News http://www.kean.edu/ en Kean COVID Memorial Ceremony Sights and Sounds http://www.kean.edu/news/kean-covid-memorial-ceremony-sights-and-sounds The Kean community came together at the Miron Student Center to remember the colleagues, family members and friends we have lost to COVID-19. The ceremony included choral performances, personal remembrances and a healing ritual at the Be The Change Memory Garden.

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The Kean community came together at the Miron Student Center to remember the colleagues, family members and friends we have lost to COVID-19. The ceremony included choral performances, personal remembrances and a healing ritual at the Be The Change Memory Garden.

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Board of Trustees Names Steve Fastook as Chair, Replacing Longtime Board Leader Ada Morell http://www.kean.edu/news/board-trustees-names-steve-fastook-chair-replacing-longtime-board-leader-ada-morell After 10 years at the helm of the Kean University Board of Trustees, Ada Morell ’97 announced on Monday that she was stepping down as chair of the University’s governing board. The trustees selected fellow Board member and media executive Steve Fastook H’06 as the Board’s new leader. 

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After 10 years at the helm of the Kean University Board of Trustees, Ada Morell ’97 announced on Monday that she was stepping down as chair of the University’s governing board. The trustees selected fellow Board member and media executive Steve Fastook H’06 as the Board’s new leader. 

Fastook is a longtime supporter of the University, having served on the Board of Trustees since 2017 and on the Kean University Foundation board since 2006.

Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D., who is also a former trustee, praised Morell for her leadership over a decade of tremendous innovation and growth at the University. 

“You helped steer the University on the path from good to great,” Repollet said during the Board’s public meeting. “You are a mentor, a great friend and an excellent boss. It has been such an honor to serve with you and for you.”

Morell, who joined the board in 2004, said the time was right to give a fellow Board member the opportunity to serve as chair. She will continue to serve on the Board as a voting trustee. Morell, who lives in Monroe Township, has experience working in the public and private sectors and currently serves as the deputy chief of staff for U.S. Representative Albio Sires (NJ-8).

“It was a privilege and an honor to serve as chair for 10 years, and I will continue to work hard to support the President’s initiatives and our students’ success,” Morell said. “Now is the perfect time for Steve to step up and guide us on our journey toward R2. The Board works hard as a team, and we will all be there for him. Kean is a place I truly love. There is no better place for me to be.” 

Fastook, who is the senior vice president of operations for CNBC, currently serves as chairman of the Board of Directors for the Kean University Foundation — a role he will transition to new leadership in the coming weeks. He also served as chair of the University’s recent Presidential Search Committee.

“I will do everything I can to uphold what Ada has done for Kean University and its students,” Fastook told the board. “I’m so excited about this opportunity.”

Fastook, of Nutley, will serve alongside Linda Lewis, who was elected vice-chair of the board, and Thomas Bistocchi, Ed.D., who was elected Board secretary. Lewis, a guidance counselor at Elizabeth High School, became a trustee in 2003. Bistocchi, an educational leader and retired superintendent of the Union County Vocational-Technical Schools, joined the Board in 2012.

During the virtual board meeting, state Sen. Joseph Cryan presented a resolution signed by the leaders of the New Jersey Senate and Assembly recognizing Morell’s leadership. Cryan commended Morell for influencing thousands of students over the course of her time as chair. “The Kean you walked into was vastly different from the Kean of today,” he said. 

Alexander Mirabella, chairman of the Union County Board of County Commissioners, also presented a resolution honoring Morell’s time at the helm, recognizing her leadership in developing a diverse institution.

During the past 10 years, the University experienced an unprecedented period of growth with the addition of several new academic programs and buildings on its Union and Toms River campuses as well as the opening of Wenzhou-Kean University in China and Kean Skylands in Jefferson, New Jersey.

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Cougar Connections Center of Social Work Opens on Campus http://www.kean.edu/news/cougar-connections-center-social-work-opens-campus Sometimes, it’s not coursework or exams that keep students from earning their college degree. Some students may be food insecure, or face homelessness, or have other basic needs making it difficult to focus on academics.

A new support service at Kean University, the Cougar Connections Center of Social Work, located at the Center for Academic Success (CAS), Rooms 224-228, is available to help students overcome such challenges and achieve their goal of graduation.

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Sometimes, it’s not coursework or exams that keep students from earning their college degree. Some students may be food insecure, or face homelessness, or have other basic needs making it difficult to focus on academics.

A new support service at Kean University, the Cougar Connections Center of Social Work, located at the Center for Academic Success (CAS), Rooms 224-228, is available to help students overcome such challenges and achieve their goal of graduation.

“At Kean University, many of our students have additional responsibilities beyond school. They may work several jobs or be parents. They may have other responsibilities that challenge their ability to reach their educational goals,” said Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. “The Cougar Connections center will help them persist to graduation.”

The Center will also work with a new Union County Department of Human Services social service initiative at Kean. The county department will maintain a presence at CAS, and refer students to resources.

“We feel we can partner with them and leverage the services they offer,” said Kean Associate Vice President of Student Success and Retention Carlos Rodriguez.

The Center works closely with students to assess needs and help refer them to appropriate services. Those services may include directing students on how to apply for NJ SNAP, a food assistance program, or referring them to on-campus and off-campus services for child care, domestic violence, substance abuse or mental health issues.

“There’s an old saying that it takes a village to raise a child. It often takes a village to get to graduation,” Rodriguez said.

The Cougar Connections Center was created last spring to address the challenges of students at risk. The Center spent its first months reaching out to other departments and learning about student needs at Kean, said Director Erika Charles. Two social workers began staffing the center in September.

“We’re here to provide campus and community resources to assist students with the multi-layered challenges they are facing outside the classroom,” Charles said. “We want to ensure students’ basic needs are met so they can continue on the path to graduation.”

Confidential referrals can be made by students themselves or by faculty or others to refer students in need. A referral form is available on the Cougar Connections website.

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Kean University to Host Small Business Conference http://www.kean.edu/news/kean-university-host-small-business-conference From understanding contract bids to perfecting an “elevator pitch,” the Small Business Conference at Kean University on Friday, September 17 will offer tools to help businesses, students and entrepreneurs succeed.

The event, Bridging the Information Divide: A Small Business Conference, will take place at the Hynes Hall on Kean University’s Union campus, home of the University’s College of Business and Public Management.

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From understanding contract bids to perfecting an “elevator pitch,” the Small Business Conference at Kean University on Friday, September 17 will offer tools to help businesses, students and entrepreneurs succeed.

The event, Bridging the Information Divide: A Small Business Conference, will take place at the Hynes Hall on Kean University’s Union campus, home of the University’s College of Business and Public Management.

“Kean University is pleased to serve as a hub of information and learning for the entire community,” said Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D., who will give remarks at the conference. "We’re excited to bring together business leaders, entrepreneurs and our own Kean students for this exciting event."

The day-long conference, which begins at 9 a.m., aims to help small businesses, student entrepreneurs and anyone interested in starting or growing a business learn about bidding on contracts with colleges, universities and municipalities. 

The event will also feature panels on topics of interest including, Entrepreneurship as College Students; Bonding, Bidding and Building; and Networking, Negotiating and Nailing It.

The keynote speaker is Tiffany Townsend, senior advisor to the national administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, who has expertise in working with both the public and private sector. 

Other presenters include Tai Cooper, chief community development officer for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority; Carlos Medina, president and CEO of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey; and Leslie A. Anderson, president and CEO of the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority.

Kelly Brozyna, state director and CEO of the New Jersey Small Business Development Center, will be attending. She said NJSBDC is thrilled to sponsor and support the conference during Small Business Week. 

“It is crucial that all businesses have access to great resources to stay in business or grow, and this conference is a great way to get information directly to the small business community,” she said. “Kean University is truly stepping up as a community partner and we are thrilled to be part of this event!”

The conference begins at 9 a.m., with doors opening at 8 a.m. To register, visit kean.edu/njsmallbusinessconference.

Registration is free for Kean University students, faculty and staff.

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Kean Recognized for Innovation, Social Mobility, Diversity by 'U.S. News & World Report' http://www.kean.edu/news/kean-recognized-innovation-social-mobility-diversity-us-news-world-report 2021-09-13T09:47:25-0400 mmccorry 658d846f-c980-4a90-b5a8-2ce09b9de20a

U.S. News & World Report 2022 Best Colleges ranks Kean University a top-performing school for both social mobility and innovation and names it among the most diverse universities in the country.

In the report released Monday, September 13, Kean is ranked number 23 among regional universities in the northern U.S. for social mobility, which recognizes the University’s strength at helping economically disadvantaged students succeed and graduate. It marks the third year in a row the University has been recognized in that category.

Kean also ranks number 20 on the 2022 Best Colleges list of “most innovative” universities in the northern region.

“We are extremely proud of the work we are doing at Kean, and we are honored to be recognized by U.S. News & World Report in two such important areas,” said Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. “Our mission at Kean University is to change the trajectory of students’ lives. All of our effort and innovation are driven toward the goal of helping our students succeed.”

In addition to the two ranking categories, Kean is also listed seventh in the northern U.S. in the U.S. News & World Report 2022 Campus Ethnic Diversity Index.

“We are proud to be known for our diversity, as well as our other many accomplishments,” said Ada Morell ’97, chair of the Board of Trustees. “Many of our students are the first in their families to attend college, and it is our goal to support them and see them achieve their dreams.” 

Kean has long been known as an inclusive university. The University offers numerous scholarship opportunities to help students, as well as programs that support students with academic assistance, social services and other needs. 

The social mobility rankings are calculated by assessing the six-year graduation rates of students who received federal Pell Grants compared with the graduation rate of other students. Those grant recipients generally come from households with annual incomes under $50,000.

The Most Innovative Schools ranking recognizes institutions that have made “innovative improvements toward curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology and facilities.” Universities must have received at least seven nominations to be recognized in that category.

Kean has a long list of innovative programs — running the gamut from Equity in Action Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowships, to an on-campus COVID-19 lab in the STEM Building, to the Kean Scholar Academy, a dual enrollment program for high-achieving high school students that prepares them for future college success.

Kean’s campus has also been transformed by the addition of modern buildings with smart classrooms and state-of-the-art labs, including Hynes Hall, the home of the College of Business and Public Management; the Hennings Research addition to Kean’s science building; and the Viser 270-degree visualization and immersive studio in the Nancy Thompson Learning Commons.

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Union County and Kean Create Partnership to Bring Social Services to Students http://www.kean.edu/news/union-county-and-kean-create-partnership-bring-social-services-students 2021-09-09T16:51:02-0400 mmccorry f267b7d8-5228-49df-9473-45312419efea

County offers access to Department of Human Services to students on Union campus

The County of Union and Kean University have launched an innovative partnership that gives the Union County Department of Human Services a regular presence at the University, offering students access to a multitude of free and comprehensive social services and resources that they may need in order to stay focused on their academic goals. 

The Union County Department of Human Services Resource Table will operate from the first floor of the Center for Academic Success (CAS) on Kean's Union campus. Access and screening are free to all Kean University students. The partnership began August 30, and the Department of Human Services will maintain a presence twice a week on campus throughout the 2021-2022 academic year. 

“Union County is proud to offer students at Kean easy access to all that the Department of Human Services has to offer,” said Commissioner Board Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “The myriad of supportive services available ensure that students can have a successful university experience and succeed academically.”

"We know our students have what it takes to succeed in college, but sometimes they need support beyond academics to stay on track to graduation," said Kean University President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. “We are grateful for the County of Union’s support and services to help our students better manage their lives outside of the classroom so they can turn their focus to their studies, graduation and their professional goals."

“As an alumnus of Kean University, I recognize how important it is for students to have easy access to services and resources available to them that facilitate the pursuit of a higher education,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados, who also serves as Liaison to the Human Services Advisory Board. “This program will bring the Department of Human Resources and all it has to offer directly to the students of Kean University, giving them an even greater foundation for academic success.”

The Department of Human Services will provide free referrals to services that can help address the needs of Kean students. Connections to critical resources needed to overcome financial barriers include: 

  • Benefits Screening – Students can learn whether they qualify for federal and state benefits, like food and nutrition programs (SNAP, WIC), health insurance (CHIP, Medicaid), cash, and utilities and transportation assistance. DHS staff can also help with applying for these benefits.
  • Tax Preparation – Free consultation with a certified tax preparer and tax filing are available to students to help them maximize tax credits and refunds.
  • Health Care Enrollment – Support for students to explore healthcare insurance options and find help with enrolling and/or renewing coverage.
  • Financial Education – Services to support students in establishing and achieving financial goals with guidance in budgeting, banking, credit counseling and debt management.
  • Legal Counseling – On-site experts can provide guidance with public benefits, housing, utilities, employment and immigration issues.
  • Referral Services – DHS staff will connect students with additional on-campus and external services and resources.

Students can meet with DHS staff while they are on campus and if necessary, they can also schedule an on-campus appointment during times when DHS isn’t scheduled to be on site. Students wishing to meet with a DHS staff member to discuss social services and eligibility can request an appointment by calling the DHS Action Line at (888) 845-3434. 

The Union County Department of Human Services (DHS) provides and administers a broad range of federal, state, county and grant-funded services to all Union County residents.

For more information about the Department of Human Services, visit online at ucnj.org/human-services or contact the DHS Action Line at (888) 845-3434 or (908) 558-2288 for rapid, personal assistance with any question, complaint or concern about services provided by the Union County Department of Human Services. An email option is also available at DHSaction@ucnj.org

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New Uniforms Revealed for Kean Cougars http://www.kean.edu/news/new-uniforms-revealed-kean-cougars 2021-09-08T17:16:25-0400 mmccorry 20f75e04-f4c7-4940-8db2-24578715be39

Kean Athletics has a fresh new look. Check out the new uniforms our fall sports teams are wearing.

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‘Common Read’ Puts Kean Students on the Same Page http://www.kean.edu/news/common-read-puts-kean-students-same-page Kean first-year students will all be reading the same book this semester, The Poet X, as the University institutes its inaugural Common Read to build community and recognize Hispanic Heritage Month.

The book’s author, Elizabeth Acevedo, a spoken word poet and National Book Award winner, will also visit Kean on Tuesday, September 28 to give a reading from her book and meet with students.

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Kean first-year students will all be reading the same book this semester, The Poet X, as the University institutes its inaugural Common Read to build community and recognize Hispanic Heritage Month.

The book’s author, Elizabeth Acevedo, a spoken word poet and National Book Award winner, will also visit Kean on Tuesday, September 28 to give a reading from her book and meet with students.

“We are excited to begin the tradition of the Common Read at Kean University,” said Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. “This book is a perfect choice for Kean’s students, many of whom face challenges similar to those described in the book. This shared reading experience will open a dialogue and help build community on campus.”

The Poet X, a verse novel, is the story of teenage poet Xiomara, who lives in Harlem and writes about challenges in her life. Topics include adolescence, family, gender, race, sexuality and more. 

The Common Read project was initiated by collaboration of the Kean Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and the College of Liberal Arts.

“This book will help us recognize Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins on September 15,” said Tamika Quick, executive director of DEI. “All first-year students will receive the book free, and others can find it at the college bookstore. We look forward to our campus community benefitting from the important message of this book.”

Every first-year student will read and discuss a portion of the book in class, and students in special sections of the First Year Seminar will read the entire book, according to Acting Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Jonathan Mercantini, Ph.D.

“Having all of the incoming students read the same book, or at least excerpts from it, gives everyone a common frame of reference and some shared knowledge,” Mercantini said. 

Professor Mia Zamora, Ph.D., director of the Master of Arts in Writing Studies program and the Kean University Writing Project, led the faculty group that selected the book.

“This book is perfect for opening up multiple conversations about racial and social justice,” she said. “We hope to bring diverse points of view into our lives and open conversations as we learn in community together.”

Kean senior Wenedy T. Paulino, of Elizabeth, was introduced to The Poet X in class last year, but plans to take part in the Common Read. The English K-12 TSD (teaching students with disabilities) major looks forward to introducing it to future students.

“It was the first time I have ever read a book for school where I saw myself and my culture. I actually felt seen but most importantly, I felt included,” Paulino said. “The Poet X is more than just a book to me. It has become a part of me and my journey.”

The book is being taught in Kean’s required one-credit course for freshmen and many transfer students, Transition to Kean. Kean has Open Education Resources and other Common Read information available to faculty at https://mlibbey58.wixsite.com/fys-resources.

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Two Kean Administrators Named to National Leadership Academy http://www.kean.edu/news/two-kean-administrators-named-national-leadership-academy The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities has selected two Kean University administrators as members of its Leadership Academy/La Academia de Liderazgo this fall.

Kean Associate Vice President of Student Success and Retention Carlos E. Rodriguez and Senior Director of Admissions Carlos L. Nazario were each named to the third cohort of the program.

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The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities has selected two Kean University administrators as members of its Leadership Academy/La Academia de Liderazgo this fall.

Kean Associate Vice President of Student Success and Retention Carlos E. Rodriguez and Senior Director of Admissions Carlos L. Nazario were each named to the third cohort of the program.

“These two talented leaders, Carlos Rodriguez and Carlos Nazario, are instrumental in advancing Kean’s student-focused approach to higher education,” said Kean University President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. “I congratulate them on their selection to this prestigious academy and look forward to the innovations they will bring back to Kean from their Leadership Academy experience.”

Kean, a historically inclusive university, offers numerous programs to support its diverse student body, including many scholarship opportunities. U.S. News & World Report recognized Kean as a leader in social mobility for helping economically disadvantaged students succeed and graduate. 

The Leadership Academy works with leaders at existing and emerging Hispanic-serving institutions. Fellows attend conferences, are mentored by senior-level administrators from numerous universities, and each develop a project designed to impact their home institution.

Rodriguez said being selected is among his proudest professional achievements. “The one-year program will allow me to learn from a network of advocates who focus on student success at Hispanic-Serving Institutions,”

he said. “Like Kean University, HACU is renowned for promoting cultural diversity, and I see great symmetry between that work and President Repollet’s vision to provide our Kean students with a world-class education.”

Nazario said he was “humbled and thankful” to be selected. “I will be joining a distinguished group of individuals who have dedicated their lives to making higher education accessible to so many underrepresented communities,” he said.

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities is based in San Antonio, and is the only national association representing existing and emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions. The Leadership Academy  is a direct response to the declining rate of Hispanic university presidents, despite the unprecedented growth of U.S. Hispanic college student enrollment, according to the Association website. 

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Kean Introduces Meal Plans for Faculty and Staff http://www.kean.edu/news/kean-introduces-meal-plans-faculty-and-staff Kean University faculty and staff now have access to two meal plan options, providing low-cost meals as well as “Flex Dollars,” to use at a variety of eateries on and off campus using their Kean ID cards.

The new faculty/staff meal plans are offered as an added benefit to the University community. Employees can enroll immediately here and pay through payroll deduction in four pay period installments.

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Kean University faculty and staff now have access to two meal plan options, providing low-cost meals as well as “Flex Dollars,” to use at a variety of eateries on and off campus using their Kean ID cards.

The new faculty/staff meal plans are offered as an added benefit to the University community. Employees can enroll immediately here and pay through payroll deduction in four pay period installments.

“The meal plans make dining on campus more affordable for our dedicated Kean faculty and staff and also give them flexibility for dining on those days when they are teaching a late class or staying on campus for an evening event,” said Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D.

The plan gives participants a set number of non-expiring “meal swipes” that cover a meal at venues such as the Miron Student Center Food Court, Cougar’s Den, Smashburger and more. Also included in the meal plan cost are Flex Dollars, which can be used to purchase items a la carte at other dining spots, including Starbucks, the new Unity Cafe in Cougar Hall, a number of off-campus restaurants and campus vending machines. Flex Dollars can also be used at the Kean Barnes & Noble bookstore.

For the list of venues, look for “Accepting Locations and Hours of Operation" on the Kean Meal Plan website.

The meal plans are available to Kean faculty and staff at two price points. For $545, employees receive 60 “meal blocks,” or swipes, plus $100 in Flex Dollars. For $235, they receive 25 meal blocks and $50 in Flex Dollars. Neither swipes nor Flex Dollars expire, and faculty and staff may enroll in the plan or replenish it at any time.

“The idea was to make this a low-cost plan to provide meals for our faculty and staff at less than the cost of going to a restaurant,” said Kean Senior Vice President for Finance Andrew Brannen. “It is an additional benefit we are pleased to be able to provide to the Kean community.”

Faculty and staff members who sign up for a meal plan will receive an email confirmation once their meal plan has been assigned.

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