Posted by: Andrea Alexander | July 1, 2013

A New Rutgers, With a New Mission

Rutgers signNEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – The new Rutgers University – academically stronger, energized by an expanded mission of medical education – begins today.

Rutgers University President Robert L. Barchi and leaders across the state welcomed a new era in higher education, as the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act incorporates most of the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey into Rutgers.

The restructuring act, which takes full effect today, positions Rutgers to assume greater prominence across the state and nation.

“For decades, Rutgers has been recognized for outstanding faculty, students and programs in the arts, sciences, humanities, social sciences and professional schools,” President Barchi said. “Combining our many existing strengths with our broader mission of medical education will elevate Rutgers to the ranks of the nation’s finest comprehensive research universities.”

The new Rutgers will:

Offer undergraduate, graduate and professional school students a more complete education, with access to interdisciplinary programs not previously available.

Strengthen public-private partnerships between Rutgers and the health-care industry statewide, nationally and globally.

Create new economic opportunities for New Jersey businesses and residents.

Launch new research initiatives to tackle many of society’s most difficult challenges.

In recent months, President Barchi noted, Rutgers faculty and students have begun to form interdisciplinary initiatives in key areas of research, instruction and public service – including neuroscience, medical ethics, public health and precision medicine.

“The people of New Jersey finally have the world-class public university that they deserve, with a commitment to excellence in virtually every facet of higher education,” President Barchi said. “We look forward to the day when Rutgers University is synonymous with research that eradicates disease and enhances medical care, while providing an excellent education each year to tens of thousands of students from all corners of the world.

“I’d like to thank Gov. Chris Christie, Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver, members of our governing boards and all of the leaders across New Jersey who have made the restructuring of higher education a reality,” President Barchi added.

The restructuring act creates Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, which includes all of the schools, centers and institutes that made up UMDNJ except for University Hospital in Newark and the School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford. University Hospital is now a freestanding institution, but remains the principal teaching hospital for the Newark-based medical and dental schools. The School of Osteopathic Medicine is now part of Rowan University. In addition, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences programs at Stratford transfer to Rowan University.

Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences also includes three existing Rutgers academic institutions: the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy; the Rutgers College of Nursing; and the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research.

Established in 1766, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is America’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning and one of the nation’s premier public research universities. Serving more than 65,000 students on campuses, centers, institutes and other locations throughout the state, Rutgers is the only public university in New Jersey that is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities.

Posted by: Andrea Alexander | June 23, 2013

Ringing the Old Queens Bell Will Mark a Historic Day at Rutgers

The Old Queens Bell donated by Colonel Henry Rutgers in 1826.

The Old Queens Bell donated by Colonel Henry Rutgers in 1826.

On July 1, the Old Queens Bell will sound to mark a historic event for higher education in New Jersey – the integration of Rutgers with most of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Ringing the Old Queens Bell is an honored tradition reserved to mark significant events at Rutgers. The first day of integration will join moments in the university’s history that have included the 200th anniversary of Old Queens in 2009 – the oldest building at Rutgers – when the bell sounded 200 times. On the first anniversary of 9/11, the bell rung 37 times to honor the 37 people with ties to Rutgers who died in the terrorist attacks. A New Year’s Eve ringing of the bell also marked the start of the bicentennial year of the university in 1966.

“It is certainly appropriate that the bell should be rung for integration,’’ said Matt Weismantel, a senior director of University Relations. “It is one of the major moments in the life of the university.’’

The Old Queens Bell is a celebrated icon of the university’s history. The bell was a gift from Colonel Henry Rutgers in 1826, along with his donation of a $5,000 bond, which kept the then struggling school open. As a show of gratitude, the University was named in the colonel’s honor.

Before the university expanded beyond the Old Queens campus, the bell was rung to signal daily worship and the change of classes. But as the university’s footprint grew, the ringing of the bell took on new meaning and was reserved to mark significant occasions.

Over the decades ringing of the bell has celebrated the Rutgers women’s basketball team’s appearance in the NCAA Final Four, and two undefeated football seasons in 1961 and 1976. The bell is also rung every year to mark commencement, welcome first-year students at the new student convocation and on Rutgers Day, the annual celebration of all things Rutgers.

On July 1, bell ringers will include students from both Rutgers and the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. “This event can not take place without the sound of the Old Queens Bell ringing in excitement and anticipation of our newly expanded vision of the future,” Weismantel said.

Posted by: Andrea Alexander | June 23, 2013

Changing of the Signs

umdnj sign

Workers swap out the the UMDNJ sign on Department of Family Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at 1 World’s Fair Drive in Somerset.

As Day One inches closer, one of the key tasks to be completed is the replacement of signs in  the new areas in Newark, New Brunswick, Stratford, Somerset and Scotch Plains that will be joining Rutgers.

“Most of the-high profile signage renaming UMDNJ as Rutgers will be completed by July 1,” said Frank Wong, executive director of University Planning and Development at Rutgers. “The second phase – directional and interior signage – should be done by mid-September, and as the semester progresses, a few odds and ends.”

By the end of this week workers will have swapped logos and lettering on more than 1,000 signs, which includes more than 100 at entries that mark buildings on campuses. Additionally, several skyline signs are being replaced atop buildings in Newark, Piscataway, New Brunswick and Scotch Plains. “One of these skyline signs is being erected on top of the Stanley S. Bergen Building in place of the iconic UMDNJ letters that have resided there for many years,” Wong said.

The naming changes are part of an overall design strategy to revisit the way in which Rutgers moves people between, around and through campuses and to incorporate growth and environmental consciousness –  for example, promoting pedestrian and bicycle-friendly initiatives.

“This first step in a universitywide signage master plan will be to extend the newly revised institutional brand and reinforce the concept of creating a unified Rutgers,” said Rion Byrd-Gumus, of University Planning and Development, who serves as an environmental graphics coordinator for this initiative.

Rutgers has hired exi;t, a research and design strategy firm in Philadelphia, to assist with the creation of a new university sign standard as well as help with the immediate need of transitioning high-profile UMDNJ signage.

Posted by: Andrea Alexander | June 23, 2013

No Small Task: Keeping Integration on Track and Within Budget

Judy Zenowich, executive project manager, Biomedical and Health Sciences

Judy Zenowich, executive project manager, Biomedical and Health Sciences

A year ago, when Judy Zenowich came across the job posting for an executive project manager to oversee the nuts and bolts of Rutgers’ integration with UMDNJ, she just had to apply.

“My skills and experience were completely in sync with what had to get done,” said Zenowich, who, at the time, was the director of development at Rutgers’ School of Social Work.

Zenowich had spent 30 years in the financial services industry helping to steer mergers involving some of the top names in investment banking firms. She left that world to support and care for several family members facing serious illness, and, later, made a career transition to fundraising.

Since Zenowich came on board last summer, reporting to Christopher Molloy, interim provost for Biomedical and Health Sciences, she has been the glue to ensure that the hundreds of moving pieces come together by July 1. With the help of university consultants, deans, administrators and faculty from Rutgers and UMDNJ, she hashes out large and small issues of the historic restructuring – from renegotiating research contracts and crafting academic policies to deciding how much employees should be reimbursed for mileage and where students should park.

Zenowich also approves and tracks expenditures with a stern eye on the university’s $75 million, three-year integration budget. “I won’t approve frivolous expenses. No breakfast or lunch gatherings,” she says. “If you want food at your meeting, bring it from home.”

She admits she’s had some early morning waking, wondering if it could all get done. “I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of something so big and complex,” she said.

There are moments when she feels like she’s dealing with a giant Rubik’s cube.  But, she stresses, the issues seem to get resolved, a tribute to the spirit of cooperation and the “incredibly talented, bright, articulate people both at Rutgers and UMNDJ.”  She said the work of 12 functional teams — who meet regularly with their sub-teams to identify issues, establish work plans and make crucial decisions — has been indispensible.

What’s next? Zenowich isn’t certain, though her work on the integration will probably extend into the next fiscal year.  “I keep my eye on the goal. What is I see is this very impressive knitting together of a biomedical and health enterprise along with all the other tremendous things Rutgers offers.”

Posted by: Andrea Alexander | June 16, 2013

Alumni By the Numbers

Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi addressed the last graduating class of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey on May 22.

Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi addressed the last graduating class of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey on May 22.

What does the integration of Rutgers and UMDNJ mean for alumni?

In a letter to alumni last fall Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi said an active, engaged alumni community is critical to the success of any university.

He told alumni in the letter that he hopes integration would “mean a reaffirmation of the values and academic excellence that drew you to seek an education at your alma mater, a growing sense of pride in the university, and the benefits that will come as the institution grows in stature among the very best comprehensive research universities in America.”

By the Numbers:

Rutgers Number of living alumni: 408,000

UMDNJ Number of living alumni: 33,216

Students celebrate Rutgers 2013 Commencement.

Students celebrate Rutgers 2013 Commencement.

Welcome UMDNJ Alumni:

After July 1, 2013, all UMDNJ alumni, with the exception of those from the School of Osteopathic Medicine, will be granted Rutgers alumni status and become members of the Rutgers University Alumni Association (RUAA). Alumni can learn more about how to maintain ties with their schools and programs, as well as see FAQ in the legacy UMDNJ alumni section of the RUAA website.


The Mom2Mom peer counseling team

After July 1, University Behavioral HealthCare (UBHC), one of the largest providers of its kind in the country, will become part of Rutgers.

In partnership with the departments of psychiatry at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and New Jersey Medical School, UMDNJ–UBHC provides academically based clinical programs and services for New Jersey state initiatives and public sector programs as well as for employers and the corporate community. One of the programs that will be coming to Rutgers is Mom2Mom, a 24-hour helpline for mothers of children with special needs.

“Mom2Mom makes me feel like I’m not on an island,” says Marie Reich of Rutherford, the mother of a 12-year-old autistic son. Over the past year, Reich has formed a bond with her counselor, Mary Beth Walsh, whose son is also autistic. Reich is one of 40 callers who traveled last month to the Mom2Mom call center in Piscataway to meet the counselors face-to-face after getting to know and rely on them only as voices on the phone.

Where many organizations provide a valuable focus on the educational and developmental needs of the children, Mom2Mom stands alone by concentrating on the emotional well-being of the parents, whose burdens go beyond those faced by other parents. Through Mom2Mom [(877)-914-MOM2], mothers of children with special needs have been trained as peer counselors to staff the helpline and talk to other mothers facing similar issues.

“Mom2Mom is not just a helpline that you call once,” Reich says. “Mary Beth regularly calls back to check on me. I love my family. I love my friends. But they don’t always understand like a mom of a child with special needs can.”

UMDNJ-University Behavioral HealthCare provides a similar helpline to assist New Jersey Veterans, and also runs Cop 2 Cop, the first program of its kind in the nation that focuses on suicide prevention and mental health support for law enforcement officers.

Read more.

Posted by: Andrea Alexander | June 16, 2013

Century for the Cure to Benefit CINJ

Century 2013 5x7 (front)

The 9th annual ride takes place September 7 at Camp Riverbend in Warren Township.

Cycling enthusiasts, community supporters and volunteers are being called to register for the annual Century for the Cure bicycle ride that benefits the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, which will soon become part of Rutgers.

In the last eight years riders have logged thousands of miles and raised more than a million dollars. The end result? The potential to help a countless number of patients who are battling cancer.

What started off as a handful of participants gathered by ride founder Scott Glickman in 2005 has grown into an event that attracts more than a hundred riders, dozens of volunteers and numerous “virtual participants” – those who choose not to make the 100-mile, 80-mile or 40-mile treks on two wheels but give their support online.

More than a decade ago, Glickman, of Warren Township. was successfully treated at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey for stage four non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Specifically, a portion of the funds raised supports the research and work of Roger Strair, chief of hematological malignancies/hematopoietic stem cell transplantation at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, who was Glickman’s oncologist during his treatment.

The effort in part supports cutting-edge research at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey.  Most recently, funds raised from the ride helped establish the first-ever Century for the Cure Research Grant.  A pair of $50,000 grants was awarded to investigators from the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Rutgers to further enhance exploration of blood cancers.

Read more or click here to register.

Kathryn Uhrich, professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, at Rutgers talkls with Sheenu Chandwani, who teaches in the Department of Epidemiology at UMDNJ-School of Public Health.

Rutgers Professor Kathryn Uhrich, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, talks with Sheenu Chandwani, of the Department of Epidemiology at UMDNJ-School of Public Health.

With a goal to build a small community within a big university, faculty from Rutgers and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey  kicked off the first in a series of networking events for colleagues across institutions, campuses and disciplines.

More than 100 faculty members attended the Rutgers-UMDNJ Faculty Wine & Cheese Reception on June 4 at the Busch Campus Center. The event was sponsored by the Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics, Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UMDNJ.

Joan Bennett, associate vice president for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics, welcomed the group to what she hopes will be the first of many such gatherings.  “This integration is the most important thing to ever happen in higher education in New Jersey,” said Bennett, a professor in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology who has been at Rutgers since 2006. “It’s really going to make a difference to all of us.”

The idea for the networking wine and cheese reception came from members of OASIS (Objective Analysis of Self and Institution Seminar), a program that supports women in the STEM fields and helps them advance their careers and of which many faculty from UMDNJ and Rutgers are alumnae.

“This was the catalyst. The Rutgers-UMDNJ connections had already formed in OASIS – in which 20 percent of the alumnae are from UMDNJ – and we wanted to offer this opportunity to a broader audience,” said Beth Tracy, director for the OASIS Leadership & Professional Development Program.

Kathleen Scotto, vice president for research at UMDNJ and dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, said integration offers faculty exciting new opportunities for research, professional education and community service.

Joan Bennett welcomes UMDNJ and Rutgers faculty to the networking kickoff.

Joan Bennett welcomes UMDNJ and Rutgers faculty to the networking kickoff.

“You might never work together but you may share personal stories, find a mentor or a mentee or even a golf buddy,” Scotto said to the group. “It’s a great start, a great beginning.”

Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi told the gathering that Rutgers has an “incredible opportunity to bring together health sciences and biological sciences. On July 1 a switch will get turned, it will happen very quickly,” Barchi said. “We need to get people talking and thinking about how we can get this synergy going.”

President Robert Barchi and Chris Molloy at a meeting to discuss clinical issues related to integration.

President Barchi and Chris Molloy at a meeting to discuss clinical issues related to integration.

Nearly a year after Gov. Chris Christie signed sweeping higher education reform legislation, a new Rutgers University will be born with the integration of most of the schools, centers and institutes that make up the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Christopher J. Molloy, Rutgers’ interim provost for biomedical and health sciences, is leading the day-to-day activities surrounding integration. It is an undertaking he admits has led to some fatigue and sleepless nights.

But Molloy, a molecular and cellular pharmacologist who has served as dean of the Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, worked in research, management and drug discovery – and received his undergraduate degree from the Rutgers College of Pharmacy and  his Ph.D. from the Rutgers/UMDNJ Joint Graduate Program in Toxicology  says the birth of the new, more comprehensive Rutgers University will bring a higher level of prestige to the state, attract more revenue through grants and partnerships and provide students greater academic opportunities.

Rutgers Today sat down with Molloy to talk about what has occurred since the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act was signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie in August and to learn more about what integration means to the Rutgers community and New Jersey residents.

Read more

Posted by: Andrea Alexander | June 7, 2013

By the Numbers

Here are some more fast facts about the new Rutgers starting July 1:

This historic integration of Rutgers and UMDNJ will strengthen biomedical education and research statewide. The ultimate result will be a research university that will rank among the most prominent and elite institutions in America.

In FY2011, research expenditures at all three Rutgers campuses totaled $473.2 million, which is the most recent year the National Science Foundation has compiled data available. UMDNJ research spending in FY2011 was $228.8 million*, according to the National Science Foundation.  The combined FY2011 total of approximately $702 million for Rutgers plus UMDNJ would rank at #24 nationally that year, just below Texas A&M University and above major institutes such as Harvard, Northwestern University, Purdue, and the University of Illinois.

*Not including the approximately $5.6 million in research at UMDNJ’s School of Osteopathic Medicine.


Rutgers:  $473.2 million

UMDNJ:  $228.8 million

The $702 million total would rank

#24 among all U.S. universities,

#16 among public U.S. universities.

The new Rutgers also will have:

More than 15,400 full- and part-time staff members across all campuses

More than 9,000 full- and part-time faculty members across all campuses

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