On Monday, November 7, 2016, the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs’ Faculty Council convened for its first meeting of the ’16 – ’17 academic year. Dr. Gwendolyn Harris welcomed returning and newly appointed council members, who now represent over a dozen academic departments at Rutgers University – Camden. Also in attendance were Provost Michael Palis and Dean Kriste Lindenmeyer, who charged the Faculty Council with the task of establishing synergistic relationships between students, faculty, and WRI staff for the purpose of strengthening the programmatic research culture at Rutgers University – Camden.

During the meeting, the Faculty Council organized two committees: Faculty Relationships and Student Experience. The Faculty Relationships committee will seek to establish mutually beneficial scholarly relationships between Rutgers University – Camden faculty and WRI’s staff, which may include the collaborative pursuit of research grants and joint programmatic investigative endeavors. Dr. Brandi Blessett, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Policy & Administration, has been appointed chair of the Faculty Relationships committee and will be supported by Ms. Tracy Swan, a Senior Project Administrator at WRI.

The Student Experience committee is dedicated to fostering scholarly engagement for matriculated undergraduate, graduate, and professional students interested in gaining valuable research skills, relevant experience, and the opportunity to develop professional relationships with public affairs stakeholders in South Jersey. Dr. Jane Siegel, the Department Chair of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice, was appointed chair of the Student Experience committee and will be supported by Dr. James Morgante, a Research Analyst at WRI.

Together, both the Faculty Relationships and Student Experience committees will center on the integration of the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs with the academic pursuits of the Rutgers University – Camden community.