New safety measures, expansion and teaching styles presented at University Assembled

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President Ali Houshman shares his future plans at University Assembled. - News Intern / Madison Miller

On Friday, March 31, students, faculty and staff gathered in the Eynon Ballroom with President Dr. Ali Houshmand and his team to discuss new university policies, news and developments. Houshmand also certified the graduates for spring 2023.

This year, there will be 5,824 students graduating which include 4,559 undergraduates, 959 graduate students, 202 Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine students and 104 Cooper Medical School of Rowan University students. Enrollment is also up from previous years and is back to pre-pandemic numbers and there were more fall applications. 

Another point of the presentation was public safety on Rowan’s campus.

“What we need to do, we need to make sure that we enlist in the resources here in terms of personnel and equipment and technology to make sure people are safe,” Houshmand said.

In order to ensure this protection, Houshmand announced that there would be three Glassboro police officers that are going to provide salary and benefits to keep off-campus students and areas safe. This includes Rowan Boulevard, which is technically off-campus but home to student housing as well as local restaurants and buildings that Rowan students frequent. 

In addition to this, there will also be two people from the fire department who will also have salary and benefits that will handle Rowan University cases.

“We will never ever, when it comes to the issue of safety and security, look at money, that is that should not be an issue for us because the security and safety of each and every one of you is far more valuable than any amount of money that we can imagine,” Houshmand said. 

Rowan will also be emphasizing wellness on campus by expanding Rowan Thrive, university partnerships and substance abuse resources.

Rowan also will be celebrating its centennial this year and the university will be reflecting on just how far it has come in the past 100 years. Throughout this year, there will be events, nostalgic photos and banners around campus to get the Rowan community excited. The Vice President for University Relations, Joe Cardona, noted that this reflection can also be an opportunity to reflect on where the university can go in the future. 

“As we move forward, it’s really important that as we reflect on who we were, it gives us this opportunity to talk about where we’re going,” Cardona said. 

A large portion of the meeting was also dedicated to Rowan’s goal of becoming an R1 school and the new projects that the university is working on. These include the new Veterinary School which will have its groundbreaking on April 28, the Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park Museum, Red Bank Battlefield Archaeology project and a new idea for a $500 million holistic wellness village. 

According to the University of Pennsylvania, “R1 doctoral universities are considered to have the ‘highest research activity.’” Rowan is an R2 university right now, but during this meeting, they made it clear that R1 is what they are moving toward in the future. 

Some faculty showed concern during the meeting, asking just how Rowan plans to stand out from other universities and embody a unique approach to the way they are moving forward. 

In response, Provost Anthony Lowman noted that this change in the university’s status begins with a change in the classroom. He stated that it will be up to the faculty how they decide to change and innovate their class, but this would mean that traditional lecture-style classes, while they will always be around, could see a shift in teaching techniques.

“We’re not going to sit and continue to say, ‘I walk in twice a week, I read on my board, I put up my PowerPoint, 25 students, and I walk out.’ So it’s innovative in the classroom, out of the classroom and in our lives. And that’s how we’re going to do it,” Lowman said.

After the meeting concluded, staff and faculty seemed to be in support of the way Rowan is moving forward. 

“I think it’s really important that the university puts out their vision of where they’re going in the future and it’s exciting to see the developments that they’re planning on doing,” said Cheryl Bodnar, an associate professor in the experiential engineering education department at Rowan.

“I think Rowan is one of these places that is very innovative and we try to do things differently and think outside of the box, and so we approach teaching in a different way than you would see at other institutions and I hope that filters through down to the student experience,” Bodnar said. “You have more opportunities to kind of see how what you’re doing in the classroom can benefit you long term in your career.”

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