Higher Education

2018 College/University Presidents Roundtable

2018 College/University Presidents Roundtable: Teaching America’s Future Business Leaders

A COMMITMENT TO LIFELONG learning has become a vital tool in nearly every industry and career field, and New Jersey’s top colleges and universities are taking notice, as well as actions to address this growing need. From investing in STEM
(Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education to adding global studies
to business curricula to linking course study with area employer requirements, the smart schools are preparing students to become the business leaders of the future with an eye on what skill sets they will need to succeed.

In COMMERCE’s 2018 College/University President’s Roundtable, the following higher education leaders discuss how they are delivering a valuable learning experience for their students.

  • Berkeley College President, Michael J. Smith;
  • County College of Morris President, Dr. Anthony J. Iacono;
  • Centenary University President, Dr. David P. Haney;
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University, President Dr. Christopher A. Capuano;
  • Georgian Court University President, Dr. Joseph R. Marbach;
  • Hudson County Community College, President Dr. Glen Gabert;
  • Montclair State University President, Dr. Susan A. Cole;
  • New Jersey City University President, Dr. Sue Henderson;
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology, President Dr. Joel S. Bloom;
  • Ramapo College of New Jersey, President Dr. Peter P. Mercer;
  • Seton Hall University Interim President, Dr. Mary J. Meehan;
  • Stevens Institute of Technology, President Dr. Nariman Farvardin;
  • The College of New Jersey President, Dr. R. Barbara Gitenstein;
  • William Paterson University President, Dr. Kathleen Waldron.


Berkeley College
By Michael J. Smith, President
Our implicit promise to our students is to do everything in our power to ensure that they graduate with the skills they need in order to be successful in their lives. Whether a student is leaving Berkeley College with an MBA in Management or a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree in a future-oriented profession, the Berkeley College graduate will receive lifelong career services assistance to help ensure her or his success. We know that tomorrow’s careers will change, and so will the demands in the workplace on employees, because the world is, and will be, so interconnected. We will continue to live in an age of hyper-competition. With input from professional Advisory Boards, each of our Berkeley College programs places a high emphasis on teaching and learning the soft skills, including leadership development and the value of networking, as well as technological change and innovation.


County College of Morris
By Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, President
County College of Morris (CCM) is undertaking a number of initiatives to prepare individuals to become the next generation of leaders. We are more clearly focusing our Workforce Development programs to meet the needs of employers and provide the training people need to advance in their careers. We are instituting an Honors Program to provide students with an intellectually challenging environment, so they can reach their highest potential. Our strategic plan also calls for incorporating high-impact internships and community engagement practices into our academic programs so students are better prepared for the next stage of their academic experience. Additionally, we are implementing a more aggressive grants program so students and faculty can benefit from the research and interaction such funding offers. As a recognized leader in community college education, CCM is committed to excellence in teaching and lifelong learning so people can reap the benefits obtained through a quality education.


Centenary University
By Dr. David P. Haney, President
Centenary University prepares students to become successful business leaders by providing hands-on learning opportunities in and out of the classroom. Faculty and staff help students make connections for valuable internships. Many of Centenary’s faculty members come from industry and are expert practitioners in the fields they teach. Centenary student organizations provide additional opportunities for students to develop leadership skills for the future. Many students participate in the Centenary chapter of the international organization Enactus, where students embark on entrepreneurial projects whose goal is to empower people to transform ideas into sustainable programs that benefit their communities. Centenary’s traditional students have the added advantage of being assigned to a faculty adviser and a first-year leader student, both of whom will guide them with their transition from high school to university life. For adult students at the School of Professional Studies (SPS), Centenary is launching a new “design your life” program in January where advisers will work with each student to develop a life and career success plan.


Fairleigh Dickinson University
By Dr. Christopher A. Capuano, President
At Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Silberman College of Business, as we educate and prepare the next generation of business leaders, we’re providing the skills necessary for our graduates to compete and succeed in a complex global marketplace. Our distinguished faculty and distinctive programs inspire the development of skill sets and competencies that enable our graduates to be better equipped to manage the real-world challenges that confront businesses. The college consults with its corporate partners to identify skills most in need by employers, and then incorporates those required skills into the curriculum. Marketable skills such as data gathering and analysis, decision making, communicating with diverse audiences, a global perspective and technical competence are emphasized across the curricula. Additionally, by providing exposure to real work through industry connections with our Professional Development Program and emphasizing a “backpack to briefcase” transition, the career focus of both the curricular and co-curricular learning experiences provides students with a competitive edge.


Georgian Court University
By Dr. Joseph R. Marbach, President
Georgian Court University supports global studies through virtual collaborative online learning experiences in multiple courses, faculty-led studies abroad, and semester abroad advising. Our Global Transformation Initiative also enables more students—across various majors— to have direct experience in multiple cultural settings. Similarly, our MBA program challenges students through case studies, capstone projects and interactions with highly qualified faculty members. Business professors are constantly in touch with industry leaders, alumni entrepreneurs and area employers— many of whom work as adjunct professors and deliver real-world insights to the program—to ensure that our students are learning relevant, timely and useful skills.


Hudson County Community College
By Dr. Glen Gabert, President
Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor show that 28 percent of community college graduates out-earn their four-year college and university peers over the lives of their
careers. Hudson County Community College’s signature STEM, nursing and business programs create opportunities that are in line with projected economic growth for students from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Our faculty and staff work with community and business leaders, and deliver job fairs as well as externships, internships and actual employment, that give our students the advantage of on-site experience and mentoring from experts.


Montclair State University
By Dr. Susan A. Cole, President
The Feliciano School of Business at Montclair State University is preparing students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels to succeed in a global business marketplace with a wide range of undergraduate business majors and certificate program; four MBA tracks in on-campus, fully online, hybrid and executive program formats; and master’s programs in Accounting and Business Analytics. MBA students participate in cohorts that reflect their diverse interests and backgrounds, applying concepts and critical thinking to craft business ideas and solutions and experiencing cultural immersion through an intense international study trip.

Students in all fields throughout the university may participate in the innovative programs of the Center for Entrepreneurship, in internship opportunities
that prepare students for work in business environments, and in programs that connect the business disciplines to the sciences, the social sciences, and language, culture and the arts.


New Jersey City University
By Dr. Sue Henderson, President
NJCU prepares students for leadership roles in the digital age by providing a business education grounded in leadership, ethics, and critical thinking. The NJCU School of Business offers a particularly relevant M.S. degree program in Business Analytics and Data Science, which facilitates informed business decision-making and prepares students for careers in the burgeoning field of data analytics. Students hone skills needed to gather, store, analyze and interpret large amounts of “Big Data,” which is increasingly at the center of global business practice. The degree program benefits new graduates as well as seasoned professionals who wish to become leaders in this vitally important emerging field. Courses are taught by NJCU faculty experts who are top practitioners in the field. NJCU’s School of Business has launched a pilot program with Harvard Business School’s digital learning initiative—HBX, which utilizes HBX’s online platform to prepare entering graduate students with a non-business background for graduate studies in business. The program engages NJCU’s MBA students with the HBX Credential of Readiness (CORe) program, which offers an interactive, social and case-based education in business analytics, economics and financial accounting.


New Jersey Institute of Technology
By Dr. Joel S. Bloom, President
NJIT has taken several bold steps this year to prepare our graduates to lead the industries of both the present and the future. We are proud to be the first university in the United States and the only institution in North America to collaborate with IBM and adopt the IBM Skills Academy. We also opened Makerspace at NJIT, which will dramatically enhance the learning and creativity of our students; will foster collaborations among students, faculty and businesses; and will be an engine for economic growth. NJIT’s Makerspace will provide opportunities for industrial partners to participate as mentors, trainers and instructors. Students will learn real world, tangible skills such as product design and prototyping, manual and computerized metal and woodwork, industrial metrology, and computer-aided design. Initiatives like these complement our myriad partnerships with industry that give NJIT graduates a competitive advantage and have led to multiple job offers in hand by graduation, starting salaries that exceed the national average by nearly 20 percent, and long-term career success that puts NJIT among the top 1 percent of colleges and universities for return on educational investment.


Ramapo College of New Jersey
By Dr. Peter P. Mercer, President
Today’s global economy requires its members to be critical thinkers, nimble professionals, and culturally competent leaders. At Ramapo College, we foster the development of these qualities in our students through a wide range of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary coursework that integrates all majors in a humanities context, often transcending traditional boundaries of study. We will be launching in fall 2018 an undergraduate baccalaureate degree in Sustainability that will be a structured cohort model rooted in a nested Triple Bottom Line design of “Profit, People and Planet.” Through an innovative cross-disciplinary approach, Ramapo students will gain a strong understanding of sustainability issues and their correlation to the social and economic factors of business, the sciences and technology, and all areas of industry and commerce. Upon completion of the Sustainability major, students will be well prepared to apply with balance and depth their knowledge and experience as they venture into their future careers.


Seton Hall University
By Dr. Mary J. Meehan, Interim President
Seton Hall has cultivated a sterling reputation for preparing students to be leaders in many fields. Specifically, our Stillman School of Business is home to the Gerald P. Buccino ’63 Center for Leadership Development, which has been named the top leadership program in the nation for the past three years. The Buccino Center has been so successful that we plan to establish additional leadership centers in our other schools and colleges. In addition, this year our MBA program has added a foundational experience that allows students to focus on one company across all core courses and business disciplines (i.e., accounting, finance, information technology management, marketing and corporate social responsibility). Company executives teach and mentor in the classroom, while students act as consultants at the company’s headquarters. In doing so, our students will learn to visualize, comprehend and connect with the dynamics and challenges of an actual business organization.


Stevens Institute of Technology
By Dr. Nariman Farvardin, President
Our students graduate with intensive technology experience across all disciplines, including arts and business to the STEM fields. This technology immersion is a real differentiator for Stevens graduates. Nearly 100 percent of graduates have participated in some experiential learning activity, including cooperative education, internships or a corporate-sponsored senior design project. The Stevens curriculum also cultivates entrepreneurship skills from the freshman year through the capstone project. Lastly, state-of-the-art laboratories such as the Hanlon Financial Systems Laboratory provide students with opportunities to learn the tools of their industry, so they are immediately productive on the job. These features of the Stevens education have led to truly stellar outcomes for Stevens students, 96 percent of whom secure employment or enter graduate school within six months of graduating. In addition, Stevens is #10 in the Payscale ROI ranking for 20-year net return on investment of the cost of college.


The College of New Jersey
By Dr. R. Barbara Gitenstein, President
Business leaders of the future must be able to adapt to an ever-changing landscape and to embrace interdisciplinary teamwork. At TCNJ, we foster those skills with experiences that challenge individual students to defend and advance their thinking. We have developed numerous mechanisms that encourage learning and sharing among faculty, students, and practitioners from all disciplines. For example, our annual Mayo Business Plan Competition is designed to increase appreciation for the process of developing a viable business; our Fed Challenge—an annual academic competition sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in partnership with the Eastern Economic Association—helps build the confidence and communication skills necessary for leadership development and encourages students to learn more about the U.S. macro economy. TCNJ’s combination of classroom learning and practical experiences in the field ensures that our students graduate ready to lead.


William Paterson University
By Dr. Kathleen Waldron, President
Our College of Science and Health offers degree programs in biology, biotechnology, chemistry, environmental science, computer science, computer information technology and mathematics—enhanced by significant opportunities for research with faculty, leading to conference presentations and publication in peer reviewed journals. Our new, unique master’s degree in materials chemistry features a cutting-edge curriculum geared to applications in the technology, communication, computer and other New Jersey sectors, while our master’s in biotechnology now incorporates courses in project management, business and professional communication relevant to the industry. Our Cotsakos College of Business offers an MBA program emphasizing pragmatic coursework and innovative and future-oriented business practices and strategies with a variety of concentrations, including entrepreneurship and human resource management. MBA students collaborate with the University’s Small Business Development Center in Paterson to address real-world business problems of the center’s clients. Also, our new 11-month executive master’s in sales leadership helps sales executives and other customer-centric positions advance into strategic business and leadership roles.

View all featured articles