NJIT Faculty, Staff and Students
Robert A. Altenkirch
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Welcome to the Start of a New Academic Year
Welcome to the start of a new academic year at NJIT. The new year is always a time to reflect on some of last year's events and accomplishments as well as to look forward to the events and anticipated accomplishments for the coming year.

Our ongoing vision is to be recognized as a preeminent technological research university known for innovation, entrepreneurship, and engagement at "The Edge in Knowledge." Our shared values consist of pursuing excellence, acting with integrity and civility, and celebrating diversity as a student-centered university.

Much progress has been made in reaching our vision, adhering to our values, and achieving the goals and objectives of the University's Strategic Plan (; see Strategic Plan Progress Assessment). A few highlights include:

  • Enrolling the largest Freshman Class in NJIT history last fall. We anticipate Freshman enrollment this fall to exceed that record.
  • Ranking eleventh in the nation for conferring bachelor's degrees in engineering to African Americans, according to Diverse: Issues in Higher Education (formerly Black Issues in Higher Education).
  • Gaining approval to offer eight new academic programs to complement the fourteen that were started in fall ‘08 as we continue the effort to broaden our educational offerings.
  • Creating the College of Architecture and Design to house the New Jersey School of Architecture and the new School of Art and Design.
  • Tripling the number of invention disclosures over the past five years (since Fiscal Year 2003).
  • Being named, for the fourth consecutive year, by U.S. News & World Report, as one of the nations top tier national research universities.

Some notable events occurred this past year.  We successfully completed the self-study for NCAA Division I Certification, gained full-membership in Division I, and met the fundraising goal of the Highlander Athletics Campaign.

The Newark Municipal Council approved the Broad Street Station District Redevelopment Plan, of which the NJIT Gateway Plan ( is a subset, and approved a Redevelopment Agreement between the City and NJIT designating NJIT Redeveloper of properties north of campus, plus the NJIT parking lot bounded by Raymond Blvd. and Colden and Warren Sts., which comprise the Gateway Plan area.  The Gateway Project, to be funded through private investment, is focused on neighborhood retail and entertainment enhancements for the enjoyment of the community and for NJIT, providing living opportunities that will make NJIT an attractive destination for students, faculty, and staff, and a "Greek Village" that will contribute to growing our fraternity and sorority population. As Redeveloper, NJIT is responsible for overseeing proper execution of the plan and has access to tax and funding incentives that can be provided to private investors and developers to make implementation financially attractive.

Students and faculty continue to be recognized.  Examples among many receiving recognition this past year include:

  • Phil Goode, distinguished professor of physics, was inducted into the New Jersey High-Tech Hall of Fame.  Goode directs NJIT's Big Bear Solar Observatory in California where NJIT's new 1.6-meter clear aperture solar telescope-the largest of its kind in the world-became operational.
  • Mathematics distinguished professors Greg Kriegsmann, noted for his research in asymptotic methods, and Robert Mura, who develops mathematical models in neuroscience, are among the first Fellows named by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).
  • Humanities professor David Rothenberg's book, Thousand Mile Song: Whale Music in a Sea of Sound, has been named one of the ten best science and technology books for 2008 by Booklist on Line, a publication of the American Library Association.
  • Yeheskel (Zeke) Bar-Ness, distinguished professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, a prominent expert in the field of wireless communications and signal processing, won the Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award from the Research & Development Council of New Jersey.
  • Kam Sirkar, distinguished professor of chemical engineering, an internationally­renowned expert in membrane separation technologies, was named a Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • Salman Naqvi, of Kearny, a junior studying electrical engineering and Dorman Honors Scholar, was named a prestigious Goldwater Scholar by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program.
  • Six Biomedical Engineering students were invited to present their research papers at the renowned Northeast Regional Biomedical Engineering Research Conference hosted by MIT and Harvard University: Federico Lazaro and Rob Russo, advised by Prof. Joel Schesser; Matthew Redding and G. J.  Androwis, advised by Prof. Richard Foulds; Crystal Kania, advised by Prof. Tara Alvarez; and Aaron Wey, advised by Prof. Zohar Ophir.  Both Crystal and Aaron are Dorman Honors Scholars.

There is a lot to look forward to this academic year.  While we are never without our challenges, we continue to make progress through hard work and the dedication of those who work and study at NJIT.  We anticipate enrolling this fall NJIT's largest overall student body ever.  Another round of new program development during this academic year is projected to produce enrollments in six new programs for next academic year.  We are also in the process of revising the University's Strategic Plan for 2010-2015, anticipating its completion by the end of the fall semester.  Evolution of the revised plan can be followed on the University's planning site.

I look forward to working alongside of you as we continue to excel as New Jersey’s Science and Technology University.