December 18, 2020: Faculty Honors, 2020 Reflections, and more


Camilla Townsend's Reexamination of Aztec Culture Garners International Acclaim

Camilla Townsend

Camilla Townsend, Distinguished Professor of History in the School of Arts and Sciences, received the 2020 Cundill History Prize for her book, Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs. The book examines the history and culture of the Aztec society through the lens of their own language to provide a more accurate understanding of who they were and how they envisioned their legacy. Recognizing her work’s embodiment of historical scholarship, originality, literary quality and broad appeal, this award is internationally regarded and includes a $75,000 stipend from McGill University. Check out this Rutgers Today article and this video message describing her work to unearth a previously hidden world and people that earned her this prestigious international history award. Congratulations, Distinguished Professor Camilla Townsend!

From the Desk of...

Chancellor Brian L. Strom

Brian L. Strom

Dear Colleagues, 

This week we celebrated a milestone in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. With the initial rollout of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the United States, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel has begun to appear before us.


End-of-Year Video Messages

In a special holiday video message distributed earlier this week, Chancellor of RBHS and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Brian L. Strom and members of the RBHS family shared their sincere thanks with their colleagues for rising to meet the challenges of this extraordinary year with such heartfelt dedication. In a his end-of-year message to the campus community, Chancellor of Rutgers–New Brunswick Christopher J. Molloy reflects on 2020 and Rutgers' longstanding history of resilience.

COVID-19 Health Briefings with RBHS Chancellor Strom

Following his invitation to the RBHS community, Chancellor of RBHS and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Brian L. Strom hosted the inaugural COVID-19 Health Briefing yesterday, December 17. Joining him in a timely discussion regarding COVID-19 vaccines was Shobha Swaminathan, associate professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Department of Medicine at New Jersey Medical School, and the principal investigator for the Moderna Phase 3 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at Rutgers. This recurring series will resume with the next briefing in early January 2021 and participants are encouraged to submit questions beforehand to be considered for inclusion during the event. Check out the recording from yesterday's briefing and save the date for the next briefing on January 7 at 9 a.m.

Making the New Normal Work – Inside Higher Ed

Earlier this week, Inside Higher Ed published "Making the New Normal Work," an op-ed written by Senior Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs at RBHS and Vice President of Health Affairs at Rutgers Vicente Gracias and Chancellor of RBHS and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Brian L. Strom. This important piece describes how the approach taken at Rutgers to design and implement a targeted coronavirus testing strategy protects not only those within our university community, but their families and communities throughout the state of New Jersey. Despite the interwoven nature of its relationships with surrounding communities and statewide health care systems, Rutgers' daily positivity rate has been and remains well below of the state's overall rate. By employing this innovative targeted testing strategy, the risk assessment of predefined on-campus cohorts enables vastly improved tracking of outbreaks as well as the deployment of interventions to address them. It also positions Rutgers as an exemplary leader in the nation in steps to confront coronavirus.

More to Know

Policy Library Updates

The Office of the Secretary of the University announces recent updates to the University Policy Library:

Recent policy updates, including previous version of updated policies, are available at Recent Policy Updates. For specific questions about policy interpretations, contact the responsible office listed on each policy. For general questions, please email the Office of the Secretary of the University.

Updated Quarantine and Travel Guidance

In a joint announcement on December 4, Brian L. Strom, chancellor of RBHS and executive vice president for health affairs, and Vicente Gracias, senior vice chancellor for clinical affairs at RBHS and vice president of health affairs at Rutgers, provided updated quarantine and travel recommendations for all Rutgers employees. These recommendations align with the New Jersey Department of Health’s updated travel guidance and the CDC’s recent quarantine guidance and include discouraging all out-of-state non-essential travel and modifications to quarantine duration. Some exceptions will be in effect, such as with travel health care workers’ traveling to restricted areas as they are considered, “critical infrastructure workers.” The pair reemphasized the importance of not coming to campus if you are experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms. Be sure to read the announcement and adhere to all of the updated recommendations, procedures, and preventive guidelines, such as wearing a mask, maintaining distancing, and frequent handwashing.

Rutgers University Inn Phased Reopening

As a first step to reopening for guests, Rutgers employees are invited to once again enjoy a stay at the Rutgers University Inn and Conference Center (RUICC). In concert with the Return to Rutgers Plan, RUICC is now accepting overnight accommodations from verified faculty, staff, and departments. Please note that due to the pandemic, all ordinary operations and services that you may have been familiar with in the past will not be available at this time. Visit RUICC’s COVID-19 response page for updates and check out the Guest Safety Measures Highlight Video to see what else RUICC is doing to keep their guests and the community safe.

Save the Date for DICE's Faculty "Soul-Saving" Socials in Spring 2021

In support of faculty, the Division of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement (DICE) at Rutgers–New Brunswick will continue to host Faculty “Soul-Saving” Socials twice a month, resuming in February 2021. The goal of these informal, discussion-based events is to provide a relaxed environment to engage with faculty peers in a conversation about the academy and shaping sustaining spaces within it. The first session will take place on February 4 at 5 p.m., and will be held on the first Thursday of each month at 5 p.m. and third Wednesday of each month at 12 p.m. If you are interested in participating, please contact DICE.

Personal Meeting Rooms Available at Rutgers Student Centers

As an integral part of Rutgers’ educational mission, the Division of Student Affairs’ Student Centers and Activities has personal meeting room reservations available for academic engagement. Room reservations are limited to one per day for three hours, with a maximum of two people. Reservations require a current RUID and can be made online by faculty or staff.

Check Out the Rutgers Holiday Shop Before It’s Too Late!

This year, University Communications and Marketing launched the new Rutgers Holiday Shop as a fun, seasonal way for faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, and fans to show their Rutgers pride. Shop the Rutgers holiday store for all your gifts this year and choose from a variety of apparel and specialty items that are perfect for family, friends, and even pets. All of the store’s Rutgers-themed gift items are priced for all budgets and shipped directly to your door, but it’s only open for a limited time, so start shopping online today!

Ask Us Anything

How can I increase my email security and avoid phishing scams?

To avoid cyber threats and phishing scams remain, the Office of Information Technology encourages members of the Rutgers community to stay vigilant and to report any suspected attempts to the appropriate authorities, including either Rutgers University Computing Incident Response Team (RU CIRT) and/or the OIT Helpdesk, depending on the type of cyber threat encountered. Below are some more quick tips from OIT’s Phish Bowl to help you avoid phishing scams and don’t forget to watch out for these telltale signs of phishing emails!

  • Never open emails or click on links in emails that come from unknown sources.
  • Hover over links in emails with your mouse to see if you are being re-directed outside of the university domain.
  • Never provide your network credentials (NetID or password) to any source via email.
  • Verify requests to purchase gift cards, products, or services with your personal funds in exchange for reimbursement.
  • Always verify changes to wire transfer and vendor payment instructions.

What's Happening

The Hate U Give: Finding Your Activism and Turning the Political into the Personal

The Hate U Give: Finding Your Activism and Turning the Political into the Personal

On January 13 at 4 p.m., Continuing Studies’ Office of Summer and Winter Sessions at Rutgers–New Brunswick invites everyone to attend The Hate U Give: Finding Your Activism and Turning the Political into the Personal, a special virtual event that speaks to the heart of race, activism, and social change in America today. Join Angie Thomas, the bestselling author of the novel, The Hate U Give, for this an author talk and moderated discussion, followed by an audience Q&A. This event is free and open to all, but registration required.

Film Stream: The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath!

The Zimmerli Art Museum invites members of the Rutgers community and general public to start a new holiday tradition this year by joining the virtual viewing of The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath! Starting on Saturday, December 26 at 4 p.m., join the live discussion with exhibition curators and special guests who will discuss the film's social and historical context. The film will be available for streaming for free as a part of Zimmerli at Home through Sunday, January, 3, 2021. Find out more about streaming this film and register to join the related programming on December 26 today!

CCRP2's Biomedical Research-In-Progress Monthly Seminar Series

As an institutional hub for COVID-19 research activities and information dissemination at Rutgers, the Center for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness (CCRP2) invites you to join the next iteration of CCRP2’s Biomedical Research-In-Progress Monthly Seminar Series. On Tuesday, January 12, 12 p.m.–1 p.m., Maria L. Gennaro, professor of medicine and epidemiology at New Jersey Medical School’s Public Health Research Institute will discuss the clinical and public health research in progress. All of these interdisciplinary seminars feature speakers from across the university and highlight a variety of fields and genres of research, including clinical, public health, basic, and translational research. Check out the New Jersey Alliance for Clinical and Translational Science events calendar for upcoming seminars and other upcoming events or contact CCRP2 for more information.

Center for Literacy Development's Social Justice and Equity in Literacy Webinars

The Graduate School of Education’s Center for Literacy Development is happy to announce its Spring 2021 Online Webinars. Join us and learn from outstanding educators who have all written professional development books dealing with literacy development. The webinar series will kick off with poet and anthologist, Janet Wong and Sharing Social Justice Poetry: You Can Do It Right Now on Thursday, January 28, 4 p.m.–5:15 p.m. These webinars are open to everyone, but a $30 fee and registration required.

Awards & Honors

Frank Ghinassi

Frank Ghinassi, president and chief executive officer, Rutgers Health University Behavioral Health Care, has been re-elected by the membership of the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA) to the NJHA Board of Trustees for a two-year term expiring on December 31, 2022. NJHA The New Jersey Hospital Association is a not-for-profit trade organization committed to delivering support and services to New Jersey’s hospitals, health systems and other healthcare providers with a collective goal of providing quality, affordable, and accessible healthcare across the state.

Dario Pompili

Dario Pompili, associate professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the School of Engineering has been named by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Board of Directors as an IEEE Fellow for contributions to underwater acoustic communication networks and in recognition of his outstanding record of accomplishments in this IEEE field of interest.

On The Move

Sylvia Bush

Sylvia Bush, project manager in the Office of Graduate Medical Education at New Jersey Medical School, will retire on December 31, 2020 after 29 years of dedicated at Rutgers. Thank you for your service, Sylvia!