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Office of the Provost Update

Dear Colleagues:

On this final day of an academic and fiscal year that none of us will soon forget, I write with an administrative update on our division of academic affairs. Today marks the end of an exceptional two-year term of service for our Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Rekha Datta, who will return to our faculty as Professor of Political Science and the Freed Endowed Chair in Social Sciences.

I am grateful to Dr. Datta for her thoughtful leadership and for her extraordinary commitment to Monmouth’s mission during this time. Dr. Datta’s deep dedication to our students’ success is unequaled, and her reputation for routinely placing the needs and best interests of our students first is both accurate and well-earned. Our University was lucky to have had a leader as committed and compassionate as Dr. Datta for the past two years, and Monmouth has developed into a stronger community under her direction.

Dr. Pamela Scott-Johnson will be joining Monmouth University as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs on August 9, 2021. I look forward to welcoming her to our community at that time. In the intervening period, any questions or concerns of an academic nature can be directed to our Interim Associate Provost, Dr. Susan Forquer Gupta. I am grateful to Susan for her continuing service in the Office of the Provost.

I am equally thankful to each of you for your loyal service to Monmouth during the past year. I look forward to seeing you at our next regularly scheduled open call. Until then, please accept my best wishes for a Happy July 4th weekend.

Sincerely,

Pat

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy

President

Observing Juneteenth

Dear Colleagues:

Please remember that Monmouth University will be closed on Friday, June 18 in observance of Juneteenth.

Juneteenth commemorates emancipation and the end of slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865. In accordance with the State of New Jersey’s designation of Juneteenth as a public holiday, the University will recognize Juneteenth on the third Friday of June each year.

The observance of Juneteenth as an official University holiday presents an additional opportunity to renew our commitment to racial justice and equity across the Monmouth community. It is my fervent hope that each of us will take time to pause and reflect on the historic importance of Juneteenth, and to consider the ways in which we might continue to foster an inclusive and inviting community for all our members.

I am gratified by our ongoing efforts to address inequity wherever it exists, and to ensure that all feel welcome at Monmouth.

Pat

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy

President

Fall 2021 Health Protocols

Dear Students:

With nearly three months to go before the beginning of the fall semester, I write to you with information on our plans for our full reopening in the fall. Following Governor Murphy’s recent announcement lifting many current COVID-19 restrictions throughout New Jersey, and pursuant to prevailing public health guidance from the CDC, Monmouth University is prepared to adopt and enforce the protocols below for the 2021-2022 academic year. If these entities change position on any of the areas below, then the University will reassess these protocols and communicate any updates accordingly.

Vaccination

The University has carefully considered the role that COVID-19 vaccinations will play in safeguarding the overall health and safety of the University community. We acknowledge that reaching a high vaccination level among our community is the most important factor in resuming in-person activities across campus this fall. Accordingly, the University is requiring every member of the Monmouth community (i.e., students, faculty, staff) to be fully vaccinated* OR have an approved exemption prior to returning to campus for work or school in preparation for the start of the fall 2021 semester.

To help facilitate a high vaccination level, we will continue to inform our community of vaccine clinics on and around campus, the next of which will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 23 in Anacon B at the Stafford Student Center. This clinic is sponsored by the VNA of Central Jersey, and both the Moderna and the J&J/Janssen vaccines will be available – at no cost – to Monmouth students, employees, and adult (18+ years) family members and friends. Please continue to monitor your Monmouth email over the coming days for additional details. In order to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the community, including, but not limited to our ongoing contact tracing efforts, we must also have up-to-date vaccination statuses on file for all of our members.

*A fully vaccinated individual has received the recommended dosage (including any booster shot) and completed the recommended waiting period (including the waiting period for any booster shot).

  • Exemption Policy: The benefits of individual and widespread COVID-19 vaccination are well-documented. However, the University will allow individuals to petition for a vaccination exemption on medical or religious grounds, or on the basis of the COVID-19 vaccine’s current emergency use authorization (EUA) status.

    In each of these instances, students must file for an exemption through the Student Health Portal. Specific information about the exemption process will be available through Health Services. Medical exemption requests must be supported by documentation from a health care provider. If you have any trouble accessing a healthcare provider, please contact the Office of Health Services at 732-571-3464 or health@monmouth.edu for assistance. Religious exemption requests may only be established consistent with State law upon the grounds that the immunization interferes with the free exercise of the individual’s religious rights. EUA exemption requests will provide for a temporary exemption until such time as the FDA has effectively lifted the EUA for all current COVID-19 vaccines. The University reserves the right to request further documentation if needed to assess the request. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis.
  • Documentation Requirement: To safeguard the health and well-being of our community, we are requiring every individual to provide up-to-date information on vaccination status (i.e., vaccination record or required exemption documentation) through the Health Portal by August 1. We encourage you to enter your vaccination information into the system as soon as possible to avoid any problems that may be caused by waiting until the last minute, particularly if an exemption is being sought.
  • Impact on Unvaccinated Individuals: Those individuals who petition for exemptions will be subject to heightened health and safety protocols, in ongoing efforts to protect the community from the risk of COVID-19. The ability to attend Monmouth University this fall will be contingent upon compliance with these expectations. Examples of such increased health and safety measures include:
    • All residential students must provide evidence of a negative COVID test – completed no more than 72 hours in advance of move-in – prior to the designated move-in date.
    • Mask requirement indoors at all times.
    • Weekly surveillance testing requirement through Health Services.
    • Use of Campus Clear symptom tracking app whenever reporting to campus.
    • Unvaccinated individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for the duration of the isolation period – consistent with CDC and University guidelines – and class attendance policies will continue to apply to the required absences.
    • Unvaccinated individuals who come in close physical contact with someone who has COVID-19 must first report the exposure to Health Services, and then quarantine pursuant to local public health guidelines (7-10 days depending on evidence of negative test results), with no guarantee of remote learning availability during the quarantine, and class attendance policies will continue to apply to the required absences. Unvaccinated residential students will be required to quarantine in a designated facility on campus.
    • In the event of an outbreak among our campus community, unvaccinated students may be sent home. At such time of an outbreak, the University will need to revisit this policy and consider adjustments to current course modalities.
  • Consequence for Noncompliance: Unvaccinated students who do not comply with the additional protocols outlined will face disciplinary action. Over time, recurrent failure to comply may lead to suspension of attendance and activities at the University.

Masking

According to the CDC, universal vaccination appears to be the most effective path forward to resuming pre-pandemic levels of normal activity. In addition to the vaccination mandate for all students, faculty, and staff, the University will continue to require masks in all classroom, lab, and teaching spaces, as well as the library, for everyone in attendance, regardless of vaccination status. Individual faculty and support staff may also require students visiting their respective offices to be masked before meeting. Masks will not be required outdoors or in other communal spaces on campus (e.g., dining hall, student center, fitness center, etc.), unless an individual is unvaccinated and/or exhibiting one or more COVID symptoms.

Social Distancing

Under Executive Order No. 242, the Governor recently relaxed the 6-feet social distancing requirement at all New Jersey institutions of higher education. However, out of an abundance of caution, the University will try, when possible, to establish 3-feet social distancing wherever any in-person instruction is taking place on campus (e.g., classroom, lab, teaching space, etc.). Individual faculty and support staff may also require students visiting their respective offices to adhere to the 3-feet social distance requirement.

Other Health and Safety Measures

Even though the CDC has stated that the risk for people to be infected through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects is very low, the University will continue to carry out enhanced cleaning and sanitizing efforts throughout all areas of campus.

Each of these protocols is subject to change based on any modifications to the prevailing public health guidance from the CDC, OSHE, and our local governing public health authorities. The University’s decision to require the vaccine, combined with these other health and safety measures, will help to ensure the continued protection of the community as the campus reopens this fall. Since its beginnings on our campus, this pandemic has required the will, understanding, and participation of each of us to protect all of us. After much consideration, these healthcare protocols emerged from this same spirit of caring for not only ourselves, but also for others, to help our University get back to normal operations as safely as possible.

We understand that you may have questions, and we plan to host informational Zoom sessions in the near future to address them. Please continue to monitor your student email account for additional details. Until then, feel free to direct any questions regarding our fall protocols and plans to Fall2021@monmouth.edu. Our staff is standing by to help you. As always, thank you for your caring commitment to our University community. We look forward to seeing you on campus soon.

Sincerely,

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
President

Stafford Presidential Award of Excellence

Dear Colleagues:

Earlier today on my open call with faculty and staff, it was my privilege to announce the 2021 Stafford Presidential Award of Excellence recipients, and I would like to share this good news with those who were unable to participate. 

This award was established to recognize an outstanding member of the University staff for his or her tireless efforts, dedication, creativity, and evident commitment to supporting and enhancing Monmouth. Ten individuals were nominated this year, and it is so gratifying to announce that there are two deserving recipients during such a challenging and unpredictable year – Kathy Maloney, Director of Health Services, and Harold Hillyard, Assistant Director of Residential Life.

Kathy was nominated for her passion and dedication to the Monmouth community. She worked non-stop during the pandemic – seven days a week – identifying COVID-19 positives and working with various local, state, and federal agencies in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, she collaborated with her colleagues to institute efficient procedures for testing and contact tracing.

Harold’s nomination noted his exceptional commitment and devotion to our community during a challenging year. He worked directly with Kathy and took the lead on the COVID-19 Contact Tracing and Response Team where he facilitated an on-call rotation, developed efficient contact tracing methods, and served as a liaison between the Health Center and the student body. 

Both Kathy and Harold have been very instrumental in helping to navigate our University through the challenges of the pandemic, and I am grateful to them for their support and service to our community. Please join me in congratulating Kathy and Harold on receiving this prestigious award.

Sincerely,

Pat

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy

President

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 for 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 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