Dean's Note
As I write this, we are midway through the fall semester, taught remotely, and eight months into the full-scale pandemic. It has been tough for all of us, in different ways.

Faculty reimagined courses so they work online; this has involved a considerable amount of effort, much of it over what we used to call summer vacation.

Staff dealt with new roles, supporting the massive pivot of teaching delivery, managing demanding new financial processes, advising students through a range of novel crises, and learning how to make this work remotely. In all cases, the challenges have been exaggerated with necessary childcare and looking after the vulnerable.

Our students' lives have been upended by the changes of the last few months—their experiences this semester have been very far away from what they might have hoped for this time last year. It is a truism of the pandemic that it exacerbates existing inequalities, and that is the situation that we feel close to home, as well as more broadly. It is a tribute to the patience of students and the efforts of faculty and staff that the semester has still been a success. Despite the challenges, truly excellent teaching is being delivered, and we should be proud of that. I know I am.

As if managing the effects of the pandemic was not enough, we are in the final stages of an intensely contested presidential election. It is likely that the election result will take time to be clear, and it may be contested. At the same time, I am delighted that so many SC&I faculty are using their expertise to help us, and the broader community interpret and make sense of this election. Six of our faculty experts are on the Rutgers Communications and Marketing list, “Expert Commentary: 2020 Presidential Election”—Mark Beal (Elections/Voter Action and Youth Vote), Lauren Feldman (Politics/Politics and Media), David Greenberg (Elections/American Politics), Britt Paris (Elections/Misinformation), Brent Ruben (Politics/Leadership), and Itzhak Yanovitzky (Health Care/Opioid Crisis).

Looking forward, we anticipate great things for the new Master of Health Communication and Information program. The program’s focus on the communication, information, and media aspects of health-related policies and practices is critically relevant. We are excited to have our first group of enrolled students in January 2021.

Stay well and healthy,

Fulfilling our Mission during the 2020 Pandemic
All of us can be incredibly proud of the response and performance of the School of Communication and Information over the past eight months during the coronavirus pandemic.

With very little notice last spring, our full- and part-time faculty and teaching assistants transitioned campus classes to remote learning and our staff redesigned all operations to work remotely. In every area of the school people demonstrated tremendous dedication and creativity to assure the teaching, research, and work of the school would continue as smoothly as possible.

For many years, our IT Services group has prepared for business continuity during a crisis—of course given our location we always thought that would be a hurricane or flood! But the technical infrastructure and protocols already in place at SC&I before last year allowed everyone to pivot quickly when it became necessary.

Our remote teaching has used both real-time tools such as Zoom and asynchronous platforms such as Canvas to support student learning and success. While we have many faculty who have years of experience teaching online, our Instructional Design and Technology team gave support to many instructors for whom remote teaching was a new experience. The completion of spring classes involved a great deal of invention in the moment; the preparation for fall remote teaching involved thousands of hours of hard work to assure that students would have a full educational experience when classes started on September 1.

Undergraduate and graduate students have long used email and phone to obtain advising remotely, but in March, SC&I’s Office of Student Services added live chat to its routine to make sure all students could reach them. COVID-19 hit just before pre-registration for fall, a typically high-volume time for advising; combining that with helping students face pandemic-related challenges made for a very intense end of the semester. This fall, using our Salesforce customer relationship management tracking tool, we have reached out to make sure new students are feeling situated despite the unusual circumstances. Rutgers received CARES Act money to support students with COVID-19-related emergencies and is a national leader in how much of that funding it was able to distribute. (Article continues via the link below.)

News Briefs
Jonathan Potter Reappointed as Dean of the School of Communication and Information

SC&I Faculty on the Rutgers List “Expert Commentary: 2020 Presidential Election”

Rutgers Science Communication Initiative Aims to Position Rutgers as a Leader in Science Communication

Expressing Negative Emotions May Benefit Gynecological Cancer Patients, According to New SC&I Research

Read More
Research News
Around the School
Alumni News
  • Alumni are featured in Career Talks on SC&I’s YouTube channel. Interviews include: Shady Beshai, ITI ’19, MI ‘20; Andrea Simzak Levandowski, MLIS '08; Anusha Muralidharan, MI ‘19; Peter Sutton, MI ‘19; and Beth Rizzotti, MLS ’91.
  • Radwa Ali, MI ’11, the director of the Roxbury Public Library, has been named the recipient of the American Library Association’s 2020 Gale, A Cengage Company Financial Development Award.
  • Alumna Whitney Pennington Rodgers, JMS '07, hosted Critical Conversations as current affairs curator for TED.
  • Recent Digital Asset Management (DAM) graduate Vivian Procopio shared her takeaways from the certificate program.
Upcoming SC&I Events
4 Huntington Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Phone Number: