Courses and Symposia on Integrating Themes

Shortly after Dr. Barchi announced nine major initiatives to begin implementation of the University Strategic Plan, Executive Vice President Richard L. Edwards issued requests for proposals (RFPs) for universitywide general education courses and international academic symposia on the five integrating themes outlined in the universitywide plan:

  •  Cultures, Diversity, and Inequality  –  Local and Global
  •  Improving Health and Wellness of Individuals and Populations
  •  Creating a Sustainable World through Innovation, Engineering, and Technology
  •  Educating Involved Citizens and Effective Leaders for a Dynamic World
  •  Creative Expression and the Human Experience

Courses on the Integrating Themes

Faculty were encouraged to propose new universitywide general education courses in any of the five Integrating Themes that would have broad impact and applicability for first- and second-year students. The RFP stated that, where possible, the courses should incorporate technology to enable the faculty to reach across campuses, as well as to collaborate with colleagues and students.  Those who submitted successful proposals would be provided with support for faculty release time for course development, plus additional resources for related expenses and to develop the technologies that would allow each course to be made available across the University. Proposals from groups of faculty bridging disciplines, departments, decanal units, and campuses were strongly encouraged.  The deadline for proposing courses to begin in the Fall 2015 semester was July 1, 2014, with notification of accepted proposals anticipated in September of that year.  Proposals for courses to begin in Spring 2016 or later were due October 1, 2014.

International Academic Symposia on the Integrating Themes

Faculty were asked to propose high-level international academic symposia on each of the five Integrating Themes.  The RFP stated that they should highlight Rutgers' interdisciplinary scholarship, integrate the many areas of excellence at Rutgers, and, ideally, have the involvement of Rutgers' New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden locations as well as RBHS. Funding would be provided for both the conceptual development and the implementation of each symposium.

In July 2014, Executive Vice President Edwards announced the selection of two symposia for the 2014-15 academic year, with a new call for proposals for the following academic year that would be issued in September 2014. The selected symposia for 2014-15 were:

  • Global Climate Change and Inequality: Local to Global Perspectives (submitted by Steven R. Brechin, School of Arts and Sciences; Robin Leichenko, School of Arts and Sciences; Thomas Rudel, School of Arts and Sciences and School of Environmental and Biological Sciences; Karen O'Neill, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences) This symposium would explore, in an interdisciplinary manner, global climate change and related socio-environmental disasters with regard to their differential impact on regions, nations, communities, individuals, and natural ecosystems, with an emphasis on those who will suffer the most and how best to address the vulnerabilities of those populations and systems most at risk.
  • An International Symposium for Sustainable Biotechnology, Bioenergy and Biomedicine (submitted by Eric Lam, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences; Pal Maliga, Waksman Institute of Technology; Eric Garfunkel, School of Arts and Sciences) In partnership with the Ohio State University and the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, Rutgers would host the 9th Tripartite Workshop held by this group in November of 2014. The Workshop was expanded to a symposium format via funding provided by the 100 Days Initiatives. The additional funding permitted participation by colleagues from the Camden, Newark, and RBHS communities. Faculty and graduate students from Rutgers as well as Ohio State and Sao Paulo would meet to discuss their current research on the issues surrounding sustainable biotechnology, bioenergy, and biomedicine.