NJIT Faculty, Staff, and Students
Robert A. Altenkirch
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Welcome to the 2010-11 Academic Year
Welcome to the start of a new academic year at NJIT. This past academic year was marked by some national recognition. For the fifth year in a row, NJIT was named by U.S. News & World Report (2011 Annual Guide to America’s Best Colleges) to the top tier of national research universities. U.S. News also listed NJIT as the 4th most racially and ethnically diverse campus in the U.S., and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) presented NJIT with its Rising University Star Award. The Princeton Review named NJIT one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education, and Bloomberg Businessweek ranked NJIT in the top 10% of 852 colleges and universities in the U.S. for best return on investment. We were also named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizing outstanding commitments to service and volunteering.

Students, faculty, and alumni continue to excel. NJIT students from the College of Architecture and Design received the grand prize for 2010 from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) for a small, modern townhouse design, “The Box and Beyond.” The design was developed for the Newark Chapter of the Habitat for Humanity. Rashi Jain, a doctoral student in mathematics, received the top honor for the best young researcher’s paper at the annual meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. Two NJIT faculty, Kam Sirkar, The Otto H. York Department of Chemical, Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering, and Ali Abdi, Electrical and Computer Engineering, received Innovators’ Awards from the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame, and two recent doctoral graduates, Chuan Bi Lin and Ziqian Dong, were honored for their applications-oriented research in electrical engineering.

An NJIT student-athlete, Sabrina Baby, was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America third-team in volleyball. Baby is NJIT’s first Academic All-American in the Division I era of NJIT Athletics. She was also the NCAA Division I national statistical leader in digs per set, being instrumental in NJIT achieving national team leadership in that same category as well.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) named Sunil Saigal, Dean of the Newark College of Engineering, and Phil Goode, Distinguished Professor of Physics and Director of the Big Bear Solar Observatory, as Fellows, an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. The New Solar Telescope at Big Bear, the World’s largest ground based solar instrument, was dedicated last fall and has produced images referred to by Ciel et l’Espace, an international astronomy magazine based in France, as the most detailed image of a sunspot “ever obtained in visible light.”

Healthcare and life sciences and engineering efforts at NJIT continue to grow. In addition to a number of new academic programs in these areas initiated in the recent past, NJIT, through the leadership of Don Sebastian, Senior Vice President for Research and Development, received this past year a $23 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to achieve widespread meaningful use of information by healthcare providers. This outreach and extension effort will be the responsibility of the newly-formed New Jersey Health Information Technology Extension Center, which will coordinate consultation, support, and training of the State’s healthcare providers.

The physical facilities of the campus continue to improve and expand. We completed purchase of the historic Central High School building, which we will be calling the Central King Building (CKB).  Discussion of the vision for the facility and planning for renovation will be on-going this academic year. We are readying classrooms in the facility for use late in the fall and for spring classes. Although the Central High School students have been relocated to their new school, we continue to have a strong partnership with them.

Implementation of the NJIT Campus Gateway Plan (, a mixed-use, residential and retail redevelopment of properties north of campus, plus the NJIT parking lot bounded by Raymond Blvd. and Colden and Warren Sts., took some major steps forward. As designated Redeveloper for the project, to be funded through private investment and focused on neighborhood residential, retail, and entertainment enhancements, implementation began in partnership with our Master Developer, Jones Lang LaSalle. Proposals for development of a “Greek Village” on the NJIT parking lot mentioned above, as well as a potential residential and retail complex on Warren St. within the same footprint, have been received and are being evaluated.

Construction on the Naimoli Family Athletic and Recreational Facility, an enclosure of the tennis courts to the north of the Fleisher Center, is progressing. The 25,600 square foot facility will house athletic and recreational activities as well as tennis year-round. The facility, made possible, in part, by a generous gift from Vincent Naimoli ’62, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball, will open during the 2010-11 academic year.

Last year saw the largest freshman enrollment in history at NJIT. As we open the 2010-11 academic year, we can anticipate additional record enrollments, including the largest enrollment in history for the Albert Dorman Honors College, 680, of whom 60 are student-athletes competing in intercollegiate athletics.

There is a lot to look forward to this academic year, new facilities coming on line, the Central King Building and the Naimoli Center, records in enrollment, progress on implementation of the Gateway Project, adoption and implementation of a new five-year strategic plan (, the objectives of the plan guiding our efforts of the past few years being almost entirely met, and the continued progress of our Self-Study Team in preparation for an accreditation visit by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The Self-Study Team, under the direction of Norbert Elliot, Humanities, began work this past academic year to complete a Self-Study Report for submission to MSCHE in the spring of 2012 just prior to the accreditation team visit.

We are, never, without our challenges, but, as you can see from the above, we have, and will, rise to meet them. I look forward to working alongside of you this academic year and beyond as we continue to excel as New Jersey’s Science and Technology University.