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President's Post #106: State of the College Address February 2017

On February 8, 2017, President Mercer delivered his State of the College Address. Below is a summary of that address.

The world appears as a different place than when we last met. It is as if everything has been turned upside down. America suddenly seems divided into two solitary groups: the first made up of avid supporters of the new Administration and its ideas for change, and the second comprised of equally ardent opponents.

Much has already been written about why this occurred and I do not intend to add my conjecture to the pile. My obligation— our obligation – is to move forward. In that respect, I am heartened. Studies have shown that whereas only 25% of the population is satisfied with the direction the country is going, a full 60% are satisfied with the state of affairs in their own communities.

Our best hope for the future lies in devoting our best energies to the unique community that is Ramapo College. Without that devotion, we run the risk of becoming less competitive at a time when the underlying forces are marshaling against us. Now is the time to re-assert the primary virtues of a Liberal Arts education and Ramapo College’s fundamental commitment to our students.

I believe we should view this as a tremendous opportunity. People of character often tend to thrive in the face of diversity.

This morning I welcomed the President (Mr. Samuel Amoako-Kusi) and the Secretary (Ms. Athina Osei Kyeremateng) of the Student Representative Council of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. Samuel and Athina are here with us in the audience today. During their visit this month, they will gain insights into the student governance structure at Ramapo College, as well as the issues present in U.S. Higher Education today and indeed there are issues.

With the recent confirmation of Elizabeth Devos as Secretary of Education there is reason for us in public education to be considered and cautious. Some of us may recall years ago when the Spellings Commission issued its report and the spirit of deregulation that followed.

 Time will tell how the Department of Education will address Title IX and other relevant issues in the coming years, but regardless of its future positions, the College will continue to advance campus safety in all of its forms. Some recent accomplishments on this front include:

  • the establishment of an on campus Office for Violence Prevention to be led by a Prevention Education Coordinator and that search is currently underway;
  • the completion of Campus Security Authority training;
  • new student participation in SCREAM theater, a nationally recognized program that educates students about sexual violence, and in  an Affirmative Consent workshop, “Zero Shades of Gray”
  • The ongoing training of Title IX investigators

With respect to federal financial aid and student loan debt, the future of these programs and policies is also in question. What we do know is that Jerry Falwell, president of Liberty University, who was recently appointed to the Federal Task Force on Higher Education Policy has described the current regulatory environment of our sector as “over-reaching.”

So what does deregulation, limited access, and a high level interest in an uninformed citizenry mean for Ramapo College?

  • It means angst and discomfort for many much of the time.
  • It suggests that as educators and students we must be impeccable in how we articulate our opinions, advocate our strengths, and model compassion and good citizenship.
    • For example, several student groups have organized a Unity Rally for tomorrow and it is my hope that their demonstration will bring people together to, in their words, “learn and embrace different cultures” and I would add, different perspectives. POST SCRIPT NOTE: Due to inclement weather, the Unity Rally was rescheduled for February 16 at 6pm.
  • It represents increased competition for students, faculty, and staff.
  • It requires us, as a College, to do everything we can to ensure the quality of the Ramapo experience is superb. From the courtesy with which we answer our phones to the excellence with which we deliver our courses, there is no room for even marginal error any longer. 

Much has been talked about recently regarding sanctuary cities and sanctuary campuses. I wish to reiterate the sentiment expressed in my earlier messages regarding President Trump’s Executive Order:

  • I’d like to assure our students that before the College will release personally identifiable information connected to your education records, a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena is required.
  • Colleges and universities are considered “sensitive locations” under federal immigration policy, and federal immigration officials generally do not take enforcement actions on campus.
  • Declaring ourselves a sanctuary campus, which while it is a term not formally defined, could place us at risk of losing federal funding and, while we have a robust endowment, it is by no means sufficient to offset the resources our students receive from the federal government. For example, approximately 30% of our students receive the federal Pell Grant. In addition, a substantial number of our students participate in the Perkins loan program, Stafford loan program, and federal work study program.

Outside of officially declaring ourselves a sanctuary campus, there are other initiatives we engage in to reassure our students and one another. All stakeholders should know that Public Safety will not inquire nor record the immigration status of students or other persons; and immigration status has never been and will never be a factor in student housing or enrollment decisions.

On the Collective Bargaining front, I host monthly meetings with the representatives of AFT, CWA, and IFPTE. Occurring simultaneously but separately from those meetings, the process of negotiations indeed grinds slowly, but IFPTE has settled, AFT is at the table, and CWA is awaiting a court ruling regarding steps.

Some positive takeaways from those meetings include:

  • Voiced appreciation for a perceived shift in HR’s approach to discipline as a development opportunity.
  • The training and development position is posted and the committee is established, it includes: Jill Brown, John Thompson, Anthony Casilli, Deb Schultes, and Rosa Diaz Mulryan.
  • Employees have expressed interest in an on campus child care center. We will explore such a venture but I caution upfront that such business ventures can be very cost prohibitive.
  • Employees have also expressed interest in expanding our dependent waivers program for undergraduate instruction. We will also explore such an expansion.

We are also re-looking at the issue of releasing a less redacted version of the Grant Thornton report as requested by the unions, however, it is unlikely that doing so will occur in a way that is satisfactory to many of you.

The values of a healthy workplace include increased productivity and morale, and reduced absenteeism and healthcare costs. I acknowledge that employee wellness is pivotal particularly during times of stress:

  • The first annual “Spring Into Wellness” event will take place on March 29 in the Bradley Center. Tables and staff from offices all over campus will provide wellness resources and information to students and employees.
  • The Krame Center offers free weekly meditation for students and employees: Mondays and Thursdays at 1:10pm, and Wednesdays at 5:30pm.
    • The Krame Center also recently announced its partnership with the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts. For those of you who may be curious about the Mindful fellows program please speak to a fellow, faculty members from all of our schools have completed the program. If any of them are here today, please stand: Maisha Amen, Amanda Beecher, Alejandra Bozzolasco, Sasha Bogdanowich, Julie Fitzgerald, Mark Howenstein, Kelly Dolak, Ann Lepore, Seon Mi Kim, Eva Ogens, Ed Shannon, Shridevi Shivarajan, Mary Starke, Paula Straile-Costa, Malavika Sundararajan, Terra Vandergraw, and Ashwani Vasishth.
  • Many of us belong to a gym or we occasionally pay to take yoga, swim, spin, pilates, or Zumba classes. I am pleased to announce that the College will issue free Bradley Center memberships for faculty and staff. The free memberships are a non-taxable benefit and will go in to effect on July 1 of this year and will be made available to all full-time and part-time employees and retirees.

With respect to our financial health, the College was recently reassessed by Standard & Poor’s and earned an A rating with a positive outlook.   Factors supporting the ‘A’ rating include:

  • good quality of students and historically stable enrollment
  • consistent conservative budgeting and financial planning practices; and
  • excellent adjusted unrestricted net assets as a percentage of adjusted operating expenses.

In contrast, the agency also reassessed the state of New Jersey and bestowed upon it an A- rating with a negative outlook.

Purchasing successfully negotiated a competitive three year contract extension with Follett for management of the college bookstore. We look forward to our continued relationship with Teri King and her Follett colleagues.

An RFP for dining services management was recently issued, responses are in hand and will be reviewed over the next few weeks. Our relationship with Sodexo is one that many of us value greatly but the College must do its due diligence to ensure that our contract for food service remains competitive and cutting edge.

ITS has partnered with departments across the College on a series of implementations including the integration of Slate Admissions application and Ellucian Banner Admissions.  In its first year, the Office of Admissions has saved approximately 112,000 pieces of paper so far by processing applications electronically via the Slate software. By having our internal ITS talent lead and/or support these integrations and implementations, the College has saved a significant amount of money that might otherwise go to external third parties.

The Center for Innovative and Professional Learning is required to generate net revenue. One strategy it is pursuing to do so is the launch of a series of summer programs to attract high school students to our campus including: Art Portfolio Preparation, Brazilian Percussion, Numerical Analysis, and an online Web Site Development course submitted by Professor Alex Vengerov and approved by ARC as a 3-credit course specially designed for high school students.

Last year PepsiCo announced that its environmental sustainability programs saved the company more than $375 million in five years. The savings were achieved through the continued progress of the company’s water, energy, packaging and waste-reduction initiatives. I am pleased to share that our Committee on Campus Sustainability, Residence Life, the Center for Student Involvement, and a number of student clubs have been very active on this front. This month alone, these groups are organizing a series of sustainable-minded events including participation in the National Campus Eco-challenge competition, a Food Waste Audit, a Trash Audit, and the launch of an App for students to make it easier for them to find other students with whom they can share rides.

On the enrollment front, the high school population is shrinking, and competition for students is more fierce. After steady increases in the overall number of high school graduates for the last 15 years, the US is headed into a period of stagnation. The nation is projected to produce fewer high schools graduates in all of the 10 graduating classes between 2014 and 2023 with year of greatest decline as 2017. In 2013, the Northeast produced approx. 639,000 graduates, which represented 18% of the national total. By 2030, the number of high school graduate is projected to decrease to about 567,000 graduates, this means the Northeast will produce only 16% of the national total.

Getting back to what I mentioned earlier, we must continue to focus on doing what we do but we must do it even better than before. A few examples:

  • Graduate enrollment continues to remain strong at Ramapo, finishing the Spring semester at 106% of its established target.
  • Our M.S. in Accounting Program has launched. The program prepares students for Certified Public Accounting certification and a wide variety of professional endeavors, including forensic accounting and fraud examination; students can obtain both B.S and M.S. degrees in five years. Are Dean Ed Petkus, Karen Norton, and Professor Connie Crawford here? Please stand to be recognized. Thank you and your colleagues for your diligence in bringing this program to fruition.
  • The Office of Student Accounts and a few other student facing units were open on Martin Luther King day. Student Accounts reported that it serviced over 100 students and their families that day. Both parents and students alike expressed their pleasure that we were here to assist them. Targeting our services in this way is critical to our success.
  • The TRIO Student Support Services Grant program, housed in the Office of Specialized Services, reported a six year graduation rate of 78% in its Annual Performance Report to the Department of Education for students who started in the fall of 2010. The 78% rate is 23 percentage points higher than the grant’s objective of 55% and almost 5 percentage points higher than the College’s rate of 73.2% for the same period.
  • Our Peer Facilitation Program was selected as the Bronze Award Winner for the 2016-2017 NASPA Excellence Awards. NASPA is an international student affairs association of over 15,000 members.
  • Professor Eric Wiener and students from his Ecological Field Research class documented over 8,000 hawks, falcons, vultures and eagles (including 10 golden eagles!) migrating past the Ramapo Mountains this past Fall. Two of the students, Patrick Erb and Holly Ellerbusch, will present the findings this spring at the Annual Conference of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Ecological Society of America. All of the data the team collects are being shared with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.
  • Student Michael Flood, also working with Professor Wiener, will present findings from his project about a rare outbreak of oak leaf roller moths that defoliated thousands of chestnut oak trees over in West Milford, NJ. Those data are also being shared with the NJ Conservation Foundation.

Our campus continues to shift and change and renew itself. Ramapo College is now the full-time host of the Bergen County Office of the New Jersey Small Business Development Center.  The Center’s consultants help small businesses expand their operations, manage their growth, or start new ventures. They will also be working with faculty and students as a resource for research and classroom learning experiences.

Facilities Management recently underwent a restructuring of its management team.  As a result, one managerial position was eliminated and it is designed to improve work order response times, increase agility, aid in succession planning, and empower and recognize the very good work of our facilities management team.

The solar arrays on the rooftops of Mackin and Bischoff Hall are nearly complete. Construction for solar arrays on the A-E wings, the Bradley Center, and the Potter Library is currently taking place and is expected to be completed this June.  Preparation for ground mounted arrays on the berms near Health Services are in process and being scheduled to start mid-February and completely installed by the end of this semester. Coordination of the parking lot canopies is ongoing with a logistics plan expected later this month.  At this time, any approved plan will require us to take one parking lot offline at a time while foundations are installed. Possible locations for the redistributed parking are being evaluated, including the parking lot at Mahwah Township’s Continental Soldiers’ Field.  Until a viable plan for parking is finalized, the carports will be delayed until at least mid-May when the parking lots will be mostly empty of cars, eliminating contention for spaces. The entire solar array project is currently scheduled to be completed by mid-summer.

The Office of Residence Life opened gender inclusive restrooms in Laurel, Mackin, Bischoff, Pine, Linden and Overlook residence halls.

The Padovano College Commons is finally well underway. The old Carriage House will be repurposed into a coffee shop and activity space.  Interior demolition has been completed. The installation of new rough framing and heating & cooling, electrical, and plumbing systems is in progress right now with the installation of sheetrock and ceilings to follow.  Construction is scheduled to be completed by summer.

There is perhaps no single capital project that will have a more significant impact on Ramapo College than the renovation of the Potter Library and the new addition of the Learning Commons. We have already secured more than $5.7 million in gifts and pledges for the project and another $1.3 million is pending. I would like to recognize the members of the Campus Campaign Committee. Please stand if you’re here with us today: Roark Atkinson, Susan Auger, Bonnie Blake, Joan Capizzi, Marie Ciampi ’15, Angela Cristini, Harold Crocker, Anthony Dovi ’05, Odalin Dume, Kathleen Finnegan ’80, Sue Gluchanicz, Cathy Hajo ’85, Teresa Hutchins, Robin Keller ’98, ’02, ’07, Liz Kloak ’16, Amruth Kumar, LeQuan Norman, Eva Ogens, Purvi Parekh ’01, ’04, Ivy Payne ’12, Eddie Seavers, Ellen Senese, Liz Siecke, Jose Vallejo ’02, and Hillary Westgate. Please consider joining with them in supporting this effort. Internal participation is what matters to outside corporations and foundations when evaluating our requests  to them for funds.

I am also happy to share some other examples of palpable good will on our campus. First, the Friends of Ramapo organization has almost 250 members including young families and retirees. The Friends of Ramapo provide valuable Scholarship support to our students. This year alone, 9 scholarships were awarded, totaling $19,700.  And the Friends of Ramapo have pledged $75,000 over the next 5 years to support the new Library and Learning Commons Project.

Second, if Elaine Himmelberg is here, please stand. Thanks to Elaine’s leadership in 2017, Ramapo faculty and staff will use payroll deductions to contribute $6,240 to charities of their choosing – including National Kidney Foundation, Puppies Behind Bars, Ramapo College, Alzheimer’s Association, Ocean Conservancy, Native American Rights Fund, among others.  This represents a 13% increase in charitable commitments over 2016.

Third, Human Resources and the Professional Staff Association are coordinating a program for employees’ dependent children grades 3 through 8 on Thursday, April 27, 2017.  Among some of the activities the children will participate in is a photo session at my desk.

Fourth, the Cahill Center is implementing Ramapo’s first College-wide celebration of National Student Employment Week with daily celebrations of food, prizes and entertainment for our approximately 1,000 student employees. The week will take place from April 10-14.

Fifth, the Public Safety Outreach Unit, Officers Tray Barmore and Will Holmes, did a walk-around during exams as Santa and Santa’s Helper handing out candy canes. The Department of Public Safety conducted Winter Break Training that included “Active Shooter” training with the Mahwah Police Department and all officers received training by the Public Safety Managers, Tom Mauro and Frank Dara on Racial Diversity and Effective Communications.

Sixth, the Ramapo Readers Project has provided nearly 150,000 books for students and families in Paterson. Ramapo will be recognized by the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey Association as a “Company that Cares” in March as a result of their efforts.

Seventh, building upon a series of student-led activities focused on #GivingTuesday, the College targeted its outreach to our alumni, parents, and faculty/staff. We exceeded our goal and 538 donors made a gift or pledge. In addition, our own Student Governors of the Ramapo College Foundation, Princep Shah and Sarah Brown, organized the Roadrunners Give Back Campaign and worked in conjunction with the Foundation’s Giving Tuesday initiative. The main purpose of their event was to raise awareness among the student body about the importance of giving back. They asked students, faculty, and staff to write a message about why they think giving back is important or how they have benefited from various Ramapo scholarships. 175 students participated.

I’d like to see a show of hands for those who attended the Diversity Action Committee’s recent Diversity Convocation Luncheon or Address.  It featured Kanya Balakrishna of The Future Project. She spoke about the tenets of “possibility thinking” and the importance of cultivating people’s talents and potential to achieve. We do a very good job of fostering our own brand of “possibility thinking” here at Ramapo from clubs and organizations to student leadership development and student/faculty mentoring. A few examples:

  • On January 21, Tamika Quick, Advisor to the BSU and17 students from the Black Student Union organizations participated in a seven hour retreat to discuss their mission, vision and goals for the upcoming spring semester.
  • In December, three ASB students represented Ramapo College in the ‘College Fed Challenge’, 2016 at the Federal Reserve Bank, NYC. The students played the role of monetary policymakers by analyzing economic conditions and recommended a course for monetary policy to the economists of the Fed.
  • Heidi Pilla, a literature major, presented her paper, “The Importance of Symbolism and Parallelism in The Great Gatsby,” at the 2016 COPLAC Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity Conference in October. Her paper was also published in Metamorphosis. She wrote the paper for Survey of American Literature: Romantics to Contemporary, taught by Professor Lisa Williams.
  • Resident Student Victoria Einchenlaub and GRD Amanda DelGaudio attended the 2016 MACUHO Conference, they presented “Fostering a Safe Community to Call Home.” They talked about how to build inclusion, eliminate micro aggressions, and cultivate better ally behavior for students of diverse backgrounds.
  • Fall 2016 marked the first semester for the newly conceptualized Emerging Greek Leaders Program. 20 Greek leaders were selected to be inducted into the inaugural class and will serve as peer leaders for engaging and training their peers during the Spring semester’s new member education process.
  • Senior Frank Albergo has been selected as a student staff member for the Northeast Greek Leadership Association conference this month. He has also been nominated for the Greek Leader of Distinction Award to be presented at the conference.  This represents the first time a Ramapo College student has been nominated for the award.
  • Stephen Geerlof, student trustee and employee in the Center for Student Success, had his first article published this September in Educause Review titled “Choosing Your Degree Pathway: A Student Viewpoint On Choosing A Degree Planning Tool And An Academic Advisor ” which focused on his participation in student success initiatives at Ramapo.
  • Visual Arts major Monica Lucianna has a drawing in Subjective, a current exhibition in New York City sponsored by the New York chapter of the Women’s Caucus of Art.
  • Over the winter break, 28 theater students attended the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Regionals held at Montclair State University, accompanied by Professor Terra Vandergaw. Two of the students were selected to participate in the Nationals, which will be held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
  • Six students majoring in Communication Arts have been selected to present their research papers at the Eastern Communication Association Student Research Conference in Boston in March on a range of topics including “An Analysis of Evolving Gender Representations of Male Disney Villains” and “The Impact of Celebrity Narcissism on Instagram Towards Young, Affluent, White Women in America.”
  • 15 EOF students recently attended the Bryant Student Leadership Group’s Conference. Ramapo won an award for bringing the largest delegation of students to the conference. The conference had student leadership tracks for African American, Asian American Pacific Islander, and Chicano Hispanic Latino students and they participated in a recruitment event where they spoke to high school students, from along the East Coast, about what Ramapo has to offer.
  • Last month, the Office of Equity & Diversity Programs sponsored a two day training for students that have volunteered to serve as Diversity Peer Educators. These students will provide ongoing educational training and workshops related to equity & diversity programs.
  • Cory Rosenkranz, Coordinator of Substance Abuse, brought four students to the Apple Training Institute to train participants on how to implement an evidence-based substance abuse prevention and education model on a college campus through a comprehensive, action plan. This opportunity was made possible under the NCAA Choices Grant.
  • The EOF Program has started a male mentoring program that is run by student development specialists Tushawn Jernigan and Andre Turner. Men Achieving Success Together (MAST) meets up to six times a semester.  The group has an upcoming community service event, where they will feed the homeless.
  • On April 28, Ramapo College will host its annual Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Is Kathleen Finnegan here? This year, the College will formally recognize Kathleen’s 41 years of service when it inducts her as a remarkable administrator and coach.
  • Athletics has had tremendous success this year. This fall, women’s volleyball had one of the most successful seasons in the program’s history. They won the NJAC regular season championship for the first time here at Ramapo, and they earned an at-large bid to the NCAAs, another first.  Currently the men’s basketball team, after a historic start of 19-1 is currently ranked #7 in the nation and looks to take home the NJAC crown for the fourth time in program history later this month.

With respect to faculty and staff achievements, we also have much to commend:

  • Professor Elaine Patterson’s text “Transition from Clinician to Educator: A Practical Approach” was voted #2 on the American Journal of Nursing’s list of books of the year 2016.
  • ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society. It named Professor Amruth Kumar as an ACM Distinguished Educator. To quote the association, “ACM Distinguished Members are recognized for their individual contributions to the field of computing, and their achievements have advanced the science and education of computing in a significant way.”
  • In November, Professor Fran Shapiro-Skrobe presented a paper entitled “The Importance of a Text’s Surface Features on College Students’ Critical Reading Skills: Little Items with a Big Impact” at the annual conference of the National Association of Literacy Educators & Researchers.
  • EOF and TREO inducted three faculty members as honorary Chi Alpha Epsilon (XAE) National Honor Society members. The faculty inductees include: Professor Karl Johnson, Dean Edward Saiff, and Professor Frances Shapiro-Skrobe.
  • Professor Peter Heinze recently published “Psychopathy, unconscious shame and attachment: Considering the Psychodynamics of Psychopathy” in The Journal of Psychodynamic Practice.
  • Professors Michael Bitz and Tilahun Sineshaw traveled to Ethiopia over winter break through the Provost’s Sub-Saharan Africa Travel Grant. They worked with school teachers and university faculty there to build creative pathways to literacy and presented at Addis Ababa University, a development session titled “Literacy, Creativity, and Cognition: Exploring Learning and Development through Youth-Generated Comic Books.”
  • Professor Mia Serban was invited to the United Nations Development Programme in Paris where she presented “Regime Change and Property Rights Consciousness in Post-Communist Romania”, which is also forthcoming in The Journal of Law and Social Inquiry.
  • On February 24, under the leadership of Professor Eileen Klein, Ramapo College is hosting the New Jersey BSW Educational Associations Annual Policy Symposium, titled “Changing Political Climate: Local and Global Implications.”
  • Next month, Dean Ann Marie Moreno and Professor Stephanie Sarabia will be taking 11 MSW students to Lisbon, Portugal to examine their system of drug decriminalization including visits with parliament members who were instrumental in passing the legislation and researchers from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
  • Professor Stacie Taranto’s book, “Kitchen Table Politics: Conservative Women and Family Values in New York”, will be released from University of Pennsylvania Press on March 21, 2017, in its Politics and Culture in Modern America Series. Professor Taranto also has an article entitled “Goodbye to the Party of Rockefeller: How a Decidedly Un-Silent Minority’ Pushed the GOP to Embrace Antifeminism,” coming out in Inventing the Silent Majority in Western Europe and the United States: Conservatism in the 1960s and 1970s, an anthology edited by Anna von der Goltz and Britta Waldschmidt-Nelson, to be published by Cambridge University Press.
  • Professor Lisa Cassidy’s article “The Ethics of Shaming in the Era of Social Media” has been accepted into the edited volume Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Shame—currently the proposed volume is being reviewed by SUNY Press and by Lexington Books.
  • Professor Paula Straile-Costa will be presenting a paper entitled “Fears and Fantasies of Globalization in the Americas: Faustian Epics of Human-Alien Contact and Coexistence from Cuba, Brazil and the United States,” at the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts annual conference in March.
  • Professors Paula Straile-Costa and Lisa Williams attended the NYU Faculty Resource Network (FRN) Winter Seminar titled “Uprooted and Displaced: Refugees, (Im)Migrants, and Exiles in World Literature.” Professor Susan Hangen also attended the program and took part in an accompanying seminar on “Refugees and Migrants in the 21st Century.”
  • Professor Susan Hangen also presented a paper based on her funded research on Nepali restaurants in New York City at the South Asia Institute. The paper is titled, “The Momo Matrix: The Evolution of Nepali/Himalayan Restaurants in New York.” She is revising the paper for publication.
  • Professor Hugh Sheehy has short stories out this winter in the literary magazines Guernica and The Collagist.
  • Professor Pinar Kayaalp’s article “An analysis of the hospitals of Sultan Suleyman and Hurrem: Two Different Approaches to Healthcare in Sixteenth-century Ottoman Empire” was published in last month’s issue of The Journal of Medical Biography.
  • Professor Yvette Kisor presented her paper “Children’s Beowulfs for the New Tolkien Generation” at the Beowulf for Younger Readers Symposium. In May she will present her paper “Tolkien’s Monsters: An Asterisk in His Translation of Beowulf” at the 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies. In July 2017 she will present her paper “Tolkien’s Beowulf: Translating Knights” at the International Medieval Congress.
  • Professor Sam Mustafa completed his fifth book last semester, titled Paper Kingdom: Napoleon, The Germans, and the Strange Case of Westphalia, under offer from Palgrave Macmillan.
  • On Tuesday, January 20, more than 350,000 people viewed Mediacracy, a staged reading of the November 2016 New York Times interview with Donald Trump, on Now This News’ It was composed and directed by Professor Peter A. Campbell, and performed by a chorus of twelve women, including five Ramapo students and alumni.
  • Professor Rachel Budin recently designed lighting for the play Brownsville Song: B-Side for Tray at Florida Studio Theater in Sarasota.
  • Professor Gilad Cohen was commissioned to compose a piano trio by the Concert Artists Guild. The piece, which is titled “Around the Cauldron”, will receive its world premiere on March 14 at Carnegie Hall.
  • Professor Lisa Lutter will direct 26 Ramapo Chorale students in a Spring Break concert tour in Ghana, which includes performances with the choir at KNUST.
  • Professor Jackie Skrzynski has work in the exhibition “Order and Chaos” at Western Kentucky University.
  • Professor John Peffer will present a talk, “Youth Protest, Art, and Post-revolution Iconoclasm in South Africa circa 2015,” at the symposium Imagining Histories, Performing Identities to be held on February 25 at the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester.
  • Michael Alcee and Tara Sager, Psychological Counselors in Counseling Services, co-authored an article for The Journal for College Student Psychotherapy entitled “How to Fall in Love with Time-Limited Therapy: Lessons from Poetry and Music.” Dr. Alcee also authored an article for The Journal for College Student Psychotherapy entitled “The Importance of a Male Presence in College Counseling.”

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