Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick Announces Initiatives to Increase Diversity, Meet Global Challenges in Fifth Annual Address to University Community
September 28, 2007
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New Brunswick, N.J. – President Richard L. McCormick today unveiled a multipronged initiative to strengthen Rutgers’ commitment to diversity and to encourage enrollment by talented students in underrepresented populations from the university’s host communities.
McCormick announced a pilot Rutgers Future Scholars Program aimed at reaching minority and low-income students who “might otherwise never consider college within their grasp,” at his fifth Annual Address to the University Community at the first University Senate meeting of the academic year. Rutgers will work with the Camden, Newark, New Brunswick and Piscataway school districts to identify annually the cohort of top eighth-graders from each and guarantee free tuition and fees when they are admitted to the university.
McCormick promised that Rutgers’ relationship with the Future Scholars will be ongoing and long term. Selected students will be invited to several campus events each year and will receive such ancillary support as college preparation and college entrance exam workshops and a summer on-campus experience to introduce them to a variety of academic programs.
McCormick added that to build on Rutgers’ already impressive history of diversity – as evidenced by the Newark Campus’ status as the most diverse in the nation – he will create and co-chair a President’s Council on Diversity and Equity to coordinate diversity efforts across the university. Moreover, Rutgers will host and co-sponsor with partners from Columbia University and the College Board a national conference on diversity in higher education and society next year.
McCormick also told an audience of more than 500 in the Multipurpose Room of the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue Campus about a new, multidisciplinary initiative at Rutgers created to investigate solutions to one of today’s most vexing challenges: climate change brought about by global warming.
Calling climate change not just a scientific challenge but also a “political challenge that is taking us far outside our comfort zone as a society and as a global community,” McCormick said faculty will approach the problem from a perspective that merges natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, while combining fundamental and applied research.
Seven groups of researchers, led by Professors Anthony Broccoli and Jennifer Francis, will identify potential research directions, from impacts on coastal and freshwater resources to human health effects to education and outreach. He observed that the climate change initiative dovetails with a second multidisciplinary effort studying alternative and renewable forms of energy led by Professor Paul Falkowski. The Rutgers University Energy Institute formed last year hopes to lead the United States toward energy independence through scientific and technological advances. Its goal is to promote energy that supports economic growth while sustaining the environment and avoiding solutions that cause public harm, especially among the poor.
The president emphasized that Rutgers already has started fulfilling its institutional obligation to conserve resources and protect the environment. He cited a lighting fixture retrofit initiative that will save money and reduce carbon emissions as an example of Rutgers’ commitment to a cleaner environment. The university also will replace inefficient and deteriorating high-temperature water lines on the Busch and Livingston campuses. “It will be expensive to replace them, but we will recoup that money in just a few years through energy efficiency. Just as important, we won’t be using more energy than we need,” McCormick said.
To enhance maintenance of Rutgers-owned land throughout New Jersey, the university will conduct an inventory of its undeveloped acreage to ensure its leadership makes the best decisions about stewardship and keeps this land accessible to all the state’s people. Among other topics addressed by McCormick were:
• the continuing historic transformation of undergraduate education on the New Brunswick Campus that encourages closer student-faculty interaction, equality of opportunity, a core curriculum that defines a Rutgers education and abundant opportunities for undergraduate research and experiential education, as well as enhances student life
• calls for increased accountability in higher education and demands for more rigorous assessment and a greater emphasis on learning outcomes -more- -3- • improved facilities on the Livingston Campus, with an expanded student center and new dining hall, while also building upon Livingston’s focus on leadership and social responsibility to a diverse society by making it a center for professional education and training of undergraduate, graduate, executive-level and continuing education students
• the ongoing initiative to redesign the College Avenue Campus
• academic programs and physical enhancements on the Newark and Camden campuses to make each a more welcoming learning environment
• the vigorous pursuit of increased funding from competitive grants and other sources, including more strenuous advocacy at all levels of government for increased annual appropriations for targeted investments in university research projects that have the highest potential for economic development and social progress.
Contact: Steve Manas
732-932-7084, Ext. 612