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7-17-15 Education in the News

Star Ledger - New communication school opens under Seton Hall umbrella

By Jessica Mazzola | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com The Star-Ledger
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on July 17, 2015 at 7:30 AM, updated July 17, 2015 at 7:37 AM

SOUTH ORANGE — The largest Catholic University in the state just got a little bit bigger.

Seton Hall officials announced Thursday that they have added a college to the school – one that they say will serve students interested in embracing the digital world.

The College of Communication and the Arts is already in place and accepting applicants in seven undergraduate and four graduate majors, the school said. The addition brings the total number of schools and colleges under the university's umbrella to nine.

Although the majors under the new college heading previously existed at the school, officials said corralling them all in one place will streamline students' studies in the area.

"This new school will capitalize on Seton Hall's longstanding ties to (New York City), create more opportunities for our students to receive an immersive education in communication and the arts, and give the university immediate recognition in the cultural and media capital of the world," Seton Hall President A. Gabriel Esteban said in a statement.

The new college has been in development for several years, officials said, and is based on a strategic plan the school put together in 2003. The plan called for a communications school that could leverage the school's proximity to major media, they said.

MORE ON SETON HALL: President named 'Great Immigrant'

"We envision a College of Communication and the Arts that is internationally recognized as a dynamic community where students, scholars, artists, theorists, critics, practitioners, and professionals all thrive together," said Professor Deirdre Yates, who has been named interim dean for the new college.

"With new programs focusing on the 21st century digital culture, both on campus and online, we are confident that now is the time to...propel Seton Hall to national and international recognition."

The school will begin searching for a new dean in the fall.

Jessica Mazzola may be reached at jmazzola@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @JessMazzola. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


NJ Spotlight - Settling Into New Job, Cerf Must Come to Terms with Opposition to ‘One Newark’…The state is saying the controversial enrollment program remains in place for now, but critics are already calling for its elimination

John Mooney | July 17, 2015


With the leadership of the state’s largest school system in transition, the natural next question is “What happens to ‘One Newark’?”

One Newark is the controversial universal enrollment system that was the legacy -- and maybe the downfall -- of outgoing superintendent Cami Anderson, a system that combined district and charter schools into one citywide program.

The system proved contentious in its first year -- to say the least -- moving students in and around the city in sometimes mysterious ways. With Anderson’s exit, new superintendent Chris Cerf will have to address those challenges and complaints head on -- with little time to spare before schools open in six weeks.

As the state’s former education commissioner, Cerf had a hands-on feel for Anderson’s plan. But publicly, at least, he is taking a deliberative approach, meeting people and working the phones and email in his first week in the new job.

“I am learning as much as I can, as fast as I can,” Cerf said in an email yesterday. “I am very grateful to both my new colleagues as well as the many members of the community who have been so open and helpful in that process.”

State Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), the Senate education committee chair and a Newarker was among the most outspoken about Anderson and One Newark last fall. She said yesterday that she hoped that Cerf would open the discussion for some necessary changes.

“We need much more open and transparent dialogue,” she said in an interview.

“I had concerns about the roll-out [of One Newark last fall], the transportation, the cost, the algorithm that was used in the selection process,” Ruiz said of last year’s launch. “I’m sure there may have been the success stories, but that’s not what we heard.

“We heard about the children who had to go across town for school,” she said, “or those who had pick-up at 6:30 a.m.”

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Other leaders have said changes to One Newark are essential for the district to move forward under new leadership. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said in an interview with NJ Spotlight last week that there cannot be a repeat of last year.

“I know that One Newark is extremely problematic,” Baraka said. “Hopefully [Cerf] understands the wisdom of not keeping things the way they are.”

When asked if it’s all or nothing with One Newark or whether there could be adjustments, Baraka said it needs to be abolished and the district moved back to a neighborhood-school system.

He conceded that given the tight timing, families already in new schools should be allowed to stay -- at least through the fall. “But we need to give people the option to go to school in their neighborhood,” he said.

Baraka said an immediate course-correction was necessary: “I know a lot of people say it would be chaotic [to alter course now]. But if we do it now, it can happen.”

In the end, how much will change remains uncertain.

Cerf wasn’t saying much yet, but the official line is the system will stay in place for now.

Assistant Commissioner of Education Peter Shulman, who was leading the transition team between Anderson and Cerf, said last week at Cerf’s appointment that One Newark was still the plan for the fall, albeit with some improvements.

For one, the enrollment center for the new system -- now called the Family Support Center -- opened this week on West Kinney Street, a month earlier than last year. Shulman in an interview promised better communication with families would lead to a smoother opening in the fall.

“We’re doing our best to support it in the next couple of weeks with the right personnel and logistics,” Shulman said of the center.

When asked whether any changes were in the offing, Shulman said there were only a few at this point: “That’s true of most things I’m doing there. It’s about continuity.”