Welcome to the 2019-20 Academic Year!

Sent Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019

To the Campus Community:

It is my pleasure to welcome you to start of the 2019-20 academic year. The start of each academic year is always exciting for Rutgers University–Camden. Regardless of whether you are new or returning to our campus, we all are part of a vibrant and supportive community of more than 7,400 motivated students, faculty committed to excellence in research and teaching, dedicated staff, and more than 55,000 proud alumni.

We are part of a truly remarkable moment in the history of Rutgers University–Camden. Our national reputation as a center for research, student life, and civic engagement is on an upward trajectory. Our faculty continue to produce cutting-edge research at a level that positions them among the most productive scholars nationwide. Our experiential learning programs are growing and reflect the diverse career and service interests shared by our students. We are prepared to offer opportunities that will enable them to become remarkable civic and professional leaders.

I offer a few illustrations of the impact we are having: Just last week, Washington Monthly magazine ranked Rutgers University–Camden among the top 25 “Best Bang for the Buck” universities in the Northeast, and 57th among America’s national research universities. Rutgers–Camden is new to this research category which is in recognition of our elevation to the Carnegie R2 research university classification earlier this year. While no ranking can truly capture an institution’s value, this Washington Monthly report is an affirmation of our longstanding heritage of helping our students to succeed.

New leadership energizes each of our schools this fall, as the deans of Arts and Sciences, Business, and Law embark on their first full academic year, and our Nursing dean enters her second year. Across every academic unit and administrative office, Rutgers–Camden provides our students with support they need for academic and personal success. This fall, the School of Nursing is launching the Center for Academic, Resources, Engagement and Services, which offers a comprehensive, student-centered hub for our nursing students. Our cross-campus Leadership Institute is evolving into the Institute for Leadership and Action, which will expand into a three-year program for students, offering them deeper experiential focus.

A new Immigration Law Certificate at the Law School will enable students with a special interest in the field of immigration law to provide service in a structured framework, and to achieve special academic recognition for doing so. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences is offering a Teacher of Students with Disabilities, P-12 certificate. Our School of Business is introducing graduate certificates to provide students with augmented knowledge and skills in four high-demand areas: business analytics, digital marketing, investments and private wealth management, and strategic leadership. As an added benefit, students who complete such a certificate can later apply that work toward attaining a Rutgers MBA degree.

This summer, the MARC (Maximizing Access to Research Careers) program launched to provide mentoring that will prepare students from underrepresented groups to work in biomedical research. Each year, through a $1.2 million National Institutes of Health grant to Rutgers–Camden, four juniors will receive a grant that covers tuition, offers a stipend for them to work in the lab, and provides faculty support and encouragement for them to go on to pursue a Ph.D. or M.D.

This fall, the School of Nursing welcomes students into a new program designed to increase the number of military veterans in nursing and prepare those veterans to serve other veterans. The Veteran Nurses in Primary Care program will create paths for military veterans to attain civilian careers caring for other veterans. The initiative is funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Our reputation for excellence and interdisciplinary collaboration has attracted 17 extraordinarily promising, full-time faculty members to our campus this academic year. These scholars join our complement of research, clinical, and dedicated part-time faculty who nurture students every day.

Awareness of the tremendous value of the Rutgers University–Camden experience continues to rise here in the Delaware Valley and across the nation. Yesterday, thousands of new students learned about the exceptional opportunities offered by Rutgers–Camden during our annual Raptor Welcome. I thank everyone who provided new students with their launch as Scarlet Raptors.

These new students join a community that reflects the cultural and social mosaic of both New Jersey and our nation. It is a point of pride that Rutgers University–Camden is a place where families from across New Jersey and from around the world can enjoy the Rutgers experience and become well-prepared to achieve their goals. Our essential character as a personalized and supportive campus continues to distinguish Rutgers University–Camden from other institution in our region. We will continue to advance that mission throughout the year.

As many of you already know, exciting new options for on-campus dining are also available. Gourmet Dining, a New Jersey-based organization with a record of success at several other colleges and universities, is providing a wide range of fresh food options. Moreover, during the summer, the dining hall was completely renovated.

Rutgers University–Camden is committed to providing a secure and healthy environment for learning, working, and living. As Senior Vice Chancellor Larry Gaines noted in his email to the campus community last week, Rutgers–Camden has engaged in a new shuttle bus service to provide consistent and friendly service between our campus and our student parking lots. Additionally, our major academic buildings – along with the Campus Center and the Paul Robeson Library – soon will have a system requiring a valid Rutgers ID for off-hours access during evenings and weekends. In keeping with our tradition as a place of access and inclusion, we will install gender-neutral restrooms in each of our major facilities during the course of the next year.

The Joint Health Sciences Center – a collaborative science research center that provides state-of-the-art laboratory space for scholars from Rutgers–Camden, Rowan University, and Camden County College – will open soon. Many of our science faculty will be setting up their labs and acclimating themselves and their students to this state-of-the- art building. We will provide details about a dedication ceremony shortly.

While enhanced space to accommodate our academic programming is important, we remain committed to providing our students with the support they need to pursue their personal and professional goals. I encourage our students to utilize the wide range of opportunities available to them in areas such as academic coaching, student health, disability services, tutoring, veteran services, and mentoring. These services help students make the necessary connections important to achieving academic and personal success.

Throughout the 2019-20 academic year, we will continue our efforts to enhance every aspect of our campus life. Our national search for a permanent dean for our School of Business accelerated during the summer. The search committee, which is co-chaired by Prof. Rayman Solomon (University Professor and dean emeritus, RLAW) and Dr. Rakesh Sambharya (professor, SBC-management), is identifying candidates who will build upon the momentum established by the School of Business faculty and staff under the leadership of Dean Jaishankar Ganesh, who returned to the faculty on July 1. Dr. Sungsoo Kim (professor, SBC-accounting) is serving as interim dean during this search.

As our work proceeds, our new semester already has a wide array of activities planned, including a public lecture by Matthew Desmond, the author of the book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, on Thursday, Sept. 26. Through the Rutgers Reads program, our first-year undergraduate students are all reading this book and will meet and interact with the author. The Department of Visual, Media, and Performing Arts will offer a full schedule of student-staged productions and concerts, including the feminist masterpiece Top Girls, which starts on Oct. 30. The campus website delivers continuous updates on these and many other events and you can download the Rutgers–Camden app.

I invite all students to celebrate the new academic year by participating in the many exciting activities planned for the start of the semester during Welcome Week. I offer my best wishes for a rewarding and successful year and look forward to seeing you on campus. Please do not hesitate to say hello and let me know how you are doing.

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

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