Academic Affairs Updates from the Office of the Provost Part V: Strategic Support for Graduate Education and Adult Learning

March 6, 2023
School of Business Graduate School Commencement Label 2021

Dear Members of the NJCU Community:

This week, we will continue providing a series of seven updates regarding changes in Academic Affairs. These changes respond to our fiscal crisis and position us to focus more clearly upon our mission as a minority-serving institution committed to supporting our unique student population. 

These changes reflect a reduction in administrative layers and renewed focus on student success and retention.

If you missed any of the previous announcements, they can be found on our new Academic Affairs Communications webpage.

Previous updates included:

Today's update will highlight our renewed strategic support for Graduate Education and Adult Learning.

Graduate programming is an essential part of the mission of NJCU. At our last Board of Trustees meeting, President Acebo described the experiences of Neena Sarin '15, an immigrant woman who came to the university and earned a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and another in ESL/Bilingual education. She is now pursuing a third master’s in Educational Leadership. 

We recognize that our graduate programs provide opportunities to individuals within this community and beyond. We also recognize that graduate program growth will help us sustain revenue when faced with declines in undergraduate enrollment. Graduate education must have support through institutional infrastructure to promote strategic growth and impact. As Dr. Christopher Shamburg noted in an open forum at a Board of Trustees meeting in the fall, we need to reinvest in graduate education. The new unit, Graduate Studies and Adult Learning, is one step toward providing the support needed for graduate programming. 

There are also many opportunities for NJCU to provide non-credit support for the community through the Adult Learning sector. This segment of the office will reimagine and build upon previous work of Continuing Education and Professional Development and Lifelong Learning (PELL). This work not only provides opportunities related to workforce and professional development, but it also creates a pipeline for our graduate programs. For example, the Department of Educational Technology received a grant to develop a STEM certificate. They aligned the certificate with the content and outcomes of graduate courses so that individuals who received the certificate for non-credit could convert their work to credit and apply it towards a graduate program in educational technology. 

This new unit will support strategic growth in both graduate education and non-credit programming. It’s new dean, Dr. Wanda Rutledge, will collaborate with graduate enrollment to produce strategic enrollment plans. She will work with marketing to ensure that we are remaining competitive. She will facilitate the potential partnerships with companies that can support our programmatic design and delivery. She will also support and oversee the partnerships with school districts and companies who seek MOUs for programming. 

Currently, this unit is an initiative of one, so we are in the building stage. As we work through personnel changes through FY23, we will identify opportunities for individuals to work alongside Dr. Rutledge to help us forge new strategic directions for both graduate education and non-credit adult learning. Stakeholders like the University Senate’s Graduate Council will be instrumental in helping us shape the work of this new unit, as will collaborations with community-facing organizations aligned with the University such as the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and The Center for Wagering and FinTech Workforce Development and Innovation, to name a few. 

Please join me in thanking Dr. Rutledge for accepting this new assignment as NJCU reimagines Graduate Education and Adult Learning as a crucial part of our graduate programming offerings.


Donna Adair Breault, Ph.D.
Acting Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs
New Jersey City University