Once home to thousands of Newark Central High School students, today the Central King Building at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) exemplifies intelligent, creative and economically impactful urban redevelopment that serves NJIT students, industry and the local community. On April 13, 2017, more than 200 students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the university witnessed the official ribbon cutting of the renovated Central King Building, part of a campus transformation designed to enhance the student experience and solidify NJIT’s position going forward as one of the nation’s leading public polytechnic universities.
“NJIT was founded in 1881 by industrialists for the purpose of educating a skilled workforce for Newark’s businesses, and we never have lost sight of our symbiotic relationship with this great city,” said NJIT President Joel S. Bloom. “Newark has given much to NJIT, and NJIT has given much in return. So, it is especially gratifying to know the historic structure behind me, which was home to thousands and thousands of Newark Central High School students over the years, will serve as an important resource to NJIT, the City of Newark, the State of New Jersey and our entire region for many years to come.”
Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, who was awarded an honorary doctorate from NJIT in 2010, said that as the largest single project funded by the State of New Jersey through the 2012 Building Our Future Bond Act, the Central Kin
g Building will provide the next generation of youth with a state-of-the-art learning hub where “ordinary students can do extraordinary things” and where student pioneers will spark “innovations that can help health and well-being.”
Rochelle R. Hendricks, Secretary of Higher Education for the State of New Jersey, called the Central King Building renovation “a testament to brilliance and imagination.”
“We are indebted to you, President Bloom, and the students for being cutting-edge in the State of New Jersey,” she said. “NJIT bears witness to
a place that is beating the odds.”
Noting that “we are at an amazing time in the history of medicine,” Dr. Andrew L. Pecora, chief innovations officer and vice president of cancer services at Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC), discussed HUMC’s partnership with the Healthcare Delivery Systems Innovation Lab (iLab) at NJIT’s New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), which will include the development of innovation and commercialization centers. HUMC is the first health care charter member of NJII and also has a seat on the iLab’s advisory board.
“We could not think of a better place than NJIT and NJII,” he said.
Stephen P. DePalma ’72, chairman of
the NJIT Board of Trustees, said that the Central King Building renovation is a critical step in the positioning of the university to continue its impressive growth and upward trajectory.
“The Central King Building renovation is part of a campus transformation that will improve our capabilities in research and innovation, enable us to attract faculty members who are among the best and brightest in their disciplines, and improve the educational experiences of and outcomes attained by our students,” DePalma said. “The new Central King Building will serve NJIT, its students, its community, its state and our economy well for many years to come.”
Also in attendance were Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. and Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., who described the Central King Building as “the crown jewel of the city of Newark.”
The historic renovation of the five-story Central King Building is the first wave of a $300 million capital building campaign that is invigorating research, teaching and community life at NJIT. Two new buildings are soon to follow: a 24,500-square-foot Life Sciences and Engineering Building and a 200,000-square-foot Wellness and Events Center with a 4,500-seat conferencing space that transforms into a 3,500-seat arena.
To read more stories about NJIT, scroll down:
Bringing the Digital Future into Sharper Focus for New Jersey’s Schools
First-Generation Students Shine
Appoints New Dean of Albert Dorman Honors College
Cited by U.S. News & World Report as a Top Graduate School for Engineering
NJIT is Bringing the Digital Future into Sharper Focus for New Jersey’s Schools
Future Ready Schools – New Jersey recently conducted the inaugural meetings of its three task forces: Education and Classroom Practice, Technology Support and Services, and Leadership. More than 225 educators, educational leaders, and other stakeholders from 120 districts and organizations throughout New Jersey have volunteered their time, experience, and expertise to help the certification program define what Future Ready means in New Jersey for each task force’s theme — and ultimately for New Jersey’s students.
Future Ready Schools – New Jersey is a coalition of the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), New Jersey Schools Boards Association (NJBSA), and New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), and has been in development for the last year. NJIT was chosen by the NJDOE and NJSBA to manage the development and execution of the program. The program is moving forward under the leadership of Professor James Lipuma, a member of the Humanities Department in the College of Science and Liberal Arts experienced in initiating and managing major education programs and grants.
Commissioner of Education David Hespe publicly announced the program in March 2016 at the New Jersey Board of Education and provided significant seed funding soon after. Acting Commissioner Kimberley Harrington reaffirmed the NJDOE’s support for the project during her speech at NJSBA’s Workshop 2016, marking the end of the program’s initial development and the launch of its first certification cycle. In addition to the NJSBA, the program has been launched with the support of groups that include the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), New Jersey Parent Teachers Association (NJPTA), New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA), New Jersey Association of School Administrators (NJASA) and New Jersey Association of School Business Officials (NJASBO).
The Future Ready Schools – New Jersey task forces are developing indicators of Future Readiness based on the national Future Ready Framework developed by the Alliance for Excellent Education. Each indicator is composed of a description, examples of a school’s success for the indicator, resources which schools can employ to achieve success in the indicator, and the data that schools can submit as evidence of achievement for points towards certification from the program.
The program’s philosophy that led to the creation of the task forces is that it is the educators, leaders and stakeholders at every level of the educational process in New Jersey who should collaborate to determine what Future Ready means for New Jersey, rather than a single person or organization that does not represent this array of perspectives.
The process of certification not only provides schools with recognition for their success in preparing students for success in college, career and citizenship in a digital age, but also enables Future Ready Schools – New Jersey to achieve its mission of providing schools and districts with the direction, guidance, support and resources they need to do so.
Future Ready Schools – New Jersey also holds events designed to connect Future Ready educators with potential resources that can help them achieve certification through the program, which is based on the proven and successful model of the Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification program. One such event sponsored by Google in January, the New Jersey Future Ready Schools Summit, brought together several hundred teachers, administrators and concerned representatives from the private and public sectors.
When the Future Ready Schools – New Jersey certification program launches this May, the indicators proposed by task forces and reviewed by the program staff will be available for schools to review, take action on, and submit evidence of their successful completion to receive points towards being certified as Future Ready. Applications for commitment by districts and then certification by schools will begin in May. The first certification awards will be announced at NJSBA’s Workshop 2017 in October.
First-Generation Students Shine at NJIT
Typically one-third of entering students responding to NJIT’s annual new-student survey have parents who did not attend college. Knowing that the pathway to and through higher education can prove especially transformative for first-generation students and their families, NJIT provides valuable support with a range of programs — including the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program, Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and Center for Pre-College Programs (CPCP) — to help first-generation students realize their dream of a college education.
Recently, the university became a partner in Strive for College’s I’m First! national consortium of schools that nurture first-generation college students. As such, NJIT is one of 179 colleges and universities highlighted in the 2017 I’m First! Guide to College for their first-gen outreach efforts, financial aid opportunities and support services.
Indeed, NJIT’s rich history includes successfully educating talented students who are the first generation in their families to go to college. Armed with the resources they need to excel, these students are charting their career course and making a history of their own in the process.
Motivated by Mom
Nickeita Tomlinson, an electrical engineering major, overcame many barriers to become a first-generation college student, as well as a member of the NJIT community. She attributes her perseverance to her late mother, whom she says understood the importance of higher education.
“I think the only person that really knew what was expected of me was my mom,” said Tomlinson of her road to college. “My dad, he had no idea of the work you had to do, even in high school.”
Growing up in Jamaica, Tomlinson was a self-described quiet child who liked “pulling things apart to see what was in them, why they did what they did.” She took technology classes in high school, which further spurred her interest in how things work.
Unfortunately, after her mother died, tension grew between Tomlinson and her younger sister and their father, a manufacturer of video-game boxes for bars. He didn’t share her mother’s view of college and when Tomlinson expressed her desire to pursue university-level study, he asked that she leave the house. So in 2010, she moved to Hackensack, N.J., where she lived with her grandmother and uncle.
Tomlinson still faced hurdles, however, after relocating. She enrolled at Bergen Community College, where she struggled to pay tuition without any monetary assistance from her family, and worked several jobs. “My first semester was worrying about the financial aid,” she remembered. “Then it was more like trying to figure out the approach to school versus work. Balancing it with having a job was a lot of trial and error.”
She ultimately earned an associate degree in science and mathematics and later started at NJIT in spring 2015; she will earn her bachelor’s next year and wants to find a job in the power industry. Since arriving at the university, Tomlinson has been busy. In addition to belonging to the NJIT chapters of IEEE and NSBE, she is president of the Oak Hall Council and works as a desk manager for Residence Life. She also has tutored students in CPCP’s Upward Bound program and completed two electrical engineering internships, one at Con Edison and the other at RCM Technologies.
As a first-gen student, Tomlinson received help from NJIT’s Student Support Services Program. She aims to be a role model for and pass on the wisdom she’s gained to her sister, who came to the U.S. this past November. Most of all, she looks to build on the investment her mother made in her earlier education and make her mark as a woman in STEM.
“I realize it requires you to stand up for yourself and your ideas, and also be confident in what you know and not be intimidated by what others may think,” Tomlinson said, adding that she is learning to be proud of her accomplishments. Is she getting better at it? “Yeah,” she laughs, “but slowly.”
Crazy About Computers
Alan Romano, a B.S./M.S. computer science (CS) major in his third year at Ying Wu College of Computing (YWCC), credits self-determination to his being a first-generation college student — and a family computer plagued by a virus to his interest in CS.
Romano’s parents came to the United States from Mexico and eventually settled in Elmwood Park, N.J., where Romano grew up with his older brother and younger sister. His father has worked in construction and his mother in sales part time, and while his family has never lived in poverty, they also have never been well off. As a boy, Romano spent many afternoons helping his dad strip copper wiring to sell as scrap metal, instead of playing with friends.
“If my dad had a demolition job, he’d bring home the metal scraps. He taught us how to peel copper just to show us the value of hard work and money, so we wouldn’t take things for granted,” Romano recalled. “Whenever I would explain it to the other kids, they never understood it. But I think it bonded me with my dad.”
When his parents purchased a computer that became infected and costly to fix, Romano taught himself how to remove the virus and in the process found his passion. “I really liked working with the computer. It was just realizing how complex the machine was, and then as a child your imagination kind of gets crazy and you just think of all the possibilities that it could do.”
His curiosity was fueled further as a middle schooler after he won Raytheon’s MathMovesU scholarship competition, for which he wrote about the ties between computers and mathematics. Then he took online coding classes during high school and also participated in NJIT’s on-campus Science and Technology Enrichment Program (STEP), which emphasizes rigorous but fun hands-on STEM skills and intellectual inquiry. STEP convinced him to pursue a CS degree at NJIT, where he is minoring in applied mathematics and participating in the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program.
As a McNair scholar, Romano has been working under Michael Bieber, professor and associate chair of the Department of Information Systems at YWCC, to build a website for a participatory learning education system. This approach to teaching uses digital resources to promote a more collaborative, hands-on learning experience for students and their instructors, Romano explains.
The McNair program has “definitely been helpful to me,” remarked Romano, who plans to pursue a graduate degree. “It’s really influenced me toward having a research kind of career.
“I’m hopefully going to be the first one in my family to get a degree,” he added. “My parents didn’t really understand why I would want to continue in higher education. Now they know that my chosen career is very in demand right now, so they’re happy about that. And they also know that I really like the field, so they’re also happy for me.”
NJIT Appoints New Dean of Albert Dorman Honors College
New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is pleased to announce the appointment of Louis I. Hamilton as dean of the university’s Albert Dorman Honors College. He will assume the position effective July 1, 2017.
Dr. Hamilton joins NJIT from Drew University, where he has served as director of the Baldwin Honors Program since 2013. There he has overseen a complete review and revision of the curriculum, standardized seminars with an emphasis on research-based learning and initiated an annual assessment of student outcomes. He also has expanded the cultural experiences for honors students and developed student research grants for the program, which resulted in student publications in peer-reviewed journals and student presentations at professional and undergraduate conferences.
Caption: NJIT new Dean Louis Hamilton
“NJIT is thrilled to have Dr. Hamilton join our faculty and lead our Albert Dorman Honors College,” said Fadi P. Deek, senior executive vice president and provost of the university. “His background, experience and initiative will greatly benefit our students and advance the honors program. We look forward to welcoming him this summer.”
At Drew, Dr. Hamilton also has been chair of the Department of Comparative Religion and was the founding director of the university’s peer-reviewed journal of undergraduate research, The Drew Review. Additionally, he co-chaired the Digital Humanities Initiative and served as the first director of its Digital Humanities Summer Institute, where undergraduates work as faculty research assistants and use various digital tools for urban, social, historical and language analysis.
He is an active researcher as well, with a focus on the cultural history of medieval Italy and the Mediterranean, and has significant writing and editing credits on the topic. Dr. Hamilton is himself the product of an honors education and holds a B.A. in history from Villanova University, an M.A. in history from University of Virginia, an M.Phil. and Ph.D. in medieval history from Fordham University and a License in Mediaeval Studies from the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto. He also was a Fulbright Scholar in Rome, Italy.
“I am deeply honored and humbled by this appointment and am grateful to NJIT for allowing me to join and lead this incredible college and group of scholars,” Dr. Hamilton said. “I look forward to working with the amazing faculty and staff of the college to build on their great success and the accomplishments of my predecessors. Together, I am confident that we will continue to distinguish the education and experiences of Albert Dorman Honors College scholars so they can reach great heights both in their careers and as transformational leaders in their professional and personal communities.”
This past fall, NJIT’s Albert Dorman Honors College was named among the Top 10 honors colleges and programs in the United States in the book “INSIDE HONORS: Ratings and Reviews of Sixty Public University Honors Programs.” Albert Dorman Honors College received the highest possible ranking of 5.0 “mortarboards,” based on a variety of factors that included curricular and co-curricular requirements, SAT, GPA, merit scholarships and prestigious fellowships.
NJIT Cited by U.S. News & World Report as a Top Graduate School for Engineering
U.S. News & World Report ranks New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) among the nation’s top graduate schools for engineering. NJIT holds the No. 87 spot for its graduate degree programs in the university’s Newark College of Engineering, established in 1919.
Fadi P. Deek, NJIT provost and senior executive vice president, noted, “The university has advanced five places on this list since last year, and 24 places compared to two years ago. The two main factors are stronger student profiles as evidenced by Graduate Record Examination scores and a substantial increase in our faculty’s externally funded research.”
“NJIT features a robust academic environment that engages graduate students in advanced study and innovative real-world research, preparing them for professionally and financially rewarding careers,” added Sotirios G. Ziavras, D.Sc., associate provost for graduate studies and dean of the graduate faculty at NJIT. “We are thrilled to observe the progress NJIT is making in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, establishing our reputation among the nation’s best graduate engineering programs.”
Moshe Kam, dean of the Newark College of Engineering, added, “The progress that NJIT has made in the U.S. News & World Report rankings is the result of increased emphasis on research in intelligent infrastructure, life science and engineering, medical imaging, advanced manufacturing and mobile communications. As the reputation of NJIT’s researchers grows, more companies and government agencies get involved with NJIT projects. Consequently, funding for research at NJIT increases — supporting new facilities and hiring of new faculty — and high caliber graduate students join the labs at NJIT in large numbers.”
The U.S. News & World Report rankings are based on “expert opinions about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research and students.” Deans, program directors and senior faculty provide their peer assessment of a program’s academic quality; for engineering and four other disciplines, professionals who hire new graduates offer evaluations as well. Statistical indicators measure the qualities that students and faculty bring to the program, along with the links between graduates’ degrees and their career achievements.
U.S. News & World Report collected its data from statistical surveys sent to administrators at more than 1,970 graduate programs, and reputation surveys sent to over 16,500 academics and professionals in the featured disciplines.
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