By Elizabeth Scalzo
FDU is moving into an age of “one university, many dreams” as a new strategic plan goes into effect, replacing the 2015-2020 plan.
What does that mean for students and the current administrators?
On Monday, FDU students received an email update disclosing that the dean of students and campus executive positions for the Metropolitan and Florham campuses will be removed from the university administrative structure, effective fall 2021, replaced by new executive positions and structures to serve the New Jersey campuses of the university. The university has been planning this restructuring since it was unveiled in 2018.
The new update was preceded by social-media activism in protest of this move. A group of students from the Florham campus created a “Save FDU” Instagram page, a representative told The Equinox via Instagram DM.
“Save FDU” claims that without the dean of students and campus executive offices, the student voice will no longer be heard, and that these positions should stay as is.
The page also claims everything in student life will be affected — from athletics to counseling.
In the “Save FDU” page bio, there is a change.org petition asking students to sign to save the jobs of these administrators. The online petition had over 140 signatures by early Wednesday afternoon.
The restructuring does not eliminate the offices completely, but restructures them, and the email states most staff will be retained.
Vidal Lopez is the dean of students for the Metro campus and has been in this role since 2017. Lopez also worked as FDU’s assistant dean of students from 2010 to 2017.
Steve Nelson, the current Metro campus executive, was appointed in 2019 and did not work at FDU beforehand.
“I do have short answers for you now,” Angelo Carfagna, associate vice president for university communications, said in response to questions from The Equinox.
The Equinox: Will this restructuring affect student jobs within these offices?
The Equinox: Will orientation continue to be run by the new positions and will it continue to be separate orientations for each campus?
Carfagna: Yes and yes
The Equinox: Will funding that comes out of these offices for clubs, organizations and even scholarships be affected in any way?
Understanding University Communication
To better understand this restructuring, students may benefit from understanding organization communication flow and how it is relevant to our university’s operations.
We have a board of trustees to whom FDU President Christopher Capuano reports all updates regarding the university. Capuano gets that information from his staff of administrators (vice presidents).
Under each of those people are department heads, who work on each campus running the day-to-day staff. Under those department heads, there are supervisors or management staff and general employees.
This hierarchy of communication comes from general management for business courses and the chart below comes from a business-course study tool, study.com.
Implementing the new vice president positions makes sense in this hierarchy, so the President only has one person to hear from that can relay information back to both campus offices, rather than two people who each run a single campus.
Strategic planning often leads to structural changes in organizational hierarchies. The implementation of these new positions does not mean the departments below them are being eliminated, said Capuano in the email.
The specific structure of the new departments is still unclear, but retainment of the staff on both campuses will still have people on the ground, working and fulfilling students needs.
This should serve as a relief to students.