Opening Day Address, September 5, 2019

Provost Joshua Powers
Click here to view presentation slides

Wow, what an exciting new video about William Paterson! Thank you, colleagues in Marketing and Public Relations. Good afternoon all. My name is Josh Powers, and I am your new Provost. It is a pleasure and an honor to be standing before you today, particularly because today is my official three-month mark here! And, I can say with both sincerity and enthusiasm, that joining this community has been among the highlights of my professional life. This is a uniquely special place and I look forward to working with you to enable it to become even more so.

My task, in addition to introducing President Helldobler, is to provide some context on our people transitions across the campus since the last gathering here this spring, a sampling of noted accomplishments, and what is particularly exciting looking forward within Academic Affairs. You will see some names you recognize in my slides, and others that you do not. But at particular moments in my remarks, I will invite you to celebrate and congratulate them through collective applause.

First, with gratitude, we say goodbye to key colleagues who in the past year retired. People are at the heart of an educational institution because what we do at the core is create relationships—with colleagues to carry out our duties, with students through teaching and mentorship, with our governance and decision-making processes that inform our interactions and strategic activities. Whether a person was a support staff member, a professional manager, a faculty member, or senior leader, all make a difference in this community. At this moment, I would like to personally thank my predecessor, Sandy DeYoung, who has the honor of having now retired twice, and who helped to make my transition seamless. Thank you, Sandy, if you are here!

With sadness, there were current and former members of this community who passed away this year. These people were also special to this community and worthy of our reflection and kind thoughts for a few moments. Please join me in bowing our heads as we think about these special people, and others that may have passed and are not on this slide. Thank you.

As with any transition, we are also pleased to recognize new beginnings as reflected through our newest members of the Pioneer family. These faculty and professional staff represent the academic and administrative anchors of our future and who endeavor to learn from us about our values, our commitments to students, our obligations to civility, and the meaning of Will.Power. among other aspects of living and working at William Paterson. As you see and converse with them, offer your welcome, but also seek their thoughts and observations; we are made stronger for it. After I read the names, if you are here, please stand so we can recognize you.

2019-2020 New Faculty

College of the Arts and Communication

Department of Art
Amanda Grace Ramsey

Department of Communication
Jungyun Won

Cotsakos College of Business

Department of Accounting and Law
Gary Steele

Department of Economics, Finance and Global Business
Demetri Tsanacas

Department of Marketing and Management Sciences
Myles Garvey
Robert Koob
Jaime Noriega

Department of Professional
Sales Michael Taylor

College of Education

Department of Educational Leadership and Professional Studies
Gihan Mohamad

Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education
Anita Kumar
Renee Whelan

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Department of Anthropology
Ruth Maher

Department of English
Matthew Jones

Department of Philosophy
Lucia Munguia

Department of Political Science
Wendy Wright

Department of Psychology
Jamie Joseph

Department of Sociology
Johanna Quinn
Roblyn Rawlins
Jason Silva
Jason Torkelson

Department of Women’s and Gender Studies
Joseanne Cudjoe

College of Science and Health

Department of Computer Science
Kiho Lim

Department of Kinesiology
Jaclyn Morrissette

Department of Nursing
Kimberly Dimino
Kathleen Horan


Imani Hardaway
Cataloging and Metadata Librarian

David Williams
Digital Initiative and Special Collections Librarian

2019-2020 New Staff

Sesime Adanu
Executive Director
Institutional Effectiveness

Shelley Bannister
Chief of Staff to the President and Board of Trustees

Gregory Cannon
Director of Communications
President’s Office

Roy Garcia
Director of Major Gifts

Jami Jennings
Program Assistant, Nursing

Uma Joshi
Resident Director

Dayana Nunez
Financial Aid Counselor

Althea Oenga
Data Analyst
Institutional Effectiveness

Joshua Powers
Provost and Senior Vice President for
Academic Affairs

David Simpson
Resident Director

Regina Tindall
Acting Director of Compliance and
Employee Relations

If I read your name, please stand so we can give you a warm Pioneer welcome to the William Paterson family.

At this point, I wish to focus for a bit on the academic enterprise in particular that is a mix of opportunity to appreciate accomplishment as well as to anticipate for the future. First, there have been noteworthy achievements this past year with respect to faculty earning tenure. These individuals have worked hard to demonstrate the quality of teaching, the dedication to scholarship, and the service commitment necessary to achieve those important milestones of academia. Of additional note are those who were promoted to full professor this past year. Achieving the full professor rank represents not only a sustained record of high achievement, but of leadership in an academic community and the appropriate caring and nurture necessary for it to thrive.

Second, we welcome back colleagues to this community from sabbaticals who have spent a term, perhaps longer, engaged in focused research, creative activity, or other projects that help to advance knowledge, cultural and artistic expression, the quality of teaching, and ultimately, the reputation of William Paterson University. Rather than just list names, I decided to put all of their project titles into a wordcloud and see what happens. This is what came out. I thought it was a powerful window into our values and interests as an academic community, particularly when you see which words were most common based on their size!

Third, I want to highlight the good work of our Office of Sponsored Programs and its positive year facilitating faculty and others to write, and to receive, grants. As you can see, grant and contract activity has grown, stimulating and enabling more faculty and staff to be engaged with important projects. These projects benefit not only the advancement of knowledge, but affect the quality of life in communities near and far. Some examples of what I mean comes from just a sample of such projects. These individuals and the activities reflected within them provide yet another window into the ways in which William Patterson faculty and staff are engaged in both basic and applied research, but also seeking to meet critical needs of our state and nation.

The core health of any campus, however, is the quality of the academic opportunities offered. In the past year, some new and innovative programs have launched, and some that will be launching this year.

New Academic Programs Starting Fall 2019

BA Disability Studies

BS Biology: Pre-Medical Professions Track
Accelerated 4+1 Programs:
• BS Biology/ MS Biotechnology
• BS Biotechnology/ MS Biotechnology
• BA Criminology and Criminal Justice

MA Applied Sociology

Global Public Health Honors Track

MEd Curriculum and Learning: STEAM
(Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics)

New Programs Awaiting State Approval:

MS Finance and Financial Services

Accelerated BS Sport Medicine

MS Athletic Training

New Programs Approved by Senate and Scheduled for External Review this Fall:

MS Applied Mathematics

BS Medicinal Biochemistry

Furthermore, there have been exciting collective and individual accomplishments within the colleges and units of Academic Affairs for which I’d like to share just a few points of pride shared with me.


  • One of largest student contingents presenting research at Regional
    Honors Council Conference
  • Largest incoming class - Fall 2019


  • New library services platform collaborative
  • Academic Success Center now located in library

Arts and Communication

  • Musical theater is back!
  • Center for Chinese Art celebrating 10 years on Sept. 9


  • Summer COIN networking and scholarships event
  • Top-tier research papers, presentations, editorialships, and prestigious state appointments


  • 2 MAT graduates selected for NJ clinical intern awards
  • Equity and Diversity in Teaching and Learning Series this fall

Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Digital Liberal Arts Collaboratory
  • ABC retention campaign (Attendance – Build belonging – Create caring)

Science and Health

  • 100% NCLEX pass rates in nursing
  • Moving Beyond the Bars panel on criminal justice reform

Academic Affairs

  • Full staff in Office of Institutional Effectiveness
  • Short-term study abroad and international student recruitment potential
  • Full campus involvement for Middle States!

Finally, I’d like to share just a few pieces of news you might have missed this summer featuring students, graduates, and faculty that I think also demonstrate Pioneer pride:

  • Art Professor Robin Schwartz who was featured in the New York Times Magazine on July 14 featuring her extraordinary photographs of animal and human interaction.
  • Taras Petryshyn, former custodian in the Clifton Public Schools, who with his WP education went on to be a teacher there and who just became the assistant principal. What a wonderful story of Will.Power. in action. President Helldobler mentioned him with a news link in his email to the campus on Tuesday.
  • I Feel You, authored by English professor Cris Beam, has received extensive media attention both in radio and in print for her insights about the power of empathy, particularly in application through justice and forgiveness.
  • Micelle Boyle, a senior financial planning major, was one of 12 in the nation to win the prestigious TD Ameritrade Scholarship.
  • Onyeka Anyanaso, just graduated senior in biology and a Peer Health Advocate, is representing WP values well in the Peace Corps.

OK, at this time, let’s honor with an applause the many people shown in these slides since I began, and the many not shown, who are working to make this institution and our educational opportunities possible.

In closing, I want to offer a few personal thoughts. First, thank you to the many who have made me feel so welcome. Although I have area roots in New York, I have been an Indiana resident for a long time so I confess to some culture shock. I’ve appreciated the many thoughtful responses to my periodic community messages with restaurant suggestions, favorite hiking and biking locations, and how to not take personally the long New Jersey honk when you accidentally cut someone off. Most especially, though, I appreciate, and find immense motivation in, your belief in human potential. William Paterson has a unique and critical mission to the citizens of this state and nation for what we do well in serving so many students from low-income backgrounds, are the first in their families to attend college, and in our particular case, a designated Hispanic serving institution. Our students are our most critical asset but so are the people that work here and their deep need to feel that what they do matters. I look forward to working with you in both of these arenas.

Now it is my distinct pleasure to introduce the person who I also know has deep affection for students and the people who work here, President Richard Helldobler, a person who bleeds orange so deeply that it is the color of his car! Rich, the stage is yours.