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Words Matter: NJ Higher Ed Leaders Provide Civic Vision for 21st Century
Seton Hall > News & Events 

WSOUProfessor Judith Stark and Michael Zavada, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, are among five New Jersey academic leaders featured this week on NJ Arts News five-part radio series: Words Matter. NJ Arts News produced this series of interviews with leaders of New Jersey higher education to explore and define vital connections among civics, media, sustainability, and democracy. The inaugural radio broadcast of the entire five-part radio series can be heard on Seton Hall Pirate Radio WSOU FM 89.5 FM at 7 p.m., Monday, June 16 through Friday, June 20, 2014.

Judith Stark, Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of the Environmental Studies Program, explores the intersection of philosophy, ethics, and an "attunement to nature." Noting the "deep systemic changes that are going to be required in the next 10 to 15 years" she observes that "without a healthy planet, we cannot be healthy people." Dr. Stark defines quality of life as the ability "to direct one’s life in a way that suits one’s character and values."

While most of his time is now devoted to his role as chief academic officer of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dean Zavada still enjoys spending time in the laboratory. A scholar and biologist, he has broad and varied scientific interests, including elucidating the time and place of origin of the angiosperms, paleo-evironmental reconstruction, eco-physiology, reproductive biology, plant – animal interactions, archeological pollen analysis, ethnobotany, and aerobiology (airborne particles and public health).

In his segment, Dean Zavada explores environmental change as a "test of humanity," the necessity of a knowledgeable citizenry around sustainability, decision-making based on economic factors and the ethical dimension of exploring these issues today and future generation.

"Facilitating dialogue and exploring new ideas are an important part of noncommercial radio's mission and WSOU is proud to be the inaugural broadcast station for Words Matter," says WSOU general manager Mark Maben. The series will also be incorporated into Pirate News Desk (Saturdays at 7:30 a.m.) during the months of June and July. The series will also be made available as podcasts at, and will be accessible on the NJ Arts News YouTube channel.

Three other distinguished educators featured in Words Matter are Princeton University's President Emerita Dr. Shirley Tilghman; Dr. Peter Mercer, President, Ramapo College; and Dr. Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Rutgers University, Newark. Words Matter is funded in part by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. To learn more about the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, see

Words Matter Series Overview

Part I: Dr. Peter Mercer, President, Ramapo College
Peter Mercer shares thoughts, humor, and personal anecdotes on the challenges and rewards of college leadership, the central role of humanities in education, and the importance of words and meaning.

Part II: Dr. Judith Stark, Professor of Philosophy, Co-director of Environmental Studies, Associate Director of Honors Program, Seton Hall University
Judith Stark suggests "quality of life," as a new metric, and to ensure a healthy, thriving planet, underscores the need for citizen responsibility, respect for nature, and a rich interior life.

Part III: Dr. Nancy Cantor, Chancellor, Rutgers University – Newark
Nancy Cantor speaks about Newark's potential for growth, her love of Social Psychology and creative dialogue, and the news media's role in empowering diverse voices and fostering collaboration.

Part IV: Dr. Michael Zavada, Dean of Arts and Sciences & Professor of Biology, Seton Hall University, and Dr. Judith Stark
Michael Zavada speaks about environmental change as a "test of humanity," and the necessity of citizen knowledge and civic action.

Part V: Dr. Shirley Tilghman, President Emerita, Princeton University
Shirley Tilghman discusses arts as central to undergraduate education, the urgency of "putting a price on carbon" to motivate environmental stewardship, and the need for women in leadership.

For more information please contact:
Laurie Pine
(973) 378-2638


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