Public 4-Year Schools

Montclair State University: Support for STEM Initiatives Grows Strong

Montclair State University, as a research doctoral university, has steadily expanded its STEM facilities, degree programs and enrollment in the STEM disciplines.

Within the past year, significant awards have helped to raise and support the University’s growing national reputation as a leader in STEM research. Two Montclair State faculty members received prestigious five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards, while one professor was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), which is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on federally funded science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers.

Currently, more than 3,000 of the University’s 21,000 undergraduate and graduate students are studying in STEM fields. The University’s Center for Environmental and Life Sciences is a world-class research and instructional facility that substantially expands the state’s capacity to generate new discoveries, maintain an ongoing stream of research and prepare the next generation of scientists.

Innovative programs, such as an MS in pharmaceutical biochemistry, the region’s only PhD in environmental management, and new programs in emerging fields in cyber-security and big data analytics reflect Montclair State’s strong commitment to leadership in STEM education.

University students also benefited from a unique trans-disciplinary internship pilot program that helped address sustainability issues facing leading regional and global businesses. Funded by the PSEG Foundation, the 10-week 2016 summer program placed student teams with area host corporations Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cox Printers, Greener by Design, NJM Insurance Group, PSEG, Prudential Global Management Real Estate and Sabert.

To read more stories about Montclair, scroll down:

Energy Technology to Shrink University’s Carbon Footprint
NSF Grant Funds Scholarships for 30 Future K-6 Math Teachers
N.J.’s Largest Undergrad Real Estate Program Focuses on Hands-On Experience

The growing demand for admission to Montclair State undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a broad range of STEM fields has produced skilled professionals in fields such as environmental protection and remediation, business incubation, pharmaceutical innovation and sustainability that are critical to New Jersey.

Preparing Tomorrow’s STEM Educators Today

Today, the University – which has received more than $25 million in recent years to support STEM teacher preparation – is at the forefront of reversing a national teacher shortage with innovative, federally funded teacher preparation programs that place STEM teachers in high-need New Jersey schools. Programs include:

Preparing the Effective Elementary Mathematics Teacher. A research team has received a three-year, $1,106,026 National Science Foundation (NSF) Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program grant for a collaborative program between the College of Education and Human Services and the College of Science and Mathematics that addresses the shortage of high-quality STEM teachers. The program will prepare eligible math majors to teach math in the New Jersey elementary schools that need them most. While a previous NSF Noyce Capacity Building grant funded the development of a mathematics major for students wishing to be certified to teach K-6 students, the new grant will provide 10 students per year with scholarships and ongoing support once they begin to teach in high-need Newark, New Jersey, elementary schools.

The Mathematics Degree with K-6 Teacher Certification (MAEL). The University’s first STEM degree for future elementary school teachers, this program is for students wishing to teach math in a K-6 elementary school setting. By combining it with a Master of Arts in Teaching and Certification in Teacher of Students with Disabilities, students will enter the classroom exceptionally prepared to teach mathematics to a diverse student body.

Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. An earlier, five-year, $1,474,233 NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program award supports a project that recruits, prepares and supports science teachers committed to teaching in high-need New Jersey schools. Some 22 undergraduate science majors have received Noyce scholarships since 2013, and seven graduates are now teaching in New Jersey Schools.

Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships. Montclair State is one of five New Jersey universities offering Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships that help train and place high-quality STEM teachers in high-need urban secondary schools. This year, 11 students are enrolled in the national program, which has already graduated 23 teachers.

Newark-Montclair Urban Teacher Residency Program (NMUTR). Funded by two consecutive, five-year, multi-million-dollar U.S. Department of Education grants, the NMUTR is an immersive apprenticeship program for Master of Arts in Teaching candidates who commit to teaching in Newark public schools for three years after they graduate. As residents, they teach on-site for an entire academic year. After graduation, the program provides three years of additional mentoring and induction support.

Engaging Students in STEM Studies

Montclair State faculty are pursuing various projects that focus on engaging students in STEM disciplines. These include:

Engaged Learning through Creativity in Science and Mathematics. With a grant from the NSF’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education program, University researchers are working to develop, implement and assess curricular materials that engage students in creative processes in their math and science courses. The project includes a scholarship program for students interested in pursuing interdisciplinary research projects related to creativity in STEM, while research will inform sustainable changes to undergraduate STEM education.

STEM Pioneers. A three-year NSF grant supports a team that is working to increase the scientific literacy and overall academic success of first-year, first-generation students who are interested in science. The project brings faculty from across the campus together to work with student learning communities and offers students a dedicated support network.

NECST Program: Networking and Engaging in Computer Science and Information Technology Program. A $619,575, five-year National Science Foundation S-STEM Award supports collaborations within the local institutions to present a pathway to students in computer science, STEM and non-STEM fields to attaining a Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) and to strengthen the ties between regional institutions to better serve the student population. The project is awarding approximately 26 scholarships to students enrolled in Montclair State’s Master of Computer Science Program.

Graphical Representation in Textbooks. Researchers are comparing how different STEM fields present graphical representations in textbooks and practitioner journals to represent covarying quantities and to mathematize situations. While the team presented preliminary findings in February, 2017 at a conference hosted by the Special Interest Group of the MAA on Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education, it plans to continue its work to gain further insights into how various STEM fields use graphical representations and if undergraduate mathematics is attending to these different uses.

Professional Resources in Science and Mathematics (PRISM). Through ongoing funding from Bristol-Myers Squibb, PRISM staffers develop STEM workshops and related curriculum models that focus on workplace skil

ls used in science-related careers. PRISM also provides professional development in STEM subjects for more than 80 school districts, charter schools and parochial schools through institutes and workshops to help schools align curricula with new Next Generation Science Standards.

The Rainforest Connection. This year marks the 15th year of this online, live videoconference program with STEM professionals and teachers at research locations, connected with K-12 classrooms around the world. As part of the STEM outreach project “Classrooms Without Walls,” Rainforest Connection was supported by a grant from Montclair State’s Global Education Center.

Supporting New Jersey Teachers

Montclair State vigorously supports the professional development of New Jersey teachers with a variety of funded programs, including:

American Association for the Advancement of Science Funded Conference. This June 2017 one-day regional conference will stimulate research and innovation for preservice education of STEM teachers in high-need schools.

Wipro Science Education Fellowship. A $1.3 million Wipro Technologies award supports the Wipro Science Education Fellowship (SEF) program at Montclair State University. The Wipro SEF program is a teacher-leadership program that supports experienced K to 12 science teachers from five local school districts in deepening their practice while staying in the classroom. The program uses a model of teacher support and development to increase the capacity of teacher-leadership in their respective districts.

Energy Technology to Shrink University’s Carbon Footprint

One of only 17 other higher education campuses nationwide, MSU’s new micro-grid system slated for completion in late 2017

Montclair State University will soon take a big step toward reducing the campus’ carbon footprint and becoming energy independent when it launches its new, fully integrated, micro-grid power system. Scheduled for completion in late 2017, the state-of-the-art technology will enable the University to go “off the grid” and operate completely independent of local utility companies – a claim that only 17 other higher educational institutions in the United States can make. In New Jersey, Montclair State is the first public university to install a micro-grid system, following Princeton as the second in the state.

The project builds on the success of the University’s co-generation – or combined heating, cooling and power system (CHCP) – which has been in place since 2012. Since it opened, the CHCP has significantly reduced the University’s carbon footprint by providing more than 25 campus buildings with cost-effective, efficient and reliable delivery of heating, cooling and electric services.

“It’s not unusual for institutions like Montclair State that operate their own co-generation systems to move to micro grids for reliability and cost savings,” says Vice President for University Facilities Shawn Connolly. “However, for Montclair State, the system also supports our longstanding commitment to sustainability issues. Reducing energy consumption and shrinking our carbon footprint have been ongoing goals for University facilities operations. Development of the micro-grid system reflects these institutional values and will enable us to step up our game as environmental stewards.”

Montclair State’s commitment to environmental issues has been consistently recognized by The Princeton Review, which lists it among the nation’s greenest campuses.

According to Connolly, the University will incur no costs for this project. “Energy savings will carry the cost of the construction and still generate a profit,” he says, noting that the cost of installation will ultimately be offset by energy savings.

The project has been developed in partnership with DCO Energy, LLC, an independent energy development company.

NSF Grant Funds Scholarships for 30 Future K-6 Math Teachers

Students will be prepared to teach in New Jersey’s high-need schools

With support from a $1.1 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, eligible Montclair State mathematics majors will soon take part in an innovative collaborative program between the College of Science and Mathematics and the College of Education and Human Services that will prepare them to teach math in the New Jersey elementary schools that need them most.

“It is critical that students interested in careers in education have programs that prepare them to become outstanding teachers,” says College of Science and Mathematics Dean Robert Prezant. “This innovative project will provide students with remarkable and creative preparation within an inquiry-based program that deeply prepares them for the demands of working in today’s education system.”

Ten students per year will receive grant-funded scholarships and stipends to be part of the NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, which addresses the current shortage of high-quality science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers by encouraging talented students to ultimately teach in high-need schools. It has awarded Montclair State’s “Preparing the Effective Elementary Mathematics Teacher” project team funding for three years.

The project’s principal investigator, Montclair State Mathematics Professor Erin Krupa, and co-principal investigators Mathematics Professor Steven Greenstein, Center of Pedagogy Director Jennifer Robinson and County College of Morris colleague Diana Aria, emphasize that the grant will enable them to grow this unique program and actively recruit math majors.

According to College of Education and Human Services Dean Tamara Lucas, the grant program reflects the University’s long-standing commitment to preparing outstanding STEM teachers. “We have received well over $25 million in recent years to support STEM teacher preparation. This important new grant furthers our mission of providing Montclair State students with the essential knowledge and skills they will need to be excellent elementary math teachers – and make a lasting and positive impact on the lives of countless young people across New Jersey.”

“We’ll be one of the only programs across New Jersey to emphasize exemplary elementary mathematics education through our teacher candidates,” notes Robinson, who will work on building partner relationships between the University’s departments of Mathematical Sciences and Elementary Education. Together with Aria, she will also strengthen ties with seven area community colleges in order to recruit transfer students into the program.

Giving Opportunities to Students

The team will build on an earlier NSF Noyce Capacity Building grant for developing a mathematics major for students wishing to be certified to teach K-6 students. “The earlier grant did not provide opportunities for students – which is why we are very excited about this new award,” says Krupa.

Now, through an innovative curriculum, the project’s Noyce Scholars will be able to conduct research in elementary school classrooms. The team will also strive to build a sense of community among Noyce Scholars through a program of community-oriented field experiences and seminars. Research focusing on the project’s impact on the Noyce Scholars’ beliefs about mathematics and mathematics teaching is another key project component.

Greenstein notes that once program graduates begin teaching, they will receive ongoing support through monthly seminars and access to a professional learning community based at Montclair State. “Program graduates will receive extraordinary preparation, not only for the cultivation of their future students’ STEM interests and aptitudes, but also for additional school-based leadership opportunities,” he explains.

Krupa says: “The grant honors my quest to bring funds into the Department of Mathematical Sciences to support math students, as well as Dr. Greenstein’s vision for the exemplary preparation of elementary teachers, and Dr. Robinson’s ability to forge strong collaborations across the University and with partner schools and districts.”

N.J.’s Largest Undergrad Real Estate Program Focuses on Hands-On Experience

Internships, job placements and focus on Northern New Jersey hallmarks of growing concentration

In an industry where location is everything, there are few better places to study real estate than Northern New Jersey.

Situated adjacent to the complex landscape of the New York-metro area, just 12 miles west of Manhattan, the Feliciano School of Business at Montclair State University is centrally located within one of the most diverse markets in the world. Through coursework and internships, students are exposed to this dynamic real estate environment, and thrust into the laboratory landscape that surrounds them where they can develop the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue careers in residential, commercial and industrial real estate.

The School’s real estate concentration for students pursuing a degree in business administration has rapidly grown into the largest such undergraduate program in the state since its inception in 2013, providing students access to state-of-the-art technology, industry-leading speakers and valuable internship experience at New Jersey’s leading organizations.

“Our program’s dramatic growth can be attributed to the quality of our instructors, who are very well respected within the specialization of real estate,” says Assistant Professor of Accounting and Finance Joseph Nicholson, the program’s coordinator. “In addition to presenting students with a real-world curriculum, they utilize their professional positions to place them in internships and, ultimately, full-time positions that fit their individual skill sets. This has led to outstanding post-graduation employment outcomes, and we expect this placement record to continue to grow, along with the program.”

The program curriculum emphasizes both traditional disciplines and training in what experts consider to be the future of the industry, using the latest technological advancements to create more environmentally friendly projects. In addition to learning about valuation, real estate law and commercial investment, the concentration will be utilizing the Feliciano School of Business’ MIX Lab, a state-of-the-art 3D printing facility, to practice 3D printing applications in real estate beginning in the fall of 2017.

The academic experience is paired with a distinguished speaker series featuring New Jersey real estate leaders, including members of the Commercial Real Estate Women of New Jersey Executive Board, Cali Futures CEO John R. Cali, and alumnus and Hartz Mountain President and COO Gus Milano ’81.

Students can apply knowledge gained both in the classroom and through the speaker series by participating in field internships at companies such as Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, UBS International Wealth Management and Cushman & Wakefield.

“The internship opportunities allow students to put textbook learning into practice,” says Nicholson. “As a program, we take a personalized approach to identifying each student’s interests and strengths and position them for success. We are very proud that the vast majority of our student interns are either asked to extend those internships or are offered full-time positions with those companies.”

“My internship was very challenging and extremely rewarding,” says alumnus Mina Shehata ’16, who became an associate at Cushman & Wakefield after successfully completing his Montclair State University internship. “It consisted of hands-on experience working directly with long-time industry executives, and showed that everything I’d learned in the classroom could be directly applied in the industry immediately.”

With the future Real Estate and Economic Development Institute – the only entity of its kind to focus solely on Northern New Jersey – currently under development, the program will continue to create unprecedented opportunities for students to work closely on major initiatives and projects. Undergraduates will also have the opportunity to partner with commercial real estate industry leader Cushman & Wakefield to create an annual report examining the economic and real estate development of the Meadowlands, beginning in the fall of 2017.

“It’s a very exciting time to be a part of this growing program,” says Nicholson. “We have so many things in the works that will provide amazing educational and experiential prospects for our students, which will make them valuable assets to firms worldwide from the moment they graduate.”