By Julia Ernst
For the past decade, Dean Joseph Nadeau’s workdays have focused on behind-the-scenes efforts that students only see as final results.
“I’m in charge of about 25 departments and programs,” noted Nadeau, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Education and Sciences (CLAES).
Now, after 10 years as dean and as a professor in the Geological, Environmental and Marine Sciences (GEMS) department, Nadeau will retire. The spring semester will be his last.
“Our jobs as deans, in general, are facilitators,” said Nadeau. “I’m in charge of setting direction, maintaining standards and cooperating education. We try to organize things in a way that students can accomplish them.”
As a professor of GEMS, Nadeau has had a great deal of experience and interaction with students.
“I taught physical geology, geochemistry and oceanography,” explained Nadeau. “Most of the courses that a science professor teaches are field courses. You really get to know the students. They’re really fun to be with.”
Nadeau also had a lot of opportunities for field work of his own during his time as a GEMS professor.
“Part of the work I did was in reefs, rivers and wells,” said Nadeau.
According to Rider’s Web site, Nadeau has also worked on water pollution problems in Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and the Caribbean and has worked as a consultant for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Office of Naval Research and the New Jersey Marine Science Consortium.
Dr. Jonathan Husch, chairperson of GEMS, worked with Nadeau when he was an active professor in the GEMS department as well as during his time as the dean of CLAES.
“I’ve worked with him in the classroom and in the field,” said Husch. “I think he was everything you want in terms of an undergraduate professor — accessible, easygoing and relaxed. He’s also always been good at the administrative side of things.”
Many other faculty members agree with Husch.
“He manages problems in a fair, common-sense way,” said Dr. Barry Truchil, chair of the Sociology department.
Dr. Jonathan Millen, Communication and Journalism Department chair, adapted to his new role as a department head under Nadeau’s tenure.
“He was very helpful to me in my transition,” explained Millen. “He was patient as I was learning about my new role and responsibilities. He was always willing to discuss any questions or concerns that I have had.”
Nadeau is looking forward to the new opportunities he will have in retirement.
“My wife and I really love to travel and we’re going to do more of it,” said Nadeau. “I like photography. I’d like to do more of that and more writing as well.”
Despite looking forward to what awaits him, Nadeau is keenly aware of what he’s leaving behind.