The trajectory of a research university

Rowan University has undergone a number of exciting changes in the past 18 months. First, it became New Jersey’s newest comprehensive public research university (joined only by Rutgers). Second, it merged with the School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, NJ, to offer an even more broad-based educational program with expanded research and clinical opportunities for students.

FY13AnnualReport FNL cover

To capture the university’s multifaceted talents and initiatives behind these changes, Rowan needed to devise a unique annual report—one that highlighted advances and successes from the previous year, but also branded the diverse research program in light of these developments. Rowan brought in ARC to devise an effective print strategy to integrate the growing South Jersey Technical Park, located on the edge of its Glassboro campus.

Alison conducted interviews with the Associate Provost for Research, who also directs the SJTP, and worked closely with the marketing staff to establish a structure for the publication, but also a voice. I conducted in-depth interviews with high-level administrators—including Dr. Kenneth Blank, who joined Rowan from Temple, in the new position of Vice President for Health Sciences—to integrate into the report the broad, innovative vision for the university in this area.

The result is a document that profiles members of the Rowan faculty who have obtained significant funding for ongoing research. I the chance to interview:

  • a professor of geography and the environment who has developed an online, interactive mapping platform that makes land use data accessible and empowers average New Jersey citizens to advocate for responsible environmental decisions.
  • an environmental engineer specializing in soil mechanics and structural foundations revealed years of bridge and coastline surveys in the wake of Hurricane Sandy that are contributing to sound decisions as communities rebuild.
  • a cell biologist identifying biomarkers for early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, in cooperation with the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging.
  • a psychologist with NIH grants to develop smoking cessation programs that use technology through interactive video games.
  • a film studies professor who mentors students in creating nationally recognized documentary projects that tackle critical campus issues such as sexual assault.
  • a health and exercise science professor devising fitness and nutrition programs for individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities.
  • a neurosurgeon collaborating with Rowan’s vital technology lab to enables new levels of diagnostic care for patients requiring neurosurgery.

I collaborated closely with the talented Soonduk Krebs of SK Designworks, based in Philadelphia, to devise a graphic approach that would showcase these diverse strengths and also convey the energy and ambition of the program. It was fascinating to tell their stories, help Rowan document such an exciting phase of growth, and position the university for future success.

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