Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Michael Vigorito

Professor Michael Vigorito is an example of servant leadership. Seeking neither the limelight nor high profile positions, he has and continues even in gradual retirement to make enormous and often unrecognized contributions to the University. Dr. Vigorito has been an integral part of Seton Hall since joining the Department of Psychology in 1989. Throughout his tenure, he has maintained an externally funded and nationally recognized research program, even if he distinguished himself as a dedicated and creative and active teacher. contributor to the service. As Dr. Vigorito retires from Seton Hall at the end of this semester, we take this opportunity to recognize his longstanding and selfless dedication to our community.

Highlights of Dr. Vigorito’s contributions include:

Chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) from 1999 to 2008 and from 2011 to 2021: The IACUC reviews all proposals for the use of animals in research at SHU and ensures compliance with government regulations. As chair, Dr. Vigorito organizes meetings to review proposals, helps researchers align proposals with IACUC requirements, coordinates annual inspections of campus animal facilities, and submits annual reports to the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare to verify federal compliance. Dr. Vigorito has served in this capacity for animal researchers at SHU and the Neuroscience Institute at JFK Hospital, whose researchers belong to SHU IACUC. Dr. Vigorito continued this work even on sabbatical, notably in the spring of 2020 during the pandemic. He helped develop plans for reopening labs and maintained timely compliance with federal mandates, including inspections that remained in place throughout the lockdown. Even in gradual retirement, without service obligations, he continues to support the current president’s transition to this role. None of this essential work is remunerated by administrative assistance, stipend or course releases.

Director of the University Assessment Center, 2013-2015: Dr. Vigorito served as the first director of this center, which was established in 2013 with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education‘s 10-year review underway. Dr. Vigorito has worked with departments and programs to establish evaluation mechanisms. Dr. Vigorito has been the Department of Psychology representative on the University Evaluation Committee for the past 8 years.

Teaching in the University Core: Dr. Vigorito’s commitment to the University’s Catholic mission and goals includes his development and teaching of a very popular Signature 3 course Engaging the World, Robotics and the Mind, which he co-teaches with a Math/Computer Science faculty member, first Dr. Bert Wachsmuth and later an adjunct faculty member whom Dr. Vigorito mentored. This course offers students a unique opportunity to reflect on issues of religion and faith in a scientific context.

Presentation of the interdisciplinary Lovelette series: In October 2018, Dr. Vigorito gave a presentation entitled “What are the perspectives of truth in the liberal arts? Disciplinary engagements with Fides et Ratio and Ex Corde Ecclesiae” as part of the series. This lecture was so well received that he was invited by the acting provost to address the university’s board of trustees at their December meeting.

Dr. Vigorito was also a member (2016-18) and chairman (2017-2018) of the University’s Ranking and Tenure Committee, a trusted member of the Petersheim Academic Exhibition Committee (1998-2016) and the Committee ad hoc Arts & Sciences. Common core committee (2016-2017), among many ad hoc committees. Esteemed by faculty and administrators for his fairness, generosity, intelligence and dependability, Dr. Vigorito has often been elected and appointed to ad hoc committees of all kinds, from the University Investigation Committee on Academic Dishonesty (2014 ) to the review committee of a provost. the functioning of the IRB. Most recently, Dr. Vigorito hosted a presentation at SHU’s 2019 Women and Gender Studies Conference; he invited and introduced Victoria Munro, executive director of the Alice Austen House in Staten Island. Dr. Vigorito movingly linked Alice Austen, the only female photographer to have a museum entirely dedicated to her work and a prominent figure in the LGBTQ community, to the history and work of SHU.

A regular marshal at graduation and a presenter at TLTC events on online and hybrid education, Dr. Vigorito has been and continues to be an exemplary colleague, excellent in research, teaching and service, and awfully collegiate to boot. We thank him for his long and extraordinary contribution to Seton Hall and wish him a long and happy retirement. He will be greatly missed on campus.

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