Interim Chancellor Philip Yeagle: Let’s “Seize This Moment” of “Incredible Possibility” for Rutgers-Newark

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Philip Yeagle assumed the responsibilities of interim chancellor of Rutgers-Newark in December 2011. In early February, he described his vision for Rutgers-Newark during his first campuswide address. Here are some highlights of his talk.

Who We Are

Yeagle reiterated the strengths that define the Newark campus: excellence in scholarship, in education, and in opportunity for students, as well as in diversity and community engagement, noting "We are second to none within Rutgers. We are proud of who we are and of what we represent." What's more, "Let us not forget that we are a proud and integral part of a larger whole, a national university, one of the oldest in the country and an international leader in many fields: Rutgers University, a member of the AAU and one of the leading public research universities in the U.S."

Setting Priorities

Noting that "We need first-class facilities for research on our campus," Yeagle announced that all non-essential property acquisitions are on hold, and those resources will be reallocated for improvements to the physical campus, buildings and labs. Deferred maintenance of facilities interferes with teaching and research, he explained.

Enhancing and improving campus services also are a priority since they are integral to the campus's ability to educate students and foster research.

The campus needs to develop new, more effective ways for teaching our students, and incorporate the best practices of pedagogy in the classroom, Yeagle stated. R-N also must improve retention and graduation rates, and must more actively engage alumni and donors.

R-N must establish itself as a campus that offers extensive opportunities for undergraduates to conduct research. To emphasize the importance of undergraduate research, Yeagle will fund a summer research scholarship for an undergraduate student this coming summer.

Yeagle wants to maintain small class sizes, especially in writing programs or in classes requiring team learning, such as supply chain and management courses.

R-N's external funding through grants and gifts lags other Rutgers campuses, according to Yeagle, who challenged faculty to "double external funding to approach equity with the rest of Rutgers" within the next five years.

Preparing For The Future

Yeagle announced his intention to develop a two-year academic plan to "generate campus solutions for our most pressing needs." Toward that end, he has created a new chancellor's advisory committee consisting of the academic deans and four members of the chancellor's office, which will serve as a "nimble body for wrestling with the major challenges of the campus and generate solutions for them."

Yeagle also has asked the Faculty Council for recommendations on the most pressing deferred maintenance needs as well as the most serious fixes to campus operations, and to help revise a formal statement of campus goals that will be posted online.

The demand for housing continues, so 15 Washington Street will be redeveloped as graduate housing. This transformation of the former Rutgers law and criminal justice building will expand residence space by about 25 percent. The projected completion date is 2014.

Yeagle will create three new Chancellor's Excellence awards recognizing scholarship and creative activity, teaching, and service.

The Challenge Ahead

"Let us seize this moment and make the next generation of students and faculty proud of what we did for them."