COVID-19 FAQ

The faculty and administration of the Rutgers School Nursing are committed to providing timely answers to questions from our students. As such, we have compiled the below list of frequently asked questions to facilitate an expedient answers to your questions.  If you do not see the answers to your questions below, please feel free to reach out to your Academic Deans and Student Services.  You may also choose to reach out to us by calling the School of Nursing Student Hotline at 973-370-5922.  

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions that have not been addressed here, please send an email to Dr. Wendy Budin.
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REMOTE INSTRUCTION: THEORY CLASSES
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How long will classes be offered online?
The School of Nursing is currently delivering in-person classes remotely, i.e., synchronous classes using remote technology. In other words, we have NOT changed to an online format. At this time, faculty are planning to continue offering didactic (lecture) classes using remote technologies until the University gives the “go ahead” to resume in-person classes.

How will a student continue to meet their coursework requirements with the changes in course delivery technologies?
Faculty are committed to using the university learning platforms to deliver a virtual or remote experience with content that is identical to what students would receive in a traditional classroom setting. Some faculty will use voice over PowerPoints some of the time (what is referred to as asynchronous teaching); but the emphasis will be on using synchronous technology such as WebEx, Zoom, Big Blue Button etc. The synchronous technology supports the interaction with faculty on screen, in real time; similar to the actual classroom, questions can be asked, unclear content can be clarified, student presentations can continue, and discussions can be facilitated.

Will summer didactic (lecture) classes continue to be offered using remote technologies?
Yes, the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs announced on March 26 that the 2020 Rutgers University summer session will proceed as scheduled, but, “because of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, instruction for all courses will be offered remotely. As you know, spring 2020 courses are being offered via remote instruction, and we will utilize that same delivery system for summer session courses.” As such, School of Nursing faculty are planning to continue offering didactic classes using remote technologies.

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PRACTICUM HOURS/EXPERIENCES
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How can we, as students, achieve clinical competence without traditional clinical experiences?
It is true that clinical experiences connect theory to what happens in the “real” world. This semester, our undergraduate students completed 50% of clinical time in direct patient care. The remaining 50% is being provided through remote clinical experiences. These remote clinical experiences will be used by all of the clinical instructors of a particular course, thereby ensuring consistency across sections. These remote experiences include activities that are purposely designed to develop critical thinking and clinical judgement skills, which are the foundation for providing safe, competent nursing care. We are pleased to report that, so far, after one week of remote clinical experiences, student feedback has been positive.

What type of clinical experiences should students expect in the Summer and Fall Sessions?
We anticipate that there will be direct patient care clinical experiences as well as remote clinical experiences this summer. We will ensure that there is access to personal protective equipment (PPE) in scheduled clinical experiences.

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GRADING, PASS/NO CREDIT, WITHDRAWAL
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Will a passing grade of 74.5 still be required to pass a nursing course?
Yes, the passing grade will remain 74.5%. Classes are conducted the same as usual, albeit remotely.

Can I opt for a Pass/No Credit (sometimes called Pass/Fail) in a nursing course?
Although you may opt for a Pass/No Credit grade (rather than a letter grade) in a non-nursing or prerequisite course, you do not have the option of a Pass/No Credit grade in nursing courses. For more information on the Pass/No Credit option for non-nursing courses, please see the Provost’s website at: https://nbprovost.rutgers.edu/guidance-faq

If I receive a Pass grade (on a Pass/No Credit grading scale) on a required prerequisite course, will it still fulfill that requirement?
We do not ordinarily accept Pass/No Credit grades, but these are extraordinary times and we recognize that some students have either opted to take a non-nursing prerequisite on a Pass/No Credit (also referred to as Pass/Fail) basis or attended schools that have decided to give Pass/No Credit grades rather than the traditional letter grades. So, yes, pre-requisite courses may be taken as Pass/No Credit during this period of COVID-19 response. If you receive a Pass grade, you will have fulfilled the School’s requirements. If you fail the course or receive “NC”, it will not fulfill requirements.

How will Pass/No Credit grades look on graduate school applications?
It is best to check with those institutions to see if they have made a statement about how Pass/No Credit courses will be handled. We do know that if you are applying to Rutgers, we will accept the Pass/No Credit option for non-nursing courses taken during this period of time.

Because of all that is going on, my grades are dropping. What should I do?
Faculty and staff are committed to assisting our students with successful course completion. If you, or someone you know, is having any difficulty with a class, contact your professor for additional support. Also, please note that Student Services as well as the Office of Academic Success are available as usual, just online.

This pandemic has caused hardship for me (and my family), can I withdraw from my class(es)?
Yes, of course, however we would like to offer you more time to review and recalibrate your academic performance, given the possible hardships that could impede your academic progress. To this end, the Course Withdrawal deadline to drop a class with a W through WebReg has been extended to April 10. With the permission of your dean and under extenuating circumstances, you could even request to withdraw from the Spring 2020 session as late as April 30.

If I withdraw from my classes, am I guaranteed to return to the program when those courses are offered again?
If you withdraw during these uncertain times of COVID-19, and are in good academic standing, you can return at the time the course is again offered. If this entails a prolonged lag, you may be required to participate in remediation.

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GRADUATION
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Is Rutgers moving degree conferral forward (to an earlier date) for nursing students expected to graduate spring 2020?
It is anticipated that students eligible for graduation will have met all degree requirements and taken the the 3-day HESI review prior to the end of April. Since the current crisis has caused us to postpone our May Commencement originally scheduled for May 20, the School of Nursing is exploring the possibility of conferring the BSN degree to eligible graduates prior to the 20th of May.
More information is forthcoming.

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COVID-19
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In what ways is Rutgers Nursing helping students facing unexpected challenges because of COVID-19?
We appreciate the stress that everyone is under and want you to reach out. The School of Nursing has resources for both academic and personal support. We will be implementing a series of webinars helping students manage the stresses of the current situation and are considering other options such as online support groups and a student hotline.
DIVISION OF ADVANCED NURSING PRACTICE

If you have any questions that have not been addressed here, please send an email to
Dr. Sharon Anderson, anderssl@sn.rutgers.edu or leave a comment on this form

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Town Hall Recordings
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We held town halls in April 2020 to answer many program-specific questions. Links to recordings are below.
Town Hall: AGAC, ED, Anesthesia Programs
Town Hall: FNP, AGPC Programs
Town Hall: May 2020 Graduates
Town Hall: Leadership, Informatics, Psych/Mental Health Programs
Town Hall: Pediatrics Program
Town Hall: Women’s Health, Midwifery, and Dual Programs

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ALL STUDENTS
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I do not feel that I am able to continue my clinical hours, including project hours, this semester. Will my faculty and Specialty Director support me in this decision and allow me to complete the hours at a more feasible time?
Yes. Your faculty understand this is an unprecedented and stressful time. Options for completing hours at a more feasible time, if needed, are included below.

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FINAL SEMESTER STUDENTS
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I have completed the requirements for my program. Is there anything else I need to do to graduate in May?
If you have met the minimum total clinical (direct and indirect) patient hour requirements to sit for your certification examination, completed the spring practicum course/assignments, and have a satisfactory final clinical evaluation for the term, you are eligible to graduate upon course/program completion.

I have completed the required minimum direct patient clinical hours for my specialty but not total hours for my program. Do I need to complete the remaining clinical hours for the course this semester?
Yes. Indirect hours can be completed through remote clinical experiences, case studies and simulation. These indirect care experiences are currently being offered in all practicum courses. Continue to document and log indirect clinical hours and when complete, submit them to your course faculty and/or Specialty/Program Director to complete your graduation audit.

I have completed the total required program hours, do I need to participate in the remaining remote clinical experiences that are part of the practicum course?
Yes. Participation in the remote clinical experiences and conferences is required to pass the course.

I have not completed the required minimum direct patient hours to graduate and I am no longer in clinical. How does that impact me?
• If the minimum direct patient hours have not been completed, they will need to be completed prior to receiving a grade for the course.
• If the hours are not completed by the end of the semester, you will receive an IP (in progress) grade and graduation will need to be delayed.
• The IP will allow up to a year to complete the required clinical/associated coursework. There will be no additional tuition or fees charged for continuation of clinical hours into other semesters.
• As soon as the total clinical hours are completed, the School will provide documentation of “completion of degree requirements” which will meet the requirements to sit for your certification examination.

Can you please clarify the in-progress (IP) grade?
When the FAQs were initially posted, we had planned to use the in-progress (IP) code (this allows students up to 1 year to complete the course. Unfortunately, the registrar is unable to apply that code to these courses. As such, students who are unable to finish a spring course(s) will receive an incomplete (I) for the course. Of note, for courses taken during the Spring 2020 semester, the I grade will be honored as an IP, allowing additional time to complete the course if needed. Once the course requirements have been completed (at any point of a subsequent semester), a Change of Grade form will be submitted by the faculty/Specialty/Program Director.
 
For May 2020 graduates, there is a deadline for the University to report official graduate numbers and we have learned that we are unable to report students as an official graduate with Incomplete/In-progress grade(s) on your transcript. As such, if you are unable to complete a course in its entirety by the end of the spring semester (last day of the semester is May 13, and last day to submit grades is May 15), you will be reported as a graduate at which time the final grade is resolved? As soon as you have completed all program graduation requirements, the School of Nursing can provide a letter of completion, which we believe (we are checking with the certifying agencies to confirm) will be sufficient to allow you to sit for your boards.

My clinical site is no longer able to accommodate my clinical learning. Is there any way I can complete my remaining direct clinical hours before May?
We are actively working to identify clinical opportunities that may be available to students and will be sending out a survey to determine who wants to avail themselves of these experiences at this time.

If I find a new clinical site to complete my spring clinical hours into the summer, do I need to fill out a new Clinical Placement Form?
Yes. If you are attending a new site, or the same site beyond the contract end date (which is the last day of the Spring Semester) you must have a new contract in place prior to attending.
 
I have been asked by my place of employment to complete my clinical hours with them, because they need additional help during the crisis. I know that this is generally not allowed, but will it be considered for the duration of the COVID pandemic?
A situation such as this should be discussed with your Specialty Director and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. We are trying to be as flexible as possible but we have concerns you will not receive the support/preceptorship/mentorship you need as a Nurse Practitioner student due to the emergency situation. Our priorities remain ensuring your health and safety and providing an appropriate and well-supported learning environment. If you are working at a site where you can clearly demonstrate these are not concerns, it may be considered.
*Please note: If this is agreed upon and the site being proposed is one that has informed the School they are not taking students during the crisis, that communication must be amended to explicitly state the change in policy and the student is permitted at the site.

Does telehealth count as direct patient hours?
Yes. Telehealth counts as direct patient hours, but it must include actual (not simulated) patients. If this is an option through your clinical site, this is worth pursuing. The School is working to identify possible telehealth experiences that could count as direct clinical hours

I am unsure if I have enough clinical hours to graduate, what do I do?
We have compiled a list of students currently enrolled in clinical and have tracked their clinical hours (in the program and for the semester). If you have not yet discussed this with your Specialty/Program Director, please contact them to identify the gaps and develop a plan to address those gaps.

By any chance, can I apply any of my DNP Project hours to my missing indirect practicum hours?
This is a definite possibility but will need to be evaluated on an individual basis. DNP and direct/indirect clinical hours cannot be counted twice, but if there are activities that may apply to your specialty practicum and you have enough DNP hours, it is possible these hours could be moved and applied.

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CONTINUING STUDENTS
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I have completed the required minimum number of direct patient and indirect clinical hours for my practicum course this semester. Is there anything else I need to do?
If you have met the minimum clinical (direct and indirect) hour requirements, completed corresponding assignments, and have a satisfactory final clinical evaluation for the term there is nothing you need to do at this time.

I was not able to complete the required minimum direct patient clinical hours for my practicum course and I am no longer in clinical. How and when do I complete those hours?
• In collaboration with the Specialty/Program Directors and practicum faculty, the direct and indirect clinical hours for each student are being tracked.
• If the minimum direct patient and indirect clinical hours have not been completed, they will need to be completed prior to receiving a grade for the course.
• If the hours are not completed by the end of the semester, you will receive an IP (in progress) grade and we will work with you to complete these additional hours in upcoming semesters.
• The IP will allow up to a year to complete the required clinical/associated coursework. There will be no additional tuition or fees charged for continuation of clinical hours into other semesters.

Can you please clarify the in-progress (IP) grade?
When the FAQs were initially posted, we had planned to use the in-progress (IP) code (this allows students up to 1 year to complete the course). Unfortunately, the registrar is unable to apply that code to these courses. As such, students who are unable to finish a spring course(s) will receive an incomplete (I) for the course. Of note, for courses taken during the Spring 2020 semester, the I grade will be honored as an IP, allowing additional time to complete the course if needed. Once the course requirements have been completed (at any point of a subsequent semester), a Change of Grade form will be submitted by the faculty/Specialty/Program Director. Of note, the IP grade will continue to be used for DNP Project courses as they have in the past.
 
My hospital will not reimbursement for an incomplete grade and, there is a short window within which they will reimburse. What if my hospital will not reimburse me for the grade because of this delay?
We recommend you speak directly with your facility to see if they can “bend the rules” regarding this. These are unusual circumstances and it is our hope, they can work with students to alleviate this concern.

If I have an IP for my spring course, can I take the summer courses for which the spring course is a pre-requisite?
In the absence of any clinical competency concerns documented or verbalized by your practicum faculty and/or preceptor, an IP for the spring course will not prevent you from taking the subsequent summer practicum course.

Does telehealth count as direct patient hours?
Yes. Telehealth counts as direct patient hours, but it must include actual (not simulated) patients. If this is an option through your clinical site, this is worth pursuing. The School is working to identify possible telehealth experiences that could count as direct clinical hours.

What options are there for clinical experiences, either to complete my spring hours or if I am scheduled to take a clinical course in the summer?
The School of Nursing is working diligently to identify relevant in-person and remote clinical learning experiences in which students may opt to participate. We will be sending a survey to determine who wants to avail themselves of these potential experiences at this time.

Does the School of Nursing have a plan to help students displaced from their clinical sites, or who wish to continue into the Summer Semester find sites at which to do that?
Yes. Dr. Susan VonNessen-Scanlin has been working diligently to find opportunities for our students. We are evaluating opportunities with University Hospital in Occupational Health call center and Ambulatory Care. She is also working with RWJBarnabas Health to secure placement for continuing spring and summer students. Dr. VonNessen-Scanlin is working with the Specialty/Program Directors to facilitate placements as able.
 
If I find a new clinical site to complete my spring clinical hours into the summer, do we need to fill out a new Clinical Placement Form?
Yes. If you are attending a new site, or the same site beyond the contract end date (which is the last day of the Spring Semester) you must have a new contract in place prior to attending.
 
What if another wave of COVID hits preventing me from completing the remaining spring clinical hours this fall?
This remains on our radar but it’s difficult to plan that far ahead. Our priority has been for Specialty/Program Directors to establish an individual plan with each student to complete remaining spring hours and secondly, securing summer clinical sites for summer students. As soon as you complete remaining spring clinical hours, a change of grade can be submitted to change the I to the grade earned. Our goal is to allow students to complete spring as soon as possible (whether early in the summer or fall semester, depending on your program). Should you be short hours this fall or next spring while trying to catch up, the Incomplete process will stand for each course, respectively.
 
How are we supposed to be recording clinical hours in Typhon?
We have noticed inconsistent student, specialty, and faculty documentation in Typhon based. If you have questions regarding Typhon logs and the hours completed and where they have been logged, please reach out to your Specialty/Program Director to discuss/clarify.

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SUMMER COURSES
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I received an email that states all summer courses will be offered remotely. What does that mean?
At the University level it has been decided all summer courses will be offered remotely. Please note, remote courses may include synchronous meetings using Canvas, WebEx, Zoom, etc. and examinations through Proctortrack, as well as asynchronous content. As such, if you are enrolled in an in-person class, the remote instruction will occur at the published time unless otherwise guided by course faculty. Faculty will continue to make provisions such as taping live lectures to accommodate students who may be working extra shifts.

If summer courses are going to be offered remotely, can I take the summer session off and return this fall?
All students learn differently and we recognize remote instruction may not be a good fit for everyone. Discuss with your Specialty/Program Director or divisional dean regarding how this would affect your progression and date of graduation.

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SUMMER PRACTICUM
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What is the plan for practicum courses for the summer?
The School of Nursing is working diligently to identify relevant in-person and remote clinical learning experiences in which students may opt to participate. We will be sending a survey to determine who wants to avail themselves of these potential experiences.

I need to take Health Assessment this summer. Will the lab be virtual or in-person?
This summer, the didactic portion of Health Assessment will take place with remote instruction. As we have done this semester, Health Assessment may include virtual components such as virtual assessment options and small in-person lab meetings that honor social distancing restrictions to ensure students experience hands-on learning and use of equipment.


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DNP PROJECTS
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What is happening with regard to potential delays with DNP projects?
COVID-19 Plans
We recognize the impact COVID-19 may present to the implementation of DNP Projects. With delays already imposed by completing clinical hours, we are working to prevent/anticipate delays. DNP Course Faculty have been asked to review projects with students to ensure there is a COVID-19 or alternative COVID-19 plan for all projects (this will be required for IRB submission).  Rutgers IRB is reviewing projects, but it is recommended you reach out to your site for clarification regarding their IRB process.
 
Implementation Course
We anticipate there may be delays and as such, will offer the Implementation course in both the Fall and Spring semesters. This will allow students to enroll in the course when it is most appropriate for them. We will also be a little more flexible with requirements for taking the course (e.g., instead of requiring all IRB approvals prior to enrollment, we may allow students to begin the course with the Rutgers IRB review underway). If you have received IRB approval(s) you will progress as planned. The best case-scenario is to receive IRB approval this summer and take Implementation this fall.
 
Project Continuation-Fall 2020
If you are unable to begin implementation at the appropriate time, you will be enrolled in the Project Continuation course for the fall semester. It is unclear at this time, but we are discussing whether the 1-credit fee may be waived. More information regarding this will be available soon.
 
Please reach out to Dr. Tracy Vitale with project-specific inquiries.

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EARLY GRADUATION
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I heard that some schools across the country are graduating health professional students early. Does the School of Nursing plan to graduate NP students early?
Due to strict requirements regarding completion of the required direct patient clinical hours to sit for certification, we will not be considering early graduation for Nurse Practitioner, Anesthesia or Midwifery students.

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PRACTICUM ATTENDANCE
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My clinical site has terminated all students, but my preceptor would like me to still attend. Can I attend and complete my spring clinical hours?
Under no circumstance should a student be present in a practicum setting that has terminated students.
1) What are some technology resources offered by the School of Nursing?
Please visit our webpage
If you have additional questions or need support please email us:
Email: son_it-admins@sn.rutgers.edu

2) Where can I get updates on graduation ceremonies (convocation and commencement)?
Please check the following webpages for updates:
Nursing Convocation | University Commencement
Additional questions or concerns please email: songraduation@sn.rutgers.edu

3) How can I receive tutoring or academic coaching remotely?
Please visit our webpage
If you have additional questions or need support please email us:
Email: academic.success@sn.rutgers.edu

4) How do I get in touch with financial aid?
Please review link to contact the most appropriate office based on the programs and/or campus you identify with: Financial Aid Office

5) How can I get answers to questions about clinical clearance?
Please visit the clinical clearance website:
If you have additional questions or concerns please email us
Email: clinicalclearance@sn.rutgers.edu

6) How can I receive mental health support remotely?
Each campus is offering remote support. Please review our student resources page and select your specific campus and/or program to contact the most appropriate office. If you have additional questions or concerns about the process please contact the department of Student Engagement: student.engagement@sn.rutgers.edu

7) Who should I contact with questions about registration?
Please visit our registration webpage
If you have additional questions or concerns please email us
Email: registrar@sn.rutgers.edu

8) Who do I contact for academic advisement?

Undergraduate Advisement (Traditional Newark, New Brunswick & RN to BS students): Please review our webpage with resources and advisors contact information: View Advisement page

Undergraduate Advisement (Blackwood students): Please contact Michael Varano, mv372@sn.rutgers.edu

Second Degree Advisement: Please contact your academic deans
• Newark Campus: Dr. MaryJo Bugel, email: bugelma@sn.rutgers.edu
If you have additional questions please contact: Shakira Adams, addamssa@sn.rutgers.edu
• New Brunswick Campus: Dr. Barbara Cannella, email: cannella@rutgers.edu
If you have additional questions please contact: Laura Stone, ls706@sn.rutgers.edu

Graduate Student Advisement (MSN & DNP): Please contact your specialty director

If you have additional questions please contact: Delores Sarfo-Darko, Delores.SarfoDarko@sn.rutgers.edu

Graduate Student Advisement (PhD): Please contact your faculty advisor
If you have additional questions please contact: Delores Sarfo-Darko, Delores.SarfoDarko@sn.rutgers.edu

9) What types of computing devices work best at the School of Nursing?
The School of Nursing’s IST Team offers support for various devices (e.g. laptops, tablets and smartphones). While we strive to offer an exceptional technology experience to every member of our community there are a few devices that will restrict or will not allow you to have access to all of the School of Nursing IT resources.

MacBooks provide limited access to the School’s IT resources, key services and software limited by MacBook usage include VPN Access, Web Printing Services, Examplify for exams. Chromebooks are prohibited to be used with School of Nursing IT Resources.

Windows/PC devices are the most recommended devices. These devices allow you to have access to all School of Nursing’s IT resources

If you would like to inquire more information please visit the Student Computing Webpage

10) What is the phone number for the School of Nursing Student Hotline?
973-370-5922

11) What if I still have questions or concerns?
Please visit our student resource page for updates and additional resources

In addition to our resource page, if you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the Department of Student Engagement team for any questions or concerns. All team members are available to meet via phone or video conference through WebEx. Please email your Student

Engagement campus support team member to schedule a time to connect.
• General inquires
student.engagement@sn.rutgers.edu
• Graduation inquiries
songraduation@sn.rutgers.edu
• New Brunswick Campus: Laura Stone
ls706@sn.rutgers.edu
• Newark Campus: Shakira Adams
addamssa@sn.rutgers.edu
• Blackwood Campus: Michael Varano
mv372@sn.rutgers.edu
• Graduate Students: Delores Sarfo-Darko
Delores.SarfoDarko@sn.rutgers.edu