Enhancing Our Relationship with New Brunswick

October 26, 2011

Members of the Rutgers Community:

Rutgers has always been committed to supporting our host city of New Brunswick. However, a series of meetings with faculty, staff, city officials, and community leaders last year helped us to realize that while we are a good neighbor, we can do better. We need to expand and fortify our partnerships. Much progress has been made over the past 12 months, and now we are pleased to make some important announcements.

Best Practices: Through the outstanding work of a task force led by vice president and university librarian Marianne Gaunt and New Brunswick superintendent of schools Richard Kaplan, progressive best practices and guidelines have been adopted for Rutgers researchers working in local communities with the goal of creating more mutually beneficial relationships. A new website, Rutgers Programs for the Community, features the best practices and includes a tutorial to familiarize you with them. Please visit communityprograms.rutgers.edu/grant-opportunities/tutorial.

Research Grants: The university has established Community-University Research Grants for New Brunswick to encourage the use of these best practices and foster new partnerships. Seed grants range from $2,500 to $25,000 and provide funds to build new collaborations for research focused on four areas: nutrition and food security; youth development and education; community planning; and public health and safety. The first round of grants will be awarded by the end of December; information on the grants can be found at communityprograms.rutgers.edu/grants.

Faculty Tour: We are initiating New Brunswick 101: Faculty Seminar and Tour, which will take place on December 14 and 15. Over the course of one and half days, faculty members who have an interest in conducting research and service in the city will learn about New Brunswick’s history, culture, development, government, and pressing economic and social concerns. Details on applying can be found at ur.rutgers.edu/facultytour.

Communications Tools: New resources have been created to help New Brunswick residents learn about all the opportunities the university offers. The aforementioned Rutgers Programs for the Community website will be continually updated as programs and events are identified. A booklet by the same name will be distributed widely throughout the local community and mailed to Rutgers faculty and staff. Rutgers will also produce a monthly enewsletter featuring university events and news of interest to the community. Visit the website at communityprograms.rutgers.edu.

Point of Contact: Community members told us repeatedly that a clearinghouse position, or single point of contact, should be established as a resource for both the university and the New Brunswick community. Because Rutgers can be a confusing place, there needs to be a person to help direct requests, connect potential partners, and provide information to the community. We are pleased to announce that Melissa Selesky, a long-time New Brunswick resident and Rutgers employee, has been appointed Director of Rutgers–New Brunswick Community Relations, within the Office of Community Affairs.

For more information about any of these announcements, please contact the Office of Community Affairs. Melissa can be reached at mselesky@ur.rutgers.edu or at 732-932-7823, ext. 676.

Richard L. McCormick

Richard L. Edwards
Interim Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs