Welcome to the New Semester! (Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017)

To the Campus Community:

Welcome to the start of the 2017 spring semester! While many of you are returning to campus, some are experiencing Rutgers University–Camden for the first time. Either way, you’ll find that there are many reasons to be excited about our campus this semester.

During the coming days and weeks, you will hear more about the achievements of our faculty, students, staff, and alumni; about our innovative civic engagement initiatives; and about the groundbreaking research conducted by our faculty, often with the participation of our undergraduate and graduate students. I would like to take a moment to update you on our progress in other key areas of the Rutgers–Camden experience:

Our Nursing and Science Building continues to rise and embellish the Camden skyline. We anticipate that construction will be completed this spring and that we will begin moving into this state-of-the-art facility soon thereafter. Our first classes in this building will be held in the fall.

Renovations to the Artis Building on Cooper Street will gain momentum this spring, as that building is transformed into a new home for our nationally recognized childhood studies program. We also look forward to the opening of the Welcome Center on the main level of 330 Cooper Street this semester; once completed, the Welcome Center will provide exceptional space to host and greet our guests to Rutgers–Camden, especially our future students and their families.

As a campus community, our highest shared priority is to help our students realize their goals and ambitions. We do so in many areas.

Service outside of the classroom is an important indicator of Rutgers–Camden’s unique experience. During our annual Martin Luther King Day of Service yesterday, approximately 300 students and volunteers participated in projects across our city and region. The enthusiasm for this work was truly contagious, and I applaud everyone who joined us, including Camden Mayor Dana Redd SBC’99. There’s always opportunity to be involved, and I encourage you to learn more about our civic engagement efforts. Further bolstering our reputation as a national leader in civic engagement, Rutgers University–Camden was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll this fall by the Corporation for National and Community Service. This is the fourth time that Rutgers–Camden has received this honor.

Another aspect of experiential learning at Rutgers University–Camden includes our immersive Learning Abroad programs. This spring, undergraduate and graduate students will travel with their professors to Benin, Brazil, England, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Ireland, Panama, Scotland, South Africa, and Wales for short trips embedded within their traditional semester courses. This travel model allows our students to engage in global study without unduly disrupting their lives.

Thanks to our relatively small size, students at Rutgers University–Camden have many opportunities to work closely with their professors on original research. Quite often, our students present their new ideas at scholarly conferences or in academic journals. On Thursday, April 13, the annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (CURCA) will showcase an impressive cross section of that work. I encourage you to make every effort to participate in this event, either as a student exhibitor or as an engaged observer.

As many students seek experiential learning opportunities here in Camden, there is a new resource available to help connect our students (and faculty and staff) with locations across the city. The Camden Rising shuttle bus service, offered by the South Jersey Transportation Authority, offers free and convenient connections with Cooper University Hospital, City Hall, the Waterfront Tech Center, and the Walter Rand Transportation Center.

Throughout the semester, we offer faculty and staff events that heighten their abilities to deliver effective student success initiatives. For example, the fourth annual Rutgers University–Camden Faculty eLearning Conference will share best practices and new ideas for improved learning on Thursday, March 30.

As befits the southernmost campus of New Jersey’s comprehensive public research university, Rutgers–Camden will be busy throughout the semester with a host of impressive scholarly events, cultural activities, alumni gatherings, NCAA competition, and much more.

Events at Rutgers–Camden afford us the chance to increase what we know about our world, expand our imaginations, and strengthen our campus community. Some of these activities – such as athletics and theatrical performances – showcase the considerable talents of our students, while others spotlight the excellence of our research faculty.

Universities like ours can promote learning through participation in a diverse array of experiences. As one example, today the Stedman Gallery opens its latest foray into imagination with the exhibition “Sharp-Tongued Figuration” while the Writers in Camden series continues its free readings by authors Melissa Fay Greene and Tyehimba Jess on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

It’s also worth noting that our NCAA Division III athletic teams are fiercely competitive this winter. If you want to partake of the excitement – and show your Scarlet Pride – attend one of our home (or away) games.

I am so very pleased to report that Rutgers Day in Camden will be celebrated on Saturday, April 29. Last year, we welcomed more than 3,000 guests to our campus and we look forward to even more excitement this year. Visit the Rutgers Day website to learn more about how you can help to make certain that this incredible day is a success.

Finally, Commencement 2017 will again be held at the Susquehanna Bank Center over a two-day period. On Wednesday, May 17, the Graduate School will hold its ceremony at 2 p.m. and the College of Arts and Sciences/University College ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. On Thursday, May 18, we will start the day of ceremonies with the School of Business at 9:30 a.m., followed by the law school at 2 p.m. and the School of Nursing at 5:30 p.m.

As the semester starts, we know that we will face new opportunities and challenges in the coming months. We will hold a Chancellor’s Town Hall Meeting during the free period on Thursday, March 9; more details will be provided during the coming weeks.

I always welcome your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and best thinking about our campus, and invite you to share them with me at any time. My email is chancellor@camden.rutgers.edu.

Please accept my best wishes for a successful semester.

Phoebe A. Haddon, J.D., LL.M.

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