classroom and research buildings, study spaces, and dining halls, to our transportation systems, recreation areas, and green spaces. Earlier this year, faculty, staff, and students across Rutgers participated in the MyCampus Survey, an interactive survey that helped us analyze facilities and transportation usage and study and recreation choices. Our strategic plan highlights improving the student experience as an institutional priority, and our master planning process is critical to redefining how our students experience Rutgers. For instance, residence halls and public spaces will be created to encourage informal learning opportunities outside the classroom, where students congregate with their peers and form academic communities. And classrooms will become adaptive learning environments that incorporate emerging technologies and meet the pedagogical needs of our faculty.
The physical master planning process for New Brunswick is nearly complete, and the draft plan will be presented to the Rutgers community at public information sessions later this fall. Following the arrival of the new Chancellors at Rutgers University–Newark, Rutgers University–Camden, and RBHS, time was needed to assess and survey their communities and to develop a comprehensive strategic vision for each. Planning for Newark, Camden, and RBHS will be the focus of activity through the current semester, and the master plan consultants are working to develop master plans to reflect their respective strategic goals. These physical master plans will be developed and completed by the end of the 2014 calendar year and presented at public information sessions, and the comprehensive final report for the University Physical Master Plan will be brought before the Board of Governors for approval and adoption in early 2015.
As we quite literally build the university of tomorrow, it is essential that we focus on our environmental impact, even as we grow and develop our footprint. I am proud of the concerted efforts by our Rutgers community to integrate energy efficiency and sustainability into our facilities planning. All new buildings are constructed to meet LEED certification, and our Office of Facilities and Capital Planning has already completed large-scale renewable energy projects, including solar canopies and geothermal fields. Last spring, the EPA released a report that confirms how Rutgers, through energy conservation initiatives, alternative energy projects, and comprehensive recycling programs, has saved $41 million in operating expenses since 2009. More important, we reduced our carbon footprint by more than 260,000 metric tons. These savings are the result of careful investments in green technology and building practices, as well as strong corporate partnerships—like our participation in the PSE&G direct install program to increase efficiency in 31 of our buildings. And we are continually investigating new ways to reduce our environmental impact. For example, as part of our physical master planning process, we are developing institutional strategies to dramatically increase the efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of our bus system in New Brunswick. Of course, creating state-of-the-art facilities is only a small piece of envisioning tomorrow’s university. The teaching, learning, and research that will take place in those buildings will define the Rutgers of tomorrow.
When I arrived at Rutgers two years ago, I was cautioned by many people to temper my optimism and rein in my ambitions for the institution. I was continually reminded that the pending integration with UMDNJ was going to be a logistical nightmare. The daunting one-time costs and the new debt we were going to assume, together with the financial climate following the recent recession, were going to critically constrain our operating ability. I was told that, given all of the challenges facing Rutgers, it wouldn’t be possible to get our entire community to collaborate on creating a strategic plan and a physical master plan, even though the historic nature of the changes to Rutgers demanded that we have a shared vision to guide us. And, of course, unforeseen events emerged in athletics during my initial months at Rutgers that threatened to distract us from addressing our core challenges. But, coming down College Avenue from Old Queens today, my faith in that optimism and in this academic community was once again reinforced. Together, we have achieved more in the last two years than many people said was possible, and I can say with absolute confidence, we are just getting started. This is simply because all of you in this remarkable community of scholars have joined together to belie the naysayers and to show everyone what we can do when we work together for common goals. When we celebrate our 250th anniversary in two years, we will be celebrating both our history and our transformation into the new Rutgers. I look forward to continuing to work together with you as we build a Rutgers that is worthy of our faculty, students, staff, and alumni. Thank you.