Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Urban Coast Institute Gets $5 Million Challenge Grant PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, October 01, 2014

front-editedThe University's Urban Coast Institute (UCI) has received a $5 million challenge grant from an anonymous donor who has committed $3 million to support a new Marine Science and Policy Initiative, if the University can secure commitments for an addition $2 million by Dec. 31, 2014.

"A challenge grant is a special opportunity created when a gift is presented by a person(s) or an organization with the requirement that additional gifts be received within a certain period of time to fulfill the challenge," defined Michael Palladino, Ph.D, Dean of the School of Science. Palladino is confident the University will raise the additional funds for their initiative and meet the challenge.

According to Tony MacDonald, Director of the University's UCI, this donation marks the UCI and School of Science's first challenge grant and one of the largest in the University's history.

MacDonald said, "The successful completion of this challenge grant will enable UCI to step up to another level and plan for a sustainable future." The mission of the UCI is to inform coastal and ocean policy and management decisions with the best available science.

"The grant will not only expand opportunities to conduct science (natural, socio-economics, and human dimensions), but also to tackle more important and complex policy issue in the state and region," added MacDonald. He emphasizes that these opportunities are not only for the marine environmental biology and policy program, but for students across the University on a social, political, policy-making, and economic level as well.

With the grant, MacDonald plans to expand the UCI's work with communities to assess their vulnerability to coastal storms, therefore crafting strategies of resilience and adaptation to sea level rise. "We hope to build bridges between the University's academic programs and real world community-based challenges, [as well as] expand internship opportunities," he continued.

This plan will not only include support for the work of the UCI/NJ Sea Grant Coastal Community Resilience Project Manager, Dr. Ryan Orgera, but also expand partnerships with other groups to develop improved flood managment tools and multi-community regional resilience strategies.

President Paul Brown said, "Located just one mile from the ocean, we have a special responsibility and unique opportunity to engage our students and our community to support sustainability and proper stewardship of our coastal environment through direct research and policy analysis." Brown believes this challenge grant will have a transformative effect on coastal issues while simultaneously continuing to enhance the University's commitment to marine science and policy programs.

University Weighs Options for Food Services PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, October 01, 2014

overpriced-editedThe University is looking to provide other on-campus dining options through possible contracts with other food providing companies to assist in the supply and demand of the campus community. ARAMARK, the present contract holder, is still being considered as well.

According to Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement, the University has been using ARAMARK and their services for over 35 years. But while the use of ARAMARK has remained consistent, so has the steady rise in costs.

"I can't recall within the last five years when we haven't had a price increase. We've not had a price decrease because, as you know, with rising costs in energy, food, labor, [and] health care that's now required as a result of the Affordable Care Act, prices go up," said Nagy.

Nagy added that while prices might be going up due to the outside factors that often inflate the economy and prices of goods, these are factors that affect the costs of food everywhere. But every time there is a price increase, as determined by ARAMARK, there is a whole process that goes behind justifying the price change before it is approved.

There are two renewable periods in which ARAMARK submits bids to the University that essentially goes over every one of their prices, including the increases, Nagy said. "In both instances ARAMARK proposes a price increase and it could be across the board, it could be on certain products, it's really up to them but they have to explain why," she said.

The next step, Nagy added, is the University starts to benchmark the pricing of similar items off-campus in the area to determine whether the proposed on-campus price is reasonable; as she puts it there has to be a comparison of "apples to apples."

Mark Vallaro, ARAMARK Senior Food Service Director, said that the company conducts a market price analysis twice a year to make sure that they are price conscious with their merchandise. "Our pricing strategy includes comprehensive competitive shopping," said Vallaro.

"We obtain pricing from local establishments with similar products, other area colleges and universities, and local convenience stores before marketing any of our items... Additionally, each of our convenience stores carries an updated market price analysis. Our direct store delivery products, such as bottled beverages, chips, candy, sandwiches, etc. are competitive with the products sold in convenience stores off campus."

University Members Participate in People’s Climate March PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, October 01, 2014

people-at-marchTwenty-seven University students and faculty members attended the People's Climate March on Sunday, Sept. 21 in NYC. The march drew over 300,000 people to the streets of Manhattan, making it the largest climate rally to date.

Protestors marched for various climate concerns including the use of fossil fuels, clean water and global warming.

"I knew [the march] was going to be one of the biggest climate justice events in history. It was a fantastic, inspiring opportunity for the students. I wanted the University to represent the school at the march," said Dr. Johanna Foster, assistant professor of political science and sociology instructor.

On the morning of the march, members of the University gathered on a bus that was provided and entirely funded by the Honors School. While travelling to Manhattan, students were shown an educational component film about climate change.

Dr. Kevin Dooley, Dean of the Honors School, said, "The Climate Change March allowed students the opportunity to see how peaceful protests can enhance the democratic process... This event allowed our students to see that peaceful protests and demonstrations are part of what it means to be an American and a responsible global citizen."

Upon arrival, the group gathered at the beginning of the march in Central Park and assembled themselves in the five lines that other Universities around the country had already formed. Foster said, "To have the students amongst thousands of other University students from all over was a thrilling experience." Foster and the students marched through Midtown, to Columbus Circle, then headed to Times Square and the Far West Side, and finally stopped at 34th street.

Sydney Underhill, a sophomore studying political science and sociology, said, "I walked in the march basically from beginning to end and the best word to describe it is euphoric. It was amazing to be surrounded by so many individuals filled with so much passion and love in regards to climate justice and Mother Earth."

Foster was approached with the idea of having members of the University attend the People's Climate March by Molly Greenburg, a University alumnus. "Molly is a community organizer who works on climate issues and she actually helped organize the Climate March," she said. After her discussion with Greenburg, Foster felt it was imperative for the University to partake in this historical event.

Media Outlets Shed Light on Domestic Violence Issues PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Untitled-1On average, 20 people per minute are the victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control. Recently, domestic violence has become a high profile topic due to the arrest of NFL players this season for similar crimes.

According to a Duke University study titled "Criminal violence of NFL players compared to the General Population," 45 NFL players were arrested for domestic violence, 16 of which were convicted of the charge in the past year.

Dr. Franca Mancini, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, said, "I am upset and disheartened that we still see so much violence, especially from public figures and role models. We are more affected by what we hear and see than we realize."

"In our culture, a culture of violence, a lack of respect for one another is almost accepted. We need to realize we can make a difference," said Mancini.

Leann Burns, a sophmore communication student, said, "Domestic violence is everywhere. If you watch any television show or movie it is littered with violence."

"Even on the nightly news they choose to cover the most violent stories because it will bring in a larger audience," continued Burns.

This offseason, former Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely from the NFL for the alleged abuse of his now wife, Janay Palmer.

"I think the NFL's response was delayed and weak," said William McElrath, Chief of Monmouth University's Police Department (MUPD). "Sadly, as the case progressed, they responded more to the public outrage than to the facts of the case."

As stated by the Physiological Services on Monmouth University's website, domestic violence is widespread. "One in every four women report being sexually or physically assaulted by a spouse, cohabiting partner or date at some time in their lifetime, according to the National Violence Against Women Survey," the website declared.

The website defines domestic violence as "a pattern of abusive behavior used to maintain control or assert power over an intimate partner, a parent, or a present or former household member." The website continues to explain that abuse can be physical or psychological or in some cases, both."

MU Ranked Top 40 Best Colleges in the Region PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The University was recently ranked among the U.S. News and World Report's "Top 40 Best Colleges in the Regional Universities North" category for the third year in a row, and was also named "One of the Nation's Best Institutions for Undergraduate Education" by the Princeton Review.

"We are delighted to be recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best colleges in the nation," said President Paul Brown. "One of our core values, and strengths, is offering a highly personalized and transformative learning experience which prepares our graduates to be life-long learners."

Currently ranking 37th on U.S. News and World Report's list, the University has ascended since its original listing at 76th in the region in 2005.

"Everyone on this campus should be incredibly proud," said Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement. "This suggests that Monmouth is a great place to get an education."

The U.S. News and World Report includes data on over 1,800 colleges across the country, whereas the Princeton Review just profiles 15 percent of the country's 2,500 four-year colleges are profiled in their college guide.

Schools that are eligible to be ranked in the "Best Colleges" lists are ranked on up to 16 measures of academic excellence. The most heavily weighted factors, according to, are outcome-related, including graduation and retention rates.

This year, the originally predicted graduation rate of 59 percent was exceeded, with actual numbers being at 61 percent. As for the average freshman retention rate, the University was at its highest ever: 80 percent.

"Retention is really about making sure our students feel connected," said Robert McCaig, Vice President for Enrollment Management. "I believe Monmouth does an extraordinary job of engaging and connecting its students. With this hallmark, the rankings and mentions in national publications is just the byproduct."

According to William Craig, Vice President for Finance, freshman retention is coming in at 83.4 percent, being about 4 percent higher than the year before, while also being the University's highest ever. Furthermore, the four-year graduation rate is at 55.2 percent, whereas a decade ago, the school was just at about 36 percent.

Craig feels the University's rising statistics in multiple academic categories continue to make it one of the fastest-rising schools.

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