Dear Members of the NJCU Community,
We are deeply saddened to advise of the passing of Dr. Hilary Englert, Associate Professor of English at NJCU. Dr. Englert, who joined the NJCU faculty in September 2003, passed away on April 25 at her home in Jersey City after a nearly four-year battle with cancer. She was 52 years old.
The university community is invited to gather for a celebration of Hilary's life and pay tribute to her contributions to the institution and her nearly 20 years of teaching NJCU's students on Thursday, May 12 at 3 p.m., on campus in the Gothic Lounge in Hepburn Hall, or via Zoom. The link to join remotely will be posted at njcuenglish.org. Current and former students, staff, and faculty are all encouraged to speak and share memories. Refreshments will be served.
Dr. Englert earned her doctorate in English literature in 2002 from Johns Hopkins University with primary scholarly interests in 18th-century literature, particularly the development of the novel, the history of reading, reader response criticism, and print culture.
Her colleagues in the English Department — including Drs. Alina Gharabegian, Jason Martinek and Michael Rotenberg-Schwartz — have paid tribute to Hilary in a message this week to the NJCU faculty, and a heartfelt tribute during the May 2 University Senate meeting.
Her colleagues described Dr. Englert as an extraordinarily vibrant and active member of the university community, particularly with her service to the College of Arts and Sciences, and the English Department.
Between 2008 and 2015, Dr. Englert served twice as department co-chair and once as chair. For many years, she coordinated and chaired the First Year Experience and Freshman Express programs. She worked extensively on committees dedicated to the development, assessment, and revision of the General Studies Program, co-directed the Summer Bridge Program, and served on steering committees for important initiatives such as the Picking Up the Pace Curriculum Grant, the Writing Across the Curriculum initiative, and The Walmart Minority Student Success Initiative Grant, which secured $100,000 for NJCU in 2010.
Additionally, Dr. Englert served as the principal writer for the English Department’s Faculty Handbook and Bylaws, the department’s Adjunct Faculty Handbook, and the Self-Study Report for Middle States Accreditation in 2009. She helped institute the Accelerated Learning Program model, served as co-founder and co-coordinator of the Annual English Department Student Symposium that offers graduating seniors the opportunity to showcase their work before graduation, and as co-founder of the Speaking of Literature Series—an annual symposium featuring the scholarly and creative work of colleagues. She also co-founded the Annual Student Awards and Recognition Ceremony—a festive, celebratory event that draws the entire department together at the end of the academic year to recognize students’ various accomplishments.
Hilary’s contribution as an educator led to the successful proposal and institution of a dozen courses. She also served as an advisor for an immeasurable number of Honors theses, and taught a significant range of both service and major courses.
In a recent Facebook post, a student echoed the words heard from many students over the years—that they would make every imaginable adjustment to their semester’s schedules just to ensure that they could register in Dr. Englert's courses. She was perennially invigorated by classroom discussions, by her interest in her students as individuals, and by each semester’s pedagogical surprises. She loved the space of the classroom—what she called “the sanctity of the classroom” where we worked, she’d say, “to create beautiful things.”