Home » Blog » News

Category: News

Featured News, News

Mass of Holy Spirit Marks Start of Academic Year

Caldwell, N.J., Sept. 8, 2016 – Caldwell University held its traditional Mass of the Holy Spirit Sept. 7 marking the beginning of the academic year.

Students, faculty, and staff gathered to thank God for His blessings on the university and to invoke the Holy Spirit’s guidance and inspiration for the campus community.

Father Thomas Blind celebrated the Mass.  “The Spirit of God makes a great difference in our lives,” he said.   “We are brought together as a community to pray with or for one another,” and to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit of courage, knowledge, fortitude, and wisdom, he said.   The Holy Spirit also provides comfort and peace, the peace that one can give to others and the world, said Father Blind.

Special blessings were given to the Student Government Association, the choir, the residence life staff, and fall athletes.    Prior to reading the blessings, President Nancy Blattner asked that those who will be blessed pass it on. “Find a way that you can be a blessing to someone else on this campus.”

Music Professor Laura Greenwald, members of the Caldwell University Chorale, accompanist Warren Helms, and cantor Rebecca Nee provided the music.

The university typically holds a Mass of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of each academic semester.

Featured News, News, Nursing News

Nursing students receive white coats celebrating the start of clinical studies

Caldwell, N.J., Sept. 2, 2016 – Sixty-six Caldwell University nursing students received their white coats at a ceremony Sept. 1 celebrating the start of their clinical studies.

“May the white coat remind you of our professional bond and commitment to the caring, compassion and humanism in nursing that we all share,” said Dr. Theodora Sirota, Ph.D., CNL, APRN-BC, professor and director of the Department of Nursing.

Sister Kathleen Tuite, vice president for student life, told the third-year students they were giving a “wonderful witness” to Caldwell University and encouraged them to provide “selfless love” in their work as nurses.

The keynote address was given by Carol Porter, DNP, R.N., FAAN, a former chief nursing officer at Mount Sinai Medical Center. She told the students that their entrance into clinical care is a “wonderful, serious step” in their careers. “It’s what’s inside the coat that matters,” she said.  Porter encouraged them to look at every patient through that person’s eyes, to “always go above and beyond … to seek out a mentor … to be well informed, well read, and belong to associations.” She advised them never to be afraid to advocate for a patient and to “push the envelope” if they feel something is ethically and morally wrong.

Samantha Coghlan, a senior and president of the Student Nurses’ Association, encouraged the students to become involved in the student-run organization. “Your participation will contribute to your success and prepare you for the rest of your life as a professional registered nurse.”

Nicole Grandeza ’16, B.S.N., R.N., spoke about the Caldwell Nursing Honor Society and encouraged the students to strive for academic and professional leadership, to “be inquisitive … be willing to learn … be open to change … strive to go above and beyond.”

Olivia O’Donnell, a junior who received her white coat, said it was a “very exciting day,” especially since she had also had her first clinical experience earlier. Jade Puello, also a junior, said it was sort of “like graduation … another milestone.”

The students were cloaked in their jackets by faculty members and received Humanism in Medicine pins from seniors.

They recited the nursing white-coat oath, pledging to accept the responsibilities that embody the nursing profession including the primary importance of considering the welfare of humanity and the relief of suffering.

Father Tom Blind gave the invocation and benediction, noting the upcoming canonization of Mother Teresa and how she is a model for God’s love and care for the sick.

Dr. Nan Childress Orchard, chair of the Music Department, provided the processional and recessional music.

The pins were provided as a gift from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, initiators of the first white-coat ceremony.

The ceremony was originally made possible by a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to support the Gold-ACCN White Coat Ceremony for Nursing.

Featured News, News

Brenda Petersen: Compassionate nurses inspired her career path

BrendaPeterson085Brenda Petersen never wanted to pursue a nursing career, even though her mother was a nurse.

“I heard the stories and I thought, ‘I could never do that.’” She started college studying business and then entered the professional workforce as a special deputy sheriff in the Hunterdon County Sheriff’s Office and was certified as a sex crimes investigator. She left the county and went to work for an engineering firm and then for a Fortune 500 company in cost accounting.

But everything changed after she had her first baby. Hospitalized for a month on complete bed rest and unable to care for her infant son, Petersen saw the compassion of the nurses and realized she wanted to pursue a dream of “being just like them.”

“It wasn’t the doctors; it wasn’t the medicine that made the biggest difference in my healing and recovery; it was the caring of those nurses who came to my bedside at one of the worst times of my life,” she said.

Her journey to become a nurse began a few years later. “When my kids went to school, I went to school. And I’ve been in school ever since,” Petersen said. She is completing her Ph.D. in Health Sciences Leadership at Seton Hall University’s School of Health and Medical Sciences, and expects to defend her dissertation this fall.

Her nursing studies began in an associate degree program because that was what she could afford. After receiving her degree, she worked in home care and then quickly enrolled in Seton Hall’s R.N. to B.S.N. program.

During her studies, Petersen met a pediatric nurse practitioner/nurse educator who would become her mentor. “She touched me and inspired me to want to go on for my graduate degree, so I pursued the same path she had.” That path would lead Petersen to become a pediatric nurse practitioner and then a nurse educator. She spent a decade on the nursing faculty and as a program administrator at Seton Hall and joined Caldwell in 2013.

In addition to her role as assistant director in the Department of Nursing, she was recently named director of Caldwell’s new Department of Public Health , which will feature a B.S. in public health education.

She takes seriously the responsibility that comes with educating students in a changing health care environment. “I’m very passionate about supporting student success, not just academically but emotionally.”

Success in nursing education means constantly keeping pace with industry changes especially since professional standards have been raised over the last several years. In 2013 the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses became more difficult because preventable patient injury is the third-leading cause of death in the United States, Petersen explained. From day one on the job, she joined the nursing team to research evidence on best teaching practices, and the team is seeing results. She boasted of recent grads who have passed the exams and are all employed, several in jobs that are not standard for the new nurse. Employers are impressed by the way Caldwell’s nursing students represent themselves in their field work, Petersen stressed. “We teach with great passion, great hope and great expectation that the words we use and the lessons we provide will impact our students to have practices that reflect who we are as an institution.”

One of the field work settings is the Dedicated Education Unit at Morristown Medical Center where Caldwell has partnered for the past two years. “They were very vocal in the fact that they chose us because of our faculty, in particular Dr. Marnie Sperling,” said Petersen. Unlike a traditional student/faculty model, the DEU model provides a “practicing expert nurse” who works directly with the student to manage patient care, which is the type of work the student will do after entering the workforce, she said. Since statistics show that a large number of new nurses leave the profession in the first six months of being on the job, gaining this type of experience can counter that trend and benefit the employer by reducing orientation costs, she explained.

Petersen and her husband John have been married for 37 years and have three grown children, Tyler, Victoria and Erik. On weekends she enjoys reading anything related to education or best practices for educating nurses. “I’m at a great time in my life; I’m passionate about seeing Caldwell grow and our department expand and grow.” She also gives back by serving on the board of the New Jersey Physicians Advisory Group, which provides up-to-date medical information on teen sexual health to educators, parents and health professionals.

Word is spreading about what she called the “brand” of Caldwell nursing graduates, a brand that includes core values as well
as skills and ability, she explained. “It’s with great humility I do my best to try to give them examples of what that really means.”  n

— CL

“ I’m very passionate about supporting student success, not just academically but emotionalls.”BrendaPeterson_Classroom_153Final_RT_No screens

Things you might not know about Professor Brenda Petersen

She and her husband John met in high school when she was 15, and they’ve been together ever since. “He is my rock, my touchstone, my ‘true north,’” she said.

Her father, Norman Berner, was a World War II veteran, a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division who jumped into Normandy on D-Day. He was named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest arborist. “I don’t think anyone is going to beat him, because he was 86 when he was recognized,” said Petersen.

Her mother, Alice Emfinger Berner, a nurse with an associate degree, was one of the first physician assistants in New Jersey. “That was the early stages of nurse practitioners and physician assistants, so she sat for the exam, passed it and became licensed as a physician assistant before it was full regulated. She was a trailblazer,” said Petersen.

Featured News, News

Marie Mullaney: A father’s love of politics and newspapers sparks a daughter’s passion for history

MarieMullaney006Marie Mullaney remembers that her father, a Newark schoolteacher, loved politics and reading newspapers. “We had newspapers all over the house,” she says. As a child, she would accompany her father to Asbury Park not to go to the beach but to sit in “a newspaper office” that had publications from all over the country. There her father devoured the papers and Mullaney learned to love the world of history and politics. “I had this phenomenal interest.”

Her zeal for history grew as she attended Catholic schools in Newark. When she was in third grade she couldn’t wait to enter fourth grade, which had a social studies curriculum. In eighth grade she wound up memorizing her history book “because I kept reading it and reading it.” And then there was the 1968 presidential election. She recalls the television coverage starting at 2 p.m. and continuing all day. “I was fascinated by the whole process and certainly by Nixon’s story.”

But Mullaney never thought she’d pursue history professionally. “My father kept telling me, ‘You need to get a job.’” With an aptitude for math, she started out in college as a math major, but by the end of her first semester in freshman year, she knew her heart was not in it. She switched to political science until she had a revelation in her international relations class. “I became furious with the instructor and the textbook,” realizing that all of it was “garbage.” Quite simply, she says, “You can’t study political science without knowing history, especially in international relations.”

This “aha” moment shaped her direction. “You needed history before you can get to any sort of theoretical analysis. History is just the fountain of truth.” She graduated from Seton Hall summa cum laude as valedictorian with a double major in history and political science. She always thought she’d go to law school and was accepted into several including Harvard. But her college history professors encouraged her to go to graduate school and to apply for the prestigious Danforth Foundation Fellowship. Mullaney was one of only 65 students nationwide selected to receive the scholarship. “Here I was with all these law school acceptances.” After two weeks in law school, she did a 180 and decided to pursue her passion for history, enrolling in graduate school at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. She was a scholar in feminism, interested in women who were rebels against their societies and in Marxism. “(It’s) actually ironic because I’m a very politically conservative person,” she says.

Realizing how “horrible” the job market was for history students, Mullaney was driven to complete her master’s and her Ph.D. in 4½ years, breaking all kinds of records for her age. “That fear pushed me like you would not believe.” While she was finishing her Ph.D., Rutgers put out a brochure highlighting its upcoming graduates. Caldwell College saw it and hired her as an adjunct to teach a women’s history course. Not long after, she was offered a full-time teaching job. “No search committees; I suppose they checked my references. I don’t know. I was a good Catholic girl,” she says.

Seeing Caldwell’s growth has been most gratifying for Mullaney. She came to Caldwell when it was a small women’s institution. “That was great. I’m still in contact with some of the students. Those were special days, those early years.”

In the 1980s, she was on the committee to determine whether the institution should go coed. Since she had taught at Douglass College, which was then the undergraduate women’s college at Rutgers University, and had studied the history of women’s colleges, she knew it was time for Caldwell to transition.

Her contributions to Caldwell’s growth are numerous—chairing the History Department for 21 years, bringing the history honor society Phi Alpha Theta to campus, creating the political science major, overseeing the department during curriculum revision and the creation of the senior outcomes assessment research process and serving on the Faculty Council as secretary for many years. She returned to work after having each of her three children. After giving birth to her oldest, she was back on campus four days later for graduation.

As a professor, Mullaney has stretched and grown. At the beginning, “We had to teach everything. You would laugh if you knew some of the courses I have taught.” She appreciates being in an environment where professors and teachers can grow and develop. “If I were at a larger institution, I would be stuck teaching whatever specialty I developed in graduate school.” Her Ph.D. is in European history, but her passions have expanded; she loves teaching Western civilization and a range of courses on American history. Her more recent research interests have involved the history of the Catholic Church, and she has created two courses on the topic for the enriched core. “I love the flexibility we are given. If you have an idea, if you have a talent, if you have a desire, you are allowed to run with it, and I think that is terrific.”

Mullaney calls herself “neurotically organized” and has used that attribute to help the university reach lofty goals. Since 1985 she has played a pivotal role in Caldwell’s Middle States reaccreditation processes, chairing the curriculum work group in 1985 and the entire steering committee in 1995. Along with President Nancy Blattner, the board of trustees and the cabinet, she led the most recent Middle States effort in 2015. While most would be happy to be done and to take a rest after a three-year process involving massive documents, just weeks after the completion, Mullaney was heard saying how she missed Middle States. “I loved doing Middle States. You want to help the university, and I’m a historian, a storyteller. We use documents and we support what we say with facts and evidence.”

She makes to-do lists all the time, often on pieces of paper. “I don’t need a fancy computer or smartphone… I get things done. You want something done, give it to me.” But she admits that her “driven” personality can sometimes be tough, even for herself.

Her two sons and one daughter were all swimmers and always knew their mother was there for them. “My daughter said, ‘My mother was at every swim meet.’” She was class mother, involved in her kids’ school committees, and ran “gigantic” parties for her children. “I wound up in the hospital one year with pneumonia for doing that,” she says.

Still, Mullaney says she is most grateful to God for giving her a family and “the health and energy” to do what she has done.

Building relationships with students and keeping in contact with them have been most gratifying. “The history students are the greatest. They become teachers themselves. They ask me for help,” she says.

Mullaney spent a recent sabbatical researching the history of the Katherine Gibbs schools, and she is excited about being able to develop new courses. “After so many years of juggling work and children, I feel even more intellectually alive than I did when I was in graduate school. And it’s a great feeling.”

— CL

“You can’t study political science without knowing history, especially in international relations.”


Things you might not know about Marie Mullaney

If you are talking to her when she is home, it is not unusual for her to say, “Hold the phone. I have to get the cookies out of the oven.”

“I love to decorate. I love to cook. I’m like Martha Stewart with a Ph.D. I cook dinner five nights a week. One of my side specialties is the history of food.”

She is a voracious reader. “In my house I have thousands of books in my collection. To quote Thomas Jefferson, ‘I cannot live without books.’”

Featured News, News

Visceglia Gallery presents: Belize: Beyond the Blue Skies and Clear Waters


A Reflection on Short-term Service Trips

Caldwell, N.J., Aug. 30, 2016 – The Visceglia Gallery at Caldwell University is presenting “Belize: Beyond the Blue Skies and Clear Waters”, a reflection of short-term service.

This exciting exhibition features photography and written reflections on short-term service trips by Caldwell University students and faculty members. The writing and photography attempt to capture and share the sense of discovery, place and community many may not have the chance to experience.

The exhibition runs from Sept. 15 through Sept. 27. On Saturday, Sept. 24 Senior Sean Puzzo, who has attended Belize service trips, will give a mini- lecture from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the Gallery.

Since 2013 Caldwell University has taken small groups of students, faculty, and staff to Belize to serve in the poorest district of Belize, Toledo. The Caldwell group has stayed at St. Peter Claver Parish in Punta Gorda, a small coastal town in the Toledo District. Punta Gorda serves as the “base camp” each year from which the group travels from and to their service sites.

Short-term service experiences offer students the opportunity to experience a new location and community in a way that is different than study abroad. Optimally, students learn about history, culture, economy, the complexity of social issues, and a way of life through firsthand experiences, in either a domestic or international setting. Puzzo, an exhibition co-curator, points out that, “Engaging in short-term service learning trips promotes tolerance and the reduction of stereotypes by working with unfamiliar populations. It also nourishes personal development, self-efficacy, and leadership.” And when successful, the volunteers leave without seeing themselves as heroes, but with enduringly deep connections and an awareness of the need for long-term partnership with the community.

When students volunteer in these communities they forge relationships, learn valuable life lessons as well as practical ones. Prof. Kendall Baker, the Visceglia Gallery director and co-curator, noted, “In ‘Belize: Beyond the Blue Skies and Clear Waters’ the photographs, reflections and ongoing questions celebrate the personal connections, work completed and the ongoing effort to discover and contribute effectively to worlds beyond our personal and national boundaries.”

This exhibition is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Featured News, News

Caldwell University Welcomes Largest Freshman Class Ever

Undergraduate Enrollments Reach All-Time High


Caldwell, N.J., Aug. 29, 2016 – Caldwell University welcomed its largest freshman class ever at the start of the 2016-17 academic year with 406 students. Undergraduate enrollment is also at an all-time high.

Incoming students took part in Welcome Weekend activities Aug. 27-29 including a barbecue with President Nancy Blattner, Music under the Stars on the lawn, a trip to a Mets game, Mass and the new-student convocation ceremony.

Blattner formally welcomed the Class of 2020 at the convocation, saying, “Today begins a momentous period in your life because you are beginning your college experience.” She encouraged the incoming students to learn about the rich Catholic Dominican history and heritage and to reflect on the university’s commitment to the four foundational pillars of prayer, study, community and mission or service.

Commenting on the Dominican pillar of mission or service, she said that one of the most exciting opportunities awaiting the students was to volunteer. “Whether you choose to participate on a Midnight Run into New York City to feed and clothe the homeless, sign up for a weeklong experience in Appalachia over spring or winter break or decide to accompany the group traveling to Central America to work in jungle villages, your life will forever be transformed by participating in service projects at Caldwell.”

Shyam Sharma’ 17, president of the Student Government Association, welcomed the new students to the Caldwell University community.  “Over the next few years, you’ll see yourself and your peers grow personally and professionally in ways you never thought possible.  The first step is to go through this journey with an open mind.  Use this opportunity to try new things, whether that comes in the form of a global service trip, trying a new class or even the fusion entrees in the dining hall.”

Melissa Brown, a freshman from Brick, New Jersey, majoring in education and history, was looking forward to her college career. She said that the orientation leaders were fantastic and that she appreciated “how diverse the community is.” She enjoyed the Welcome Weekend activities because “they kept everybody involved and busy the whole time.”

The four largest freshman classes in the history of the university, and of the college, have enrolled in four of the last five years. This year’s class is almost 30 percent higher than last year’s, which was the second-largest class in history and is now bumped down to third.

“We are not sacrificing quality; the average SAT score for our regular admits is exactly the same as the prior year, and we have many more of them this year,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management and Communications Joseph Posillico.

With such a large freshman class, undergraduate enrollment is approaching nearly 1,400 students this fall for the first time in school history. The school hit other first-time milestones, reaching 1,100 students in 2011, 1,200 students in 2013 and 1,400 students this fall. From 2009 to fall 2016 the university has experienced a 44 percent increase in traditional students, a tremendous accomplishment at a time when there are fewer high school graduates and many other colleges and universities are experiencing enrollment declines.

The university is also welcoming its largest class of international students this fall with students from all over the world including Asia, South America, the Caribbean and Europe.


Library, News

Welcome back!

Time for the start of the Fall semester. The library wants to make sure you have all the tools you need to succeed. Check out the information below:

Not sure where to get started with your research? Check out our frequently used databases: http://libguides.caldwell.edu/subjectdatabases/frequentlyused

Citations getting you down? Take a look at this guide and keep an eye out for APA and MLA citation workshops this semester: http://libguides.caldwell.edu/citations

Need writing assistance? Writing tutors will be in the Library’s Learning Commons starting mid September.

Need some study time?
The Library is open:
Monday- Thursday 7:30 a.m. – Midnight
Friday 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday 9-5 p.m.
Sunday 1 – 9 p.m.

How about a break from all that hard work? Check out our social media pages (Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter), get a massage in the massage chair, sit down with the puzzle, or print something in 3D!

Still have a question? Stop by the library, give us a call (973-618-3337), text us (973- 947-6902), or chat with us!

Featured News, News

Accounting Student Receives Hispanic Business Scholarship


Caldwell, N.J., Aug. 11, 2016 – Caldwell University student Karla Barzola was awarded a scholarship from the National Hispanic Business Group at its annual gala on Wall Street in Manhattan July 21.

Barzola, a senior and an accounting major with a minor in finance and mathematics, says receiving the scholarship was amazing and attending the gala provided a wonderful opportunity to network with other professionals, given the many businesses that support the organization. “I’m very grateful to the NHBG for the scholarship which is helping me finance my education so I can graduate.” She enjoyed meeting the other students who received the scholarships. “We set up a group chat afterwards.”

Barzola, a senior and a native of Jersey City, is the first generation in her family (along with her sister) to attend college. She spent the summer interning with Concepts Office Furnishings Inc. in Saddle Brook, New Jersey. With an aptitude for math and working with numbers, she has particularly enjoyed seeing how the accounting department operates and wants to work with budgets in the future, perhaps as a budget analyst. “This is very valuable. You need to have experience when you are first applying for jobs. This is a good start for my career.”

Aida DeSoto, president of Concepts Office Furnishings, has been delighted to have Barzola on staff this summer. DeSoto was a co-founder of the National Hispanic Business Group, which is made up of prominent Hispanic entrepreneurs looking to develop opportunities for Hispanic businesses. In the early ’90s they decided to start a scholarship program to help high-achieving Hispanic students complete their college educations. DeSoto says they saw that students were dropping out after two years due to financial circumstances. Instead of finishing their educations they began to work. “We wanted to help them finish their studies with this scholarship.”

Barzola has had a positive experience studying in the Business Division and is grateful to the faculty and other Caldwell University staff for their support and direction. Professor Ann Marie Callahan is “an amazing advisor to consult with and talk to about the business world. She has helped me a lot in my major and the business world as well,” said Barzola. She is also thankful to Assistant to the President for Special Projects Dr. Nancy Becker and University Registrar and Director of Institutional Research Ian White for helping her with the scholarship process and to DeSoto for giving her the internship opportunity.

Most of all Barzola has found it rewarding to show her parents what she can achieve. “I’m glad that they are able to say they are proud of me.”

Featured News, News

Enhance your university learning experience at the Academic Success Center

Students share the benefits of a wide range of services at Caldwell University’s Academic Success Center.

The Center offers academic support services through which students of all abilities can address their long and short-term learning needs in a supportive and relaxed environment. Individual and group tutoring in most academic subjects is available on a scheduled basis. Many drop-in sessions are also offered. Skill-specific workshops are presented regularly to help students develop and improve their study habits and writing techniques.

The Writing Center, staffed by professional and peer tutors, has regular hours for drop-in assistance. Students may be referred to the Academic Success Center by their professors for skill reinforcement, or they may arrange for their own tutoring by completing the registration form available in the Academic Success Center. Students who excel in a particular course and who have been recommended by their professor, may be invited to work as Academic Success Center tutors.

The Office of Disability Services (ODS) is also located in the Academic Success Center. The mission of the ODS is to provide a full range of reasonable and appropriate accommodations and support services to students with disabilities in order to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990).

The Office of Disability Services seeks to foster independence and to develop the self-advocacy of students with disabilities. In addition, the ODS serves as a liaison and resource to members of the Caldwell University community.

Location: Student Center, First Floor
Contact: Nancee Roth, Coordinator of Tutoring Services
Coordinator of Disability Services
973 – 618-3645

Library, News

Jennings Library Faculty & Staff Coloring Contest!

Need a little relaxation this August? How about coloring your stress away?

coloring-1The Library is running a coloring contest for all faculty and staff. Packets with coloring pages will be sent to department offices. To enter, simply color a sheet from the packet and return the completed picture to the library by 8/23. All completed entries will be entered to win a prize! You may even see your work of art displayed in the library.

So get your colored pencils ready and ease into the fall semester with some coloring fun!