The time came around once again for pizza with the President, Dr. Joel Bloom. Students could come in to sit and eat at a table with the gracious President of the university.
Dr. Bloom started his career at NJIT in 1990, then was promoted to the vice president for academic and student services in 1996. Later on, he was appointed the first Dean of the Albert Dorman Honors College in 1998 before becoming NJIT’s President.
“Being the president of a university is the best job,” Dr. Bloom said.
As Dr. Bloom spoke, students ate varied pies of pizza as they listened. He spoke of major improvements to the NJIT campus in the upcoming semesters, told of his personal experiences, answered student’s questions, and shared his words of wisdom.
One of the major upcoming improvements to the campus is the construction of the Wellness and Event Center which is scheduled to open in September 2017. Dr. Bloom said “It is going to be a cool building.” The Wellness and Event Center is going to be built in the current location of the NJIT soccer field. It is planned to occupy 200,000 square feet. The old Athletics Center will be taken down once the new building opens up.
Another topic was the new Parking Deck, which is going to be open in September 2016. “It is a safe place for you and your vehicle,” Dr. Bloom said. The not so great news is that the price for parking at NJIT will go up these next few years due to this new parking construction. In response, Dr.Bloom brought to light that Rutgers-Newark still has a much more expensive parking fee than NJIT.
One more major improvement is that NJIT is in talks with Rutgers-Newark about a joint Barnes & Noble bookstore on Market Street and Broad Street. Dr.Bloom spoke about supporting this on the condition that a satellite store would have to be opened at NJIT.
If you are wondering where the NJIT bookstore will go, Dr. Bloom answers that as well. He believed when it was being built as well as now that the current bookstore does not belong where it is now, and by 2016 it is planned to be made into a space for social purposes.
When asked about the tuition prices, Dr. Bloom brings percentages into play, and said that tuition has increased from a rate of 2.75% Per annum to 3% per annum and then to 5% per annum, where it has been for the last couple of years.
Even though the tuition price will still increase, it will be at an increase at the rate of 3% on average for the next few years.
A female student asked Dr.Bloom about what should be done to help increase the number of women in STEM fields, his answer was that there is no “true” answer. Dr.Bloom went on to speak about the percentages of women in the many fields and majors at NJIT. He cited 41% in the Honors College, 15% in Computer Science, 18% in Mechanical Engineering, and so on.
“Women want to be in majors where they see a tangible impact on society,” Dr. Bloom said. Therefore, more majors and programs for women have been created to bring more women into NJIT. In addition, hardworking women have access to scholarships.
Dr.Bloom spoke of the budget allocated for equipment in laboratories when student asked if there would be any improvements in that aspect. He went on to say that the budget was three million dollars and in the following years it will increase over four folds to 12 million dollars and then to 14 million dollars.
Before this, Dr. Bloom shed light on the budget for the maintenance, repair, and upgrade of buildings. This respective budget has been about 10 million dollars a year previously. Dr. Bloom says the plan is to double this to 20 million dollars by the year 2020.
Amongst all of these facts and the talk about improving NJIT, Dr. Bloom shares his valuable words of wisdom. The three pieces of advice Dr. Bloom gives the people in the room: “Be nice to people, work hard, and give back.”
He said, “Don’t tell anyone this [NJIT] place is easy, we know it is hard;” and also “You succeed here, you do well.” Dr. Bloom supports this by saying that Business Insider showed that NJIT’s mid-year alumni had an annual salary that averaged to $90,000.
On the whole, this year’s Pizza with the President brought to light many topics of improvement at NJIT, interesting questions by the students, and interesting numbers to the table.