News and Events
June 21, 2016
Bringing the fight against trafficking to Montclair State
Human trafficking is a global issue which forces thousands of men, women, and children into labor and sexually exploitative situations. On March 18th, The New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking visited Montclair State to speak to New Jersey educators and social workers. The coalition believes that educating people about this form of modern day slavery is the best way to combat it. Check out the WiredJersey video below created by students in the School of Communication and Media, led by news producer Steve McCarthy.
President Cole Becomes Signatory of Campus Compact's 30th Anniversary Action Statement
President Susan Cole has joined 9 New Jersey and 300 nation-wide higher education presidents in becoming a signatory of Campus Compact’s 30th Anniversary Action Statement. In signing the Campus Compact Action Statement, presidents and chancellors make a public commitment both to its principles and to developing a plan to put those principles into action. The framework provides a shared foundation for Campus Compact members to approach Civic Action Plan (CAP) development while encouraging creativity, flexibility, and boldness. Campus Compact will support members in the development of Civic Action Plans through online knowledge hubs, planning institutes, and technical assistance. See below for the full Action Plan that President Cole has signed, or, click here to see the full statement in addition to a list of nation-wide supports and Presidential Signatories.
"In the mid-1980s, a group of higher education leaders came together based on a shared concern about the future of American democracy. Motivated by their conviction that amidst the pressures toward personal acquisition and personal advancement, their students were not learning to think, speak, and act in the service of the public good, they resolved that higher education must reclaim its historic mission of preparing the next generation of citizens to achieve public goals and solve public problems.
This group—a handful at first, and more than one hundred within a year—decided to take action. They became the founders of Campus Compact. Their chosen language—a compact—signified a commitment to each other to work together to advance the public purposes of higher education on their campuses, in their communities, and across the country. It also signified a commitment to honor the longstanding compact between higher education and the public.
That initial commitment catalyzed a movement that has changed the landscape of higher education. Nearly 1100 institutions now belong to Campus Compact, which has grown to include a network of state and regional Compacts and has become a key element of a global movement for the public purposes of higher education. Campus Compact helped build a national network of engaged faculty and staff and a vast trove of research-based and experiential knowledge about how to educate students for democracy and build community partnerships for positive change.
Because of the work undertaken through Campus Compact and a growing group of allies, what was once a novel and marginal idea—that college students should engage in sustained community-based experiences to develop their capacities as local and global citizens—is now in the mainstream of higher education.
In an effort to build from student engagement to deeper institutional change and community impact, Campus Compact in 1999 promulgated the Presidents’ Declaration on the Civic Responsibility of Higher Education, a statement calling for renewed action to magnify the impact of campus engagement. Evidence of the power of the Presidents’ Declaration abounds: the emergence of civic engagement centers whose leaders have claimed a voice in higher education; the centrality of community engagement in campus strategic plans; countless innovative partnerships producing positive educational, health, environmental, and economic outcomes for communities; and the creation of the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement, the first mechanism for certifying an institution’s substantive commitment to engagement.
These successes warrant celebration. They represent advancement of the public ends that are the very reason colleges and universities are brought into existence. Nonetheless, even as colleges and universities have deepened our commitment to the public and democratic ideals at the heart of Campus Compact, the challenges around us have grown. Wehave seen a decline in the culture and practice of democracy, as evidenced by the polarization of our political discourse and institutions. And we have witnessed a rapid increase in economic inequality, exacerbating America’s persistent racial divide and eroding the capacity of higher education to play its historic role of enabling social mobility.
We therefore face a choice: We can conclude that the challenges are too great and scale back our ambitions for the public and democratic value of higher education, or we can redouble our efforts with a renewed commitment to preparing students for democratic citizenship, building partnerships for change, and reinvigorating higher education for the public good.
Recognizing the special responsibilities of presidents and chancellors in a democracy, we choose the latter course. We choose to articulate the public purposes of the institutions we lead. We choose to deepen the work of our campuses by ensuring that our teaching, research, and institutional actions contribute to the public good. And we choose to work together to accelerate the pace of change commensurate with the local, national, and global challenges we face. For while we compete for students, for funding, and for victories on the athletic field, when we act in the civic realm we act in concert, speaking with one voice to make the case for the contribution of higher education to the public good. To advance the public purposes of higher education, we affirm the following statements, which characterize our current commitments and name the ideals toward which we will work with renewed dedication, focus, and vigor.
We empower our students, faculty, staff, and community partners to co-create mutually respectful partnerships in pursuit of a just, equitable, and sustainable future for communities beyond the campus—nearby and around the world.
We prepare our students for lives of engaged citizenship, with the motivation and capacity to deliberate, act, and lead in pursuit of the public good.
We embrace our responsibilities as place based institutions, contributing to the health and strength of our communities—economically, socially, environmentally, educationally, and politically.
We harness the capacity of our institutions—through research, teaching, partnerships, and institutional practice—to challenge the prevailing social and economic inequalities that threaten our democratic future.
We foster an environment that consistently affirms the centrality of the public purposes of higher education by setting high expectations for members of the campus community to contribute to their achievement.
These are commitments we make to each other with a recognition that our goals for a thriving and sustainable democracy cannot be achieved if we act alone—and that they cannot be denied if we act together. Our success over the last thirty years gives us confidence that we can build a world in which all students are prepared for lives of engaged citizenship, all campuses are engaged in strong partnerships advancing community goals, and all of higher education is recognized as an essential building block of a just, equitable, and sustainable future. In affirming these statements, each of us makes a commitment to develop a Campus Civic Action Plan within one year after March 20, 2016, or the date thereafter on which we become signatories. Our Civic Action Plans will state the actions our campuses will take as we move forward with a renewed sense of urgency, along with the impacts we expect to achieve. Our Civic Action Plans will be shared publicly, as will our assessments of the progress we are making in achieving the goals stated in the Plans."
Meet the Archaeologist Behind I-280 Reverse Archaeology
The Reverse Art of Archaeology, is digging up the stories of Orange, before, and after I-280 was built through the city. Meet one of the archaeologists on this unique project.
Christopher N. Matthews is a historical archaeologist and professor of anthropology at Montclair State University. His research interests are the archaeology of capitalism, slavery, and race in the United States as well as community-based research.
Talk about the concept of Reverse Archaeology
Reverse archaeology is an invented idea that came to me after getting to know Orange through my contacts at MSU, the University of Orange, and the community schools. What seemed so evident is how much people took for granted that 280 damaged the city by creating a giant excavated trench right through the heart of Orange. Being an archaeologist, this sounded to me like description of an archaeological site that was excavated but never interpreted or understood. So, a reverse archaeology is a way of thinking about how we can put back what the highway has taken away through memories, stories, and a closer understanding of those living in Orange today. In one sense, this is a novel way to frame an archaeological project, but in another its really just what archaeologists always do.
How do you want this project to restore Orange pride?
The memory of what Orange was like before the interstate should provide a combination of nostalgia for past years as well as clues to how successful communities were built and organized in the city that can be used today.
What has surprised you so far in the project?
So far I am not so much surprised by what we have done as pleased. The RA team is a masterful combination of well balanced and articulated talents that are blending academic, artistic, and community engagement approaches in wonderful ways. If I am surprised it is when I see how well the work of my colleagues expands the vision of what I hope to accomplish in my own work.
What can we expect?
My job is to collect oral histories and historical documents. So far, I have interviewed more than 40 past and present residents of Orange from the African American and Italian American communities, which were the communities most impacted by the interstate. These stories detail vital aspects of two very powerful cultural histories and communities that no longer exist. Memoirists have also provided straight forward commentary on how 280 was the cause of so much change and struggle in Orange. The result of this work will be a rich archive of personal memories, observations, and memorabilia that will bring to life how these two groups settled and created vibrant and important migrant/immigrant urban communities. These findings will inform and inspire new artworks and performances that will be on display in Orange, allowing residents to learn about and see way that the city’s history can be part of its future.
Krystal Woolston Named National Bonner Fellow
On February 1st, 2016, Krystal Woolston, Assistant Director of the Center for Community Engagement at Montclair State University, was chosen as a National Bonner Fellow by the Bonner Foundation.
Recognizing the unique role of successful campus administrators, the National Bonner Organization announced this new program to bolster the leadership and professional recognition of campus civic engagement professionals throughout its national network of more than 65 colleges and universities.
Through this fellowship, Woolston will leverage and support leadership for civic engagement and campus-community partnerships.
Selected from a competitive pool of applicants, Woolston will serve in this role for two years. “Through my experience directing MSU’s Bonner Program, I’ve met many people in the network, but I didn't really get to work with other campuses on an individual level,” Woolston observed. “This experience has already helped me to get to know our network better, and I look forward to sharing Montclair State University’s model and bringing back other ideas from different campuses.”
Woolston is also interested in leveraging the opportunity to work on innovations, like assessment of student engagement. “I'm excited for how I can use some of the knowledge and skills I'm learning in doctoral studies to benefit the Bonner Network,” she added. “It's always exciting when all of your passions seem to come together so perfectly.”
Since the 1990s, the Bonner Foundation has worked with undergraduate institutions to support the development of service-based scholarships and infrastructure for higher education’s public mission. More than 10,000 students have already graduated from 65 institutions as Bonner Scholars and Leaders, and recent Program evaluations suggests that this model boosts student persistence and lifelong engagement in their communities.
MLK Day of Service- January 18th, 2016
On January 18th, the eve of the spring 2016 semester start and during the first snow fall of the season, over 300 volunteers participated in Montclair State University's Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. As part of a nationwide initiative supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service, students, alumni, faculty, and local community members joined in to make this national holiday "a day on, not a day off".
The 300+ volunteers were welcomed by the Honorable Mayor Lester E. Taylor III, the mayor of East Orange, NJ and a notable Montclair State University alumnus with a powerful speech highlighting the work of Dr. King and his lasting legacy. Reflecting on his times as a Montclair State student, Mayor Taylor also touched on the impact of socially engaged leadership demonstrated by students on Montclair State campus and across the country.
Following Mayor Taylor’s speech, volunteers split into groups that would serve with one of twelve community partners for the day. Volunteers served with community organizations on a total of 17 projects ranging from making sandwiches to be donated to St. Lucy’s Emergency Shelter in Jersey City, sharing talents with residents at Canterbury Village’s assisted living center in West Orange, serving warm meals in Newark, and making cards of appreciation to past and present armed forces members.
The event was sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement and Center for Student Involvement with help from the Offices of Residence Life and Alumni Relations. Included in the volunteers were EECO AmeriCorps members and Bonner Leaders, both service organizations based at Montclair State University. Two EECO AmeriCorps members, Alexis Finley, Service-learning Coordinator, and Adam Janacek, Volunteer Resource Coordinator, were the coordinators who put the event together for the community. Over 46 Bonner Leaders also played a crucial role in allowing the event to run smoothly by being project leaders for each service project.