An Outside Perspective on Us
According to family lore, my Irish teenage great-great-great-great grandmother sought to escape a life of poverty in Ireland by hiding out in a barrel on a ship to New Orleans. On Saint Patrick’s Day, I sometimes find myself thinking of her, appreciating the “luck of the Irish” that enabled her to make it, find a new life, and ultimately do her part to shape the American experience.
This Saint Patrick’s Day, however, I had another thought in mind. What would the team of Middle States reviewers think about what we do and who we are at William Paterson University? Being accredited as a university is the sine qua non of our existence. Without it, we cease to function. Although shuttering an institution of higher learning is uncommon, plenty of college and universities are cited for deficiencies, and nearly all are provided recommendations for continual improvement that is part of the core fabric of the accreditation enterprise.
By late morning on March 17, we had our answer. The team had no required actions for us (i.e., a deficiency that must be addressed in a particular timeframe to maintain accreditation), a set of six recommendations (ones typically requiring an annual update prior to the next accreditation visit), and 17 collegial advice items (helpful suggestions for consideration). More to come on these as we move forward, but for now I wanted to offer a paraphrased sample of what they shared as observed accomplishments, progress, and/or exemplary/innovative practices since they provide a unique window into what makes us distinctive:

  • A focus on student success as early as 2012, measuring its achievement through goals and metrics across the University;

  • Dedicated efforts around diversity and inclusion and its embeddedness in the general education curriculum;

  • Accessibility of faculty and staff;

  • Emphasis on civic engagement;

  • Information-rich website of assessment activities;

  • The library’s excellent job during COVID to support distance learning and open education resources (OER);

  • All professional programs having attained reaccreditation, a marker of program quality;

  • The integration of institutional key performance indicators (KPIs) into unit goals;

  • Consistent institutional audits without comment; and

  • A well-defined and strong governance structure that includes faculty, staff, and students as part of the decision process.
What William Paterson is, and will be, is not a product of luck. Rather it is an outgrowth of a value set that places students first, appreciates the dignity of meaning in one’s work, and takes on its challenges not with hope that things will get better, but a plan to make it so. Thanks for your part in ensuring quality at William Paterson.

Joshua Powers
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Academic News
WP Online Undergraduate Program preparation formally got underway in March. Under the overall leadership of Associate Provost Kara Rabbitt, stakeholders from nearly all divisions of the University engaged in preparatory discussions on numerous topics to ensure that the student recruitment, onboarding, integration, and learning experience is well planned and executed. Thanks to everyone that has been involved in this effort, with our first cohort of students across the eight programs involved to begin in November.
The Pre-Doctoral Fellow candidates will be on campus virtually on April 8 and 9. Launched as part of our diversifying the faculty initiative, these talented scholars will engage with our community in a set of collaborative activities on day one to support their careers regardless if WP becomes their home. Day two will involve interviews.
April is Explorations month and we hope you will attend, if not be participating in, many of the planned activities. A schedule with contact information can be found here. The Library’s signature event, the Author’s Reception, is back on April 22 as a virtual program. Be watching for information to come for events honoring the scholarship and creative activities of the academic community.
Commencement comes in two forms again this year: a virtual ceremony on Friday, May 14, and smaller outdoor ceremonies on Wightman Field during the week of May 17. For information and updates should COVID protocols inform, see this website.
Facts & Figures
William Paterson participated in a national survey of students this past fall that provides a powerful window into the pandemic’s effects (see below). This data, and others, informs two submitted proposals totaling approximately $1.6 million to the State of New Jersey through its Opportunity Meets Innovation Challenge Grant and Hunger-Free Campus Programs to address food insecurity among students.
Quotes from various faculty and staff email tag lines observed of late:
"The pessimist complains about the wind.
 The optimist expects it to change.
 The leader adjusts the sails."  John Maxwell
"The only way to survive is by taking care of one another." 
Grace Lee Boggs

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Provost’s Office is Meg, Lissette, Claudia T., Claudia C., Jonathan, Kara, Sandy, and Josh. You can reach us at 973.720.2122 •
We may be working remotely, but we are accessible to you! 
Office of the Provost | 973.720.2122 |