Chancellor Committees

In addition to carrying out the initiatives developed in the strategic plan, Chancellor Edwards led the university in tackling some of its most pressing social and political issues.  With an eye on both the university’s past and future, Dr. Edwards empaneled the Committee on Enslaved and Disenfranchised Populations in Rutgers History and the Task Force on Inclusion and Community Values, which sought to answer what the institution was in its early founding and what it aspires to be in the future.

New Brunswick chancellor Richard Edwards speaks at the Rutgers and American Slavery lectureCommittee on Enslaved and Disenfranchised Populations in Rutgers History

In November 2015, Chancellor Edwards announced the creation of the Committee on Enslaved and Disenfranchised Populations in Rutgers History, chaired by Deborah Gray White, Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of History.  Since its formation, the committee  worked diligently to trace the university’s early history and its relationship with local African-American and Native-American communities.

With active participation from students, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, faculty, staff, and local historians and librarians, the committee conducted painstaking research to re-examine the university’s roots, including locating and studying the wills of Rutgers’ founders and benefactors and other archived documents.

This key effort aimed to elucidate the social and political lives of New Brunswick’s African-American community, both enslaved and free, and of the Lenni-Lenape (the native tribe that lost possession of the land on which the university is built).

In November 2016, the committee released its findings to the university community, including a collection of essays and articles about the slave ownership of Rutgers’ founders; the social and cultural lives of the Lenni-Lenape; and the displacement of Native Americans in this area in the 17th century.  Entitled "Scarlet and Black, Volume I:  Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History", the book marks a substantive beginning for a long-term project of researching Rutgers’ history with African Americans and Native Americans, and will be accompanied by a related digital project.

Contributing to an enhanced knowledge of the university’s colonial roots, the committee’s work will help to pave the way for the creation of a heritage trail at Rutgers–New Brunswick, with dedicated campus markers to highlight the history of African Americans and Native Americans during this institution’s early history.   

Chancellor Edwards speaking at the first meeting of New Brunswick Chancellor's Task Force on Inclusion and Community Values.Task Force on Inclusion and Community Values

In the fall of 2015, college campuses across the country were home to student protests inspired by demonstrations and turmoil that took place in Ferguson, Missouri; Baltimore, Maryland; and other cities throughout the country.  Within this larger socio-political context, Chancellor Edwards established the Task Force on Inclusion and Community Values to broaden conversations about inclusion and race at Rutgers–New Brunswick.  

The task force was formed to gather information on the racial climate on campus; examine issues of race, bias, and identity; explore inclusivity; and make recommendations on possible areas for improvement.   

Co-chaired by Brianna Battle, vice president of RUSA and School of Arts and Sciences senior, and Edward Ramsamy, associate professor and chair of the Africana Studies Department, the task force is comprised of students, administrators, and faculty from various ethnic, religious, and intellectual communities who  broadly represent Rutgers–New Brunswick.  

The task force  solicited input from students, faculty, and administrators on a wide range of issues, including perspectives on the culture and climate of inclusiveness on campus and suggestions on possible initiatives and programs that would strengthen Rutgers’ commitment to diversity.  The group  focused its efforts on several working themes, including curriculum reform and faculty issues; defining core values; focus groups and town hall organizing; and training, new initiatives, and programming.  

In the spring of 2016, the task force organized a campus-wide town hall meeting on diversity and inclusion, and the group presented its final report in February 2017. 

First-Year Experience Task Force

Cover of the First-Year Experience Task Force ReportThe First-Year Experience Task Force was charged in October 2015 with assessing and providing recommendations on improving the transition from high school to college for Rutgers–New Brunswick students.

The task force’s aspiration was to provide for a well-organized, coordinated, and integrated model of communication, advising, orientation, programs, and services for the first-year experience, beginning at the point of admission through the completion of the student’s first year at Rutgers.

Chaired by Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Engagement Elizabeth O’Connell-Ganges, the task force was composed of faculty and administrators representing different academic schools and programs related to students and their first year at Rutgers.  The task force presented their final report in the fall of 2016.

Transfer Student Task Force

Cover of the Transfers Student Task Force ReportConvened in September 2015, the Transfer Student Task Force was created to evaluate the policies and programming that support transfer students, as well as provide recommendations to improve the transition from other institutions to Rutgers.

Through its deliberations, the task force sought to recommend ways to proactively recruit transfer students, streamline the process involved in transfer students’ entry into the university, and provide services and advocacy that propels transfer students’ towards a timely graduation, thereby ultimately increasing transfer student enrollment, retention, and satisfaction.

The Task Force was chaired by Vice Chancellor of Undergraduate Academic Affairs Ben Sifuentes-Jáuregui and was composed of faculty and administrators representing different academic schools and programs related to transfer students and their needs.  The final report of the task force was presented in June 2016.