Office of the President
April 26, 2021

Dear William Paterson Faculty and Staff,

With the end of the Spring semester less than two weeks away, excitement is building for Commencement, when we will celebrate the Class of 2021.  The virtual ceremony opens on Friday, May 14, at 9:00 a.m., with in-person ceremonies to be held in either May or June, depending on the Governor’s decision about attendee limits. We are also looking ahead to summer and fall and the changes they will bring. In addition to our planned full return to campus, one of the bigger changes in store is the previously announced joining of the College of the Arts and Communication (COAC) with the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (COHSS).

Last Friday, COAC Interim Dean Loretta McLaughlin Vignier and COHSS Dean Wartyna Davis wrote to the two colleges’ students, faculty, and staff to share the news that, effective July 1, the newly-combined college, under the leadership of Dr. Davis, will be known as the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and now I am pleased to share it with the broader University community. As Dean McLaughlin Vignier and Dean Davis shared in their message, the new name was determined through a deliberative and inclusive process, including looking at comparator institutions and surveying faculty, and it reflects the disciplines and programs that will be housed within the new College.

I want to thank Dean McLaughlin Vignier and Dean Davis for leading this process and the members of the committee which recommended the new name: Jason Ambroise, History; Lauren Razzore Cedeño, Art; Bill Charlap, Music; Jin-A Choi, Communication; Richard Huizar, Political, Legal, and Urban Studies; Kate Makarec, Psychology; and Maureen O’Connor, Institutional Advancement. Thanks, too, to Provost Josh Powers for his leadership in bringing together these two colleges. I look forward to all the great new ideas, collaborations, and other things that are sure to come as a result of this new entity.

I am glad that so many of you have taken advantage of our partnership with Atlantic Health to access the COVID-19 vaccine, and I am pleased to share that, as Dr. Jill Guzman of the Center for Health and Wellness recently informed them, this program is now available to all William Paterson students. If you have the opportunity, I urge you to remind students of the program and encourage them to participate. As I wrote in my own message to students today, the more members of our community who get vaccinated, the better off our entire University community will be when we all return to campus for the Fall semester.

Many of you took part in briefings on the Campus Climate Report. If you weren’t able to attend these sessions or would like to take a closer look at the final report, please click here, or here for the presentation materials. Thanks to Chief Diversity Officer and Director of Talent Management David Jones and Annette Baron of the Office of Employment Equity and Diversity for their good work on the report and to everyone who contributed to the survey. Its findings will directly inform our ongoing efforts to advance diversity and inclusion to create a welcoming and supportive learning, living, and working environment for all.

Recently, the David and Lorraine Cheng Library honored faculty and staff whose research and scholarship resulted in books, journal articles, and other substantial works with a bibliography and virtual Authors Reception, which you can view here. Congratulations to all our faculty and staff whose work is being recognized this year.

This week’s WPWe are Proud — Congratulations to President Emerita Kathleen Waldron and Communication Professor Sharmila Pixy Ferris on the publication of their new book, “Higher Education Leadership: Pathways and Insights,” by Emerald Press. As Dr. Waldron and Dr. Ferris know so well, higher education today is facing profound and unprecedented changes. Their book offers insights and strategies to help leaders navigate through the challenges and make the most of opportunities. It is a timely book, and I look forward to reading it.

Have a great week.

Richard J. Helldobler, Ph.D.
Office of the President | 973.720.2222 |