Welcome Back


Welcome back for the 2019-2020 academic year! This time of year always brings anticipation and excitement as we reconnect with those who have been away for the summer months and are joined by new members of the NJIT community.

This fall, an incredibly talented freshman class and a group of 22 new and highly accomplished faculty members are just beginning their experiences at this world-class university.

NJIT’s 1,385 first-year students come from 26 states and 31 countries and have compiled impressive credentials. Among them are 10 valedictorians, six salutatorians, and NJIT’s first three Mayor’s Honors Scholars from the City of Newark. The class has an average high school grade point average (GPA) of 3.6 out of 4.0.

They also achieved average SAT scores of 1,297 (an NJIT record) out of a possible 1,600. For the 155 entering the Albert Dorman Honors College, the average high school GPA is 3.95 and the average SAT reaches 1485.

New faculty joining us this fall include:

  • Omowunmi Sadik, Professor of Chemistry, who comes to NJIT from the State University of New York at Binghamton;  
  • Zuofeng Shang, Associate Professor of Mathematics, who previously was at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; 
  • Farnaz Shakib, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, who comes to NJIT from the University of California, San Diego; 
  • Junjie Yang, Assistant Professor of Physics, who comes to NJIT from Central Michigan University; 
  • Hyojin Kim, Associate Professor of Architecture, who joins NJIT from the Catholic University of America; 
  • Vera Parlac, Associate Professor of Architecture, who comes from the University of Calgary; 
  • Fatemeh Ahmadpoor, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, who arrives from Brown University; 
  • Samaneh Farokhirad, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, who joins NJIT from the University of Pennsylvania;
  • Jonathan Grasman, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, who comes from Tufts University; 
  • Joshua Young, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Materials Engineering, who joins NJIT from the State University of New York at Binghamton; 
  • Aichih (Jasmine) Chang, Assistant Professor of Business Data Science, who previously was at Rutgers University; 
  • Alberto Martín-Utrera, Assistant Professor of Finance, who joins NJIT from Lancaster University; 
  • David A. Bader, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, who previously was at Georgia Institute of Tech; 
  • Cody Buntain,Assistant Professor of Informatics, who arrives from New York University;
  • Jacob Chakareski, Associate Professor of Informatics, who comes to NJIT from the University of Alabama; 
  • Salam Daher, Assistant Professor of Informatics, who previously was at the University of Central Florida;
  • Przemyslaw Musialski, Associate Professor of Computer Science, who joins us from the Vienna University of Technology in Austria (TU Wien);  
  • Pan Xu, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, who joins NJIT from the University of Maryland.

In addition to sharing news about NJIT’s talented newcomers, I am happy to report on several major pieces of news throughout the summer relating to our university’s accolades, its activities, its people, and its facilities.

Recent months have included several high profile and landmark happenings:

  • Continuing its mission to lead in computing technologies, NJIT announced the establishment of a new Institute for Data Science, focusing on cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and development in all areas pertinent to digital data. The institute will bring existing research centers in big data, medical informatics and cybersecurity together with new research centers in data analytics and artificial intelligence.
  • NJIT hosted the 2019 VOICE Summit, which brought thousands to our campus and drew the attention of media, innovators, global brands, and technology industry leaders, such as Amazon's Chief Evangelist for Alexa and Echo and NJIT alumnus David Isbitski ‘98; Adam Cheyer, co-founder of Siri and VP engineering at Viv Labs; as well as Noelle LaCharite, principal PM manager, Cortana, Microsoft.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor awarded a $7,996,530 grant to NJIT and Pennsylvania College of Technology to develop industry-driven strategies for apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing fields.
  • In a 600-ft.-long saltwater wave tank on the coast of New Jersey, a team of NJIT researchers conducted the largest-ever simulation of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to determine more precisely where hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil dispersed following the drilling rig’s explosion in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The effort was led by Michel Boufadel, director of NJIT’s Center for Natural Resources.
  • Media giant Hearst Magazines partnered with NJIT’s Ying Wu College of Computing to train employees in data science. Hearst employees are taking part in on-site training led by NJIT professors.
  • NJIT’s New Jersey Innovation Institute joined a new state-funded effort to combat the national opioid epidemic. With support from a $6 million grant by the New Jersey Department of Health and New Jersey Department of Human Services, NJII will lead a program designed to bolster the state’s health information technology infrastructure and address the persistent issue of opioid overprescribing.
  • We also marked the 40th anniversary of NJIT’s Center for Pre-College Programs, which provides STEM education and college preparedness programming to rising fourth- through 11th-grade students, particularly those from underrepresented populations.

On the rankings and accolades front, NJIT and its faculty earned great distinction this summer:

  • We were named a top college by The Princeton Review in the newest edition of its college guide, "The Best 385 Colleges," a designation only 13% of America’s four-year colleges earn. NJIT also received honors as a top college in the Northeast region and a Best Value college.
  • NJIT was ranked 53rd nationally out of more than 4,000 colleges and universities in Payscale.com's 2019-20 College Salary Report for the average mid-career earnings of alumni.
  • NJIT’s online MBA program in Management Information Systems was ranked seventh nationwide by TheBestSchools.org.
  • Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Bipin Rajendran was elected a Senior Member of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). NAI Senior Members are active faculty, scientists and administrators “who have demonstrated remarkable innovation-producing technologies that have brought or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society,” according to the Academy.
  • Distinguished Professor David Bader, who is the director of NJIT’s new Institute for Data Science, received an award from Facebook to support real-world analytics research. The research aims to develop faster learning patterns to make it easier for companies to extract actionable information from extremely large data sets.
  • Kevin Belfield, dean of NJIT’s College of Science and Liberal Arts, was elected a fellow of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Our campus, particularly our academic facilities, have continued to see great investment and improvement this summer and will benefit from record funding of over $24 million for capital renewal and replacement projects during this fiscal year, with more than 75% of that funding earmarked for academic facilities.

Some examples of projects completed in recent months include a 10,000-square-foot addition to Makerspace, the new forensic science lab in Tiernan Hall, Faculty Memorial Hall renovations, multiple projects in the Guttenberg Information Technology Center, and the Microelectronics Research Center, which will be finished this Fall. 

You can learn more about this work by reading this article or by visiting some of these new or upgraded spaces during an open house-type event we are planning for September.

In addition to the aforementioned event, please mark your calendars and plan to attend the following upcoming events:

  • Pancakes with the President on Tuesday, September 3 from 8 am to 10:30 am in the Campus Center
  • Convocation on Wednesday, September 11 at 3 pm in the Wellness and Events Center
  • Homecoming on Saturday, October 5 starting at 10 am

Clearly, NJIT is on an upward trajectory and is enjoying great momentum. As we begin this new academic year, we will be presented with opportunities, collectively and individually, to build upon that momentum and reach even greater heights.

I thank you for all you have done to help us arrive at this point, and I encourage you to continue aspiring for more, both personally and for NJIT.

Welcome back, and best wishes for an exceptional Fall semester!


Joel S. Bloom