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Research Astrophysicist Dr. Anton Koekemoer to Speak at Caldwell University on The Saint John’s Bible

Head Shot photo of Anton Koekemoer.

Caldwell, N.J., March 7, 2019 – Dr. Anton M. Koekemoer, research astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, will speak on “Science and Faith in Harmony: The Heavens Declare the Glory of God” at Caldwell University’s third annual Research and Creative Arts Day noon, Wednesday, April 24, in the Doris M. Byrne Performing Arts Center located in Rosary Hall/Administration Building.   It is free and open to the public.

The event will be part of the university’s “Year with The Saint John’s Bible.” The sacred art is the first handwritten, illuminated Bible of monumental scale in 500 years.

Dr. Koekemoer has carried out scientific research with the Hubble Space Telescope for over 20 years with a focus on distant galaxies and black holes.

Modern astronomical discoveries reveal ever more amazing views of the universe, including beautiful glowing gas clouds, majestic star clusters, countless galaxies and the most distant objects known, and Dr. Koekemoer will present a journey of exploration through the cosmos, highlighting exciting astronomical discoveries and images from the Hubble Space Telescope that inspired beautiful artwork in The Saint John’s Bible.

The sense of awe and wonder expressed by ancient writers of Scripture—for example the psalmist, who exclaims “The heavens declare the glory of God”—grows even more when viewing the universe with modern telescopes, explains Dr. Koekemoer. While science focuses on physical processes observed in the universe, deeper questions about the significance and meaning of existence, and other topics of faith, may be considered from the perspective of religion. In addition to presenting the latest astronomical discoveries, Dr. Koekemoer will share personal reflections, from his perspective as a research scientist who is also a Christian, on how scientific viewpoints can be reconciled with religion for anyone of faith for deeper spiritual growth.

Dr. Koekemoer holds a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the Australian National University, has held research positions at Leiden University, the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and has led the imaging work for the Hubble Ultra Deep Field and other large cosmological projects. He participates in the dialogue between science and faith in numerous ways, including serving as an advisor to seminaries that are interested in integrating science more fully, and other efforts aimed at positive interactions between science and religion.

The Bible was commissioned by Benedictine Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and the creative director was Donald Jackson, senior scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Office.

Jackson and six calligraphers hand wrote all 1,150 pages on approximately 300 sheets of calfskin vellum with more than 160 major illuminations. The work was done at a scriptorium in Wales. A Jewish scribe drew the Hebrew script. The translation of the Bible is the New Revised Standard Version.

Caldwell has the Heritage Edition of the Gospels and Acts for the calendar year 2019. It is the only full-size limited, signed and numbered fine art edition that will ever be produced. Each volume includes Jackson’s signature as its certificate of authenticity.

About Research and Creative Arts Day

The third annual Research and Creative Arts Day at Caldwell University provides undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, faculty and staff the opportunity to showcase their creative work, projects, papers, or research. This year’s theme is “Ut In Omnibus Glorificetur Dei,” –“That in all things God may be glorified (1 Peter 4:11).

Featured News, News

Night of Cougar Pride Honoring 2019 Hall of Fame Class Set for April 26

Hall of fame, 2019 helding on April 26 flyer.

CALDWELL, N.J.- The Caldwell University Athletics Department, in conjunction with Cougar Pride, will host “A Night of Cougar Pride” on Friday, April 26 at Mayfair Farms in West Orange, New Jersey. The Caldwell Athletics “Night of Cougar Pride” dinner, honoring the 2019 Hall of Fame inductees, will begin with a cocktail hour at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner and induction ceremony at 7:30 p.m.

The Caldwell University Hall of Fame committee elected four honorees and a team for the 2019 class. Softball Head Coach Dean Johnson will be honored along with softball’s Danielle Guerra ’04, men’s basketball’s Shawn McCray ’89 and baseball’s Ryan McGee ’05. In addition to the four inductees, the 2004 softball team will be inducted for their outstanding success on the field.

Cost is $125 per person with tables of 10 people available for $1,100. All proceeds will go to the Cougar Pride General Fund, which supports the degree completion program and enhancements for the 16 intercollegiate athletic programs. Tickets are available for the Caldwell Athletics “Night of Cougar Pride” ceremony by calling Caldwell University Athletics at (973) 618-3260. The online registration link for the event and journal ad items is at the top of the page.

Hotel rooms are available at the Marriott Courtyard in West Orange, New Jersey for $139 for the night of Friday, April 26 only. Hotel rooms must be booked by Friday, April 12 in order to secure the group rate and can be booked online by using the link at the top of the page. For additional nights or information, please call the hotel at 973-669-4725 and request pricing for the Caldwell University Hall of Fame.

The Caldwell University Athletics Hall of Fame was established in 2010 to honor student-athletes, coaches and contributors who have played significant roles in the success of the intercollegiate athletic programs at Caldwell University. With this year’s class, there are now 44 members in the Hall of Fame. The Caldwell Athletics Hall of Fame room is located on the first floor of the George R. Newman Center. The April 26 ceremony is the main fundraising event for Cougar Pride, the official booster club of Caldwell University Athletics.

Johnson has developed the Cougar softball team into one of the top programs in the region and in the nation. He had guided the Cougars to a 796-358-3 record in 24 seasons. Johnson has been selected as the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year nine times during his two decades at the helm of the Cougars. Since transitioning to the NCAA in the 2003 season, Johnson has guided Caldwell to 16 seasons with 30+ wins, including six 40+ win seasons. The Cougars have appeared in the NCAA Tournament 14 times during Johnson’s era and they won the NCAA Division II Northeast Region in 2004.

McGee played for the Caldwell baseball team from 2002-2005. He was a two-time CACC First Team All-Conference selection at second base. McGee ranks among the all-time leaders in program history in hits, runs scored and RBI. He was a key part of the team that won their first CACC Tournament Championship in 2004, batting .346 with 12 doubles that season. McGee was selected to the CACC All-Tournament Team as Caldwell earned the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament.

McCray was a standout player for the men’s basketball team and was part of the inaugural season of the program in 1987-88. In two seasons for the Cougars, McCray made an immediate impact on the program. He was the program’s first 1,000-point scorer as he finished with 1,059 in just two seasons. He scored 586 points in his 1987-88, the program’s first season, which is the second highest single season total in its history.

Guerra played for the Caldwell softball team from 2001-2004 and is one of the program’s top catchers in its history. She was a three-time CACC First Team All-Conference selection. Guerra was selected to the NFCA All-Region Second Team as a junior and earned first team honors as a senior. She was also a key member of 2004 CACC and Northeast Region championship team. Guerra ranks among the all-time leader in program history in doubles, RBI, hits and batting average.

The 2004 softball team ranks among the best in the program’s history. They hold the best record in softball history with a 45-7 mark. The Cougars won their first CACC regular season and tournament championship that season. Caldwell went 3-0 in the NCAA Division II Northeast Regional to claim the region title and advance to their first-ever DII Women’s College World Series Elite 8. The Cougars were ranked #7 in the final NFCA Top-25 poll, their highest final ranking in school history.

Featured News, News

Poems by Syria refugees never before translated to English to be read at “Presence 2019” poetry journal launch

Sharif S. Elmusa , co-editor of Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry, will read poems at the launch of Presence 2019: A Journal of Catholic Poetry headshot photo.

Sharif S. Elmusa , co-editor of Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry, will read poems at the launch of Presence 2019: A Journal of Catholic Poetry.

Caldwell, N.J., March 20, 2019-  The launch of  Presence 2019: A Journal of Catholic Poetry will feature a reading of poems written by Syria refugees and never before translated into English.

The reading is free and open to the public and will be held at noon on Monday, April 15 in Werner Hall at Caldwell University.

The poems will be read by Sharif S. Elmusa and Gregory Orfalea, co-editors of Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry.

Elmusa is a Palestinian refugee who he grew up in a refugee camp near Jericho. He is author of  a book of poems, “Flawed Landscape”His poems and essays appeared in numerous print and online magazines, including most recently, “The Massachusetts Review,” “Mizna,” “The Indian  Quarterly” (India), Jadaliyya.com and Voxpopulisphere.com. Elmusa taught at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, for many years, and also at Georgetown, Qatar, and Yale. He is Palestinian by birth and American by citizenship.

Gregory Orfalea, co-editor of Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry, head shot photo.

Gregory Orfalea, co-editor of Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry, will read poems at the launch of Presence 2019: A Journal of Catholic Poetry.

Orfalea is the author of ten books, the most recent of which is “Journey to the Sun:  Junipero Serra’s Dream and the Founding of California” (Scribner, 2014)  A children’s version is “Junipero Serra and the California Missions.”    His “Angeleno Days” won the Arab American Book Award and was a finalist for the PEN USA Prize.  His collection of poetry, “The Capital of Solitude,” won the Ithaca House First Book Prize.  The long poem, “Arab and Jew in Alaska,” which originally was published by the Christian Science Monitor, was the first poem by an Arab American to appear in The Norton Introduction to Poetry.  Poet Lore has nominated “Poem for the Unspeakable” for the 2019 Pushcart Prize.   A number of his long essays have appeared in anthologies, including, Seeking Palestine, and Gaza Unsilenced. He has contributed opinion pieces to English-language newspapers in Egypt, including Al-Ahram Weekly and madamasr.com.; Jadaliyya.com; The Washington Post; and the New York Times.

For information about the event, contact Dr.  Mary Ann B. Miller, editor of Presence and chair of the Caldwell University English Department,  at 973-618-3454 or mmiller@caldwell.edu.


Music News, News

8th Annual Summer Intensive Percussion Camp  at Caldwell University

March 7,2019 – Caldwell University will hold its 8th annual Summer Intensive Percussion Camp July 15-20 on the beautiful campus of Caldwell University located 20 miles west of New York City.

During the week-long camp students are immersed in the percussion world through their participation in ensembles, clinics, and masterclasses with internationally recognized drummers and percussionists.  Previous artistsinclude Grammy Award winners Andres Forero (Hamilton) and Mark Guiliana (David Bowie),Tommy Igoe (performer, author),Joe Bergamini (Doo Wop Project, Broadway),Chuck Burgi (Billy Joel),Dom Famularo (The Global Drum Ambassador),Rolando Morales-Matos (The Lion King, Ron Carter), Payton MacDonald (composer, performer, film maker) andDennis DeLucia (DCI Hall of Fame).

Daily activities include drum set, world drumming, classical percussion, percussion ensemble, and masterclasses and technique classes. Both group and individual instruction are offered throughout the week. The camp runs daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with some extended activities including a trip to New York City to attend a live performance.The week culminates with a concert on Saturday, July 20 for family and friends. The camp is open to students 13 and older and no formal audition is required.

Camp tuition is $725 and includes lunch, snacks, and transportation and admission to the New York City performance.   For those who would like to stay on campus overnight, a residential option is available for $1,275, which covers camp tuition and room and board. Early bird discounts are available. For more information see the pricing chart on the camp brochure.  

Download the brochure and application form on the Music Department page.

For additional information contact Alex Bocchino (Camp Director) at abocchino@caldwell.edu.

Featured News, News

Lecture “Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) on the Eucharist” with Dr. Pristas

Lecture “Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) on the Eucharist” with Dr. Pristas

Caldwell, N.J.–March 5, 2019- “Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) on the Eucharist” will be the topic of a presentation by Lauren Pristas, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Theologyat Caldwell University, 4:30 p.m., Thursday, March 21, in the Alumni Theater on campus.

In Lent of 1978 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, gave four talks at St. Michael’s Church in Munich in which he reflected on basic dogmatic and catechetical themes of Catholic Eucharistic faith.  Dr. Pristas’s talk will focus on essential questions that Cardinal Ratzinger addressed in 1978. Some of these are: What is the origin and source of the Eucharist/Mass? What did Jesus mean at the Last Supper when he said “Do this”? How did we get from the Last Supper to the Mass? How is the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist to be understood? When one receives the Eucharist, what exactly does one receive?

Dr. Pristas is the author of “The Collects of the Roman Missal” and numerous scholarly articles on liturgical subjects. She is a member of the Academyof Catholic Theology and a past member of the board of directors of the Society for Catholic Liturgy. She has served on the editorial boards of Antiphon: a Journal for Liturgical Renewalandof Usus Antiquior. In 2003 she held the Pope John Paul II Chair for the Study of Person and Community at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., and in 2005 she received a St. Catherine of Siena Society research fellowship in liturgical theology. Dr. Pristas is an alumna of Caldwell.

The lecture is being presented by the Department of Theology and Philosophy as part of its Sister Maura Campbell lecture series. Sister Maura was a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell, a theologian, philosopher, professor, researcher and national leader in education whose scholarship and teaching spanned 50 years.

For further information, call 973-618-3931.

Featured News, Natural and Physical Sciences News, News





From the time Dr. William Velhagen was a child growing up in the Philippines, he thought of teaching as a way to make the world better. “For me it was a way to improve humanity, to ease suffering… I loved learning and was always curious. I wanted a career as a scientist.”

Today, as an associate professor and the chair of the Natural Sciences Department, Velhagen encourages his students to look at how science can benefit the lives of others and to be eager to learn. “In many ways, I’m an idealist. Excellence for its own sake matters. If you really love what you are learning, you will stay up late to learn more. You’ll read books and news articles,” he says.

As advisor for Caldwell’s pre-professional programs, Velhagen wants his students to appreciate what it means to work hard toward their goals. Koumudi Thirunagaru, a science alumna now in medical school at George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, benefited from being challenged in Velhagen’s classes. When she was a sophomore she took his physiology class and was instantly engaged by the way he taught. “He pushed our boundaries to think outside the box and challenge ourselves.”

In the classroom, Velhagen’s zeal for science inspires his students. Thirunagaru says his enthusiasm gave her a passion for a subject “as bland as histology” and trained her eye to look at pathology slides in medical schools. When it came time for her to apply to doctoral programs, she was grateful for his guidance. “He was extremely supportive and prompt with everything I needed and wanted so I could put my best foot forward.” After starting her studies at George Washington, she saw how her undergraduate background connected. “The clinical cases and clicker questions Dr. Velhagen did during his classes tied everything in and put it in perspective, making it easier for me to think about clinical cases as I began my journey in medical school.”

Velhagen believes it is important to keep the bar high for future doctors. “I know what it is like out there… I know what it takes to get into medical school.” He recalls how he attended medical school for over two years in his native Philippines—“those were great times”—before realizing he was being drawn to a different field.

The seeds of academic excellence were planted by his parents while he grew up in a family of six boys. They lived in the capital region of Manila—that “wonderfully, crazy, chaotic, cosmopolitan city”—where he attended La Salle Green Hills grammar and high schools run by the Christian Brothers in which studies and community service were emphasized. “The school as a whole gave me a great education.” He was a voracious reader, constantly taking books out of the school library or from his parents’ library. “I always loved science for its own sake… I was always inquisitive.” While studying as an undergraduate student at the University of the Philippines, he was invited to become a member of the selective, all-discipline, century-old honor society Phi Kappa Phi. Two years ago, he was honored when he was asked to be a founding member and the first president of Caldwell’s Phi Kappa Phi program. “It is a great way to bring faculty and students from different disciplines together.”

Velhagen first came to the United States for graduate school at Duke University. For his thesis, he was drawn to an understudied area of research focusing on the intersection of evolution and development of reptiles. “I don’t like following the crowd; even as a scientist I wanted to do something that is a little different.” It was “pure intellectual curiosity,” not utility, that led him to research snakes. The project—funded by the National Science Foundation—led to a competition against other students who today are accomplished scientists; he received the prestigious Stoye Award for Best Student Presentation in Genetics, Development and Morphology.

Velhagen’s career took him to teaching positions in science departments at universities in the United States including James Madison, Longwood and New York University. After experiencing large and small institutions, he appreciates the size of Caldwell where he can teach students throughout their four years rather than in only one or two classes during their college careers. “I see them grow from their first year to their fourth years… so that is gratifying.”

Velhagen considers himself the luckiest department chair in the university. “My colleagues are among the most proactive and collegial at Caldwell.” Velhagen and his colleagues begin guiding students in their freshman year as they prepare for medical, dental, veterinary or other professional schools. They teach them how to present themselves to admission officers and potential employers, how to prepare for mock interviews, how to put together a CV and how to study for the MCATs and other tests. During the time Velhagen has been overseeing the pre-professional programs, the department has greatly increased the number of students who have realized their dreams of being accepted into graduate and medical schools. He cites several reasons: “the students we are bringing in, my colleagues, the groundwork laid by others.” Still, it is clear that the numbers have gone up while he has been at the helm.

In addition to encouraging preparation for the health professions, the Natural Sciences Department encourages student research; the department is working to interweave more throughout the curriculum for all four years. Many science students have displayed their projects at the university’s annual Research and Creative Arts Day, which is aimed at promoting STEAM—science, technology, engineering, arts 
and math.

For Velhagen, a busy father of two teenage girls, effective learning always comes back to that word “curiosity.” If educators want their students to be curious, he believes, they have to model it themselves. “A big problem with how we teach is that we make it appear that what is known is set in stone and final, but it is always growing,” he says. “There is so much we don’t know… being interested in something helps you go a long way.” He strives to stimulate a love of learning in his classroom by encouraging questions and breaking up his lectures with interesting tidbits. “Sometimes it’s medical” or sometimes it is “how an animal does a thing in a weird way,” he says. Other times he will have students take out their laptops and phones in class and answer questions via an app for their participation grade. “It helps keep them active. It gets them to work together,” explains Velhagen. This spring semester, Velhagen is teaching a new honors course, “Evolution’s Lessons,” for students in all academic programs. “It will be great to bring in perspective from the humanities and the social sciences,” he said. “Beyond the science of evolution, I have to think, ‘What is the historical context and what are the cultural implications?’”

Velhagen firmly believes that knowing about science is foundational to a good liberal arts education and to the betterment of society. “Altruism and science” go hand in hand. “It’s about making things better for the greater good, for society as a whole… It’s about giving students the ability to go to good schools, to acquire the skills and knowledge they need to get work.” Every educated citizen should know how science works, because it has the potential to create inventions to make new discoveries that will help the rest of humanity, he says. Education works, he stresses, when people can use their talents, when the economy is working because people have the skills they need. “Directly or indirectly, education helps us all.”  


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“A Woman’s Bible for the 21st Century” Founders Day talk

Adam and Eve by Donald Jackson

Image credit – Adam and Eve, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2003, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Caldwell, N.J., Feb. 25, 2019 – Caldwell University will hold its annual Founders Day celebration with a presentation on “A Woman’s Bible for the 21st Century” by Dr. Marie Mullaney, Caldwell University professor of history. The event will be held at 11 a.m.  on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 in the Alumni Theater and is free and open to the public.   Dr. Mullaney’s talk will focus on The Saint John’s Bible, the first handwritten illuminated Bible of monumental scale in 500 years.  The university is hosting the Gospel and Acts Heritage edition of the Bible throughout 2019.  

With its focus on women, the presentation is particularly appropriate since March is Women’s History month. Founders Day is set aside to honor the Sisters of St. Dominic who founded what was then Caldwell College for women in 1939.

Although centuries-old medieval techniques were used in its production, The Saint John’s Bible is refreshingly contemporary in its themes and points of emphasis. This lecture showcases the images of women found throughout the seven-volume series. These illuminations celebrate key Biblical women, insert women where they may not be explicit in the narrative, and use symbols to remind us of their presence and witness. Taken as a whole, these illuminations highlight the importance of women within the Judaeo-Christian tradition, a message that convinces us that this is indeed a “Bible for the 21st century.”

The lecture is part of the university’s Year with The Saint John’s Bible.  The Bible was commissioned by Benedictine Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and the creative director was Donald Jackson, senior scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Office.  

Groups are invited to book visits to see the Bible during the year at thesaintjohnsbible@caldwell.edu or by calling Julie Kajouras at 973 618-3922.

The Founders Day Mass will be celebrated at 12:15 in the Student Center Gym.  

Featured News, News

Black History Month African-American Read-In



Caldwell, N.J., Feb. 27, 2019 – Caldwell University’s English Department celebrated Black History Month with an African American Read-In Tuesday, Feb. 26, in the Cougar Den on campus.

The featured speaker was Dr. Valerie Lewis-Mosley, who teaches in the Caldwell University Theology and Philosophy Department. She spoke of the cost many fearless African- Americans paid in carrying forward their history through language, literature, readings and words. She stressed the importance of knowing and communicating the stories including the fact that many African-Americans could read and write before the Emancipation Proclamation but would not let others know for fear of punishment. “Books carry a legacy of a people,” she said.

Lewis-Mosley noted she is a great-granddaughter of South Carolina Gullah Geechees, descendants of enslaved Africans who were transported from Barbados to South Carolina; those ancestors of hers taught others to read and write. She spoke of the fortitude of many people of African descent who traveled to the United States and would hide bricks with writing on them underneath dirt, fearing others would discover they could read and write. Lewis-Mosley shared her favorite stories and writers including the autobiography of Frederick Douglass and Langston Hughes’s poem “I, Too,” which states, “I too, am America.”

Students, faculty and staff were invited to read their own favorite poems or short passages from African American writers or to share their own creating writing.

The National African American Read-In is the nation’s oldest event dedicated to diversity in literature. It was established in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month.


Library, News

Workshop and Reading Series on Writing and Healing with Poets from CavanKerry Press

Writing has been found to reduce anxiety, organize traumatic experiences, move us to resolution and help heal wounds. Calyx, A Journal of Literature and Art is pleased to host a series of workshops and readings with poets from CavanKerry Press — Tina Kelley, Wanda Praisner, Joan Cusack Handler and Carole Stone — to explore the rich relationship between writing and healing.

3/18 @ 4:00 with Tina Kelley.

3/19 @ 3:00 with Wanda S. Praisner.

3/27 @ 3:00 with Joan Cusack Handler. the founder and publisher of CavanKerry Press.

3/28 @ 4:00 with Carole Stone.

The workshops are open to interested students, faculty and staff and will take place in Teaching and Learning Commons in the Jennings Library. Students preparing submissions to Calyx are invited to bring them for possible workshopping.

Please contact Mary Ladany, mladany@caldwell.edu or 973-618-3643 for any questions or concerns.

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Prof. Virginia Rich: Innovation and Improvement are Business as Usual.

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Faculty Feature:
Prof. Virginia Rich


There is an undercurrent of energy to everything Professor Virginia Rich does. As she talks about the direction of the School of Business and CIS, where she serves as associate dean, she exudes passion for her subject. It is no surprise, then, that her department is infused with a drive to innovate and grow.

The innovations at Caldwell University’s Business School are at times huge and groundbreaking, and at others, smaller and practical, aimed at teaching the foundations of good business practices. Both matter.

“We definitely are trying to be responsive to employer and industry needs,” Rich says. “To that end, what we’re trying to do is graduate students with the skills and abilities that are needed now. It’s a practical, skills-based approach to what’s in the marketplace.”

One step the Business School is taking to ensure confidence in its ability to graduate students with those skills is to be reaccredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. The organization follows the Baldridge criteria for excellence, “recognizing teaching excellence, determining student learning outcomes, and helping institutions implement continuous improvement models.” The intense process of maintaining ACBSP accreditation is worth it to Rich. “It holds us to a standard of excellence that makes us accountable for all of our business practices,” she says, “so students and their parents can be assured that we are following the best practices of the better business schools.”

That Rich can see the long-term payoff of the ACBSP accreditation is no surprise. She is a focused educator, a woman armed with a tenacity that prompts her to focus on what must be done, not on how much work is involved for her. She had that work ethic long before taking her current position.

Rich obtained her Juris Doctor from Wake Forest University. She had a judicial clerkship in the United States District Court, serving the chief judge of the New Jersey District for two years before joining a Morristown law firm as an associate; she later became a partner. She then began a master’s in teaching program before teaching at Caldwell. That was in 1999, and since then, she has taken on varied roles, including serving as chair of the Faculty Development Committee for five years.

This impressive résumé serves Rich well as she assesses the needs of the Business School. Her personal drive spills over into a department that is driven to innovate and succeed. ACBSP accreditation is one way it will do that—even if that isn’t an easy path to take.

“It has been called a workout,” Rich says of the process. “And it is. It’s good. The basis of the process is continuous improvement. They challenge us: no matter how good you are, how can you get better? It’s necessary to have these opportunities for improvement.”

Members of the Business School faculty are passionate about improving. That is why they have added programs to meet the needs and interests of students. They have recently added a health care administration degree program, which teaches students to monitor and run businesses in the growing health care marketplace. Another new program grown from a popular minor is sport management, which prepares students for the multifaceted sports industry in both professional and amateur sports. And most recently, the Business School reinstated its computer science program to meet industry needs for web programming, cyber security and app development.

“These new programs were not only responsive to industry needs,” Rich explains, “but also to student interests. We try to listen to our students, what they need and what they want. We try to be innovative with all that we do.”

Innovation, coupled with improvement, drives Rich and her team forward. Another groundbreaking initiative they have undertaken is a human resources apprenticeship program. Caldwell University now offers the first such program in New Jersey that has been recognized by the United States Department of Labor. Run in partnership with the Employers Association of New Jersey, it allows business majors who minor in human resources to begin on-the-job training in human resources in their junior years. “You can think of it as an internship on steroids,” Rich says, “but even that doesn’t do it justice.” Students work for 1,800 hours over two years as paid apprentices with participating companies. While students continue classroom work, the workplace offers on-the-job experience and training. Students who complete their hours are certified as apprentices and graduate “workforce ready,” says Rich. “New Jersey industry leaders have recognized that they need graduates with specialized skills.”

The department’s primary goal is providing students with the skills needed to operate in the business world, and faculty members are constantly striving to ensure they are preparing students for life after graduation. And while they consider opportunities to expand the apprenticeship program beyond the human resources industry, they continue to teach practical skills that will pay long-term dividends for all students in the School of Business and CIS.

Professors regularly teach students interaction skills. This involves the art of introducing themselves, making small talk, and more. In a 100-level course, business students will leave their classroom to visit another class where they are invited to speak to students they may never have met and to hone their interpersonal skills.

“Some of the faculty have provided class time to help students practice introducing themselves. We’ll bring our students to another class and have the students ‘meet’ each other,” Rich explains with a smile. “We practice handshaking, eye contact, introductions and small talk. It’s a strategy that can be taught. The more we do it, the more comfortable we are.”

The practical side of business education doesn’t end there. Rich and Caldwell staff and faculty also host mock business dinners where students learn how to conduct themselves over meals. Since this is an essential part of doing business in the real world, the skills students learn are invaluable. At the dinners, sponsored by Caldwell’s Gourmet Dining, staff and faculty members share what Rich calls “tricks of the trade,” like where a person should sit, who sits down first, what to order, which fork to use, and more during a meal. The attention to practical skills pays off.

“We need to know how to present ourselves. We need to know the very fundamentals of introducing ourselves, of being comfortable,” Rich says, listing other important skills students are taught. “Being responsive to requests for information, to all kinds of communications, managing time and tasks. Those are fundamental.”

Fundamental. Many of the things Rich feels a student deserves to learn are unique to Caldwell University. In this innovative environment, faculty members are encouraged to constantly evolve and grow so they can educate students in the most complete way possible.

Rich, a parent of a recent college graduate, sees the potential in her students and strives to help them achieve their goals.

“As parents, we try to inspire our children to stretch and go beyond their comfort zone, and we try to do the same thing here with our students. We try to be aspirational and help them to go higher and be the best that they can be, to continue to develop and create a life worth living.”

It is unlikely Rich would single herself out as a major reason the department she leads is thriving. She is constantly shifting the focus to the other faculty and administration members who contribute. She points to the joys of working for a liberal arts institution where students are given a broad education that allows adaptability in the workplace and the ability to lead a balanced life. She mentions President Nancy Blattner, who encourages the faculty to think outside the box. Rich celebrates the faculty and staff in her department, who she says are “integral to our success.”

But her personal mark is unmistakable. Her drive, her energy and her passion for her students are evident in every decision she makes to move the School of Business and CIS forward. Rich’s attention to practical details and her enthusiasm for major innovation ensure her department will continue to offer programs that graduate students who are prepared for careers in the business world. That is always Rich’s priority.

“Keep in mind at all times what it is that we are doing, educating students,” she says. “Educating students to be ready and able for the workplace. To help them out with sustainable skills that will allow them to adapt to the changing marketplace and what is needed out there. That’s the key.”  n

—Nicole M. Burrell ’09

Professor Rich comments on the School of Business and CIS in the #METOO Era:

“Ethical behavior starts with sincerity. And transparency. And respect. I think that everything about the #MeToo movement and all that’s associated with equal pay for equal work and equal treatment on the job, all of those things at their fundamental core are about respect. It’s respect for the other person as a human and respect for their abilities. I think that is what everyone is crying out for. People want to be respected for what they’re doing on the job. They don’t want to be objectified, and they don’t like to be treated in a way that is disrespectful. And that is even before we get to something as horrific as sexual assault. But even on a fundamental level, if we come to every interaction with the idea of respecting the dignity of the person that we’re meeting, and finding out what we can about them, I think that many of those issues—if we could all just do that—would melt away.”

on the ethics of Caldwell University students:

“When I think about some of the feedback that we’ve gotten over the years, consistently, one thing comes out again and again. Our students have not only a work ethic, but they have ethics. Our students work hard, they’re well prepared, and they make good decisions. Good ethical decisions. We can just look to the liberal arts base and what we are as an institution and know that we certainly try to instill that in students. That when you go out there, you are the face of Caldwell on the job. You need to be aware of that and live up to that. Because that is something to live up to.”