The Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs (WRI) was established by Rutgers University at its Camden Campus to honor the late Senator Walter Rand, and to build upon his outstanding legacy of public service to the people of Southern New Jersey. The Institute addresses public policy issues impacting Southern New Jersey through applied research, community engagement and organizational development. We seek to improve the wellbeing of residents in Southern New Jersey by marshaling the University’s intellectual and professional resources to address issues of vital importance to the greater South Jersey region. Our primary areas of focus are population health, criminal justice and public safety, and organizational and community development.
Walter Rand Institute Faculty Fellowships
Overview: In an effort to further its mission, the Institute’s Faculty Fellow program encourages faculty research on Southern New Jersey and issues of importance to the region. The Institute intends to award up to three $4000 Faculty Fellows in each academic year. Faculty Fellow research is intended to promote regional discussion, so ideal research projects will advance knowledge on topics of concern to South Jersey residents. The range of previously-funded research projects is broad and can be seen on WRI’s website; recently funded projects include a comparison of state funding to municipalities in Southern New Jersey, an analysis of diabetes incidence in Southern New Jersey, a study of how treatment for breast cancer in Southern New Jersey compares to treatments elsewhere, and an investigation into whether homeless services in South Jersey match the needs of the existing homeless populations.
For the purposes of this paper Southern New Jersey comprises Salem, Atlantic, Cumberland, Gloucester, Cape May, Camden, Ocean and Burlington counties. It is anticipated that the treatment of each Fellow’s topic will compare and contrast municipalities or counties across the region, and compare the region within the state or country as a whole.
Some faculty may have skills relevant to community-focused research, but may be uncertain how to relate their academic concentration to the very applied concerns of WRI. Such faculty are encouraged to reach out to the WRI Faculty Director to discuss opportunities for collaboration.
Responsibilities: After receipt of their award, Faculty Fellows are expected to: (1) Complete their project in the agreed-upon time-frame; (2) Produce a scholarly paper for publication on the Institute’s website; (3) Work with WRI staff to prepare an executive summary appropriate for public consumption; (4) Present their research findings to relevant Southern New Jersey stakeholders as part of the WRI Forum on South Jersey.
Fellowship Details: Fellowships are $4000 each, and they are open to tenure-track, NTT, and part-time faculty members of Business, Law, Nursing, and Arts and Sciences. Fellowship funds may be used as additional compensation, summer salary, course buyouts, or legitimate research expenses. Faculty members wishing to use these funds for course relief must receive approval for that purpose from the appropriate Dean and where applicable, Department Chair. In addition to the funding, WRI Faculty Fellows will have access to the equivalent of 10 hours per week of a Graduate Assistant or WRI Project Assistant time to provide research assistance. Typically, this research assistance is provided by WRI, but Faculty Fellows may also petition for funds to be applied to a graduate student in their own department.
Application Process: Fellowships are awarded on a rolling basis. Applications should include the following:
- A cover letter requesting a WRI Institute Fellowship;
- A 1-2 page description of the proposed research and its relevance to Southern New Jersey;
- Projected timeline for completion of the research and paper, along with the understanding that the Forum for presentation will be scheduled within two-three months of conclusion of the paper.
- A current curriculum vita.
The Walter Rand Institute Forum Series on Southern New Jersey
This Forum Series takes place in Southern New Jersey and is directed to stakeholders in Southern New Jersey, including individuals in state and local government, nonprofit and social service delivery organizations, educational institutions, faith-based organizations, public safety groups, and businesses. Forums focus on issues that concern the quality of life in Southern New Jersey. For the purposes of these forums Southern New Jersey comprises Salem, Atlantic, Cumberland, Gloucester, Cape May, Camden, Ocean and Burlington counties.
Each Forum features a presentation of original research about Southern New Jersey by a Walter Rand Institute Faculty Fellow, and Forums are organized to stimulate discussion among stakeholders from across the region about the region. Forums include a panel of stakeholder respondents to add a stakeholder perspective to the research and to highlight strategies that Southern New Jersey communities have used address the issue.
Every effort is made to invite relevant stakeholders from each of the eight Southern New Jersey counties to participate in the Forum Series and to provide feedback regarding potential for further study and/or action.
Previous stakeholder panelists have included mayors of South Jersey municipalities, State Legislators, and CEO’s of large organizations. Attendance is high, and Forums often include media coverage.