A very uncomfortable NJIT Open House

During an open house visit at NJIT today, my family had the opportunity visit the College of Architecture and Design specifically to visit the Interior Design program. The tours and presentations conducted by the adjunct faculty were very well done. The instructors all work professionally in their fields in addition to teaching so it was wonderful to hear them talk about their projects.

HOWEVER the presentation conducted by the Director of the School of Arts and Design covering the academic and portfolio requirements needs an overhaul. I have never witnessed a school director do such a disservice to their program during a presentation until today. In the last 5 minutes of his talk, he noticed a young woman using her phone to record his presentation and what happened afterwards I thought was disrespectful and borderline unprofessional. In addition to asking her to stop, he became very angry and basically belittled her for at least 2 minutes. The audience could tell that she was getting upset and my only regret was not speaking up to defend this young woman. As a parent who has been to many recruiting and open house events, two things always happen when a college representative starts their presentation:

The presenters state whether its okay to either record video or take pictures of slides for backup. Some say photos are fine but video is not which is understandable as they don't want to be on YouTube.

The presenters state if this information is already provided in the given packet or if it is on the the school's website. This is a nice courtesy since being a scribe for an hour is not fun.

Neither of these things happened. There were student portfolio examples provided by the director to give a level of expectations but this was commingled with other important details. Now he may have received permission from the students to use their work but lecturing a potential student due to his lack of oversight I thought to reflect poorly on him, the program, and the school. A 17-18 year old HS kid is not going to understand copyright law in this context. If there was any fault in the presentation, it was the director’s and the director’s alone. This was a 60+ year old man, who has probably done this several times, and failed to plan for this likelihood. All of this could have been easily avoided with simple ground rules at the beginning with the combination of a rewrite so that audience members can take photos of the 10 bullet slides.

This was a very uncomfortable and upsetting event and was a disservice to the faculty who volunteered to their time to sell this program today. This simply did not need to happen. Hopefully the other admissions staff that were present will address this in the future.

I hope you sent a letter going over this to both admissions and to the office of the president.