Last updateSat, 28 Mar 2020 1pm


Changes to 2020 Commencement

default article imageThis spring’s upcoming undergraduate commencement ceremonies will return to campus as a result of renovation issues at their previous location, PNC Bank Arts Center, on May 14.

Morning ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. with the Leon Hess Business School ceremony taking place at the OceanFirst Bank Center, the School of Social Work at Pollak Theatre, and the Marjorie K. Unterberg School of Nursing and Health Studies under a specialized thousand-person tent on Shadow Lawn.

Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement, detailed the issues surrounding PNC Bank Arts Center’s renovations in concerns to hosting upcoming commencement gatherings.

“I learned from the head of the PNC Bank Arts Center that they were going to undergo a major renovation to buildings that were necessary for us to do commencement,” Nagy said. “Restrooms, concessions, ticket areas, things like that.”

PNC Bank Arts Center soon determined the commencement could not be held until June, which Monmouth found unacceptable, Nagy claims.

Other locations such as the Prudential Center and Atlantic City Convention Center were once considered, but ultimately the decision was chosen to attempt a commencement on campus due to the logistics of student’s families preferring to drive as short a distance as possible.

Professor Phifer-Rixey Presents Research at National Conference

Rixey National ConferenceMegan Phifer-Rixey, Ph.D., an evolutionary biologist and Assistant Professor in the Biology department, presented as part of the Evolution Symposium at the 2019 National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) Conference, on Nov. 14-17 in Chicago. 

Phifer-Rixey presented her research, including a collaboration with John Tiedemann, Assistant Dean of the School of Science, to an assembly of biology teachers. Her talk focused on the use of genetic markers to identify the source populations of the migratory Striped Bass, from both off-shore and near-shore areas.

The project used DNA analysis to identify the stock-specific origin of Striped Bass in Ocean County, to determine the contribution of individual stocks. 

Tiedemann started the project and worked with the Berkley Stripers Club, a local fishing club, that is focused on fishing along the beaches of Ocean County, which inspired his decision to research where the Striped Bass that are harvested in the fall originate. 

The club supported the research and contributed fin clips. Tiedemann explained that “The fin clips are brought back to the lab to extract the DNA. We can analyze the DNA isolated from the fish to match it to a library of DNA fingerprints that identify the spawning grounds.”  

Phifer-Rixey said, “We started doing the work in my lab in 2018 through the Summer Research Program. I thought this was a good fit because students were able to learn how to do molecular genetics.” 

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2020 Library Research Awards Offer Prize Money

Library Research AwardsThe Guggenheim Memorial Library has announced the 2020 Library Research Awards, in which any undergraduate or graduate student can submit a completed research project for a chance to win $250.

Submitted projects must fulfill the requirements of a Monmouth University course, according to the official submission instructions. Research papers must exceed 10 pages and include a works cited page. Applications must also include a cover sheet, a 100 word abstract or summary, and 500-750 word essay describing the different research strategies and application of library tools the student used to complete their project.

Eleonora I. Dubicki, professor librarian, detailed the contest’s expectations of students looking to apply.

“It’s really just the essay that’s additional,” Dubicki said. “We’re asking students to write about sources they’ve used. The essay is only 750 words, which is about 2 pages or so, but it really is meant to explain what [resources] you used.”

Starting back in 2008, the awards came as inspiration from other institutions with similar student evaluation contests.

“The Dean got behind it right away and said it was great,” Dubicki explained.

A panel of 3 librarians view the submissions, utilizing the rubric to evaluate individually before coming together for a final decision, Dubicki explained. Originally, faculty needed to nominate any submitted papers, but now students are free to submit their work regardless of professor approval.

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Debate Team Receives Grant from U.S. State Department

Debate TeamMembers of the University’s Debate Team spent winter break in Mumbai, India, training teachers and students in a policy debate activity as part of a two year grant from the U.S. Department of State, from Jan. 6 to Jan. 16.

The purpose of the grant is to form debate teams at three schools in Mumbai and to work with the teams throughout the year in preparation for a public debate competition at the office of the U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai in January of 2021.

Chyna Walker, a sophomore political science student, and senior political science students Yendeli Bello, Julia Bialy, Madeline Doe, Jon P. Suttile, Alexis Vasquez, and Esther Wellman played a leading role in the debate training program. The Debate Hawks will be traveling back to Mumbai next January to assist the Mumbai debaters in final preparation for the public debate at the office of the U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai.

The U.S. Department of State grant was secured by Rekha Datta, Ph.D., Interim Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Professor of Political Science; and Joe Patten, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science and faculty advisor to the Monmouth Debate Team, with assistance from Anthony Lazroe, the University’s Director of Grants and Contacts.

According to Datta, Lazore sent information about a call for proposals from the U.S. State Department for a Debate Workshop Grant to help establish debate clubs for three schools serving underprivileged youth in Mumbai, India.

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Nursing School Ranked 3rd Best in State

Nursing SchoolThe Marjorie K. Unterberg School of Nursing and Health Studies has been ranked the third best nursing school in New Jersey, according to the 2019 Nursing Schools Almanac report. Monmouth has also been nationally recognized as a Top 100 school, ranking at No.91 in the United States, and No.38 for elite nursing schools in the Mid- Atlantic Region.

Janet Mahoney, Ph.D., RN, Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Studies and a Professor of Nursing said, “I felt overwhelmed and very proud when I saw the rankings. Knowing that Monmouth University’s nursing programs are the best as we continuously strive for excellence and provide the best learning environment for our students to learn is one thing—but I feel very appreciated when others recognize it.”

The factors that determined a certain nursing programs academic prestige and value were graduates capability of paying student debt in opportune time, professional designations and grant funding received for nursing research from the National Institutes of Health, and the amount of years maintaining a graduate nursing education level.

Depth of nursing programs were weighted by undergraduate and graduate programs, consisting of their degrees, diplomas, and certifications offered. Graduate programs were heavily in terms of program enrollment size.

According to the report, data was collected from over 3,000 institutions in the United States. The research team assessed each nursing schools to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Scores were merged and placed in order from highest to lowest.

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Leahy Highlights Student Success

Leahy Highlights StudentPresident Patrick F. Leahy Ed.D., delivered a Spring Convocation in which he addressed the academic and athletic student success of the previous fall semester, in Pollak Theatre Auditorium on Wednesday, Jan. 22.

A brief speech preceding Leahy’s address was made by Rekha Datta, Ph.D., Interim Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Professor of Political Science.

Noting the recent celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Datta began her remarks with a reflection on one of the civil rights activist’s many iconic speeches. “We may have all come in different ships, but we are all in the same boat now,” Datta quoted. 

Leahy addressed the crowd with a thanks for assembling and the acknowledgment that “... there seems to be no perfect time for us to host the Fall Convocation and the Spring Convocation, so I’m very grateful for your willingness to join us at this time and to stay with us for a little while to hear about what’s on my mind as we go into the Spring semester.”

Leahy stressed the importance of holding the convocation regardless of the convenience, as the event is a way to enhance communication on the campus. 

After introductions, Leahy transitioned into acknowledging the plethora of student achievements accomplished in the previous Fall semester. “Every university can, and probably should measure its success by the success of its students, and we had so many examples this fall,” Leahy said.

Recalling the success of the Monmouth Debate Hawks, Leahy mentioned the team’s three separate competitions across multiple different locations, and their first place victories in two of the three meetings.

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Local High School Students Get a Taste of Healthcare Careers

Students HealthcareA total of 107 high school students from Monmouth and Ocean counties graduated from Mini-Medical School on Monday, Oct. 28 in Pollak Theatre.

A collaboration between Monmouth University, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, and Hackensack Meridian Health, the six-week Mini-Medical School program exposes local high school students to careers in medicine by providing them with opportunities to hear from various health care professionals, in fields ranging from pediatric endocrinology to neurosurgery.

Bernadette Dunphy, PT, DPT, Co-Director of the program and a Specialist Professor of Biology at Monmouth, said “Mini Medical School offers the opportunity to share our knowledge about what it is like to be a health care professional with these high school students. Every presenter in the program gave the students insight into what it is like to in their field of medicine or specialty.” 

Dunphy continued that “Seven students attended Monmouth as their choice of undergraduate studies because of this program. One of our recent students, Gabriella Gmeiner, attended Mini Medical as a high school student, and was one of our student Pre-Health Ambassadors for the 2019 program.”

Gabriella Gmeiner, now a freshman biology student at Monmouth, attended the Mini-Medical School at Central Regional High School in Bayville. She said, “The stories that the guest doctors told about what they do on a daily basis to help their patients stuck with me the most because I want to be able to make a difference in someone’s life just like them.”

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Monmouth Analysis: Free Higher Education?

Analysis EducationWith student debt at an unsustainable high of approximately $1.5 trillion, advocates say that free education could reform the consumerist business model that drives universities’ tuition hikes.

“We’re the only country that has turned universities into non-learning centers,” Kenneth Mitchell, Chair of the Department of Politics and Sociology and an Associate Professor of Politics, said. “American education has become let’s build another sports stadium, form another club, or hire more administrators. The cost of going to university is not directly tied to getting an education.”

Mitchell’s critique of higher education’s priorities is echoed by Johanna Foster, FAMCO President and an Associate Professor of Sociology. She said, “In the last few decades, as part of the expansion of capitalism and the need for new internal markets and commodities, higher education has been hijacked by commercial interests.”

The structure of higher education in America stands in stark contrast to universities around the world. Pia Ruggles, Ph.D., who completed her schooling in Denmark where higher education is free, spoke about the American system. She said, “There is such a high focus on sports. The money needs to come from somewhere, and it takes a tremendous amount of overhead to fund sports.”

The money used to fund non-academic ventures comes from tuition. The way universities distribute capital has made students question if free education is attainable. Nicholas Coscarelli, a senior political science student, said, “We can throw as much money as we want at schools to publicly fund higher education, but we need to ensure that the money is being allocated to the proper outlets.”

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Monmouth's Stance on the Astros Incident

Astros Incident 1Game 6 of the American League Championship Series had just concluded on Oct. 19, with the Houston Astros defeating the New York Yankees by a score of 6-4. 

According to Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated, during the Astros’ postgame celebration, Assistant General Manager Brandon Taubman approached three female reporters, including one that wore a purple bracelet in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  He yelled at them, half a dozen times, “Thank God we got Osuna!  I’m so f****** glad we got Osuna!”  Taubman was referring to Roberto Osuna, Houston’s right-handed closer, who served a 75 game suspension for alleged domestic violence last season.

Sherry Wein, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Communication, noted, “There is a natural tension between a sports team and the press.  During moments of celebration, this tension can be magnified as the team celebrates and the press documents.”

“The reporters were not talking to Taubman.  He just yelled at them, which made it difficult for them to do their jobs.  Taubman was not talking to Osuna, either, so his comment was not supporting or assisting anyone,” she said.

“It paints a picture of a team that, from management down, is out of control.  Whether it’s how they act towards each other and the media, regardless of gender, or how they’re doing business on the field, it needs to be reevaluated, because it’s very concerning and alarming,” commented Eddy Occhipinti, Associate Athletics Director of Marketing & Sponsorships.

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Life Index Favors NJ

default article imageA recent report from the Monmouth University Polling Institute indicates that New Jersey residents’ opinion of the quality of life in the state has rebounded from an all-time low recorded earlier this year. The current “Quality of Life” Index details that 6-in-10 residents give positive opinions to their state as a place to live.

The Garden State Quality of Life Index was created by the MU Polling Institute in 2010 to act as a resident-based indicator of the quality of life offered by the state of New Jersey.  Five separate poll questions act as the basis of the index: the feelings of safety in one’s own neighborhood, the quality of the local environment, the performance of local schools, the overall opinion of the state as a place to live – which makes up half the index score – and ratings of one’s hometown. The index can potentially range from -100 to +100.

Six-in-10 New Jersey residents consider the state to be either an excellent (15 percent) or good (46 percent) place to reside, while 26 percent say it is only fair and 12 percent rate the state as poor. The newly published positive rating of 61 percent is a large improvement from the 50 percent record low recorded earlier this year as well as the 54 percent result in April 2018. 

Patrick Murray, Director of the Independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, explained how New Jersey residents’ views of the state’s quality of life has been on a downward trend for three years before rising with the institute's most recent poll.

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University Works to Improve Cell Service

Cell ServiceAs students and staff settle into their respective classrooms and offices on a typical school day, one may pull out their smartphone to peruse their social media feeds, check their emails, or text a friend.

Whatever the purpose may be, it’s not unlikely that poor cell service will get in the way of these tasks that smartphone users are so accustomed to. While it is easy to become frustrated with this issue, there is much more to this problem than meets the eye.

Jesse Denniston-Lee, a senior social work student and student resident, is all too familiar with the issue of cell service on campus. “I think it’s because of the enclosure. I think the fact that [the walls] are mainly brick based has something to do with the reception,” said Denniston-Lee in regards to the poor cellular service in his first-floor dorm room at Beachwood Hall.

Eric Reisher, Director of Broadcast Engineering and a Professor of Communication, also points to the development of campus facilities when asked about the cause of the issue. “The reasons for the poor coverage in most cases comes down to the construction of the buildings on campus. Arrays of concrete and steel help build strong buildings but block cell phone transmissions,” said Reisher.

However, the concrete and steel that make up the University’s facilities account for only a fraction of the reason for Monmouth’s poor cellular coverage. “Plangere and the surrounding area is in a zone where it is the furthest distance from surrounding cellular towers which creates a very weak zone for cell signals,” said Dickie Cox, an Assistant Professor Concentration Director of Interactive Digital Media.

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Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151