We rapidly are approaching the start of the 2017-2018 academic year, and I would like to welcome back to campus all of you who have been away for part or all of the summer months. You have been missed, and I am looking forward to seeing NJIT’s students, faculty, and staff on our continuously improving campus. The campus is more vibrant when the members of the NJIT community are here, but the summer days were not without a great deal of activity. So, I will take this opportunity to share with you some important news and developments from recent months due to the commitment and hard work of many NJIT employees.
- In July, the State of New Jersey approved $10 million in funding for Makerspace at NJIT. Makerspaces are a significant educational, research and economic development tool, and the NJIT Makerspace will be the largest one serving the State of New Jersey. Makerspaces enable hands-on, project-based learning complemented by training on industrial equipment, development of prototyping skills and experience with modern manufacturing technology. Students learn real world, tangible skills that prepare them to enter the workplace and take leading roles in manufacturing and product development. The Makerspace will also be available to NJIT’s industry partners and incubator companies.
- NJIT’s Public Safety Department received accreditation from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police. This recognition signifies professional excellence in law enforcement and followed a 17-month-long process that required an extensive internal review of standard operating procedures and a comprehensive external assessment. NJIT’s Public Safety Department is among only 1 percent of departments that completed their first on-site assessment of the accreditation process without any noted deficiencies.
- One hundred and fifty-one NJIT student-athletes earned at least a 3.0 GPA in the 2016-17 academic year and were recognized on the2017 ASUN Conference Honor Roll.
- NJIT was recognized this summer by Money magazine as one of the"Best Colleges for Your Money" and for having the top upward economic mobility rate for students in New Jersey. We also were named by Payscale.com as one of 15 colleges that pay for themselves if you want to work in business and by the Princeton Review as among America’s “Best Colleges” for 2018.
- Moody’s Investor Services improved our financial rating to A+ Stable based upon its prudent fiscal management, the expectation of continued strong student demand in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and its increasingly diversified revenues.
- NJIT and Hackensack Meridian Health cut the ribbon at the official opening of the New Jersey Innovation Institute’s Agile Strategies Lab as part of its Ideation Program for Healthcare. The lab will host a cutting-edge innovation and incubation program designed to help create and launch the next wave of innovative problem-solving in healthcare technology, products and services.
- NJIT received an exceptionally positive response to its Periodic Review Report for Middle States accreditation. The reviewers stated, “It is clear that the New Jersey Institute of Technology is an ambitious and results-oriented community….it has tight processes that ensure enviable success in key areas of endeavor, including student learning, scholarly research, and community impact.”
- Campus transformation has continued as the Wellness and Events Center moves toward completion. Additionally, 10 labs were renovated or constructed; Makerspace construction began; the 2nd floor of the Central Avenue Building was renovated to accommodate expansion of the Martin Tuchman School of Management; the Campus Center received new carpeting, furniture, and paint; the entrance to GITC was revamped; upgrades to Laurel Hall were completed; and the CSLA Dean’s Suite on the second floor of Cullimore Hall was updated. We also relocated the university book store to the Specht Building in order to create space within the Campus center for student government and other activities.
- NJIT reached an agreement whereby, as of August 28th, St. Michael’s Medical Center will serve as the provider of health services to our students. Located directly across Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard from the NJIT campus, the Primary and Specialty Care Center at St. Michael’s will be open to NJIT students from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. These are the same hours as the Office of Student Health Services was formerly open. St. Michael's is a 358-bed regional tertiary-care, teaching, and research center that offers state-of-the-art medical technology, the latest diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and a network of highly qualified physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals. For more information, please visit firstname.lastname@example.org or call 973-596-3621.
Moving from reflection to anticipation, I want to acknowledge the new faculty and students who join our university this semester. NJIT has hired 20 new and extraordinarily talented and diverse faculty members this year, bringing the total over the last five years to more than 110. We also welcome a very strong freshman class to our university. That class presently consists of 1,165 members, 187 of whom are honors students. Both of those numbers represent increases over last year. The average Scholastic Aptitude Testscore for all freshmen on the math and critical reading sections has climbed to 1284 and stands at 1460 for those admitted to the Albert Dorman Honors College. These new students will add to the strength of what already is a vibrant campus and learning community. NJIT is a special place where a diverse cohort of students, faculty, and staff possessing a broad array of skills, abilities and goals work collaboratively to solve significant problems and develop technologies that improve the quality of life for all.
I have thought about that as of late, having witnessed so much divisiveness across our society, and was struck by parts of an editorial I read regarding the hate that recently was on full display in Charlottesville, VA. The author of that editorial, David Brooks, made the point that the fanaticism associated with bigotry and hate “…is caused by a breakdown of intellectual virtue, a breakdown in…ability to face evidence objectively, to pay due respect to reality, to deal with complex and unpleasant truths…” and, as a result, to accept simplistic, though unrealistic, explanations as fact in order to assuage anxiety. The author went on to suggest that modesty is the trait, though I believe it is humility, that is most essential to protecting one’s self from the false comforts of fanaticism. He explained that we must have “…the courage to understand that the world is too complicated to fit into one political belief system…there are no easy answers or malevolent conspiracies that can explain the big political questions or the existential problems…Uncertainty and anxiety throw you off the smug island of certainty and force you into the free waters of creativity and learning.”
That last point is particularly important, because arrogance is the enemy of learning, whereas humility enables us to learn continuously. Humility lets us understand that there are different ways to examine and solve a problem. It enables us to accept that others may possess knowledge we do not yet have. It helps us appreciate that the perspective through which we view any issue will inform but also limit our ability to see that issue clearly or completely. If we remain humble, we will continue to learn, to grow, and to improve. So, as we begin a new academic year, I urge you to cling to humility. It will serve you well, strengthen the NJIT learning community, and help to insure that bigotry, hatred and intolerance have no presence on our campus.
I wish you all a successful beginning of the academic year. I thank you for helping make NJIT a university of which we all can be proud and to keep us on the path of continuous improvement for all members of our community. I look forward to seeing you on campus at Pancakes with the President onSeptember 5th at 8 a.m. on the University Plaza, and throughout the year.
Joel S. Bloom, President