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Dr. Patrick Sime: Mathematics Professor And NCAA Faculty Rep

Mathematics Professor Patrick Sime, Ph.D., has watched the Athletics Department grow in his two decades-plus at Caldwell University. As the faculty athletics representative for the NCAA, he knows the advantages of college sports. “I think having a student-athlete presence on campus is a great benefit to the university as a whole. I think it is a great opportunity for students who enjoy playing sports to continue while getting a college education.”

The NCAA requires each college and university to have a faculty member who is not working in the Athletics Department take the position of a faculty representative to the NCAA. In that role, Sime’s duties include meeting with student-athletes before each semester starts, proctoring examinations for coaches seeking to become recruiters and facilitating applications for NCAA scholarships for graduate school or fifth-year undergraduate student-athletes. Mark Corino, Caldwell’s assistant vice president and director of athletics, says Sime has been a wonderful asset to the Athletics Department, “a voice that connects our student athletes and athletics staff to our faculty and administration.”

For the fall 2017 season, Sime looks forward to being a presence for students who will be on the university’s first-ever sprint football team. Sime points to statistics showing that student-athletes have higher-than-average graduation rates and GPAs.

Statistics and numbers certainly count for Sime. His life has centered around math since before pre-kindergarten. “I was always fascinated with numbers as a small child and was dealing with numbers. I don’t know why.” He attended Passaic Valley High School in Little Falls and received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Rutgers University-Newark and his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Maryland in College Park, where he had a teaching assistantship. At Caldwell, Sime has taught math courses for majors and non-majors. Math, he says, is important for all students. “It helps critical thinking—the type of quantitative reasoning that is helpful for any career or many situations in life.” It has been most rewarding to see students succeed, particularly when at  first it does not seem they are going to “cut it and then, whether through hard work or a change in philosophy, they improve.”

The mathematics major has been a strong foundation for alumni, some of whom have gone into teaching and some of whom have pursued fields like business, financial analysis, actuary science and even graduate school for a master’s or a Ph.D. “Sometimes employers look for the type of preparation math majors have, and that makes them more marketable,” Sime says.

In math, the basics do not change. “The math taught in undergraduate courses involves math developed up to the end of the 19th century,” he says. Technology has factored into teaching, and Sime warns against an over-reliance on it. “Use all the technology you want, but I am still a fervent believer that you should know some basics, like your times tables,” he says, one reason being to identify mistakes made on a calculator.

Sime has served on a number of university committees, including student life and academic foundations, and is an officer on the faculty council.

His early academic background was at large universities, which is why he appreciates Caldwell’s small size. At bigger schools, Sime says, “you can have over 100 faculties in your department but rarely get to know the teachers in the other divisions. I like to interact with faculty from other disciplines. It’s something I enjoy.”

Things you might not know about Patrick Sime

Sime is of Irish, Scottish and Syrian ancestry. “Two of my great-grandparents were from the city of Aleppo that has been practically leveled.”

He likes to travel and once while he was in Iceland he walked on the outskirts of the glacier Mýrdalsjökull, “which was interesting since I have a fear of heights,” he says. “On a couple of occasions, you have to walk between cauldrons, basically deep holes,” several hundred feet up. “We were on one of its ‘tongues,’ called Sólheimajökull.” He has also visited the Agincourt coral reefs in Australia.

A Yankees fan, Sime attended the last game at the old Yankee Stadium in 2008.

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Women’s Basketball Alum Danielle Ciresi Murphy ’91 Elected to CACC Hall of Fame

NEW HAVEN, Conn.- Caldwell University women’s basketball alum Danielle Ciresi Murphy ’91 was elected into the third class of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Hall of Fame as announced by the conference office today.

The CACC Hall of Fame was established in 2015 to honor the legendary individuals and teams in league history. Members of the hall of fame are voted on by a committee comprised of administrators throughout the CACC. Ciresi Murphy will be honored at an on campus event at a later date during the basketball season.

Ciresi Murphy re-wrote the Caldwell record books during her outstanding career for the Cougars. During her senior season, Murphy broke the existing school scoring record and surpassed 2,000 career points in the same game with her former teammate and record holder in the Student Center seats. She went on to score 2,491 points, which at the time ranked her fourth all-time among college women’s basketball players in New Jersey.

Ciresi Murphy led all New Jersey college players in scoring her junior and senior seasons. As a senior, she was named the CACC co-Most Valuable Player and received All-American honorable mention honors. Her scoring average of 31.7 points per game as a senior led the nation and was fifth all-time in NAIA scoring history.

 

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Caldwell Welcomes the Class of 2021

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Caldwell, N.J., Aug. 28, 2017 – Caldwell University greeted its new students at Welcome Weekend Aug. 26-28.

At freshman convocation, President Nancy Blattner formally greeted the Class of 2021. She encouraged the students to learn about the rich history and heritage of Caldwell, a Catholic Dominican University committed to the four foundational pillars of prayer, study, community and mission or service. “Whether you are a resident or commuter student, you are now part of the larger Caldwell University community and a member of several smaller communities on campus.”

Blattner also asked the students in attendance who were named to the dean’s list in 2016-17 to stand and be recognized. “I hope the recognition of these returning students will serve as an inspiration to our incoming freshmen as they begin their studies this week at the university level.”

The university welcomed the largest number of international students in its history with 80 students coming from many nations.

Other Welcome Weekend activities included a Mass, a barbecue hosted at Blattner’s home, a Music Under the Stars night, a Dominican Missions presentation, which featured visits to the Motherhouse and St. Catherine’s Health Care Facility to learn about the roots of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell, and a trip to Six Flags Great Adventure.

Among the new students are 40 players for the first-ever Caldwell University sprint football team. The university’s first sprint football game will take place Saturday, Sept. 16, when the Cougars face the Collegiate Sprint Football League defending champions, the University of Pennsylvania Quakers. Game time is 1 p.m. at James Caldwell High School.

The Office of Campus Ministry offered FIRST, a two-day faith immersion program held Aug. 24 and 25. “Freshman Immersion into Reflection, Service, and Tradition” provided interested freshmen with an introduction to aspects of faith reflection, service and the Catholic Dominican tradition of Caldwell, explained Director of Campus Ministry Colleen O’Brien.

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Caldwell University Ranked Among Best Colleges in New Jersey

Caldwell, N.J.  August 25, 2017

Caldwell University has been ranked among the 10 Best Colleges in New Jersey for 2017.

The ranking from College Choice, a leading authority in college and university rankings and resources, put Caldwell University at number nine for Best Colleges in New Jersey. The full ranking is available here.

“We are very happy to be recognized as a Best College by College Choice. We are committed to making sure our students have an educational experience that is cost-effective and high quality and enables our graduates to make a difference in the world,” said Senior Vice President Dr. Joseph Posillico. “This good news follows the other distinctions we have received including being named to the prestigious MONEY Magazine’s Best Colleges list earlier this summer.”

was also named as a 2017-2018 College of Distinction, a Catholic College of Distinction,  a New Jersey College of Distinction.  The university was recognized for offering one of the best learning environments in New Jersey for 2017 by LearnHowToBecome.org.

According to College Choice, their ranking is based on graduation rate, institutional reputation, student-to-faculty ratio, endowment size, tuition costs, average student indebtedness after graduation and graduates expected early career salary. The data from their ranking comes from the National Center for Education Statistics’ IPEDS database, U.S. News & World Report, Payscale, and individual college websites.

In its description of Caldwell University, College Choice noted Caldwell’s commitment to community service. Throughout the academic year students engage in activities including volunteering for Midnight Runs to assist the homeless in New York City, repairing homes and schools on mission trips to Belize and Appalachia and taking part in the annual community service initiative Caldwell Day.

 

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Psychology Associate Dean Selected for Minority Serving Institutions Aspiring Leaders Forum

Caldwell, N.J., August 22, 2017 –Thomson Ling, Ph.D., associate dean of Caldwell University’s School of Psychology and Counseling, has been selected for the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) inaugural MSI Aspiring Leaders Forum to be held from Friday, Nov. 17 to Sunday, Nov.19.

The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions is part of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.

MSI Aspiring Leaders is a three-day forum and mentoring program developed by CMSI that will create a space for prominent Minority Serving Institutions’ (MSI) leaders to engage with mid-career aspiring leaders from the education and non-profit sectors in an effort to prepare the next generation of MSI presidents.

“I was honored to be selected as a MSI Aspiring Leader and I am looking forward to the opportunity to gain the leadership tools needed to improve college success for underrepresented students,” said Ling.

The program is supported by $765,000 in grants from the ECMC Foundation. The forum will include discussions and workshops on topics such as the presidential nomination process, managing relationships with faculty, using data to make decisions, fiscal management, strategic fundraising, assessing student learning, and navigating the media.

Following the forum, mentors and their mentees will participate in a one-on-one relationship over two years. CMSI will facilitate these relationships and provide benchmarks to be completed at various points throughout the two years, with the hope that these relationships may be part of a future longitudinal study to measure the influence of such mentorship on mentees’ aspiring leaders’ career trajectories. The structure of the MSI Aspiring Leaders program aims to cultivate future MSI presidents by strengthening pathways to leadership and building connections between peers with similar aspirations and abilities.

Marybeth Gasman, Director of CMSI, shared, “This forum will celebrate the diversity of experiences from those in the nonprofit and education sectors and will cultivate collaborations that will build the next generation of MSI college presidents.”

In an effort to encourage attendance and minimize financial burden, MSI Aspiring Leaders is free of program fees to all invited participants. In addition, all meals and materials will be provided by CMSI. Participants will also receive travel stipends to offset the cost of their personal travel and lodging.

About the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions

The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions brings together researchers and practitioners from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. CMSI’s goals include: elevating the educational contributions of MSIs; ensuring that they are a part of national conversations; bringing awareness to the vital role MSIs play in the nation’s economic development; increasing the rigorous scholarship of MSIs; connecting MSIs’ academic and administrative leadership to promote reform initiatives; and strengthening efforts to close educational achievement gaps among disadvantaged communities. The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions is part of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. For further information about CMSI, please visit http://www.gse.upenn.edu/cmsi.

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Dr. Bennett Publishes Book on “Practices of Love: Spiritual Disciplines for the Life of the World”

Kyle David Bennett, Ph.D. is assistant professor of philosophy at Caldwell University.

His book, “Practices of Love: Spiritual Disciplines for the Life of the World,” has been published by Brazos Press.  

Dr. Bennett is also program director of The Spirituality and Leadership Institute, a summer program for high school students.

The Department of Theology/Philosophy will host a talk and book signing with Dr. Bennett from 11 a.m. to 12 noonMonday, Sept. 25 on the first floor of the Newman Center (in the former bookstore location) on Caldwell’s campus. The public is invited to attend.

Bennett gives Colette Liddy, director of media relations at Caldwell, a preview of his book. 

CL- Why did you write Practices of Love: Spiritual Disciplines for the Life of the World

KB- A number of years ago, I was reading some old monks, like John Cassian, on these disciplines and realized that the Christian’s attitude, goals, and the very manner in which we practice these disciplines was moons away from these monks. We practice them to get in touch with God. These monks discussed spiritual disciplines and practiced them in ways that were intentionally in response to the wellbeing of their neighbor. I must have missed church the day my Protestant pastors discussed this. (This is hardly a Protestant problem, though. I know several Catholic, Orthodox, Lutherans, and Mennonite believers that weren’t brought up to see them this way.) I wrote Practices of Love to retrieve this ancient view of spiritual disciplines and to help believers see it anew—in our context, with our circumstances, in light of our concerns.

CL- What is the aim of your book? 

KB- To get us thinking about how our relationship with God bears on our relationship with our neighbor. To show the inseparable link between spirituality and society. To narrow the gap between our private lives and our public ones. We were created to be a certain person and live a certain way. And God is instructing, forming, and liberating us to be that person and live that way. And as persons who are able to relate to others, and find ourselves as members of many communities (e.g., home, work, school, city), this inevitably has implications for life in shared spaces with others.

CL- How is Isaiah 58 significant to this book? 

KB – When I was writing my dissertation on fasting, I read this passage and was blown away. It could have been the first time I ever read this chapter, I don’t recall. But it was certainly the first time I ever asked myself how well I understood the connection between loving God and loving my neighbor. It’s possible to be wicked while worshipping. To harm others in trying to honor God. This chapter really opened my eyes to God’s desire for spiritual disciplines to be acts of love toward our neighbor.

CL – Explain what you mean by vertical and horizontal in your work? 

KB- By “vertical” I mean our relationship with God. By “horizontal” I mean our relationships with other creatures and living things (e.g., human beings, raccoons, flowers, etc.)

CL- You ask your readers to reflect on everyday activities such as how they think, eat, talk, own, work, and rest? 

KB- Yes, because spiritual disciplines aim to reform and renew these activities. We do basic human activities everyday. We do them the way everyone else does them. The way we were brought up to do them. But oftentimes we do them selfishly. We think ill of others. We horde our food. We interrupt. We intrude. We buy more than we need. We try to outshine others. We isolate ourselves. In the book I propose that we see how spiritual disciplines get us doing these activities correctly—the way God intended us to do them. In ways that are healthy for us and lead us into deeper harmony with others.

CL- What do you hope readers living a fast-paced, stressed out life walk away with after reading this? 

KB  – I hope it inspires them to practice these disciplines in a way that works within their schedule and routine. Or for those already practicing them, I hope it edifies them as they try to rework their lives. Or for those who have never even heard of spiritual disciplines, I hope it prompts them to pursue a more examined, integrated, and healthy lifestyle. There are things that we can and must do to bring liberation, renewal, tranquility, and comfort to our lives and those around us. And we don’t have to go far in looking for them. It’s the itty-bitty stuff that we do everyday that makes or breaks the world. Above all, I hope Practices of Love makes this clear.

Read a review of Dr. Bennett’s book in Christianity Today.
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/september/are-we-missing-point-of-spiritual-disciplines.html

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Record Number of Caldwell Students Participate at National Psychology Conference

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Caldwell, N.J., August 17, 2017 –

A record number of Caldwell University students attended and presented at the American Psychological Association Conference in Washington D.C. in August.

Graduate and undergraduate students from programs including psychology, mental health counseling and art therapy participated at the conference under the guidance Dr. Thomson J. Ling , associate dean of Caldwell’s School of Psychology and Counseling.

Jessica Hauck, a graduate student in art therapy program, and Kristy Percario, an undergraduate student in psychology, were part of team, along with Dr. Ling, that presented research on the campus crisis hotline. Entitled “1-800-Externship: The Use of Hotlines as a Training Modality for Future Psychologists,” the qualitative study examined the benefits, obstacles, ethical issues, and pitfalls in hotlines on college campuses, explained Hauck.

“Going to the conference was like going to Disney Land for me,” said Percario.  “It was such an incredible experience to be able to be a part of such a large scale event with my peers and other professionals in the field (that) I hope to enter.”

Maxine Alonso received a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Caldwell and will enter the master’s in mental health counseling program this fall. She presented a version of her undergraduate honor’s thesis “Reaching into the Good Gook: A Method of Reducing Stigma of Psychological Disorders with Religion.”

“It was my goal to find a way to use religion positively to reduce stigma towards individuals with psychological disorders. I created a metaphor between the Christian concept of hell and those who suffer from psychological disorders as a way to increase empathy and compassion for this group of individuals,” said Alonso.

Hauck said she is passionate about research. “Being a member of the Caldwell Counseling Research Lab has provided me with the opportunity to learn more about how the process works, while also conducting research in areas I am interested in.”   Through her work on the research team, she was able to present at two other national conferences last year and have her work published.

The students agreed that they left the conference with more confidence. “I learned what it was like to speak in a professional academic setting. Each individual who asked me questions added to my experience and knowledge during the presentations,” said Alsonso. “I am incredibly grateful to Dr. Ling for giving me the opportunity to be on the research team, and for mentoring me as I grow into my professional role,” said Hauck.

The other students who participated were: Melanie Peters, Elizabeth Kocis, Emily Holland, Tiffany Henawi, Elizabeth Rebeiro, Allison Osorio, Schyler Lamattina, Nadia Sabeh, Caitlin Doyle, Felicia Apito and Cinthya Castro.

Featured News, Natural and Physical Sciences News, News

Biology student interns at Johns Hopkins

Veronica Guirguis and Dr.  Barbara Detrick, Caldwell alumna and a professor of pathology at the JH University School of Medicine.
Caldwell Biology student Veronica Guirguis with John Hopkins Diversity Summer Internship Program director Jessica Harrington.
Caldwell Biology student Veronica Guirguis (2nd from left) at her internship poster presentation at Johns Hopkins.  She is pictured with her mentors and colleagues.

Biology student Veronica Guirguis spent the summer interning at the world-renowned teaching and biomedical hospital, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

Guirguis, a sophomore, was grateful to have the chance to work with “brilliant people” including Dr. Christopher Heaney, associate professor in the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, and Dr.  Barbara Detrick, a professor of pathology at the JH University School of Medicine, and a Caldwell University alumna.  Guirguis also appreciated the introduction to virology provided by John Hooks, Ph.D. of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.

Guirguis was on a team that researched “Detection of IL-6 in Hepatitis E Virus Infection.”   “We found that IL-6 is upregulated in HEV infection which participates in inflammation,” she said.

Caldwell University’s Natural and Physical Sciences Department prepared her well for the internship.  When she started working with petri dishes at JH she said, “I”ve got this.  I’ve been prepared for this,” recalling how she had learned about plate pouring techniques in Caldwell Science Professor Agnes Berki’s labs.

The internship, she said, gave her a “confidence boost” and she appreciated being able to network with professionals. She says she has a clearer vision of the steps she will need to take to pursue immunology studies as part of a combined M.D. /Ph.D. program.

In addition to the studies, there was time to discover the city of Baltimore, it’s “beauty and history”, she said, and enjoy dinner one evening on the famous Inner Harbor with the other students and faculty.  “Everyone was so nice. They made you fall in love with the campus and Baltimore.”

It was the third year that Caldwell students were selected to participate in the JH Bloomberg School of Public Health Diversity Summer Internship Program. Dr.  Detrick formed the partnership between Caldwell and Johns Hopkins.

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Faculty Experience Summer Study in France for Dominican Institutions

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Music Department Chair and Professor Nan Childress Orchard and her husband Music adjunct faculty member Joseph Orchard joined faculty, staff and students from other American Dominican universities and colleges in June for the annual Summer Study in France program.

They attended seminars and experienced the historic sites in the south of France and Paris focusing on St. Dominic and the Order of Preachers.   The workshops included topics such as Dominican values, St. Dominic’s travels and the history of the Dominicans.

They explored the historic village of Fanjeaux, where Dominic arrived in 1206 and took on a mission of itinerant preaching of the Gospels, and where he founded the women’s monastery of Prouille, which became the cradle of the Order of Preachers.

The group visited Carcassone, the location of the Basilica of St. Nazaire where St. Dominic preached; the ruins of Montesegur, which was a formidable base for the (rebel) Cathars or Albigensians; the Basilica of St. Sernin and the Couvent des Jacobins in Toulouse, where the Dominicans were made the guardians of the Catholic faith, and the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Cécile in Albi, built almost entirely of brick.

Nan and Joe appreciated the tour and remarks in Toulouse by Father Renaud Silly, O.P., provincial promoter of Dominican Holy Places and a biblical scholar, and having the opportunity in Les Jacobins to stand in front of the tomb of the great Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas.

Joe, who teaches the Music and Contemplation course at Caldwell, was interested to learn how “Dominic’s way was fundamentally catechetical” in instructing the Cathars about their misguided beliefs about Jesus Christ. “They needed to be led back to the truth about God and about themselves.”

Nan was inspired to look more closely at how the Dominican charisms of study and contemplation could inform her in engaging students to be more focused on having a “servant attitude”, even if they are not religious.  “How can I encourage Dominican values for my students to help them play more of a role in service?”

Dominic engaged people in dialogue, said Nan.  That is an example for faculty today.  “How can I engage my students in dialogue when they don’t expect it?”

The cohort stayed at Notre Dame del Abbaye in Carcassone, an abbey that was converted to a guest house run by Ursuline sisters. They enjoyed the group’s company and “a sense of humor was always welcome,” said Joe.

In Paris, they visited Versailles and went to Notre-Dame de Paris and the gothic royal Sainte Chapelle, with its display of stain-glass windows.

Nan and Joe attended Mass and Vespers at the Notre-Dame Cathedral of Notre Dame and enjoyed a lovely concert by the Cathedral’s children’s choir.

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Fritzner Philemon – Earning a degree means giving 200 percent

College is never about giving 100 percent; it is always about giving 200, says Fritzner Philemon.  He should know. The last several years the criminal justice major has walked a hard road on the journey to completing his college education. The class of 2017 graduate is the first in his family to earn a college education—not just in his immediate family but among his “cousins and cousins’ cousins” too.

Growing up in a tough neighborhood in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Philemon saw violence, gangs and drugs wherever he looked. “I always wanted to save people from being victims of senseless crimes. I feel as if law enforcement is the only way I can make this goal come true.”

He was moved to apply to Caldwell after a recruiter came to his high school and talked about the family atmosphere and the opportunities through the Educational Opportunity Fund. He began his freshman year with hopeful anticipation, not knowing he would face life-changing obstacles along the way.

At the end of his freshman year, his parents’ apartment burned down and they lost everything. Not wanting to live in a rundown motel, Philemon found himself homeless, so he lived out of his car. With the university’s help, he lived in the residence hall for a time. He got a job at the Citibank corporate office in Warren, New Jersey and eventually was able to find an apartment for $600 a month, something he could afford only by working overtime—more than 40 hours a week. He commuted across the state to take his college courses. By the time he left the bank, he was a supervisor.

After that, Philemon got a full-time job at a pharmaceutical company, closer to school, where he worked two weekday nights from midnight to 8 a.m. and weekends from 4 p.m. to midnight. On school days, he would get off from work, eat and head right to class.

He is grateful to have been taught by faculty with extensive hands-on experience in the field. “I know more than what is in the book. I know the dangers and the realities in the field.” Philemon plans to apply that knowledge to graduate school studies in criminal justice, to the police academy or to taking the Secret Service exam. “I want all my life to be about helping people and making a difference in a positive way.”

He is grateful to the staff in Caldwell’s Educational Opportunity Fund Office. “They always motivated me. If it wasn’t for EOF, I would have given up.”

If there is a silver lining—and Philemon would probably tell you there are several—it is that he has solid work experience, much more than many 22-year-old students have when they graduate. “My résumé looks really good.”

He is not wasting any of the struggles but is using them to give advice to other students who hit roadblocks. “You can make it through. Think about the end goal and why you are here.” And always give 200 percent.