Thomas Edison State University is undertaking a comprehensive strategic plan for the future of the John S. Watson School of Public Service. Thanks to a grant provided by the TESU Foundation, the University will work with consultants to develop a strategic plan that would guide the work of the Watson School over the next five years.

The outcome of the strategic plan is expected to identify the best means to advance the mission of the Watson School to strengthen the capacity of leaders in public service careers and to support informed public policy. At the same time the university has announced a search for a Dean of Public Service to lead the academic programs of the John S. Watson School of Public Service and execute the strategic plan.

The Watson School’s academic programs have always attracted students and mentors who are actively engaged in current public policy issues.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare systemic inequities in our cities and our country, and the need for public service-focused work has never been more important,” said Dr. Merodie A. Hancock, president, Thomas Edison State University. “As Trenton’s anchor institution, we look forward to the strategic planning process and identifying how TESU can strengthen our public service programs with a focus on our home city.”

A new dean is expected to bring a vision for how the John S. Watson School of Public Service can understand and address the post-COVID needs of Trenton and other urban communities and incorporate them into an innovative public service agenda and curriculum.

As New Jersey’s only public, adult-serving institution of higher learning, the university prepares and equips students who are already working in the field and students who want to change careers to public service so that they are as impactful as possible in their public service work through real-time, real-world problem solving.

“The dean’s position will be instrumental in driving student scholarship and success,” said Dr. Cynthia Baum, provost and vice president of academic affairs at TESU. “The university has a proud history of leading public policy initiatives. Through this position we intend to continue that work, while building on the university’s existing relationships with the greater Trenton community, New Jersey and the federal government.”

In addition to the work of the John S. Watson School of Public Service, TESU is actively involved in federal, state and local public policy through the work of the university’s Division of Community and Government Affairs. To broaden and deepen local community outreach work, the Division of Community and Government Affairs is adding a Community Engagement Coordinator to partner with the city of Trenton, its residents and stakeholders to advance the mission and goals of the university and contribute to an enriched and robust local community.

“The Thomas Edison motto is ‘learning through life,’ said Hancock.  “As such, we will continue to grow and deepen our commitment to engaged learning that empowers our communities through active learning, public service work and university outreach.”