Message from President Joel S. Bloom

Dear NJIT Community Members,

Now that the Spring semester has begun, I would like to welcome you back to campus and share some important updates. I hope you enjoyed the holiday season and are, as am I, ready for an exciting and productive semester.

I will begin with the most recent news we have received, which is that Amazon has included Newark, NJ, among 20 finalists in the search for its second North American headquarters. Approximately 240 cities throughout the United States and Canada responded to Amazon’s request for proposals, and Newark is one of the few that remain in contention for the 50,000 jobs and more than $5 billion in investment that Amazon has projected. Along with a strong and growing industrial base and multi-modal transportation hubs, a strength of Newark’s candidacy is its abundance of talent in the technology fields and the capacity for NJIT and other universities to collaborate with industry.

Our commitment to such partnerships has a long history and took an important step forward recently, with the opening of Makerspace at NJIT. This facility will enhance the learning and creativity of our students; will foster collaborations among students, faculty, and businesses; and will be an engine for economic growth. It will provide opportunities for industrial partners to participate as mentors, trainers and instructors; and students will learn real world, tangible skills such as product design and prototyping, manual and computerized metal and wood work, industrial metrology, and computer aided design. In addition, companies will be able to partner with students and faculty members on research and development projects or send employees for customized training tailored to their needs.

Our university’s ability to work so closely with industry and to prepare the next generation of technology industry leaders requires investment in facilities like Makerspace as well as the other buildings we recently have completed, but it also requires exceptionally talented faculty. So, I want to point out that, in addition to numerous other awards, NJIT has set a record this year regarding the number of faculty who have received National Science Foundation CAREER Awards. Shawn Chester, Brittany Hamfeldt, Sagnik Basuray, and Esra Buyuktahtakin are the four who earned this distinction, which helps expand awareness of the extraordinary work happening at NJIT. I am looking forward to increasing the numbers of our faculty who achieving national recognition, including induction into national academies. These honors bring great distinction to our university.

This week, New Jersey inaugurated its new governor, the Honorable Philip Murphy. We are looking forward to working with the governor and his team to accomplish their many goals. Governor Murphy is knowledgeable of the important role NJIT plays in workforce and economic development and believes we should have a strong voice in the policy decisions that affect STEM education. NJIT has $1.74B economic impact annually on the State of New Jersey; we are conducting critical research in the areas of healthcare, transportation, cybersecurity, civil infrastructure, big data, national defense, advanced manufacturing, and many other sectors; we are preparing the future workforce with the skills that are essential for success in the tech economy and, in doing so, are more successful than any university in the country at helping its lowest-income students realize upward economic mobility, as reported by The New York Times. We have a great deal to offer the state, and I am encouraged by Governor Murphy’s recognition of NJIT as an exemplar in STEM education.

In addition to building NJIT’s relationship with our state’s new leadership, I continue to work closely with New Jersey’s congressional delegation on a number of matters. Most important among them, at present, is the effort to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. NJIT has approximately 50 DACA students who are talented, positive contributors to our campus community. The diversity of NJIT is one of its great strengths. We know that difference is a catalyst for learning and human development, which occur through collaboration, questioning, analysis, and debate. These actions result in a deeper understanding of people, enhanced capability to solve problems of all types, and opportunities to improve quality of life for all. NJIT’s DACA students are emblematic of the strength that is gained through diversity. They were born in more than 18 different nations, are majoring in disciplines across the academic spectrum, are represented in every class from freshman to senior as well as our graduate programs, and they maintain a cumulative grade point average above a 3.0. We will continue to advocate aggressively for the DACA students at NJIT and all across our nation.

There is much work to be done on all fronts for NJIT, if we are to continue our upward trajectory. This spring, Provost Fadi Deek and I will begin the campus conversation about our next strategic plan, which will take us beyond the year 2020 and bring our planning process into alignment with the new Middle States accreditation cycle. I hope as many of you as possible will become engaged in that process as opportunities arise. We have a great deal to be proud of and a great deal more to accomplish. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for NJIT. I wish you a productive and rewarding semester.

Joel S. Bloom