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Entrepreneurial Award Recipients

2014-2015 Awardees

italy flagThe Department of Italian is creating a fully online professional development certificate program for teachers and instructors of Italian. The certificate includes three non-credit courses: Italian Through FoodItalian Through Music, and Culture in the Italian Classroom. These courses will help teachers learn new and effective ways to introduce culture, current events, and history into the language classroom, from the elementary to the intermediate level.  The target audience is Italian teachers in New Jersey as well as out-of-state teachers. This certificate is designed to appeal to M.A.T. students, masters students who are planning to pursue a career as Italian teachers, and master students in programs for Second Language Acquisition.

The Department of Chemistry received support to create the Rutgers Chemistry International Initiative. This project encompasses two closely related programs run under the same administrative structure:

  • Rutgers International Chemistry Program
  • Rutgers Chemistry Gap Year

The need for international students to learn and speak English is clear, given the popularity and success of English language programs for international students both here at Rutgers and other universities. Ensuring that international students who apply and come to Rutgers are successful is particularly essential for Rutgers to maintain its reputation in the global scientific community. To that end, the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology (CCB) is engaging in this new initiative to expand its international programs. For the year-long program, students will first enroll in an intensive English program with PALS for three weeks in the summer, and participate in the Fall semester courses and mentored research experience as in the semester-long program. In the Spring semester, the students will continue with a second semester of English for Chemistry, the mentored research experience, and participation in up to two regular chemistry courses. 

2013-2014 Awardees

Logo of the United NationsThe Department of Political Science has established an innovative new Master’s Degree program with a concentration in United Nations & Global Policies Studies, under the direction of Dr. Eric Davis.  This program is designed to meet the training and professional development needs of United Nation legations and research agencies, and offers a cutting-edge curriculum and world-class faculty from the New Brunswick and Newark campuses.  Course instruction also benefits from guest lecturers from the UN and from NGOs. The program, which began admitting students in the fall of 2014, serves not only UN personnel but also members of the New York City area NGO and business and legal communities, Rutgers graduate students, and graduate students at New York City universities. In order to serve these populations where they live, courses are being offered in New York, at Marymount Manhattan College on the Upper East Side.

The Department of Mathematics was awarded support for a package of outreach activities designed by Drs. Amy Cohen and Simon Thomas that include both professional development and undergraduate educational components. The Math for Teachers program builds on previously developed course offerings from the Department’s grant-supported work with in-service teachers to create a graduate level professional development curriculum that deepens teachers’ understanding of the mathematics they impart. Math for Teachers utilizes a supportive cohort structure, relevance course content, and small group work to generate greater teacher satisfaction, engagement, and persistence. In addition, the Department will be developing specialized Winter Session, off-campus, and hybrid course offerings for current and incoming undergraduates. The purpose of these courses is to cover small gaps in transfer students’ previous course content and also to help students strengthen preparation for Rutgers courses after weak performance in prerequisites.

Maurice EliasDr. Maurice Elias in the Department of Psychology received an Entrepreneurial Award to develop a series of online non-credit bearing courses in social-emotional and character development (SECD). Designed for teachers and school administrators, these classes can be taken individually, or combined as part of a credentialing program administered by a National SECD Credentialing Council. This initiative is part of a larger credentialing effort run by Dr. Elias in collaboration with an ongoing project with the College of St. Elizabeth which is supported by the NoVo Foundation. The program develops skills in pedagogical strategies that improve students’ social emotional skills, address harassment, intimidation and bullying prevention, suicide prevention, substance abuse prevention, and convey best practices for implementing social skills groups in and after school, service learning, and conflict resolution programs.



2012-2013 Awardees

Histology ImageDr. Bruce Babiarz of the Department of Cell Biology & Neuroscience won an SASEP award to develop an online digital histology laboratory course. Working from high-resolution digital images, students will analyze the slides using digital microscopes. This technology allows students to study slides as in a traditional lab, and also replicates how they would undertake histological analysis as professionals. This course will be popular with pre-health students at Rutgers and nationally, and will appeal to students who are interested in health-related careers.

The Department of Computer Science, in collaboration with the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, is creating a Master's degree program in Computational Imaging and Biopharmaceutical Sciences (CIBS). This program will offer a choice of concentration on preclinical and clinical biomedical imaging, translational clinical trial data management, and drug development and regulatory affairs. This collaboration, jointly developed by Drs. Dimitris Metaxas of Computer Science and Debabrata Banerjee of GSBS, will address the growing interest in the emerging field of biomedical imaging and translational biomedicine globally. The program will be supported by a combined faculty of international renown with expertise in the areas of computational imaging, biomedical data generation and management, translational studies (including design and conduct of clinical trials), image registration and segmentation, statistical considerations in clinical trials, intellectual property management, and regulatory affairs in drug development.

The Department of Economics has been developing two new projects under the auspices of SASEP. First is a fully online Master's in Applied Economics that will provide advanced quantitative training for individuals who may not wish to pursue research careers, but instead seek competence in general economics and specialization in a subfield of economics. Spearheaded by Drs. Rosanne Altshuler and Richard McLean, the program will be aimed at students who seek to gain the skills of a trained economist in order to succeed in industry and in government occupations. In addition, Dr. Altshuler is creating an online course for undergraduate students entitled “Introduction to Economics & Its Applications.” This course, which will not qualify towards the Economics major or minor, is geared towards students who would like to learn about the discipline and develop a greater understanding of the ways in which economics can be used to explain behavior and inform policy. The focus will be on providing basic tools of economic analysis and institutional background regarding the U.S. and international economies, and then using those tools and institutional knowledge to analyze current policy issues.

Dr. Uri Eisenzweig in the Department of French is leading an initiative to transform the existing Master’s degree in French into a fully online program. With an international audience as its target, the program will be offered by the Rutgers French department in collaboration with international colleagues and scholars. Over the last fifteen years, the department has received applications not only from the U.S. and Western European countries, but also from Eastern and Southern Europe, Africa, and China. The department believes that an online M.A. will prove attractive to many students from these regions, for whom economic, administrative, and/or personal factors make on-site participation impossible.

Italian Dept ImageStudents working in art history, music, and history will benefit from the new Online Certificate in Italian for Reading Knowledge. Reading knowledge of Italian is often a necessity for these students, and what makes the courses in this program especially appealing is that, by offering them online, the department will be able to cater to students’ different interests and needs. Dr. Daniele De Feo, formerly of the Department of Italian, developed and taught the courses in this sequence, which leads to a certification in Italian reading competency provided by the department.

Building on the success of its current online offering (“Sociolinguistics”), Drs. Veneeta Dayal and Kristen Syrett in the Department of Linguistics are using SASEP support to create two new online courses—“Introduction to Audiology” and “Anatomy of the Vocal Mechanism”—which will be part of a new offering in the undergraduate Major in Linguistics. These courses will prepare students for graduate studies in Speech Pathology, and may be complemented by other courses in the future, such as Atypical Language Development and/or Communication Disorders. There is a high demand for this career path in New Jersey and nationally, and offering the courses online allows the department to access both current undergraduate students at the University as well as off-campus students.

In collaboration with the Institute for Women’s Leadership and National Nurses United (the largest nurses union in the United States), the Department of Women's & Gender Studies is creating an online Certificate Program in Women’s Global Health Leadership. Under the direction of Dr. Mary Hawkesworth, this twenty-one credit program will offer a concentration of courses that examines the social, economic, political, and environmental forces that are contributing to worsening health and precarious existence in all regions of the world.  The program will investigate the relationship between macroeconomic restructuring and neoliberal policies and the delivery of health care in the Global North and South, with particular attention paid to health disparities among different groups of women within and across nations. In addition, individual courses will provide an overview of women’s transnational health activism, feminist conceptions of bodily integrity and sexual autonomy as central to health, and the mobilization of social and economic rights discourses as mechanisms to address health challenges in the 21st century.



2011-2012 Awardees

Drs. Richard VanNess Simmons (Chair) and Wendy Swartz of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures won an award to establish a master’s degree program in East Asian Studies, with a choice of concentration on China, Japan or Korea. This program parlays the strength of a faculty of international renown that can offer courses and training in literature, history, religion, philosophy, linguistics, and language. “A master’s program in Asian Studies will directly and immediately address one of the principal aims of the Rutgers in China Initiative,” noted Dr. Simmons. This program is envisioned as being especially attractive to students from China, for whom an American graduate degree from a top-rated school is highly coveted.

Building on the success of its current online offerings and its longstanding and well-regarded Translation program, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese will create an online English-Spanish translation course entitled “Advanced Grammar and Introduction to Translation.” The course is envisioned by Drs Tom Stephens, Soledad Chacón, and José Camacho as part of a future Translation Studies online sequence that would lead to a certificate—an approach developed in coordination with the World Languages Institute. The WLI, under the leadership of Marion Yudow, received an SASEP award as well. Their project is to design and implement an online translation course encompassing Arabic, Chinese and Spanish from two of the WLI’s existing, cross-offered translation courses.

“There is a consensus emerging that educational institutions must do a better job educating students with respect to financial literacy,” observes Dr. Thomas Prusa of the Economics Department. To address this need, he has designed Personal Finance and Financial Acumen, a fully online class that will be open to all Rutgers undergraduate students. The focus of the course will be on providing basic tools of financial planning, insurance, borrowing, tax planning, and managing money—skills every person should have, but many lack. While geared towards enhancing the financial literacy of Rutgers undergraduates, most of the concepts to be taught in this course are firmly rooted in economic theory and methods.

Dr. Tisha Bender, Assistant Director of the Writing Program and an experienced online educator, will work with Dr. Kurt Spellmeyer of the English Department to create an ambitious two-phased distance learning initiative that also has a focus on China. In the first phase, Dr. Bender will conduct online classes that train faculty at Jilin University in China to adapt their pedagogy to teach effectively online. Once these overseas faculty have taken this online training, they will team-teach with Dr. Bender a variety of international online courses. Half the students in each course will be from Rutgers and the other from Jilin University. Dr. Bender notes that this scenario offers “profoundly valuable opportunities to our Rutgers students in New Jersey, as they would learn so much more than just the course content by learning some aspects of the culture and cultural perspective of their overseas peers.”



2010-2011 Awardees

holly dean portrait 2001Dr. Holly Smith of the Philosophy Department will develop a fully online version of the popular Introduction to Ethics course. Bringing ethics online opens this foundational and chronically oversubscribed course to additional Rutgers students, and may also serve as a catalyst for larger programs with appeal to lifelong learners outside the Rutgers undergraduate population. Dr. Smith is contemplating embedding innovation into every aspect of the class, such as enabling students to create and post their own videos to debate group discussion questions.


michael adas history v3 cropped resizedIn the fall of 2011, the History Department will begin instruction for the first history Master's degree program ever offered on the New Brunswick campus, a M.A. track in Global and Comparative History. Developed by department chair, Professor Jim Masschaele, and the former Director, Professor Michael Adas (right), the program is designed to provide area courses and teaching skills related to this critical approach for New Jersey high school teachers , students enrolled in the combined, five-year BA-MEd. program in the Graduate School of Education, and students seeking a strong "bridge" M.A. to enable them to gain entry into leading Ph.D. programs.


darrin_yorkDr. Darrin York of the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology  and the BioMaPS Institute for Quantitative Biology has proposed a novel General Chemistry eLearning Resource pilot project. His initiative will create a proof-of-concept version of a self-guided web-based program fueled by a cross-indexed and searchable database of general chemistry problems. Selected problems will also have full step-by-step solutions delivered by streaming audio and/or video. Instructors will benefit by being able to set up problem sets tailored to a student’s specific needs, while freeing up class time to work on high-level concepts. For students, the tool will enable them to perform self-assessment, diagnose problem areas, and hone problem-solving skills—all at their own pace.


Nancy SinkoffBuilding on the success of its undergraduate program and Graduate Certificate, the Jewish Studies Department will employ its SASEP award to support the creation of a Master’s degree program in Jewish Studies. Program champion Dr. Nancy Sinkoff notes that the Jewish Studies Department has undergone explosive growth over the last decade, and boasts a distinguished and wide-ranging faculty. The department has a particularly strong concentration in early modern and modern Jewish life, areas extremely attractive to prospective M.A. students. Rutgers is uniquely positioned as the only public university in the tri-state area with an M.A. in Jewish Studies, and the only institution of any kind to offer this degree in New Jersey.

These four new programs show the range of expertise and innovative potential our faculty possess. The next round of applicants for SASEP awards will undoubtedly bring to light even more opportunities for departments and institutes to enhance their budgets while meeting the values and fulfilling the mission of the School of Arts and Sciences—to offer a liberal arts education of the highest quality through teaching and research that extend the boundaries of knowledge and improve the quality of human life.



2010-2011 Additional Awardees

SAS Entrepreneurial Program Announces Additional 2010-2011 Awardees

One project seeks to make Rutgers a leader in the booming field of sports marketing.

Another will create religion studies programs that explore timely themes like the connection between religion and violence.feigley273x279Dave Feigley, former Chair of the Department of Exercise Science and Sports Studies, has proposed a new graduate program in sports management.

Two disparate fields. Two opportunities for innovation.

The projects are the latest initiatives to win support from the School of Arts and Sciences Entrepreneurial Program (SASEP).

The program, established in the fall of 2010, provides awards of financial and administrative support on a competitive basis to faculty working on novel areas of scholarship, academic programs, and services capable of generating additional income for Rutgers.

“There is clearly no shortage of good ideas or entrepreneurial spirit at SAS,” observes Chris Scherer, Director of SASEP. “The intelligence, creativity, and energy of the SAS faculty is truly overwhelming, and I’m extremely eager to see the proposals that will surface when we have our next round of applications.”

The latest projects include one that will lay the groundwork for a proposed master’s degree program designed to train professionals in all aspects of the international sports marketing.

The proposal reflects the growth of the sports management program within the Department of Exercise Science and Sports Studies. Starting with 43 students in 2003, the program now has an enrollment of about 600, says Mike Finkelstein, the department’s Senior Advisor for Strategic Partnerships, who co-wrote the proposal with Professor David Feigley, the department chair.

Sports, meanwhile, has become the sixth-largest industry in the world, Feigley said.

Nevertheless, graduates of Rutgers sports management program have had to go elsewhere to get an advanced degree in the field.

“Our ultimate goal,” Finkelstein said, “is that when prominent leaders in the sports industry are asked where they graduated from, they respond: ‘Rutgers International Graduate School of Sports Marketing.’”

Feigley said he envisions having sports industry leaders working with students, both in the classroom as their instructors, and in internships, as their managers.

“The students will graduate with the skills they need to bring immediate value to the top sports management organizations in the world,” Feigley said.

jiang photo276x279The Department of Religion, meanwhile, has been approved for a SASEP grant that will help it prepare programs to meet what the department chair describes as the needs of a post-9/11 world.

“Just one decade into the 21st century, we have discovered that religion still is and will continue to be at the center of national and global issues, major conflicts, and ideological confrontations,” Tao Jiang wrote in the proposal. “At the same time, religions continue to inspire efforts to bring peace and reconciliation in many parts of the world.”

The SASEP grant will allow the department to offer the only master’s degree program in religious studies at a secular institution in New Jersey. The plan also calls for the creation of a certificate program. The topics will include religion and violence, contemplative practices in a secular age, and the pluralistic religious landscape in America.

Jiang noted that Rutgers, unlike seminaries or divinity schools affiliated with religious denominations, provides critical analysis of religion that explores its history, philosophy, and psychology.

“Religion is one of core parts of the American culture landscape, and so the academic study of religion is a critical responsibility,” Jiang said.

He said the new programs will draw future generations of religion scholars as well as a range of professionals such as school teachers, healthcare providers, and social workers looking to add additional expertise to their portfolio.