MEMORANDUM

To:
NJIT Community
From:
Joel S. Bloom
Date:
November 17, 2017
Subject:
Message from President Bloom

NJIT Community Members,

Next week we will have an opportunity to enjoy time with family, friends, and loved ones as we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. This always is a great time of year, because it forces us to take a brief respite from the fast pace of the fall semester, allows us to reflect upon what we have accomplished in recent months, and energizes us for the final weeks of classes and exams prior to the Winter break. It seems this Fall has flown by, because it has been packed with a number of major events and noteworthy developments.

Our campus transformation continued as we cut the ribbon on two extraordinary new buildings. In September, we opened our new Life Sciences and Engineering Center (photos below), a $21 million state-of-the-art research facility focused on the future interstices of engineering and health care.

Life Sciences and Engineering Building

Life Sciences and Engineering Building Ribbon-cutting

This four-story structure houses more than 20,000 square feet of shared laboratory and meeting spaces, information technology infrastructure, and cutting-edge scientific instrumentation and is designed to promote collaboration in fields ranging from biomedical engineering and the biological sciences to electrical engineering and healthcare technologies.

Last week, we opened the Wellness and Events Center (photos below), the latest and largest component of a campus evolution that has been taking place in recent years. The WEC is a 220,000-square-foot, iconic, state-of-the-art and multipurpose building that provides large-scale space for professional conferencing, training, and career fairs; a home for our NCAA Division 1 athletes, intramural sports, and physical wellness activities for our community; as well as social settings for NJIT students, faculty, staff and alumni.

WEC Basketball Arena

Wellness and Events Center

On December 11, we will continue this momentum as we cut the ribbon on Makerspace at NJIT. I hope you can join us then, and I would like to thank the many members of the NJIT staff who have contributed to the design and construction of these significant resources as well as the events that allow us to celebrate their completion.

In addition to our outstanding new facilities, NJIT and several members of its community garnered some impressive accolades this semester:

  • NJIT was rated among the top 100 public universities in the United States, according to rankings recently published by The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education (THE). The rankings apply a scorecard-based assessment of government data from more than 1,000 U.S. colleges and universities, grading performance indicators such as university resources, student outcomes, campus environment, and student satisfaction.
  • NJIT joined Princeton and Rutgers as the only New Jersey universities on U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 Best Global Universities list.
  • Safe Campus has cited NJIT in its Top 25 list of universities across the country that are making a positive difference in campus safety. NJIT ranked No. 15 out of 4,706 eligible U.S. colleges and universities.
  • Three NJIT-affiliated biomedical engineers were honored at the 2017 Edison Patent Awards Ceremony for groundbreaking work on nerve growth and repair. The team composed of Treena Arinzeh, NJIT professor of biomedical engineering; George Collins, adjunct professor at NJIT, and NJIT alumna Yee-Shuan Lee, Ph.D. ’10, who is now a researcher at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, won the biomedical category.
  • Louis Lanzerotti, NJIT distinguished research professor of physics, received the 2017 Arthur M. Bueche Award from the National Academy of Engineering for his “extraordinary impact on the engineering profession.” The annual award recognizes pivotal contributions, not only in the arena of science and technology but in public policy as well.
  • Kamalesh Sirkar, distinguished professor of chemical engineering, who is acclaimed for his innovations in industrial membrane technology used to separate and purify air, water, and waste streams and improve the quality of manufactured products such as pharmaceuticals, solvents, and nanoparticles; won the 2017 Alan S. Michaels Award for Innovation in Membrane Science and Technology.
  • Tara Alvarez, professor of biomedical engineering, who studies the links between visual disorders and the brain and develops novel devices to identify and treat them, was awarded NJIT’s Excellence in Research Prize and Medal from the Board of Overseers. Yehoshua Perl, professor of computer science, who brings order and accuracy to massive databases of medical information, received the Board of Overseers Excellence in Research Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • DesignIntelligence, an architectural research organization, recently named Interior Design Coordinator and Senior University Lecturer David Brothers one of its 25 Most Admired Educators for 2017-2018.

There also have been several major events this semester. We celebrated our first freshman Convocation in the WEC and held our last Career Fair in the Fleisher Center. As we move this event to the WEC in the future, we will be able to accommodate even more than the 200+ employers who attended this fall. We also raised significant resources for student scholarships at our annual Celebration gala, hosted a President's Forum and NJIT Research Centers and Laboratories Showcase, and launched a novel partnership that makes NJIT the first university in the United States to deliver digital technologies and education to its students through a collaboration between IBM Global University Programs and NJIT’s Martin Tuchman School of Management.

While we acknowledge these achievements, we also face significant challenges. We need to continue to improve student retention and completion rates. Advising plays a critical role in keeping students on course for success and must remain an area of focus as we seek to further improve our student outcomes. We also have concerns regarding the currently proposed federal tax-reform legislation and its potential effect on our students and their families. This and other political factors could negatively affect opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to achieve a college education.  So, we cannot afford to rest upon our laurels. There is much work yet to be done to continue to improve the future of our STEM educated students.

I do, however, hope you enjoy the Thanksgiving break and take pride in what we have accomplished as a university community. NJIT is an outstanding example of the value that quality higher education affords to individuals, communities, and society as a whole. Our collective contributions make that so, and that is why I am thankful to be part of NJIT. I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

President Joel S. Bloom