The University will be conducting a national search for the next Chancellor of Rutgers—New Brunswick after the school announced that the current position holder Richard L. Edwards will be stepping down at the end of the 2016-2017 academic year.
In a message sent out Wednesday afternoon, University President Robert L. Barchi told students that Edwards made the decision to resign from the position during the summer. Edwards will continue as chancellor in June and return to the faculty as a professor following a year-long sabbatical.
"When I arrived here four years ago, Dick — who was interim president that summer — helped make my transition to the Rutgers presidency as smooth as possible," Barchi said in the email.
Describing Edwards as "a trusted advisor" and "innovative and creative problem solver," Barchi went on to note some of the chancellor's accomplishments during his short two-year stint.
Edwards said he enjoyed his work as chancellor but that it was time for him to move on with his work.
"I want to spend more time with my grandkids," he said. "I have loved all the jobs I have had at Rutgers, but I think it’s time to do other things. I expect to be taking a sabbatical, and then I expect to return to teaching."
Edwards, who was named chancellor in 2014, boasts a laundry list of previous positions at the University, including interim president, interim chancellor, dean of the School of Social Work and executive vice president for academic affairs.
The chancellor was involved in executing Rutgers' new budgeting model and advancing the school's international programs. He formed the Rutgers—New Brunswick Task Force on Inclusion and Community Values as well as the Committee on Enslaved and Disenfranchised Populations in Rutgers History, both of which Barchi called "critically important" to the University.
Students can see Edwards' mark on the school with his involvement in the New Brunswick Strategic Plan, which has led to the development of this year's newly-opened academic building on College Avenue and the $92 million apartment complex at the corner of Hamilton Street and Easton Avenue.
The plan has also led to the development of an improved student advising system and other support structures, Barchi said.
While Edwards does not plan to launch any new initiatives during his final year in office, he does intend to continue improving existing ones, he said.
"(I want to continue) the things that I’ve done enhancing the student experience, especially for first-year students," he said. "Enhancing, in particular, the student advising system, we have a lot of initiatives that are underway to (help students)."
Edwards said he enjoyed working with students, and especially with the leadership of different student organizations on campus.
Several of his initiatives involved collaborations with students and faculty members at Rutgers.
"I think we have a fantastic faculty, and a great hardworking staff, and I think we have an impressive group of students," Edwards said. "I’ve been particularly pleased with my opportunities to interact with the leadership of RUSA and the leadership of many other student organizations, and I think that this is just a really great place."
Rutgers is in a good position as an institution after recently entering the Big Ten Conference in 2014, he said.
"I’m pretty comfortable with what we’ve been doing, what we’ve been able to accomplish and I’ll be interested in as time goes by in seeing what happens here at Rutgers," he said. "I think the University is in great shape, going into the Big Ten and the Big Ten Academic Alliance was a wonderful feat for Rutgers."
Edwards also collaborated with Rutgers University Police Department Chief Kenneth Cop to increase public safety by installing security cameras in off-campus neighborhoods, among other measures.
"I’ve been in a lot of universities and I have to say that Rutgers is just top of the heap as far as I’m concerned in terms of the quality of the University and the people that are here," Edwards said. "I’m appreciative of the cooperation I've got from the faculty and the students and I feel that this has been a wonderful experience for me thus far, and I look forward to continuing it but in a different role."
Avalon Zoppo is the managing editor of The Daily Targum. She is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science. Follow her on Twitter @AvalonZoppo for more stories.
Nikhilesh De is the news editor of The Daily Targum. He is a School of Engineering senior. Follow him on Twitter @nikhileshde for more.