To the Campus Community:
I am writing to tell you that this morning, at a breakfast meeting with campus leadership, I announced that the 2013-2014 academic year will be my last as chancellor of this great institution. On July 1, 2014, I will be returning to the faculty.
As you know, the past few years have been tumultuous for the campus, but they also have been extremely productive. Last May, we celebrated the graduation of more than 1,500 students, a new campus milestone. Among those graduates were our first two Ph.D. candidates, a major achievement in the history of Rutgers–Camden. This past week, we welcomed to campus more than 6,700 students, which is close to our all-time high, and we also welcomed 36 new faculty members, a record-breaking class of research and clinical scholars.
This year, we’ll see a continuation of major construction projects, including a new Nursing and Science Building. We’ll complete renovations to the Paul Robeson Library that will make it a cutting-edge facility, and we’ll renovate several buildings along Cooper Street, creating, among other things, Rutgers’ first-ever Alumni House and a new Writers’ House, which also will serve as home to our English department.
We will also continue to build strong relationships with our host community and region. I currently have the privilege of serving as president of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, an international organization of more than 80 educational institutions that have made it a priority to partner productively with their host communities. At this year’s annual convention in Louisville, I fully and justifiably intend to brag about our accomplishments in partnerships with K-12 education, area nonprofits and businesses, and local government.
The state of the campus is extremely strong, and I believe that the end of this academic year is the right time to turn over the reins to a new chancellor who will work with all the members of our community to continue our strong performance. The typical term of a chancellor at a public university is five to six years. I am certain that at the end of this year we will all agree that we’ve done seven or eight years’ worth of work during my term.
During the upcoming year, we will work together as we continue to plan for our future. President Barchi has set a goal of finishing the university strategic plan by the end of this calendar year while beginning the campus plans that will be completed in the spring. As you know, we already have done a lot of thoughtful planning, so I am certain that we can quickly accomplish this task. While I will continue to celebrate our achievements, I also look forward to discussing with you the numerous ways we can make our institution even more world class.
We have an immense amount of work to do this year. I will be focusing my attention in particular on improving the academic environment for our students. We have much to do regarding our academic advising and support programs, and I look forward to collaborating with our faculty to continue to strengthen our curriculums and further expand our efforts to ensure that we are doing everything we can do to help our students develop the skills for successful and meaningful lives.
It has been a great honor and pleasure to lead this campus and I look forward to continuing that privilege this year. I look forward to working with all of you to make Rutgers–Camden everything that it can and should be.
Wendell E. Pritchett, J.D., Ph.D.
To read Rutgers University President Robert L. Barchi's comments about Chancellor Pritchett, click here.