Credit: Nick Romanenko
Positions: Arun is director of University Scheduling and Space Management for the New Brunswick/Piscataway campus; Nita is a day shift supervisor at the Mabel Smith Douglass Library.
Length of Service: Arun has worked at Rutgers since 1972; Nita, since 1981
Residence: South Brunswick
A Rutgers family: Nita and Arun Mukherjee met and married in northern India; they recently celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. With nearly 60 years of employment at Rutgers, they are truly a Rutgers family. Both of Arun and Nita Mukherjee’s daughters – Elora (RC ’02) and Angela (RC ’04) – graduated from Rutgers. “The depth of variety of disciplines that Rutgers offers gave them a chance to experiment with whatever they wanted,” said Arun Mukherjee. “The other thing that attracted them was the diversity of Rutgers,” he said. Elora triple majored in Spanish, economics and political science and graduated from Yale Law School last year; Angela, who studied biological sciences and English at Rutgers, is a medical student at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Managing 40,000 rooms: In 1972, Arun Mukherjee was studying for his master’s degree in industrial engineering when he began working at the newly formed Office for University Scheduling and Space Management. His math skills and studies in engineering principles helped him provide campuswide space analysis and design computerized reports to measure instructional space use. “I really enjoyed working with the faculty, staff and students, and I decided to stay. I never went out and looked for another job,” he said. He later earned a master’s degree in statistics from Rutgers and teaches intermediate algebra in the evenings.
The Office for University Scheduling and Space Management collects course schedules from faculty across New Brunswick/ Piscataway; coordinates room assignments for undergraduate and graduate courses, as well as noncredit courses and room reservations by students and external community members; publishes the schedule of classes; puts the data online; and maintains databases on every building at Rutgers. “We are the only office that knows exactly what the university has in terms of the number of buildings, the number of rooms, what types of rooms and floor plans for every room,” Arun Mukherjee said. “That information is very critical.” Mukherjee directs the assignment of approximately 40,000 rooms in more than 800 buildings in the university. His office is also responsible for developing first-year student schedules based on their top class choices and placement test results.
Changing libraries: After a brief job with the Office of Information Technology, Nita Mukherjee took some time off to raise Elora and Angela, and then returned to Rutgers in 1986 to join the libraries. She started at Douglass Library, worked at Technical and Automated Services and Alexander Library for several years and then returned to Douglass in 2000. Nita Mukherjee works at the Access Services department, the first stop for students and faculty looking for assistance with finding research materials. “I enjoy interacting with a diverse community and catering to a variety of needs,” Nita Mukherjee said. “It is rewarding to know that libraries are an integral part of providing a high-quality education at Rutgers.” Mukherjee chairs a Resource Sharing group, whose work allows library users to request books and journal articles at distant Rutgers libraries or libraries outside the university.
Mukherjee especially enjoys her job because she is always learning new things. “Library services are rapidly evolving with developments in technology,” she said. “It gives us a reason to learn on the job.” Still, she appreciates the traditional methods of research and inquiry as well. “It just feels good to be around books, looking at books, handling books,” she said.
Working together for good: Since both their jobs involve students’ academic life, the Mukherjees collaborate when they can. “As students choose their classes, I think it is important for them to be aware of what the libraries offer,” Nita Mukherjee said. “In consultation with the Libraries Administration, we decided to promote the libraries in the Online Schedule of Classes Web site and in class catalogs. Now, if you look at the scheduling Web site and in the printed schedule of classes, you see the message ‘Better information = Better grades.’ We hope the message gets across to students.”
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