Message from Dean James W. Hughes



James W. Hughes
Dean James W.

As we look forward to our 20th Anniversary year in 2012, on the heels of one of the worst economic downturns in our nation’s history, we at the school are even more committed to our mission of preparing students with an educational experience that will enable them to meet and address many of the critical challenges of the new millennium.   


As such, the school has again seen an increase in applications for the upcoming year. We had 575 applications to the graduate program for enrollment in 2010-11, which is up 15 percent over the previous year and 30 percent over the past two years. We have seen an increase of 32 percent in our admit-coming MCRP class over the last year, which can be credited to our recent #4 ranking by Planetizen as well as increased school recruiting efforts. The number of applications and admit-coming students in the graduate Program in Public Policy has remained steady. We are confident that the accreditation of this program by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA)—which the school is, at present, actively pursuing—will provide a boost to future applications.   

At the undergraduate level, we have seen a 22 percent increase in declared majors since last year, with 58 Planning/Public Policy and 235 Public Health majors. The undergraduate program has increased the number of course credit hours offered by more than 50 percent during the last three years, which includes enhanced certificate program offerings, the marketing of minors as an option, and online courses. 

Three of our faculty members were promoted this past spring. These promotions demonstrate the quality and relevance to society of the research pursued by our faculty. Jocelyn Crowley was promoted to Professor, and Kathe Newman and Stuart Shapiro were promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. You can read more about their interests and research in the Faculty section.   

Our Centers and Institutes continue their important work on issues ranging from community and neighborhood reinvestment to smart growth/sprawl issues, and from  unemployment and under-employment to transportation risk management and social, gender, and economic equity, among other current policy issues. The Heldrich Center received a $1.1 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Labor for the NTAR (National Technical Assistance and Research) Leadership Center, a multi-year initiative that helps state agencies share best practices to encourage new employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The Center for Transportation Safety, Security, and Risk is developing programs for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the application of a smart model for rail corridors, support for secure and resilient inland waterways, and for hazard crisis communication training for school bus drivers. And the U.S. Department of Energy has asked the National Center for Neighborhood and Brownfields Development to study the economic impacts of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on regions surrounding former U.S. major nuclear weapons facilities. I encourage you to read more in our Center News section, and also to take a few minutes to visit the websites of these programs for even more information about their work.   

Although the budgetary climate in the state and at Rutgers remains tenuous, the Bloustein School has always made updating technology for its students and the classrooms in the Civic Square Building a top priority. To meet the growing needs of its students and the increase in enrollment, the school is upgrading many of the classrooms and renovating space to provide additional resources. One of projects currently under way is the creation of a new studio classroom on the fourth floor. Once that renovation is completed, we will have seven classrooms, two studio classrooms, a double computer laboratory, two study/project spaces, a student lounge, and numerous conference rooms. A project completed earlier this summer was an upgrade to the wireless network in the building; we have replaced our old wireless network with a new high-speed network that provides exceptional access throughout our classrooms and conference rooms. 

Future projects include the addition of workstations in the “Information Gateway” study space on the fifth floor and the addition of a separate space for our Ph.D. students. As part of the renovations, the lobby of the Civic Square building also will be receiving a public facelift; new paint, brighter lighting, and new electronic signage are just a few of the items that are planned. Visitors will also soon enjoy a new “Distinguished Alumni” wall and will be able to more easily locate EJB faculty and staff with a touch-screen directory.  Many of these projects would not have been possible without the generous contributions of our alumni and donors. As such, I would be remiss not to mention the continued hard work of our Director of Development, Donald Sutton. Earlier this year, Don was recognized as having achieved top fundraiser status for academic entities at Rutgers during the period April 2009–March 2010. These efforts will continue to fund scholarships and internships for students, fund research for faculty, and allow the school to move forward with many planned improvement projects. Don’s work is especially admirable despite the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.   


The first group of the Ralph W. Voorhees Fellows in Public Service, announced last fall, has completed their internships, and each of the fellows has provided a summary of his or her activities over the last year. We also would like to congratulate the recently selected 2010-11 Fellows, whom you can read about in our Student Highlights section. Please be sure to read about the recently selected Louis Berger Group Graduate Fellows as well, who are engaged in their summer internships as of this writing. We look forward to hearing from these students about their work very soon.   


The school has several interesting events planned for the fall, including the 10th Annual Bloustein School Alumni Association Family Feud. This year's Feud will be held on Friday, October 1, at the Elks Lodge in New Brunswick. We will post more details as they become available, including the alumni and faculty volunteers who will be participating on this year's Policy and Planning teams.  Other dates on the calendar this fall are the Bloustein Memorial Lecture and the Candeub lecture, as well as several conferences.

Finally, I would like to make mention of several opportunities for keeping in touch with what’s happening at the Bloustein School. In addition to the EJB website, which will soon be undergoing a redesign, I also encourage you to visit the Bloustein School’s pages on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Each of these social media provides a unique experience, and I encourage you to explore these resources.