Photo of two professors researching in a chemistry lab.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Montclair State earns prestigious Carnegie Classification as a Research Doctoral University

Montclair State was recently designated as a Research Doctoral University by the national Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, one of the most widely recognized and prestigious classifications in the United States.

The ranking, by enhancing the University’s ability to attract and establish productive industry and academic partnerships, should lead to expanded opportunities for undergraduate and graduate student involvement and participation in hands-on learning programs and leading edge research initiatives.

The new designation affirms Montclair State’s leadership in cutting-edge research projects funded by federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the U.S. Department of Education, and recognizes its recent growth in doctoral level education and research.

“Montclair State has been successfully expanding its research activities in important fields,” says Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole. “This new designation reflects the efforts of our distinguished faculty and the programs they have created that both challenge students and address the issues facing society today.”

A culture of scientific discovery

Currently, a number of College of Science and Mathematics faculty have received strong federal grant support for their leading-edge research projects. They include:

  • Sokol Professor of Chemistry David Rotella, who is helping the United States fight bioterrorism with the support of a $2.5 million, five-year contract from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Together with government agencies, pharmaceutical companies and other scientists, he is working to develop inhibitors of the botulinum toxin, a potentially potent bioterror weapon.
  • Mathematical Sciences Professor Eric Forgoston, who has received a three-year National Science Foundation award to develop computer models of fluid flows and mathematical models of control to determine how best to position the robotic ocean vehicles that are indispensable aids to coastal mapping, environmental monitoring, harbor security and oil field surveying efforts.
  • Department of Earth and Environmental Studies Professor and Chair Stefanie Brachfeld, who directs the PhD program in Environmental Management. Thanks to a National Science Foundation Antarctic Earth Sciences award, she is working with international collaborators on a three-year research project to improve understanding of the Antarctic ice sheet’s response to warming climates.

A dynamic research hub

Even before receiving the Research Doctoral University classification, Montclair State had established a solid reputation as a research hub. College of Education and Human Services faculty members who have received substantial funding for their projects include:

  • Jennifer Goeke, the University’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program coordinator, is in the final year of a five-year project, “Restructuring Preservice Preparation for Innovative Special Education,” which is supported by $1.4 million in funding from the United States Department of Education. She has been working to redesign part of the MAT program to prepare middle and secondary school math and science teachers to teach in inclusive classrooms – and increase STEM achievement for all students, including those with disabilities.
  • Professor of Educational Leadership Katrina Bulkley recently received a $1 million grant from the Spencer Foundation to study the effectiveness of the portfolio management approach currently used to govern some urban school districts in Los Angeles, New Orleans and Denver.

Funded research projects such as these benefit faculty and students alike. “Extramural funding recognizes high-quality faculty research ideas and offers students the opportunity to contribute to the investigation of these ideas,” explains Rotella. “These research projects can not only lead to valuable discoveries, but they can also lead to the next generation of research scientists.”

According to Cole, the new ranking is an affirmation of the University’s successfully plotted growth. “In the past 15 years, the University has worked strategically and aggressively to grow enrollment, faculty and facilities,” she notes. “This growth has enabled us to expand educational programs and research initiatives in service to the state and the nation.” Today, the University offers students more than 300 baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral level programs.