Rider University announces the creation of new College of Arts and Sciences

Rider University is merging two existing colleges — the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Westminster College of the Arts — to create the new College of Arts and Sciences, effective July 1.

The new, single College of Arts and Sciences will consist of four schools, three of them new: Westminster Choir College, the School of Media and Performing Arts, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the School of Science, Technology and Mathematics.

“The creation of the new college will enable greater faculty and student connections across the university’s programs and more interdisciplinary opportunities for students,” Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs DonnaJean Fredeen said.

While the merger will reduce expenses and save money — about $500,000 annually, based on initial calculations — Fredeen said the decision was inspired by a larger vision of integrating the humanities, social sciences, arts, mathematics, technology and science.

Kelly Bidle has been appointed dean of the newly created College of Arts and Sciences. Bidle joined Rider’s faculty as a biology professor in 2001 and has served as the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Rider’s largest college, since 2019.

Bidle’s leadership team will include two accomplished associate deans, Brooke Hunter and Dr. Jason Vodicka. Hunter is currently an associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and an associate professor of history.

Marshall Onofrio, who has served as dean of the Westminster College of the Arts since 2017, has announced his plans to retire in August. The decision marks the end of a more than 40-year career in higher education for Onofrio.

“The merger is intended to extend and enhance his accomplishments in helping to create artists able to perform at the height of their abilities and thrive in an ultra-competitive 21st-century marketplace,” Fredeen said.