Forging Ahead

Monmouth celebrates a $1.1 million NSF grant, the move to a new athletic conference, and the launch of a new doctoral degree.

This spring marked the two-year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as we take additional steps toward restoring more normalcy across our campus operations, I can’t help but reflect on how far we’ve come this past year and how much we have to celebrate.

Despite the challenges and uncertainty created by the pandemic, the Monmouth University community has flourished, especially over the past academic year. We continued to advance academic excellence while positively impacting our community and expanding our national footprint. Time and again, our students excelled in the classroom and beyond, showing the remarkable strength of the Monmouth spirit.

A testament to our continued focus on advancing academic excellence is evident in Assistant Professor of Biology Megan Phifer-Rixey receiving a prestigious, five-year, $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation for the Faculty Early Career Development Program. The grant, which supports Phifer-Rixey’s research on the evolutionary impact of urban environments on house mice, will provide high-quality, hands-on educational experiences for undergraduate students across the disciplines. It will also provide learning and enrichment opportunities for K–12 teachers in our local community. 

Further evidence of the University’s positive impact on the region can be seen in the recent archaeological project that took place at Sandy Hook. A multidisciplinary team of Monmouth faculty and student researchers helped the National Park Service better understand the history of a site that once served a key role in our region’s commerce, and proposed ways to safeguard the site for future generations. 

We continued to advance academic excellence while positively impacting our community and expanding our national footprint.

This past March, the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music launched a new collaboration with the Borough of Freehold to create an exhibition space that will celebrate the life and story of the Boss, who grew up in the borough. I believe private institutions like Monmouth have an obligation to serve the public by being a force for positive economic, cultural, and social development in our communities, and this new partnership with Freehold further exemplifies how the University continues to be a valuable resource for the region.

At the same time, we have continued our efforts to extend Monmouth’s regional and national recognition. Our move to the Colonial Athletic Association on July 1 is an important step in that process. This move will enhance competition for our student-athletes, as they will be playing in one of the top mid-major conferences in the country. It will also bolster the University’s regional recognition and reputation, as we will be competing against other fine CAA member institutions along the East Coast from New England to the Southeast, including Northeastern University, Drexel University, the University of Delaware, Elon University, and The College of William & Mary.

Others are already taking notice of everything that is happening at Monmouth. Evidence of this can be seen in the University’s inclusion in U.S. News & World Report’s 2023 Best Graduate Schools rankings for Best Education Schools, Best Nursing Schools: Master’s, Best Schools for Social Work, and Best Speech-Language Pathology Programs. And, looking ahead to the fall, we will welcome the inaugural cohort of students to our fourth doctoral program, the Doctor of Social Work in Human Rights Leadership. This will mark another major step in our journey toward achieving national doctoral university status, which will place Monmouth University alongside some of the finest institutions in the country.

As we continue to forge ahead in our evolution to a bona fide national university offering multiple doctoral programs, I am gratified by the strength and support of our entire community—faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and, of course, students—who continue to support and advance our mission. Thank you for your commitment to our exceptional University.