News for 2012 – 2013 Academic Year


OUCP staff members successfully complete degrees from Rutgers

OUCP has earned a solid reputation for advancing Rutgers’ learning, discovery, and engagement resources in the Greater Newark community. The department has accomplished this through partnership programs like RU Ready for Work, Newark School Initiative, America Reads/Counts, the Rutgers-Merck Summer Bioethics Institute, as well as through its campus and visitor information and conference and event management services units that strengthen ties between Rutgers-Newark and the surrounding community.

OUCP advances learning, discovery, and engagement at Rutgers in other ways as well. A primary example is through OUCP staff members who have earned graduate degrees within the institution’s hallowed halls. Below are three OUCP staff members who recently completed degree programs at Rutgers.

Dr. Diane Hill, Assistant Chancellor of University-Community Partnerships, graduated with a Ph.D. in Urban Systems in May 2012. The urban systems doctoral program awards a joint degree from Rutgers Graduate School-Newark, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey. Dr. Hill’s dissertation, The Transformation of Metropolitan Universities: A Case Study of Rutgers  University-Newark and Its Community Engagement Programs, 1967-2010, constructs an historical narrative that traces the development of community engagement at Rutgers-Newark. Her research found that leadership, vision, and mission are key factors that have influenced the advancement of a culture of community engagement at Rutgers-Newark. The results of the study indicate policy implications for university officials,  administrators, faculty, and other higher education stakeholders for understanding and supporting community engagement, particularly at metropolitan tertiary institutions. OUCP’s Community Engagement at Rutgers-Newark 2010-12 brochure was used as a primary resource in the analysis; her research will inform the development of subsequent community engagement publications generated by the department.


Dr. Rolando Herts, Associate Director of OUCP, graduated with a Ph.D. in Planning and Public Policy from Rutgers Graduate School-New Brunswick and in October 2011. The program is housed within Rutgers’ Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy in New Brunswick. His dissertation, From Outreach to Engaged Placemaking: Understanding Public Land-grant University Involvement with Tourism Planning and Development, codifies university-community tourism engagement as an emergent form of public service and examines its benefits and drawbacks for public land-grant universities and the communities that they are mandated to serve. Dr. Herts has used aspects of his research to implement new departmental processes related to OUCP’s campus and visitor information, conference and event management services, and community partnerships and engagement units. His research involved over 150 interviews with university and community leaders from throughout the U.S., as well as a national survey of over 150 university websites which informed the development of OUCP’s new departmental website. The new OUCP website was launched in January 2012.

Ms. Yvette Ortiz-Beaumont, Assistant Director of Budget and Event Management, graduated with a Master of Public Administration degree from the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration in May 2011. Ms. Beaumont has applied her expertise to the department’s budget documentation and reconciliation processes. She is an avid event planner bringing many years of experience in that area to the department. Having also completed her first year in Leadership Newark, she will help the department to develop community partnerships through conference and event management services.

These staff members will continue to apply their research and practical expertise toward furthering the department’s expansion and advancing the university’s public service mission by engaging faculty, staff, students, visitors, local residents, and community-based organizations through conferences, campus and visitor information services, and demonstration projects like RU Ready for Work. For more information about the OUCP staff, visit the OUCP staff page. Congratulations to these scholars!


Rutgers-Newark Celebrity Readers

On February 21st, students and staff from the Rutgers-Newark Office of University-Community Partnerships went out into the community to read to elementary school students for the annual “Celebrity Read” initiative sponsored by the United Way.  The group of volunteers went to the Martin Luther King Renew School (formally 13th Avenue School) and read to students from kindergarten to the second grade.

The Office of University-Community Partnerships recruited volunteers to spend the morning reading aloud to the[elementary] students and answering questions about college life or their professions.  The volunteers also encouraged the students to read and pursue their education as a pathway to future success.

Celebrity Read first began in 1990 and was later designated a “Local Legacy” in 2001 by the Library of Congress in recognition of the program’s unique service to the community.  The Celebrity Read program has evolved over the years and what began as a “day of service” literacy project has now become an initiative that seeks to place volunteers in longer-term opportunities as literacy coaches for year-round engagement with struggling readers.

In fulfilling its mission to foster community engagement, OUCP provides opportunities for faculty, staff and students to “give back to the community.”  The volunteers who participated in Celebrity Read this year were all Rutgers studentswho enjoy working with youth.  They actively seek out opportunities to empower younger students.  We celebrate them and encourage others who want to be positively engaged with our community and its youth to become Celebrity Readers through our office.

Office of University-Community Partnerships

(973) 353-1630


Ten-Year Milestone Reached for Job Shadow Day

On Monday, February 26, 2013, the “10th Annual National Groundhog Job Shadow Day” was held on the Rutgers-Newark campus.  Groundhog Job Shadow Day is a national campaign that provides young people with a new perspective regarding their  academic and career aspirations through hands-on learning during a one-day on campus mentoring experience. Coordinated by the Office of University-Community Partnerships (OUCP),the event engages faculty, staff, and  students to cultivate educational opportunities for Newark youth.  It is part of the Newark School Initiative, a partnership between the Newark Public Schools and the Rutgers University–Newark

This Rutgers-Newark event has been a collaborative effort to introduce local youth to the world of work at a major research university.  Rutgers faculty and staff function as Workplace Mentors for the high school student participants.  Students are paired with a mentor who they “shadow” throughout the day to experience how the skills they learn in the classroom can be applied to the real world.  This experience presents  the student with a realistic view of the workplace environment.  In addition, the mentors share their particular career path and reviews the skills and expertise required to succeed in their respective professions or careers.

This year over eighty Newark Public Schools students were mentored by close to seventy-five faculty and staff members.  Significantly, over twenty percent of the mentors had participated in the event for more than  five years.  Additionally, twenty Rutgers-Newark undergraduate and graduate students volunteered in support of the event.


Job shadowing motivates students to think about their career aspirations and the preparation required to be successful in those careers. The Offices of Human Resources and Financial Aid played an important role in this year’s program by  providing pertinent information to help guide the students as they contemplate their future career paths. The Rutgers community made a significant difference in the lives of the youth who attending the program.  Many of the students expressed their excitement and appreciation for being able to spend time with a professional who was actually pursuing the career that they had identified as their future profession.  The day provided them with a snapshot view of their future.

Office of University-CommunityPartnerships

(973) 353-1630

Rutgers-Newark Observes Read Across America Day

The Office of University-Community Partnerships participated in the National Education Association’s annual reading celebration that is observed every year on or around March 2nd, the birthday of Dr. Theodor Geisel legendary children’s book author, better known as Dr. Seuss.

In its ongoing efforts to foster community engagement, the Office of University-Community Partnerships has collaborated with local organizations on this opportunity for the Rutgers-Newark community to “give back” to its surrounding community.  The Read Across America literacy initiativeis the largest reading event in the United States.  It has typically been celebrated with read-aloud, read-along, and reading marathon activities at elementary and pre-schools across the nation-hence the name, Read Across America.

Rutgers-Newark volunteers comprised of students and staff read Dr. Seuss classics to children at the nearby Newark Pre-School Council Center and the Ecole Toussaint Louverture Elementary School in East Orange.  So excited at the thought of spending the morning reading to children, one of the Rutgers volunteers even brought in her favorite children’s book to read to the children.  Others selected their favorite Dr. Seuss book from their childhood to read to the children upon arrival at the two schools. They received a commemorative red and white Dr. Seuss top-hat and at the end of the session the children presented them with a hand-crafted, personalized Dr. Seuss storybook that they prepared.

On route back to Rutgers, the volunteers commented on the fun they had reading to the children.  One reader in particular was struck by the affection the children displayed when it was time for her to leave.  “I was so touched by the way the children responded to me simply sharing a story with them”, said one of the volunteers.“It allowed me to see just how important it is to give back”, said another volunteer!


United Way


15th Year of Honoring Individuals Who Have Made Our Communities a Better Place for Children and Families to Live and Work. The “Night of Miracles”, organized by the Women in Support of United Way of Essex and West Hudson,will honor individuals and organizations who through their work are building healthy communities in the areas of education, income, health and developing community linkages/services. In its first fourteen years, the “Night of Miracles” raised more than $2 million for United Way and our communities.
Please join us this year as we will celebrate the accomplishments of the following:

Income Award – Tiffany Aliche, The Budgetnista
Health Award – Esney M. Sharpe Founder, Bessie Mae Women’s Health Center
Education Award – Diane Hill, Assistant Chancellor Office of University-Community Partnerships Rutgers University
Community Services Award – Randy Foye, Chairman and Founder Randy Foye Foundation
North Star Award – Michaela Murray-Nolan, Executive Director Kids Corporation

For more information about the event, this year’s honorees, or The Women in Support of United Way of Essex and West Hudson, please contact George Xuereb by phone at 973-854-2215 or email

About The United Way of Essex and West Hudson Founded in 1923, the United Way of Essex and West Hudson is a non-profit organization that seeks to address the root causes of community concerns by aligning resources to best meet the needs of individuals, children and families through its service area annually. We serve a population of nearly 700,000 in thirteen communities in Essex and Hudson County. For more information about or how to get involved, visit our website

This was a wonderful opportunity to promote literacy among young children that was fun for all!

Office of University-Community Partnerships

(973) 353-1630