Grad Profile: Pursuing an End to Inequality in Public Education
Gwen Baxley was a high school student in a Jersey City charter school when she discovered the messy reality of public school funding....
Rutgers Study Shows Depleted Fish Stocks Can Come Back from the Brink
Fish stocks that have been depleted for decades can find their own way back to healthy levels if timely limits are put on their catch, Rutgers scientists say.
- University News
Legislation Restructuring Higher Education in New Jersey Protects Rutgers-Camden (June 29, 2012)
To the Campus Community:
On Thursday, June 28, the New Jersey Legislature approved a framework for restructuring higher education in our state.
The legislation, which awaits review and approval by Governor Chris Christie, is consistent with the principles issued jointly by the Rutgers Boards of Governors and Trustees. It holds many promising opportunities for Rutgers–Camden to grow – and thrive – while remaining an important part of Rutgers University.
This is a truly transformative moment for our campus and, as such, every member of our community should take sufficient time to understand the implications of this legislation. You may wish to review today’s media reports, such as this Philadelphia Inquirer article (http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20120629_University_system_overhaul_is_passed.html).
When the final legislation is posted online, I will provide you with a link so that you can review the information thoroughly. I would like to offer some perspective on those areas that relate specifically to Rutgers–Camden:
* First and foremost, Rutgers–Camden will remain an integral part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The legislation protects and secures Rutgers–Camden’s identity in meaningful ways that go far beyond our name. For example, faculty will continue to be hired and promoted according to the same University-wide standards; degree requirements will continue to be governed by Rutgers; and collective bargaining will remain with Rutgers. All employees will remain employees of Rutgers.
* The Rutgers Boards of Governors and Trustees will retain their oversight of the Rutgers–Camden campus. The legislation creates a Rutgers–Camden Board of Directors, which will be charged specifically with helping our campus to grow and evolve. This board will consist of five appointees from the existing Rutgers boards, and four public members who would be appointed by the governor. Such governance is not uncommon among our nation’s universities. This is a tremendous opportunity for Rutgers–Camden to benefit from the focused attention and insights of individuals who understand our strengths and are prepared help us set – and attain – new goals. At the same time, Rutgers–Camden shall continue to be subject to the authority, and crucial support, of Rutgers University.
* Rutgers–Camden will gain greater administrative autonomy and an appreciable infusion of financial support. The campus will receive its own appropriation as a line item in the state budget; we also will retain a greater share of tuition revenues here on our campus. We will continue to participate in centralized Rutgers services – such as the Paul Robeson Library, which is critical to the research endeavors of our students and faculty – and will, for the first time, have the opportunity to invest strategically in our campus growth priorities.
* A framework to advance the health sciences in southern New Jersey is established. A joint Rowan University/Rutgers–Camden board will be created for the sole and exclusive purpose of promoting research and programmatic development in the area of the health sciences. This board will seek to foster appropriate collaborations among Rutgers–Camden, Rowan, the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, and other institutions such as the Coriell Institute, in order to maximize opportunities for federal research grants and to attract more students to our region. Let me be clear: this joint board will have oversight only over new programs in the health sciences. Two members of the Rutgers–Camden Board of Directors will serve on the joint board, as will two members of the Rowan Board of Trustees and three members appointed by the governor.
The Rutgers University Board of Governors signaled its general agreement with this legislation in its resolution approved on June 28. This approval, and any future action, is subject to the due diligence of Rutgers’ governing boards regarding to all that this legislation encompasses. Formal consent by both the Rutgers University Board of Governors and the Rutgers University Board of Trustees is required by the Rutgers Act of 1956.
If approved by the Rutgers boards, this legislation would take effect on July 1, 2013. Our role within the Rutgers system remains unchanged during the coming year.
This legislation represents far more than a framework for the growth of our campus and our region. It reflects the tremendous passion and fierce pride of every member of our community. On Jan. 25, the final report of the UMDNJ Advisory Committee issued a report that, among other things, recommended the dissolution of Rutgers–Camden into Rowan University. Through the many voices of our faculty, students, alumni, staff, families, and friends, that suggestion was removed, and the public conversation affirmed the vital importance of Rutgers–Camden to the future of southern New Jersey. I thank each and every one of you for your passion, creativity, and commitment to our institution during this challenging time.
Our regional and state leaders heard these voices and participated in the dialogue to save Rutgers–Camden and, moreover, to help it grow. This legislation was nurtured by that ongoing exchange of ideas. I would like to thank New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney and New Jersey Senators Donald Norcross and Joseph Vitale for their leadership in crafting the initial legislative bill, and for their openness in working with Rutgers to strengthen the final product. Additionally, I would like to thank Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald for his leadership in bringing this legislation to its successful outcome.
I also wish to thank the members of the Rutgers Boards of Governors and Trustees for their strong commitment to our campus.
While we have achieved a milestone in the history of our campus, our work is not done. The legislation represents a framework for progress; there are many details to assess in order to realize our vision of growth. During the coming months, I will meet with as many members of our campus community as possible in order to hear your ideas and observations. I also will communicate with you some thoughts on how we will move forward, and ask that you do not hesitate to email to me your own best thinking.
This has been an extraordinary year for Rutgers–Camden. While we have much still to do, there is no denying the impressive upward trajectory of our journey. There can be no doubt that, working together, we will continue to elevate our campus and our region.
Thank you for your steadfast support of our institution.
Wendell E. Pritchett, J.D., Ph.D.