Last updateFri, 19 Jun 2020 7pm


Foster Elected New FAMCO President

Foster New FAMCO PresidentJohanna Foster, Ph.D., will assume her role as the Faculty Association of Monmouth University (FAMCO) President this July.

Foster is the Helen McMurray Bennett Endowed Chair of Social Ethics and an associate professor of sociology, and has been actively involved with FAMCO since coming to Monmouth in 2003.

The following questions and answers are from an email exchange that took place from Friday, March 19 to Sunday, March 21:

Have you always aspired to be the faculty union president?

"[I] have been continuously involved in social justice movements in some shape or form for 30 years now. I first got involved in feminist movement organizing as a Women’s Studies major in college back in the 1980s, and those experiences inspired me to seek a professional career where I could continue to be part of collective struggles for equity and justice. That aspiration to be among those fighting to do the right thing is actually what got me into the field of Sociology.  It hit me in college that in order to really confront exploitation and inequality, whether it’s labor exploitation or any other manifestation of injustice, you can’t just change individual people, but also have to work to change the systems.  Since college, I’ve consistently been connected to gender justice movements, as well as racial and economic justice work, which are all interrelated.

This latest opportunity to serve as President of the MU Faculty Association for the next three years is truly a high point for me in that work. I cannot tell you how excited I am to be working together with all of the members of our faculty, as well as our students, to protect the rights of professors to do what they do best: inspire and critically challenge students in their areas of expertise so that students can find their own paths in the world in ways that feel right for them."

What does a change in leadership mean for the university community?

"I think the change in union leadership signals a deepening and widening concern among many of our faculty about persistent problems in higher education overall, and more importantly, increasing faculty concern that those disturbing national trends have made their way to our campus

I also think any change in union leadership affords all of the faculty the chance to consider and appreciate the power and responsibility of an academic union, especially at a time when the mission and values of higher education are being coopted at every turn.

It is also a chance for professors, students, and administrators alike to remember that professors join academic unions not only to fight for better salaries and benefits, which is key to any union, but to fundamentally protect the central role and power of the professoriate such that the university, itself, and our students, do not become targets of anti-democratic sentiment or predatory government and commercial interests.”

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DeRosa Selected for Yale Seminar

default article imageChristopher DeRosa, Ph.D., an associate professor of history, has been chosen by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to participate in a special American history seminar at Yale University in New Haven, CT. 

DeRosa is one of 25 faculty members who were selected from a pool of 51 highly competitive nominations to participate in the “The Civil War in American Memory” seminar, which will run from June 23 to June 27. 

“I’m excited to participate in a seminar led by the eminent historian David W. Blight, whose work on the Civil War in American memory I’ve assigned to Monmouth students many times,” said DeRosa “Especially in light of our own campus’ not-too-distant debate over the legacy of Woodrow Wilson, it is important to help communities distinguish between the alleged ‘erasing’ of history and valid revision of previously enshrined interpretations. I appreciate Provost [Laura] Moriarty nominating me for the opportunity.”

This seminar aims to provide a forum to comprehend and analyze why slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction Era have remained an unending dilemma in American historical awareness. The CIC believes that DeRosa will “play a strong role in the seminar.”

In announcing the selection of participants, CIC President Richard Ekman said, “Strengthening the teaching of American history at colleges and universities is of critical importance to maintaining informed citizen participation in a democracy. The Civil War has been used—and misused—to bolster

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Dimenna Gives State of the University

Dimenna State UniversityUniversity President Grey Dimenna, Esq., released a “State of the University” for the 2018-2019 academic year to the Monmouth Now weekly recap last Wednesday, April 10.

Dimenna highlighted the University’s accomplishments in enhancing academic excellence and initiatives, achieving milestones, improving campus facilities and resources, athletic achievements, the University’s scholarship campaign, and looking ahead to future success. 

“As president I have made student success the guiding principle for decisions that affect Monmouth University. This commitment extends beyond academic, athletic, and career outcomes. It includes engagement with diversity, the arts, community service, and compassion for others,” says Dimenna in his letter. 

He noted that academic quality of the incoming freshman class was the highest in the University’s history, with an average high school GPA of 3.42 and an average SAT score of 1134. Additionally, Monmouth enrolled the highest percentage of out-of-state students, and welcomed the third highest percentage of racially and ethnically diverse students in its history, at 26.3 percent and 27.4 percent, respectively. 

The University has also seen more academic programs and initiatives. In April 2018, the Department of Political Science and Sociology launched the Center for Active Citizenship. 

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Campus Discusses First Year Seminars

Campus First SeminarsLast month, The Outlook reported that Monmouth University will be reducing the 128-credit requirement for graduation to 120 credits, effective in the fall of 2020.

One of the traditionally required courses that may be getting cut due to this change is the First Year Seminar.

The First Year Seminar is a three-credit course that currently fulfills a general education requirement for all first-year students who enter the University with 18 credits or less. The requirement must be completed during the student’s first semester.

The University’s policy states, “Within the course, students have the opportunity to sharpen higher-level academic skills, enhance awareness of ethical issues in academia in general and the course topic in particular, and expand their learning through University resources, activities, and events.”

According to Marina Vujnovic, Ph.D., Chair of the Faculty Council and an associate professor of communication, First Year Seminars became a requirement for students following the University’s general education reform in 2009. Vujnovic said that a few major reasons for originally implementing the First Year Seminar were concerns with engagement and retention amongst students. 

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Monmouth Concludes Public Servant-in-Residence

Monmouth Concludes ResidenceThe Office of the President and Department of Political Science and Analogy hosted the final Public Servant in Residence Panel of this year discussing ocean protection and climate change. The panel was moderated by former state Senator Joseph Kyrillos, in Wilson Hall on Friday, April 5.

“When I was first elected to the state Legislature, there was a true crisis out there,” said Kyrillos, discussing the condition of New Jersey’s beaches. 

Kyrillos continued, “However, a rare collective effort among government, along with the help of non-governmental groups pushing for change, managed to turn the table.”

He explained that shortly after, the beaches were clear of garbage and filled with people again. 

While his time in the legislature, Kyrillos established New Jersey’s Shore Protection Fund, sponsored the original Environmental Infrastructure Trust, and helped close the – Coastal Area Facilities Review Act (CAFRA) loophole to protect the shoreline from overdevelopment.

“Lawmakers ended ocean dumping and curbed inappropriate development along the shore and among other steps,” he said.

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Students Participate in First World Ethics Event

Students First Ethics EventThe University held its first World Ethics Café where students were invited to deliberate on ethical issues in the Magill Club Dining Hall on April 10.

Faculty facilitated ethical discussions with students in seven rotating sessions, each focusing on a different ethical dilemma.

Students were asked to consider questions like “Is it ethical to clone humans?” and “Is fair trade really fair?”  Students also weighed in on whether it is right to pay CEOs 300 times the median pay of workers, or if the death penalty should be abolished.

The event was funded by the Helen McMurray Bennett Endowment in Social Ethics and was co-sponsored by the Honors School. Johanna Foster, Ph.D., the Helen McMurray Bennett Endowed Chair of Social Ethics and an associate professor of sociology, organized the event. 

Others who were instrumental in organizing the event were: Claude Taylor, the University’s Advisor-in-Residence for Academic Transition and Inclusion and a lecturer of communication; Heide Estes, Ph.D., a professor of English; Manuel Chavez, Ph.D., a lecturer of World Languages and Cultures; Scott Jeffrey, Ph.D., an associate professor of business; Kevin Dooley, Ph.D., an associate professor of political science; Catherine Duckett, Ph.D., Associate Dean of the School of Science; and Nancy Mezey, Ph.D., Dean of the Honors School. 

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Support for Wind Energy in NJ

Support Wind Energy NJA majority of New Jersey residents support the development of offshore electricity-generating wind farms, Monmouth University’s Polling Institute reported last Wednesday, April 3. 

According to the poll, three-quarters of New Jersey residents would back the installment of wind power off the coast of the state. Still, the Monmouth University Poll found that 45 percent of the population would oppose further development of wind farms if their electricity bills increased. 

Patrick Murray, Director of the University’s independent University Polling Institute, said, “[Residents] could become more willing to shoulder some of the investment if they are convinced it will lead to real environmental benefits.”

“There is broad, bipartisan agreement that moving forward with offshore wind projects should be a priority,” said Tony MacDonald, Director of the University’s Urban Coast Institute. “If [the state reaches] Gov. Murphy’s goal of generating 3,500 MW of electricity from offshore wind by 2030, it will put the state on a path to a green energy future.” 

“In terms of climate change, and the long-term future of our students, we’re better off with sustainable energy sources than geologic ones,” said Greg Moehring, Ph.D., an associate professor of chemistry.

Jeanine Cava, an adjunct professor of chemistry and physics, agrees that wind farms would benefit the Monmouth community. “The less pressure on the need for natural gas and the more energy we can get from wind is better long-term,” she explained. 

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Provost on University Administrative Growth

Provost University Administrative Growth

 The following questions and answers are from a conversation with Laura Moriarty, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Because she said that she was unable to meet in-person or conduct a phone interview, the provost responded to questions via email instead:

In speaking with President Dimenna, he said, “We recognize that investments in administration are investments in student success.” Do you subscribe to this same thinking?

“President Dimenna and I agree that we need to invest in people and programs that enhance the student experience.”

Does this notion then not suggest that administration is the superior way in bettering the lives of students?

“All employees—faculty, students, and staff—support and contribute to that experience. In the Provost’s Office, we have made staffing decisions designed to support initiatives outlined in the Strategic Plan. These decisions have included the hiring of new faculty as well as reorganizing the Provost’s Office to support this ambitious plan. Each vice provost area has at its core a commitment to providing services to both faculty and students so that students have a quality education.”

If the University had operated well before the creation of [more] administrative positions, why change?

“There is a definite difference between Monmouth now and Monmouth in 2014. We have experienced significant growth in terms of both academic reputation and offerings... Essentially, this reorganization helped us to both create efficiency through centralization and consolidation, and add value with an infrastructure that positions us to successfully carry out the Strategic Plan.”

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President on University Administrative Growth

President University Administrative Growth 1After another increase in tuition, students may worry how their money is being spent.

Some suspicions of rising administrative expenditures remain, and students wonder if Monmouth’s growing administration is contributing to annual tuition hikes.

The following questions and answers are from an in-person meeting with University President Grey Dimenna, Esq., on Friday, March 29:

What is the correlation between tuition and administrative costs?

 “Any time we add expenses, it impacts on tuition. But even when we don’t add expenses, it impacts on tuition. Costs go up; inflation happens; we negotiate in salary increase for employees and those are well deserved. Our employees work very hard, and they should be paid a fair wage and they should get good benefits…The federal government imposes all sorts of requirements that not only impose costs, but require us to hire administrators to handle those areas. For instance, Title IX; we have to have a Title IX coordinator because we’re required to by law. That has costs. Some of those costs are not avoidable…”

Regarding the creation of new administration level, in looking at the current operational chart and ones from previous years, operations under “Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost” had either been occupied by Deans or simply did not exist; all positions beneath the Provost reported directly to the Provost.

“There was a whole host of positions beneath the Provost that reported to the provost, they just had different titles…There has been an expansion; I don’t think it’s a huge expansion and I certainly don’t think it’s the cause of tuition going up. Tuition is basically set to, as you know because you pointed out in your thing, we are very highly tuition-dependent so when we do the budget each year we estimate all the revenue that will be coming in, which will be: tuition, room, board, comprehensive fee, outside money donated by donors, interest that we earn, ticket sales from sporting events from other events. All those sources go in. We also do enrollment projections of undergraduate and graduate levels.”

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Bench Mob Gets Sponsporship

Degree Sponsors Monmouth BenchThe nationally-recognized Monmouth  Bench Mob that captured the hearts of the sports world in 2015 is back in action for the 2019 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) March Madness Tournament.

While this season’s Men’s Basketball team did not make the cut for March Madness, alumni Greg Noack ’17 and Dan Pillari ’18 have teamed up with Degree Deodorant to bring the Bench Mob back through a social media campaign. 

Noack and Pillari, along with their bench celebrations have returned through a series of Twitter posts made by Degree’s account (@DegreeMen). The Twitter promotions started on March 19 and ran through the duration of the 2019 March Madness tournament, which came to a close on April 8.

The posts featured short clips of bench celebrations centered around Noack and Pillari sporting Monmouth warm-up shirts with the Degree logo on the shoulder. The hashtag #BenchMoves was also included in the posts. 

Some of the celebrations that are featured in the posts include “The Big Run,” “The Admiral,” “The Matador,” “Human Hoop,” and “All Hail!” The series of tweets were posted by Degree as replies to game highlights pushed out by the official NCAA March Madness Twitter account (@marchmadness).

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Students Participate in Third Annual Battle of the Charities Event

Students Third Annual Charity BattleLive music, food, and arts and crafts were on display for all those who attended the third annual Battle of the Charities on Sunday, April 7 at the Library Lawn. 

Battle of the Charities is an annual event hosted by the University’s Youth Activists club, in which local bands and charities come together to celebrate activism within the community. 

This year, Blue Hawk Records collaborated with Youth Activists to create this year’s festivities. The organization raised a total of $922, which will be evenly between nine charities.

“Battle of the Charities is important to Monmouth University because it exposes students to good will and non-profit sector forms of business,” said Davina Matadin, a junior computer science student and President of the Youth Activists. “Having an event where charities & organizations can attend shows students first hand that we can make a difference for these organizations all while having fun.”

Artists that were in attendance included upcoming rapper Russo, alternative band Good Luck Brother, Shark Club, and reggae band Sunny Side Up. 

Among the local bands performing at the event were Good Luck Brother, Sunny Side Up, Ella Ross, Shark Club, C.B. and the Mother Leeds Band, Kasper Park & MKM , Matt Russo, Max Adolf and Club 27.

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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