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Continuing Our Commitment to Equity and Justice

Dear Monmouth University Community:

Nearly a year ago, the world witnessed the senseless death of George Floyd. Throughout this past year, our community has joined countless communities throughout the country – and indeed across the globe – in doing our small part to address injustice and inequity. Despite yesterday’s verdict, there is much work still to be done. My fervent hope is that we will use this historic moment as an impetus to further dedicate ourselves to the work of fighting for equity and justice.

This has been a difficult year for so many reasons. If you are struggling, please remember that there are many support services available to you on and off campus. The University has resources available through Counseling and Psychological Services and the Intercultural Center to support our members.

As we process these recent events, I thank you for your ongoing efforts to ensure that Monmouth University continues to foster a welcoming and inclusive campus where all feel safe, valued, and respected.

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
President

Provost/Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

Dear Monmouth University Community:   I am pleased to share with you that Pamela E. Scott-Johnson, Ph.D., will join Monmouth University this summer as the new Provost/Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and a Professor of Psychology. Her appointment concludes a comprehensive, national search process that resulted in nearly 100 applicants. 

Since 2016, Dr. Scott-Johnson has served as the Dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences at California State University, Los Angeles, the largest college at that university, featuring over 150 faculty members in 12 departments and serving nearly 6,000 undergraduate and 500 graduate students. Cal State LA is recognized as one of the nation’s most innovative institutions of higher education, as evidenced by a New York Times #1 national ranking for upward mobility. At Cal State LA, Dr. Scott-Johnson has been focused on establishing corporate and community partnerships that create mutual benefit.

Prior to joining Cal State LA, Dr. Scott-Johnson spent nearly 15 years at Morgan State University, serving as the Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, as Chair of the Department of Psychology, and as Professor of Psychology. Before joining Morgan State, she spent 10 years as a faculty member at Spelman College, where she earned tenure. Dr. Scott-Johnson’s research interests include eating disorders, body image, and sensory systems. She is also committed to preparing more minority students for the psychology pipeline. Dr. Scott-Johnson’s list of scholarly accomplishments is long and impressive, and she looks forward to working across academic units at Monmouth to ensure that our faculty have increasing opportunities and support for their respective research interests and scholarship.

Prior to beginning her work in higher education three decades ago, Dr. Scott-Johnson worked for nearly nine years in the corporate sector as a senior research scientist for Kraft General Foods, where she was an expert on taste and smell. She is a member of numerous boards and associations, including currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the prestigious American Psychological Association.

Dr. Scott-Johnson earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in psychology and neuroscience from Princeton University and a B.A. degree (magna cum laude) in psychology from Spelman College, one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges, where she was inducted into the Psi Chi National Honor Society in Psychology.

Dr. Scott-Johnson will be visiting campus in person later this spring and will have ample opportunities to meet members from across the university community. As soon as details for her campus visit become available, I will share them with you. I look forward to introducing Dr. Scott-Johnson to all of you at that time.

I am grateful to the members of the search committee who worked diligently over the past several months to help narrow a deep and competitive applicant pool and who were highly supportive of Dr. Scott-Johnson. I am especially thankful to Dr. Robert McCaig, Vice President for Enrollment Management, for his thoughtful leadership in chairing the committee for this critically important hire. I would also like to extend my thanks to those among you who participated in one of more of Dr. Scott-Johnson’s twelve interviews at Monmouth as part of the search process. This wide range of participation, coupled with the comprehensive feedback received from members of the community, was vital to the decision-making process.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Scott-Johnson on her new role and in welcoming her back to New Jersey and to Monmouth University.

Sincerely,

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
President

Vice President for University Advancement

Dear Members of the University Community:

I am pleased to share an important staffing announcement. Amanda Klaus ’09 has accepted my offer to serve as the permanent Vice President for University Advancement, effective immediately. 

Amanda is well-positioned for this vital role, which includes leading our fundraising efforts around our new strategic plan, and enhancing alumni, donor, government, community, and foundation relations. Amanda will serve as a key member of the President’s Cabinet and as a chief liaison to multiple subcommittees of our Board of Trustees. In addition to raising philanthropic support for the university’s most critical fundraising priorities, Amanda is charged with reimagining a more modern career development center, aimed at guiding students towards successful careers and post-graduate work aspirations by, in part, mobilizing our vast alumni network in support of students.

For the past year, Amanda has served as Interim Vice President for University Advancement.  During that time – and despite the complications presented by COVID-19 – she has raised significant support from both private and public sources and has improved alumni giving in the process. 

Prior to her interim appointment, Amanda served as the Executive Director for Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving, where she set goals, strategies, and objectives for engaging our 58,000 alumni network through print and digital communications, events, volunteer opportunities, and personal solicitations, while modernizing the University’s annual giving program.  Her key contributions included the launch of the Hawk Network, the Crowdfunding platform, the Senior Class Giving Campaign; management of the Alumni Association Board of Directors; and development of seven-figure gift commitments. Previously, Amanda served as the major gift officer for the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences, securing over $1MM in gifts and pledges, aiding in the development of the Deans’ Advisory Councils, and helping to identify members of the Board of Trustees. 

Amanda’s passion for and dedication to Monmouth extends beyond her work in University Advancement. She has previously served as co-advisor to the Student Government Association, advisor for the Global Experience Program Trip to Haiti, lead administrator for the President’s Relief Fund, member of the Strategic Planning Committee, and former volunteer on the Alumni Association Board of Directors. As a result, she was named the most recent recipient of the Stafford Presidential Award of Excellence.

Prior to Monmouth, Amanda worked in development at two leading healthcare and medical research organizations: Hospital for Special Surgery and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. 

Please join me in congratulating Amanda as she takes on this new, important role at the university.

Sincerely,

Pat
Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
President

Director of Athletics

Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to announce the hiring of Jeff Stapleton as the University’s seventh Director of Athletics, effective at the start of the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Jeff has been a loyal member of the Monmouth University community for the past 31 years, serving since 2015 as Deputy Director of Athletics, a position which involves him in all facets of intercollegiate athletics. One of his primary responsibilities at the University has been to serve as the facilities director for athletics, a role that includes overseeing the development and construction of numerous projects, including the Ocean First Bank Center, Kessler Stadium, and numerous renovations to many of Monmouth’s athletic facilities. As the Associate Athletics Director for Internal Operations, Jeff oversaw the daily operational needs of three of the University’s marquee programs in football, men’s basketball, and baseball. His tasks included, but were not limited to: interpreting NCAA policies, hiring coaches, monitoring budgets, overseeing scholarship awards, coordinating scheduling, evaluating head coaches, and directing game operations. Jeff continues to be the primary supervisor for those sports, which have been some of the most successful in the department. In addition, Jeff was the University’s television production liaison for 11 years, coordinating exposure through televised athletic events on ESPN, MSG, Cablevision, CN-8, and CSTV, among others. For the last seven seasons he has been a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Marketing and Television Committee and was instrumental in Monmouth joining both the MAAC and the Big South Conference. Jeff began his employment with the University as an Assistant Athletic Director in 1990.

Prior to arriving at Monmouth, Jeff spent three years as a Field Promotions Manager for Avia Group International, developing and executing athletic footwear promotions in the tristate area. From 1983 to 1987, he was an assistant basketball coach at Colgate University and at Hobart College, his alma mater.

He is a 1983 graduate of Hobart College, where was a four-year member of the men’s basketball team. Jeff and his wife, Trish, reside in Spring Lake Heights with their four daughters: Maggie, Maureen, Siobhan, and Niamh.

I want to thank the members of the Athletics Director Search Committee – including John Christopher (Chair), Jennifer McGovern, Karen Keene, Patrick Dorsey, and Nina Anderson – for their assistance in this search. In addition, I want to thank all of the members of the Athletics Department, as well as my other Direct Reports, who interviewed the candidates and provided additional feedback for my consideration.

Please join me in congratulating Jeff Stapleton on his upcoming promotion.

Dr. Patrick Leahy
President

Update on COVID-19 Vaccine

Dear Colleagues: 

As you may already know, Governor Murphy recently announced that beginning Monday, April 5, workers in higher education – including all Monmouth University employees – will be eligible for vaccination in New Jersey.

Monmouth faculty and staff are encouraged to get immunized against COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity. Please visit the NJ COVID-19 Vaccine Locations webpage for more details and to register for the vaccine. At this time, we do not have additional information on plans for the closed vaccine POD at Monmouth, but as soon as details become available, we will communicate them to you.  

We have also been receiving inquiries about vaccine requirements for students for the 2021-22 academic year. We have not made any decisions regarding immunization requirements but will continue to keep you updated as state and local guidance becomes clearer.

Finally, as we approach the second break day of the semester, if you have plans to travel or gather with family or friends over the long weekend, we encourage you to get tested upon your return. Please note, New Jersey’s travel restrictions and quarantine guidelines are still in effect. As a reminder, free COVID-19 testing is available to all students and employees, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the OceanFirst Bank Center lobby testing site operated by Health Services.

Thank you for your continued vigilance in keeping our university community healthy and safe. It takes each one of us to protect all of us, and I am grateful for your commitment to protecting the well-being of Monmouth University.  

Pat 

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
President

Update on Summer and Fall Plans

Dear Monmouth University Community:

Just one year ago, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, and the state of New Jersey announced a public health emergency in response to this growing threat. This has been a year that tested our resolve, but together, we have faced these unexpected challenges with great patience, flexibility, and fortitude.

We are confident that these strengths, coupled with the resilience of the Monmouth spirit, will help us successfully navigate through the next several months and transition into a post-pandemic reality that more closely resembles our pre-pandemic learning environment. Now, as we begin to make plans for the summer and fall, we are encouraged by increased surveillance testing, widespread vaccination efforts, and the overwhelming desire of our students to return more fully to campus.

Summer 2021: Our intention is to offer a predominantly online summer schedule to our students, with approximately a quarter of our courses delivered in hybrid or in-person formats. Even prior to the pandemic, we had been working to increase our summer online offerings in response to student demand. We have found summer online courses to be a very convenient and effective way to serve our students, and we plan to continue to offer a robust selection of online courses in upcoming summers.  We encourage you to view this summer’s course schedule at Monmouth.edu/summer.

Fall 2021: Our objective is to resume in-person classes and student activities to the fullest and safest extent possible in the fall. We are planning a fall semester that is primarily in-person and look forward to opening our campus more fully – if not entirely – for the start of the 2021-2022 academic year. We recognize that COVID-19 will present ongoing challenges, but we are preparing for a safe return to in-person activity at Monmouth and are eager to welcome our community back to campus in the fall.

As always, these plans are predicated on current and prevailing public health guidance, and we will continue to make decisions based on recommendations issued by the CDC and state of New Jersey. We hope to have more updated plans about instruction and campus life as we receive those guidelines. If changes to public health restrictions impact our plans for the fall semester, we will immediately share updated information with you.

We understand that there will be many questions about specific living and learning opportunities and restrictions in the fall semester. As we develop more detailed plans in the coming weeks, we will continue to communicate them to you. We have persevered through an unprecedented year in modern history, and if we remain vigilant in our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, then we can hope for a safe return to near-normal operations in the fall. I look forward to reuniting and thanking you in person for your ongoing commitment to the health, safety, and general welfare of our exceptional university community.

Sincerely,

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy

President

Statement on Anti-Asian Violence

Dear Monmouth University Community:

Over the past several months, our nation has experienced an intolerable and sharply growing level of hatred and bias directed towards our Asian, Asian American, Desi, and Pacific Islander communities, amplified by yesterday’s fatal shootings in Atlanta. These incidences of racially-charged verbal and physical attacks have increased significantly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, although the anti-Asian sentiments of today echo in our nation’s past. I wanted to take this opportunity to reach out in care and support of our campus community. 

In keeping with our commitment to building a more antiracist community, Monmouth University firmly denounces racially motivated and xenophobic acts of harassment and violence, and proudly stands in solidarity with our Asian, Asian American, Desi, and Pacific Islander community members. I want to encourage all members of the campus community to intervene as active bystanders when you witness bias, to continue to stay informed about the world around us, and to listen authentically to one another across lines of difference about our lived experiences and shared humanity.

If you are in need of support through this tragedy, please know that Counseling and Psychological Services is available both remotely and in person. And if you think you have experienced, witnessed, or learned about bias or discrimination on campus, you can report the incident directly to MUPD, the Office of Equity and Diversity, or the Office of Student Life, or you can report the incident anonymously online.

We must continue to uphold our institutional commitment to antiracism, as well as our institutional values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Thank you for your individual and collective efforts to ensure that Monmouth University continues to foster a welcoming and inclusive campus where all feel safe, valued, and respected.

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy

President

Important Administrative Updates

Dear Colleagues:

I write today to recapitulate the several administrative changes at the University that I first announced on last Friday’s bi-weekly open call, all designed to better position the University in advance of the launch of our strategic plan. To help optimize the senior administrative team, as well as to streamline operations, I am pleased to announce searches for the following four positions, all of which will serve as direct reports to me.

Athletics Director: Earlier this year, Marilyn McNeil, Vice President and Director of Athletics, announced her retirement from Monmouth after 28 years of dedicated service to the University. This week, I will commence a search for a new Athletics Director to succeed VP McNeil, effective July 1, 2021. This position will not serve in a Vice President role.

Executive Director of Campus Planning and Facilities Management: Earlier this year, Patricia Swannack, Vice President for Administrative Services, likewise announced her retirement from Monmouth after a loyal 45-year tenure at the University. Presently, VP Swannack oversees four discrete functional areas: Campus Planning, Construction, and Facilities Management; Compliance; Human Resources; and the Monmouth University Police Department (MUPD).

I have spent the last several weeks taking soundings from various constituencies across the University on the best ways to manage these administrative functions in VP Swannack’s absence, and have since determined that the best way forward is to redistribute three of these four functions among the senior leadership team. Effective July 1, 2021, both Compliance and Human Resources will report directly to Vice President and General Counsel, John Christopher. Please know that I will continue to work closely with our colleagues in these areas on any significant hiring, compensation, and policy decisions. Also effective July 1, 2021, MUPD will report directly to Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement, Mary Anne Nagy. This move marks a return to an earlier reporting structure here at Monmouth, and underscores the importance of our student-focused community policing efforts on campus.

In order to carry out successfully the remaining critical functions of campus planning, construction, and facilities management, particularly as we prepare to implement an ambitious capital projects plan in connection with the strategic plan, I have decided to initiate a search for a new Executive Director of Campus Planning and Facilities Management.

By making these moves, I will collapse the Vice President-level position while ensuring satisfactory oversight of each of the primary functional areas for which VP Swannack is currently responsible.

Vice President for University Advancement: In consideration of other significant retirements within the Office of Career Services, I have decided to move Career Services to the Division of University Advancement in an effort to create more intentional and innovative synergies with our network of more than 55,000 alumni. This move will allow us to thoughtfully integrate career services with alumni relations and employer partnerships, all in a collective effort to help launch our students into the careers of their choice. We will build upon our good work in career development through academic partnerships, and we will look for new ways to collaborate both with the academic units and with other areas across the University. Because of the retirements imminent in Career Services, there is some urgency to make immediate progress in this integration with University Advancement. Accordingly, I have chosen to commence a search this week for the permanent Vice President for University Advancement, who will help to develop a cutting-edge career development model for our students, and at the same time create more meaningful engagement for our alumni and donors.

Chief of Staff: For the past six months, I have employed an Acting Chief of Staff – on a trial basis and on loan from the Division of University Advancement – to determine the efficacy of this position at Monmouth. As we near the end of this six-month appointment, I am pleased to report that this position has helped both to improve productivity in the Office of the President and to serve the University in an effective manner. I have decided to begin a search this week for the permanent Chief of Staff. Once complete, the Office of the President will have been appropriately reset in size and functionality, employing three instead of four people, since two others have accepted other employment opportunities at the University.

I am confident that this reorganization will help to streamline administrative decision-making, and I am pleased that this redistribution of administrative functions has allowed me to compress two Vice President-level positions, while saving University resources in the process. Searches for each of these positions will begin first as internal searches, open only to current Monmouth employees. This affords our loyal employees an opportunity to apply first for these senior-level positions, and continues the further streamlining of administrative functions during a very challenging budget year. If no acceptable candidates emerge during these internal searches, then we will expand the searches for these positions to an external audience. Please be on the lookout for an email from the Office of Human Resources with additional details on these positions and searches.

Thank you in advance for your support of theses senior-level changes. As always, if you have questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me directly.

Pat

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
President

Welcome Back for the Spring Semester

Dear Students:

As we begin a new semester here at Monmouth, following a long winter break, let me share a warm Welcome Back on behalf of the entire University community. We have missed you. I hope the past few weeks have afforded you some well-earned rest and relaxation.

Even as the COVID-19 health crisis continues to transform our world, the Monmouth spirit remains as strong and as vibrant as ever. Despite the many challenges presented by this pandemic, I am gratified by the many ways in which you routinely demonstrate resilience and a shared commitment to the common good at Monmouth. This upcoming semester will undoubtedly present new challenges, but I am confident that you will respond to them with continued strength and compassion. And, in so doing, remember to take advantage of the many resources available at Monmouth to enrich and support your student experience. We are committed to providing you with the most supportive environment possible, both to encourage your academic success and to help maintain your overall health, safety, and wellness.

Thank you, in advance, for your continued cooperation with our health and safety protocols, all of which can be summed up in the following: mask up, back up, and wash up. To ensure a successful spring here at Monmouth, it is going to take each of us to protect all of us. My best wishes to you for an exceptional semester.

Sincerely,

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy

President

Important Administrative Update

Dear Colleagues:

I write today with important information on two significant administrative changes here at Monmouth. Effective June 30, 2021, Dr. Marilyn McNeil, Vice President and Director of Athletics, and Patricia (Patti) Swannack, Vice President for Administrative Services, will be retiring from Monmouth after long and storied careers in their respective areas. While I am reluctant for these colleagues to depart in June after a collective 73 years of service to the University, I am delighted for them to reap the benefits and enjoyments of a well-earned retirement.

Dr. Marilyn McNeil joined Monmouth in 1994 as the Director of Athletics, and over her 28-year tenure at the university, has elevated our Division 1 Athletics program into one of the premier mid-major programs in the country. And, during her time at Monmouth, Dr. McNeil has developed a winning culture on the field of play and in the classroom. She has helped lead the Hawks to 119 regular season conference championships and 38 team appearances in various NCAA tournaments, while at once setting program records for team GPA scores and Graduation Success Rates among our student-athletes. In addition to these laudable efforts in fostering a positive and winning student-athlete experience, Dr. McNeil has also demonstrated a notable commitment to gender equity and Title IX compliance in athletics – both at Monmouth and at the national level. Dr. McNeil has been a leader on this campus for nearly three decades, as well as a leader throughout intercollegiate athletics nationally, and her influence on Monmouth will be felt for decades to follow.

Patricia Swannack has dedicated her entire professional career to the advancement of Monmouth University. VP Swannack first joined Monmouth’s human resources department in 1975 and, after a series of promotions, was elevated to her current position of Vice President for Administrative Services in 1994, overseeing the departments of campus planning and construction, facilities management, human resources, student employment, and the University police department. Under her leadership and guidance, the University has performed over $325 million in construction and renovation projects, many of which have garnered national accolades for excellence in sustainability. A dedicated employee and loyal alumna of the University, VP Swannack received the Stafford Presidential Award of Excellence in 2004, as well as the Alumni Service Award in 2005. VP Swannack has been a steady and thoughtful leader on this campus for over four decades, and her many contributions to Monmouth will be celebrated for generations to come.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked alongside Dr. McNeil and VP Swannack during my early years at Monmouth – two exceptional administrators whose commitment to Monmouth is incomparable, and whose contributions towards gender equity at Monmouth are remarkable. We will have ample opportunity to celebrate their dedication to Monmouth before June 30, but I wanted to share this news now, in order to effectively plan for these significant retirements. We will begin the search process for each position in the coming months, and I will continue to share updates with the University community as they become available. For now, please join me in thanking Dr. McNeil and VP Swannack for the indelible mark that each has left on our cherished University.

Thank you.

Pat

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy