Dean's Note
In July 2018, RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers University formed a private-public partnership, creating New Jersey’s largest academic health care system with more than $5 billion in revenue and more than 40,000 staff and clinicians. This puts Rutgers at the center of managing the very challenging health issues of the next 15 years and beyond. As a dynamic school in a land grant university, we have responsibility to contribute to this project. We have a strong group of faculty across the three departments who have a major health interest. At the end of November a SC&I-wide faculty meeting voted unanimously to go ahead with a master degree in Health Communication and Information, thus increasing our slate of master's programs from two to three. This will allow us to engage more directly to supporting the health of the state, both inside and outside the formal health system. Associate Dean Dafna Lemish will tell more of this important story below.
We have mostly completed the transformation of the foyer of the main SC&I building into a soft pedagogy area that enables students to collaborate, do individual work, and meet in comfort. The student common room transformation is complete as is room 222. The image at the top of this newsletter is a sneak peek at our new lobby. There will be a full account of our renovations in the next newsletter.
I would like to end my comments by expressing my appreciation of Harty Mokros . Over the years, Harty took on a range of important administrative roles for the school including chair of the Department of Communication and Director of the Ph.D. program. Most significantly as Senior Associate Dean for the seven years before I arrived, he devoted himself to the issues of hiring and promotion that are crucial to the scholarship, culture and impact of a school. Those significant hiring and promotion choices are part of our current success. Harty was Senior Associate Dean when I arrived and he provided support, advice, and significant administrative heavy lifting in my first few months that made the transition smoother and headed off mistakes. We formally wished him well at a party in the (new) Rutgers Club.

A breakthrough for the future development of SC&I was achieved on November 28, 2018, when a unanimous vote to approve a plan for a new Master of Health Communication and Information (MHCI) was secured in a school-wide meeting. This vote culminated a faculty-driven and owned process for the last two years and expresses the aspirations of many in the school over the last two decades.

The proposed program is unique as it integrates competencies and knowledge in health communication with health information, building on the expertise our three departments have in these areas. Following the structure of our two other master’s degrees, MHCI will be tailored specifically to serve the professional needs of the booming public and private health organizations and services, to engage with communities to help improve their well-being, and to prepare students who are interested in pursuing an academic research career to excel in their fields. The curriculum will be delivered in hybrid modes of face-to-face, online, and concentrated executive formats, to facilitate the participation of a diverse body of students. Graduation requires 36 credit hours, comprised of required courses, electives tailored to individual interests, and field experience.

The new-program proposal has been delivered to the School of Graduate Studies to start the thorough and long process of vetting and approvals required by Rutgers University and the State of New Jersey.

Deep gratitude goes to the many faculty and staff members who diligently participated in this ground-up process with enthusiasm and care. We are looking forward to welcoming our first cohort in fall 2020!

Our SC&I community is active in advancing the university's scholarly mission by participating in forward-thinking activities across the university. Three key activities are underway.  

A significant positive change for research at Rutgers University-New Brunswick (RU-NB) was the creation of the office of Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation. This office seeks to create an environment where field-defining research can flourish. Among other changes, they have introduced a series of ideation sessions to mobilize and connect faculty from across RU-NB around crucial topics. Many topics, like human health, planetary stewardship, data sciences and intelligent systems, have involved SC&I faculty in leading roles in defining multiple disciplinary initiatives attractive for funding by federal agencies and foundations.  

The Rutgers Big Ideas Challenge has begun! It is an initiative that challenges Rutgers faculty, staff, and students to bring forward ideas that will create lasting, transformational impact in the world. Realizing these ideas will require dramatic advances to Rutgers' strengths, mission, and strategic plan. The campus is buzzing and our school and faculty have been involved in the processes that will bring Big Ideas to the surface. The initial proposals are due by the end of January 2019. The Foundation and the Chancellors will then lead a process to attract enthusiastic and outstanding philanthropic support and private investment for these Big Ideas .

Later this spring, SC&I will hold its third scholarly incubator, with a focus on: #ethics -- probable, plausible, possible, preferable. The scholarly incubator is an initiative created by Dafna Lemish and me to respond and give shape to faculty, doctoral student, and staff interest in lively engagement and inquiry with each other on significant topics. The incubators inspire our research and teaching.

Infrastructure can sometimes seem unexciting, except when it does not work!  Here are a few of the improvements made over the past year.

Communicating effectively with prospective and current students is a top priority, and we have implemented software that makes it possible to do that even better.  Our new system lets us reach out individually to people who are thinking about enrolling, alert applicants about the status of their documents, and contact specific groups of students with information pertinent just to them.  It’s a more personalized system than we used in the Office of Student Services just a few years ago, when messages went to all students regardless of relevance.

SC&I faculty and instructors are heavy users of technology for teaching, and staff in IT Services and Instructional Support and Assessment are constantly upgrading the technology for pedagogy.  We’ve recently transitioned key software packages to a cloud-based service, allowing students to access the programs simply and reliably.

Financial management will be boosted for the new year with the launch of SC&I reports via OneDrive.  Rather than receiving monthly statements, faculty and staff will be able to log in at any time and see their information.  Such reporting was to be available through the university, but until that is possible the Business Office has created our own tool.

Staff will be working in early January to make everything ready for faculty and students to return in Spring 2019.

News Briefs
Meet J. Sophia Fu
J. Sophia Fu’s research is motivated by one question: “How can organizations more effectively catalyze organizational and social change?”

How two JMS students are pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a student reporter
Camilo Montoya-Galvez and Kervy Robles discuss what it's like to break into the news industry, and the types of challenges and physical dangers reporters face when covering important stories.

Celebrating a 30-year career
After 30 years of a very broad and extremely successful career at Rutgers University, Professor of Communication  Hartmut B. Mokros   will transition to emeritus status, assuming the title of Professor Emeritus, effective January 1, 2019.

Take your career to the next level

The Professional Development Studies program has over 70 years of experience providing mid-career professionals and students alike the chance to improve their communication skills in the workplace.

PBS KIDS team visits SC&I

Researchers from PBS KIDS meet with Youth Cluster and Ph.D. students on current projects in education and media

Faculty & Staff News

  • Ross Todd received a grant from the New Jersey Center for the Book for FY 2019.
  • Faculty, students and alumni were honored at NCA 2018.
  • Regina Marchi was a keynote speaker for Day of the Dead Conference at UT Austin.
  • According to a recent survey, SC&I faculty and staff speak over 24 languages!
  • Gloria Steinem Chair, Naomi Klein, interviewed Bernie Sanders on climate change.
  • David Greenberg was quoted about George H.W. Bush's legacy in Politico magazine.
  • Charles Senteio facilitated a workshop on engaging with communities to provide health equality.
  • Chenjerai Kumanyika wrote a short essay for Project Censored titled, "Censored 2019: Fighting the Fake News Invasion."
  • Jeff Lane's book: "The Digital Street" had a recent book signing at Rutgers Barnes and Noble.
  • Chenjerai Kumanyika and Khadijah White spoke on how two women teamed up to spy on Confederate president Jefferson Davis on Uncivil.
  • Lauren Feldman spoke to The Atlantic on the use of satire in communicating about climate change.
  • The Social Media & Society Cluster produced an animated depiction of "The Digital Street."
  • Mary D'Ambrosio and Regina Marchi hosted a JMS study abroad information "cookies and cocoa" all-day information drop-in session.
  • Brian Householder was mentioned by a former student in a article.
  • Brent Ruben, Ralph Gigliotti, and Richard DeLisi received the 2018 Sue DeWine Distinguished Scholarly Book Award for their book at the National Communication Association (NCA) Convention.
  • Jack Bratich gave a talk at the MET on his book, "Conspiracy Panics: Political Rationality and Popular Culture."
  • Regina Marchi received The James W. Cary Media Research Award 2018 for her most recent book, “Young People and the Future of News."
  • Steve Miller commented on the openness of the media environment in an Adweek article.
  • The re-released version of Dean Jonathan Potter's book: "Social Texts and Context" included a new preface, and was dedicated to his late co-author Peter Stringer.
  • Amy Jordan was featured in The Atlantic about children and their exposure to advertising practices on apps.
  • Melissa Aronczyk was part of a panel at NYU on Selling Green:The Media Greenwashing of Climate Change.
  • Chirag Shah gave a talk at Amazon on #InfoFostering.
  • Kaitlin Costello and doctoral student Manasa Rath won awards at ASIS&T. See the full list of winners here.
  • Galina Bolden was the recipient of the recent scholarship award for her paper "Negotiating Understanding in Intercultural Moments in Immigrant Family Interaction." According to reviewers it is 'a model of excellence in LSI research.'
  • Jennifer Theiss received the Gerald R. Miller Award for Most Outstanding Book from the Interpersonal Communication Division of NCA.
  • Avi Lewis was quoted in The Conversation about the state of welfare in Canada.
  • Nick Linardopoulos was elected Vice Chair of the Instructional Communication Division at the NCA 2018 conference.
  • Brian Householder was elected Vice Chair of the Assessment Division at the NCA 2018 conference.
  • Mary Chayko served as guest coach for Rutgers Women Basketball in their decisive win against LSU.
  • SC&I doctoral students will now graduate with a new degree name, Communication, Information, and Media.

Our faculty are media experts and have been cited both nationally and internally.
For more citations, please see our "In the Headlines" page.
Student News

Alumni News

Upcoming Events
  • January 8, Online Information Session for Master of Communication and Media
  • January 10, Online Information Session for Master of Information

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