School of Environmental and Biological Sciences Dean Transition

January 24, 2020

Dear Rutgers Faculty and Staff:

Please join me in extending gratitude and best wishes to Robert M. Goodman, who will be stepping down at the end of his term as Executive Dean of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and Executive Director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station on June 30, 2020.

Dean Goodman has had an enduring impact as the 10th dean of what started as the Rutgers Scientific School. Upon his arrival to Rutgers 15 years ago during a transformational time in undergraduate education, he ably navigated the challenges of changing the name—but not the mission—of the school, reshaping its culture, reinvesting in its faculty and infrastructure, and aligning it more centrally to the mission of "The State University of New Jersey."

Since then, the core values driving Dean Goodman’s leadership have been consistent: striving for access, excellence, and relevance. Examples include resurrecting the teaching of agriculture to undergraduates, changing the curricula to add more contemporary majors, minors and certificate programs, and envisioning the emergence of microbiome studies at Rutgers by recruiting two senior faculty to grow what has become a major collective initiative for Rutgers–New Brunswick and RBHS. He has also developed a strong international program to support faculty research, grown international enrollment, and provided study abroad and international service-learning opportunities for students.

During his tenure as dean, Bob restructured the school’s leadership based on the principle of shared governance with a strong, balanced role taken by the faculty. He also fostered a strong research culture and introduced a more effective focus on academic planning and assessment. He was instrumental in creating the first advancement model at Rutgers, introducing innovations in community and alumni engagement, communications and marketing, joint faculty appointments, and cooperation in spousal hiring. 

Dean Goodman led the creation of several new centers and institutes, including the world-class Rutgers Center for Ocean Observing Leadership where students can push the limits of ocean sciences and new technologies. He also led the visioning and fundraising for the $55 million signature building for the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health—the first major academic facility to be built on the Cook campus since 1995.

As Executive Director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Dean Goodman strengthened relationships with stakeholders across the state. He steered the experiment station to be more strongly focused on engagement and entrepreneurialism, initiated business incubators in the food and alternative energy sectors, and set the experiment station on a more sustainable path to relevance in areas central to the mission of Rutgers as the state’s land-grant university.

Dean Goodman’s commitment to applied engagement and entrepreneurism also reached global audiences through his leadership as principal investigator of the New Agriculture for a New Generation project in Greece. Funded in 2017 by a Stavros Niarchos Foundation grant of $27.5 million, the largest single gift to the Rutgers Foundation at the time, the project calls for prescriptive remedies to engage youth, create business incubators, and develop enterprises in the agriculture and food sectors, technology exchange, and youth mentoring, which are all areas strongly aligned with the NJAES.

Dean Goodman’s contributions to New Jersey, the country and the world have been transformational, and he leaves behind a lasting impact. Please join me in thanking Bob for his leadership and wishing him success in his continued service as a distinguished professor.

An announcement regarding the transition in leadership of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead.



Christopher J. Molloy, Ph.D.
Chancellor, Rutgers University–New Brunswick