“Doses” of Thankfulness

Last Thursday I received this email from my 83-year-old father:
Just a note to tell you that Cynthia [his wife] and I got our vaccination shots this morning. Moderna vaccine. Second shot will be March 25. Glad we got this started. Love, Dad
Few pieces of news more powerfully reinforce that this pandemic will end. I hope you have been blessed with such news as well, perhaps even had your vaccine dose(s).
Despite how personally and professionally challenging this past year has been (an auspicious anniversary beckons), I have refused to let my natural optimism and appreciation of others be darkened. A few examples of how I have been sustained:
  • A daughter who moved back in with me at the start of the pandemic and every morning asks, “Hope you will be working from home today, Dad; it is lonely without you.”
  • A mother struggling with memory loss issues and desperate for human contact tells her son how much she enjoys my phone calls, and asks for the fifth time when a grandchild’s birthday is. The gift arrives on time, prompting their opportunity to call grandma to say thank you.
  • A former colleague whose mother died of COVID invites me to Zoom into the celebration of life at her church for which my colleague sang a gospel song that still warms the heart two months later.
  • Mary, the security officer at Entry 2, tells me stories that are her way of (1) reminding why family and community matter, and (2) that the students of WP need us now more than ever.
  •  Angelo, IFPTE leader, plows out the Provost whose car was stuck in a snow bank one evening on campus and whose positive outlook on life is infectious.
  • Makayla, SGA VP for academic affairs, and with whom I meet regularly, welcomes collaboration to help students understand the challenge of this moment and how we will be stronger post-pandemic.
  • Countless faculty whose portfolios, or through emailed examples, demonstrate their creativity and accomplishments during the pandemic and what makes them prideful of their life’s work as a teacher, a scholar, and in service to others.
Last week I recorded a conference session for the American Council on Education meeting later this month on the topic of adult learners, a population critical to WP’s future. I have been going so flat-out for months that it was one of the first times I’ve had to stop and reflect on what we are doing and how others might benefit from hearing it. Doing so helped re-center me for the work ahead here at WP and for the critical dialogue and communication it requires. The pandemic will end. WP will not.
Joshua Powers
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Academic News
The Faculty Senate approved a new fully online master's degree in Public Health. The program is designed to prepare students for advanced opportunities in the public health field, with particular expertise on issues of health equity.
Applicants for the pre-doctoral fellows initiative are now being reviewed, with the intention of bringing all finalists to campus (virtually) in April for collective engagement and interviews. The five departments are Educational Leadership; Communication Disorders and Sciences; Management, Marketing, and Professional Sales; Music; and Psychology.
A team of 10 faculty and administrative leaders will be participating in a unique nine-month experience with the Education Advisory Board (EAB), a major higher education organization with broad expertise in our industry. The EAB Fellowship Program is designed to support participant interest in addressing specific challenges, and to foster cross-unit collaboration. The participants are:
Alex Panayides, Chair, Economics, Finance, and Global Business, CCOB
Sia Nassiripour, Chair, Accounting and Law, CCOB
Rajiv Kashyap, Chair, Management, Marketing, and Professional Sales, CCOB
Ian Marshall, Associate Dean, CHSS
Mel Zeleke, Interim Associate Dean, COSH
Joelle Tutela, Director, Accreditation and Educational Innovation, COE
Johanna Prado, Associate Director, Adult Degree Completion Programs, SCPE
Iris DiMaio, Associate Director, Pre-College Youth and Education Programs, SCPE
Linda Refsland, Executive Director, Academic Success
Kara Rabbitt, Associate Provost
Congratulations to Dean Amy Ginsberg for her selection to the prestigious HERS Summer Leadership Institute. Dean Ginsberg was nominated and selected from a pool of national candidates that supports women in leadership in higher education.
Fifteen faculty in COSH will be participating in the highly regarded Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) new micro-credential course, Creating an Inclusive and Supportive Online Learning Environment. The course’s focus is on how to create an optimal online learning environment, increase student engagement, embrace diversity, and help students persist in meeting academic challenges.
Nine computer science students were nominated for internship positions at Mycureall, a cannabis-related company in New Jersey, and three were selected. The opportunity was made possible by the work of WP’s Cannabis Research Institute.
The Middle States accreditation visit will be March 14-17. Be watching for session information. Please review the Self-Study and supporting evidence materials as is salient to your area.
Facts & Figures
  • Total enrollments were down 1.6 percent at spring census. Undergraduate enrollment was down 7 percent while graduate enrollment was up 28 percent at spring census, the latter increase substantially driven by WP Online.
  • New student enrollment was up 20 percent at spring census. Undergraduate new students were up 7.5 percent while graduate was up 45 percent, the latter increase substantially driven by WP Online.
  • Winter term enrollment was up 32 percent. While some of that gain was likely due to remaining residential students who received a free summer or winter term course credit having been forced to move out of the residence halls due to the pandemic in spring 2020, the biggest impact was likely the new six-week winter term, in addition to the usual three-week winter term, enabling a student to take up to two courses.
From a professional advisor on the positive benefit of the 1,000-level course requirement of attendance taking and an early assessment:
Attendance taking: “Following consecutive absence flags based on early attendance filed by faculty in Banner, a student responded to outreach who was quarantined and unable to return to the U.S. for some time due to travel restrictions. Due to his location, access to Blackboard and other systems was limited but communication connected the student to their faculty and IT support to maximize what access the student could have to classes while waiting to return.”
Early assessment: “Following submission of early assessment grades, a student was flagged for poor early performance (grade of C or less). The student responded to outreach and let us know the early grade was due to lack of access to the homework platform (a MyLab product costing $200). Because of the outreach, the student was connected to materials assistance so he could purchase access and get back on track in class.”
The Provost’s Office is Meg, Lissette, Claudia T., Claudia C., Jonathan, Kara, Sandy, and Josh. You can reach us at 973.720.2122 • provost@wpunj.edu
We may be working remotely, but we are accessible to you! 
Office of the Provost | 973.720.2122 | provost@wpunj.edu