Public 4-Year Schools

Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media Celebrates Grand Opening

A ribbon cutting ceremony on September 26 marked the official opening of the new, high-tech, multimedia School of Communication and Media Building at Montclair State. Event guests, who included alumni, University board members, state legislators, faculty, staff and students, toured the building after the ceremony.

“We believe this is the most technologically advanced media and production facility of any university in North America and that it is, in fact, more advanced that many professional facilities,” Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole said. According to Cole, the new building supports the University’s commitment to serving the state and the nation as a national- and state-designated research doctoral university – and gives students the competitive edge they need to succeed in rapidly evolving industries.

Cole described the building as “a tool box” that will “unleash and enable our students’ education and creativity.”

Special guest New Jersey State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg expressed her hope that students will draw on the tools and resources of the new facility “to go out and change the world.”

To read more stories about Montclair, scroll down:

Green Teams Put Students at Forefront of Sustainability Movement
Those Who Can, Teach
NJ’s Largest Undergrad Real Estate Program Focuses on Hands-On Experience

The building features a range of tools and resources – from broadcast-ready 4K and HD studios and control rooms to multimedia labs and an advanced audio production center – designed and implemented through a strategic partnership between the University and Sony Electronics’ Professional Solutions Americas.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Sony Professional Solutions Americas President Katsunori Yamanouchi stressed that Sony was proud to play a pivotal role in creating products and active learning solutions that give students the experience and professional training they need to succeed.

College of the Arts Dean Daniel Gurskis noted that the building’s design fosters creative collaboration among students, faculty and students, as well as among students and professional partners.

“In our new building we will create outstanding and thoughtful content that is limited only by our imaginations,” said School of Communication and Media Director Keith Strudler. “With our media partners, we will make a vibrant hub of collaborative excellence. And we will foster a learning community that changes, lives, our community and that will perhaps change the world for the better.”

Green Teams Put Students at Forefront of Sustainability Movement

Montclair State University is taking the expression “hands-on internship experience” to exciting new heights by placing college students in the heart of New Jersey’s sustainability movement.

Positioning students from across the academic spectrum alongside professionals at some of the world’s largest corporations and community organizations, the PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies Green Teams program is the latest example of the impact Montclair State is having on the Garden State economy. The summer internship program gives students the chance to solve real-world problems and move New Jersey organizations closer towards achieving a neutral carbon footprint.

Students who participated in the Green Teams summer internship program exhibited their final presentations on August 9, in Montclair State’s state-of-the-art Center for Environmental and Life Sciences. Team projects tackled sustainability-related issues currently facing host companies, such as communications, community concept mapping, waste management and waste water treatment.

Some of the state’s premier organizations were on hand to hear the conclusions of the teams’ projects, with participating organizations including PSEG, ADP, Honeywell and the City of Newark in attendance. The list of partners for the 2017 program also featured Earth Friendly Products, Hackensack Meridian Health, Humanscale, PGIM Real Estate and Princeton University together with Sustainable Princeton. Other regional and global companies attended the event as prospective partners, including UPS, Wyndham Hotels, New Jersey Manufacturers and Deloitte.

Catherine Starghill, the deputy commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor, and Michele Siekerka, president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, welcomed guests with remarks highlighting the initiative’s tremendous results and forward momentum in its second year.

“What the corporate partners here are doing is exactly what we are investing our money and time into, and that is ensuring that students get work-based experience” remarked Starghill. “We want to make sure we are partnering with institutes like the PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies who are creating pathways to success for students. We are so encouraged to be here and partner with all of you.”

Now in its second year, the Green Teams initiative was expanded through the New Jersey Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability, allowing for students from institutions including Princeton University, Rutgers University and The College of New Jersey to join with Montclair State to participate in the forward-thinking internship program. Other participating New Jersey colleges and universities included Fairleigh Dickinson University, Kean University, Ramapo College, Rider University and Rutgers University-Newark.

In all, the nine teams were comprised of 45 students from 10 New Jersey colleges and universities. International students from the University of Graz in Austria also participated, showcasing the global reach of the initiative.

The PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies is pleased to serve as a sustainability nexus for academics, corporates and communities,” says the institute’s director, Amy Tuininga. “The materials produced and presented by our summer 2017 Green Team student interns provide useful information that can be shared among both partnering organizations and broader audiences to collectively overcome the hurdles to achieving global sustainability. Companies gain fresh insight from new talent, students learn about corporate culture, communities benefit from the influx of energy and everyone wins when we work together to be more sustainable.”

“This internship provided a hands-on snapshot of sustainability initiatives in business and an incredible professional learning environment that allows us to apply what we’ve learned in the classroom,” says Ariadna Camayo, a senior sustainability science major who worked with Honeywell on an analysis of the global organization’s waste. “This is a field that’s always moving, and there are always new things developing. So, it has been invaluable to be in a fast-paced corporate environment with a global company and have such an amazing internship experience.”

Unique to the program is its transdisciplinary focus, allowing students from all majors to utilize their differing academic backgrounds to solve sustainability problems as members of a professional team. In all, 42 academic programs were represented in the 2017 cohort.

“Working with other students who are majoring in different academic areas allowed me to see different perspectives and how they can come together to solve a problem,” notes Jonathan Novoa, a senior finance major who helped develop an environmental social governance database to house sustainability metrics for PSEG. “Our project solved a problem a lot of companies currently have, so being a part of this program makes me feel like I could become part of a company as a professional and help solve it immediately.”

Building on the success of the inaugural program in 2016, the initiative welcomed back nine peer mentors who were dispersed among the teams to provide guidance throughout the various projects, allowing for continued growth of past participants.

“I wanted to return to this program because it completely changed my life when I participated in it last year,” says Julie Attys, a senior public health major who rejoined the Green Teams as a peer leader in 2017. “I will always be so grateful to both the PSEG Foundation and Montclair State for giving me the opportunity to not only be a part of this program, but for allowing me to return and take on a leadership role. It has allowed me to develop leadership skills before I even receive my degree, which has already had a tremendous impact on my life.”

Those Who Can, Teach

Through the Newark-Montclair Urban Teacher Residency program, Carla Nisbett has returned to her hometown as a first-year elementary teacher at South Street School in Newark.

sked to name the most rewarding thing about being a teacher, Janae Taylor has a ready response: “Knowing that you’ve had a positive impact on someone’s life is a great feeling.”

Taylor, who is in her fifth year of teaching math at Newark Arts High School, is among 72 teachers that have gone through Montclair State’s teacher residency program and are now teaching in Newark or other urban districts that have struggled to keep teachers.

“I was hired after I did my student teaching here,” says the 2012 graduate. “I’ve been here ever since and love it.”

The Newark-Montclair Urban Teacher Residency (NMUTR) program is one of several innovative and federally funded University programs that are directly aimed at reversing a national teacher shortage – felt particularly in cities and in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math, where the shortage is hardest felt.

Since its beginnings more than 100 years ago as a teacher’s college, Montclair State has been a leader in teacher education. Today, programs such as NMUTR, the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program and the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships are helping to prepare students for meaningful careers in education, starting – and often staying – in struggling urban school districts like Newark.

College of Education and Human Services Dean Tamara Lucas says the College has received more than $25 million in recent years to support STEM teacher preparation. “That helps us provide students with the skills they need to be excellent teachers and make a lasting impact on the lives of young people across New Jersey,” she says.

Indeed, U.S. News & World Report ranks Montclair State among the nation’s top 100 graduate schools for education and places its graduate programs in both elementary and secondary teacher education among the top 20 in the country – a distinction unmatched by any other New Jersey institution.

Coming Full Circle

Taylor is one of a handful of Newark natives who have come full circle – from students to teachers – in the district where they grew up. “I’ve always wanted to work in Newark,” she explains. “As one who had so many things to overcome – from bad influences to the violence around me – I wanted to help those around me.”

Assistant Superintendent of Newark Public Schools Roger Leon, who earned his master’s degree from Montclair State in 1996, was University High School principal when Taylor was a student there. “During her senior year, she wrote that her classmates should focus on unity, humanity and scholarship,” he recalls. “I’m glad to learn she is true to her words and is helping her students maintain the same focus.”

Taylor’s love of math was fostered in high school by her math teacher, David Scutari, who also earned master’s degrees in Teaching and in Educational Leadership at Montclair State. He later encouraged her to apply to the residency program.

“To think that I’ve played even a small part in her journey is exceptionally humbling,” he says. “With each milestone she reaches and accomplishment she achieves, my own passion for the profession is reinvigorated.”

The residency program, funded by a pair of consecutive five-year, multi-million-dollar U.S. Department of Education grants, 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 support.

The University’s Center of Pedagogy Director Jennifer Robinson says the program has not only prepared and placed outstanding teachers in Newark’s schools, it has given faculty an opportunity to work in the schools to prepare teacher candidates on the job. “Because faculty are on-site teaching candidates how to teach,” she says, “graduates are much better prepared.”

For instance, Ariana Calderon, a 2014 residency program graduate and bilingual biology teacher at East Side High School, chose the program because of the extended hands-on classroom experience it gives prospective teachers. “Many programs only give teachers a few weeks of student teaching in a classroom before thrusting them into their own classrooms after graduation. Instead, I was able to have an entire year of experience in a classroom with a mentor teacher.”

Like Taylor, Calderon has returned to her hometown to teach. Her East Side High School biology teacher, Karina Monteiro, suggested she apply to the residency program, where Monteiro mentored her.

“I just love having the opportunity to give my students the space and attention they need to develop. It’s not always easy, but it is definitely worth it.”

–Carla Nisbett

“There has been nothing more rewarding as a teacher than to have watched Ariana grow into the talented, dedicated and passionate educator she is today,” says Monteiro.

Calderon plans to continue teaching after fulfilling her three-year commitment. “I do enjoy teaching and, as tough as it has been, our students need and deserve the well-prepared teachers that this program produces,” she says.

First-year special education teacher Carla Nisbett also has returned home to Newark to teach. “Working with students with autism is unique from student to student,” the South Street School teacher says. “I just love having the opportunity to give my students the space and attention they need to develop. It’s not always easy, but it is definitely worth it.”

According to Susan Taylor, the program’s director, who got her master’s degree from Montclair State in 1982, the University studied what urban schools need in order to better address the shortage of qualified teachers in Newark. “And when we select people for the program, we select the right people,” she says.

Creating Excitement for Teaching STEM Courses

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.

Woodrow Wilson Fellows enroll in a program that mirrors the Newark-Montclair Urban Teacher Residency program in most respects. “It uses the residency model
to maximize the time fellows spend in classrooms and provides coursework that is embedded in their daily practice, which is the most authentic and effective way to prepare teachers,” notes Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship Director Julianne Bello.

Woodrow Wilson Fellows also receive induction support during their three years of required teaching in secondary schools in the high-need districts of their choice.

Both programs have helped diversify the teacher population in New Jersey, where there is a shortage of teachers of color. Nearly half of the teacher candidates from these two programs identify themselves as members of an underrepresented group.

Beyond Newark, the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program encourages talented STEM students to teach in high-need urban schools. With the help of a $1,106,026 National Science Foundation grant, eligible mathematics majors will soon take part in a scholarship program preparing them to teach math in the New Jersey elementary schools that need them most.

This is the second Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program administered by the University. Some 22 undergraduate chemistry, physics, earth science and biology majors have received Noyce scholarships since 2013, and seven graduates are now teaching in New Jersey Schools.

“For every year of support, Noyce Scholars agree to teach in a high-need school in New Jersey for two years,” explains Biology Professor Sandra Adams, who directs the program together with Secondary and Special Education Professor Douglas Larkin.

Take senior Kathryn Beatty, for example. She is one of 13 Noyce Scholars who is looking forward to the support she will get as a biology teacher. “I think support in the first year after graduating is an absolute must, as many teachers leave the profession after five years,” she says. “This is an invaluable tool for all new teachers.”

Recruiting Tomorrow’s Teachers Today

Always looking to create a pipeline of future teachers, the University looks to recruit prospective teachers while they are still in high school. In January, hundreds of high school students attending the New Jersey Future Educators Conference at Montclair State learned it is never too early to plan for a teaching career.

The Teacher Education Advocacy Center at Montclair State partnered with the New Jersey Future Educators Association for the daylong event, which introduced attendees to teaching through presentations by top New Jersey educators, including Gemar Mills, a 2005 graduate who taught math and became the principal of Newark’s Shabazz High School and is credited with turning the once-failing school around.

When Janae Taylor returned to Newark to teach, she worked with Dave Scutari and Roseann Heyl, both of whom inspired her when she was a student at University High School. Scutari, who was her high school math teacher, is now math supervisor for Newark Schools. Heyl served as Taylor’s mentor when she was in the residency program.

According to Carolina Gonzalez, the Center’s director, the conference encourages and supports students considering teaching careers. “With an estimated shortage in the United States of approximately 64,000 teachers that’s projected to increase to as many as 112,000 by 2018,” she says, “events like this are the steps needed to reverse the trend.”

NJ’s Largest Undergrad Real Estate Program Focuses on Hands-On Experience

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.”