Rider Announces New College of Arts and Sciences
Rider University announced the merger of two existing colleges to create the new College of Arts and Sciences. The restructuring, effective July 1, will merge the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with Westminster College of the Arts.
The new single College of Arts and Sciences will consist of four schools, including three new ones: Westminster Choir College, the School of Media and Performing Arts, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the School of Science, Technology and Mathematics.
“The creation of the new college will allow for increased faculty-student relationships in the University’s programs and more interdisciplinary opportunities for students,” said Vice President and Vice President of Academic Affairs, DonnaJean A. Fredeen.
Dr. Kelly Bidle has been appointed Dean of the new College of Arts and Sciences. Bidle joined Rider’s faculty as a professor of biology in 2001 and has served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Rider’s largest college, since 2019. Her leadership supported the creation of the new $9 million wing. dollars from Rider’s Science and Technology Center and its corresponding academic programs. She has also been instrumental in helping shape Rider’s ongoing response to the pandemic as co-chair of the University’s COVID-19 Implementation Team.
“Dr. Bidle has brought a commitment to excellence in dozens of academic disciplines, and I have complete confidence in his abilities to lead the new College of Arts and Sciences,” Fredeen says.
Bidle’s leadership team will include two accomplished associate deans, Dr. Brooke Hunter and Dr. Jason Vodicka ’03, ’09. Hunter is currently Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor of History. A two-time alumnus of Westminster Choir College as well as a singer, conductor and organist, Vodicka is currently Chairman of the Choir College’s Music Education Department and Associate Professor of Music Education.
“We are extremely fortunate to have both Dr. Vodicka and Dr. Hunter on our leadership team,” says Bidle. “They are each uniquely positioned to help help Rider thrive in the years to come, while preserving and continuing the important legacies and traditions of our programs in the arts and science disciplines.”
Dr Marshall Onofrio, who has been dean of Westminster College of the Arts since 2017, announced his intention to retire in August. This decision marks the end of a career of more than 40 years in higher education for Onofrio. “The merger aims to expand and enhance its accomplishments by helping to create artists capable of performing at the height of their abilities and thriving in an ultra-competitive 21st century marketplace,” Fredeen said.
Despite the restructuring, Fredeen emphasized that the day-to-day academic aspects of student life will continue as usual with minimal disruption. “Our students need to be confident that this new structure and direction will not impact the quality and delivery of their educational experience,” she says.
Likewise, the decision to preserve the unique identity of Westminster Choir College, which has operated under the umbrella of the larger Westminster College of the Arts since 2007, represents the continuation of Rider’s continued commitment to its legacy of musical excellence. . Since Choir College became part of the Rider’s Lawrenceville campus in 2020, the University has invested more than $12 million in facilities and other accommodations to support Westminster students and faculty.
While the merger will reduce expenses and save money — about $500,000 a year, according to initial calculations — Fredeen says the decision was inspired by a broader vision of integrating the humanities, social sciences, arts, math, technology and science.
“We believe this merger will foster creativity across disciplines and provide new and rewarding opportunities for research, collaboration and performance,” she says. “The new College of Arts and Sciences will play an important role in the transformative growth and leadership we seek to instill in our students.”
More information: www.rider.edu.
McCarter appoints new board members
The McCarter Theater in Princeton welcomed five new directors to join new Board Chair W. Rochelle Calhoun, who assumed leadership of the Board in May 2021. Elliott Asarnow, James Barrood, Rohit Mehrotra, Neha Desai Shah and David Walker join her.
Calhoun, who began serving as vice president of campus life at Princeton University in 2015, is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College. She also holds an MFA from Columbia University.
Elliot Asarnow has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, most recently as Chief Operating Officer of the Black Rock Private Equity Partners group within Blackrock. He previously worked for Barclays Capital, ING Capital Advisors and Citibank. He received his Bachelor’s and Doctor of Music degrees from Brandeis and an MBA from UCLA.
James Barrood is the Founder and CEO of Innovation+, a curated global community of engaged entrepreneurs, innovators, and business/nonprofit leaders. He holds a BA in Economics from Rutgers University and an MBA from Texas A&M University.
Rohit Mehrotra is Head of Relationship Management at SVB Private Bank, Wealth, Trust & Wine. He was previously head of the Central and South Jersey region of JP Morgan Private Bank, based in the firm’s Princeton office. He holds an MBA from Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business and a BS in Applied Economics from Cornell.
Neha Desai Shah is Co-Founder, President and Board Member of GEP, a provider of supply chain solutions for global enterprises. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, a Bachelor of Science in Economics, and an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from the University of Pennsylvania.
David Walker is an experienced non-profit leader and is currently the CEO of Visions and Pathways in Bridgewater. Visions and Pathways programs include arts and recreation, independent living skills program, emergency shelter, group homes, affordable housing, behavioral health counseling and other health and service activities social.
“Our new directors bring a wealth of fresh energy, connections and wisdom to our joint work to create a McCarter that is at the intersection of arts and ideas – and at the center of national and local relevance,” said Sarah Rasmussen, artistic director of McCater.
More information: www.mccarter.org.