- New Jersey Institute of Technology
- Rutgers University Newark
- University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
Robert (Rob) S. Daniel
Date passed dissertation proposal defense
Rob Daniel brings has nearly thirty years experience in urban management, project predevelopment and project planning in the United States and overseas. With a Masters of Urban Planning from Princeton University, Rob has a varied background in school construction, urban redevelopment, project management and the construction of public infrastructure. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.
He began his professional career working at the county level subsequently moving overseas in the early 1980’s. Progressing through a series of positions in municipal public works management, Rob moved on to the private sector and worked on major transportation projects. In 1995, he opened his own consulting firm that specializes in assisting government agencies with planning, land use and environmental processes as the basis for constructing civil works.
Upon returning to the United States in 2001, he began working with the URS Corporation on light rail projects in Newark, Tampa and Norfolk. Early in 2003, he transferred to the school construction team to work on New Jersey’s burgeoning program. In 2009 he transitioned to the New Jersey Schools Development Authority as a Project Manager.
Title of the Dissertation
Other People’s Schools: The Challenge of Building New Schools in New Jersey’s Urban Districts: 2000 – 2010
Dissertation Proposal Abstract
The construction of schools in our nation’s urban school districts is an ongoing challenge. Many school districts and organizations encounter difficulties in meeting the goals of their construction programs. Building schools in cities plays out in the face of three constraints: land, money and politics. The schoolhouses where we teach our children are the product of the efforts of civic entities to mobilize resources to build school buildings in the face of these forces. The construction, condition or absence of school buildings is a reflection on a government’s priorities, tenaciousness, ambitions, mobilization and political structure.
New Jersey, following its series of landmark Abbott v. Burke Supreme Court decisions, embarked on a pioneering effort to eliminate disparities between the educational facilities (among many other goals) found in New Jersey’s urban school districts and the state’s wealthier ones.
The purpose of this examination of ten years within New Jersey’s school construction program will be to capture its historic moments, its evolution, its successes and its failures. My focus, exclusively on New Jersey between July 2000 and July 2010 will provide insights into best practices, lessons learned and common themes which emerge from the historic material. A detailed in-depth study of New Jersey’s program, being the broadest and most ambitious in the United States, will provide insights which are relevant to school district infrastructure improvement efforts across the country.
There is importance to this study as the lessons learned from New Jersey carry implications for programs to repair old and construct new schools in cities everywhere in the United States and overseas. On the one hand, the problem of rapidly deteriorating schoolhouse infrastructure is a problem that is not unique to New Jersey. On the other hand, the ambition, mobilization and magnitude found within the New Jersey program are unusual. They are not found anywhere else, in any other program, in the United States.