Address to the Campus: Feb 9, 2012: Page 3 of 5
To this I add that Rutgers University, our faculty colleague, Prof Civico, and our new distinguished partner, Mr. Forrest Whitaker, were honored personally by the Director General of UNESCO, the American Ambassador and numerous other ambassadors in Paris Tuesday evening in the signing of the agreements establishing the first UNESCO category 2 center at a US university, the International Institute for Peace. Through two days of meetings with UNESCO staff, an amazing array of new doors were opened for scholarship and training for many across this campus to absorb and respond to in the coming months. This is a clear manifestation of Rutgers’ statement on the side of Bradley Hall: Jersey Roots, Global Reach.
Will all persons present who were highlighted on these slides please stand and be recognized.
How do we improve on this as we prepare for our future with new leadership of Rutgers University?
We do in fact have a lot of work to do. Here are a few examples. Deferred maintenance has been put off so long in favor of other expensive projects that it interferes with our teaching and research. Some of our campus services are performing less than satisfactorily, interfering with our ability to educate our students and foster research. We need more inclusive decision-making processes on our campus to produce better solutions. And we need to work even harder to build excellence in teaching and in research.
We must strive constantly for improvements in our educational programs. Although budget constraints drive us sometimes to increase class size, we must do our best to preserve small classes where essential, such as in the writing program or in classes requiring team learning such as supply chain and management courses. We must examine our pedagogy and ensure that we use best practices in our classrooms. We need to revise our courses where necessary to more effectively support student success and progression through the course sequences, such as been achieved recently in the core Business Forum course and in introductory mathematics. We should promote active learning in our classes across the curricula. In this difficult job market, our law students need the highest quality law school possible if they are to compete successfully upon graduation.
We need first class facilities for research on our campus. Whether it is infrastructure for digital humanities or state-of-the-art science laboratories, adequate support for graduate students, or a first-class law library, we must support our faculty, students, and staff who are engaged in the research enterprise. I add here that we should aggressively promote the participation of our undergraduates in research on this campus and we should become known as a campus that does this. To emphasize the importance of undergraduate research, I will personally fund a summer research scholarship for an undergraduate student this coming summer.
We have many pressing needs on campus, and satisfying them will not be cheap. Where will the funding come from?
Over the past several decades, the source of funds for education at Rutgers has dramatically changed. Whereas in 1989 the state provided about 2/3 of the funds needed to support the educational mission, now it is our students who provide the majority of the funds required to support educational costs. This trend in declining state support for higher education is not unique to New Jersey: it is nationwide. In the future, we cannot expect our budgets from the state of New Jersey to regain the buying power that state support offered 20 years ago. We cannot plan for a successful future by hoping that state support will return to the “good old days.” Students will continue to shoulder most of the costs of their education -- and they and their parents will understandably press us to keep tuition low. With most of our funding coming from our students themselves, it should be pretty easy to figure out what should take top priority when we spend those hard-earned tuition dollars.
When we have some teaching laboratories on this campus that are inferior, we should know what to do. When we have outdated classrooms, we should know what to do. When nursing students need a modern simulation platform for training, we should know what to do. When student services come up short, we should know what to do. The fact that we have not always known what to prioritize in the past is irrelevant, however, as we face our immediate future: we must and we will make these necessities for our students’ our top priority. We will start by creating a multi-year plan to address the most serious of the deferred maintenance issues. To free up the intellectual and financial resources to concentrate on this task, I have put on hold all non-essential property acquisitions, including those that were in development or under offer. We will of necessity re-allocate resources according to our priorities. We will also review support operations to find better ways to serve our students.
We are seeing increased demand for on-campus student housing. To address this need, Rutgers University as a whole has developed plans and financing to rehabilitate the historic building we own at 15 Washington to expand our dorm space by about 25% and create a large lecture hall. Will our on-campus leader who has already worked very hard on this project as well as many others, Executive Vice Chancellor Kemel Dawkins, please stand and be recognized.
Our students need up-to-date labs and classrooms. They need student services that we can be proud of. We have a new curriculum that goes into effect next fall. We are creating new programs – on campus and off, face to face and on-line, for credit and not for credit -- and new collaborations with other institutions, all of which need to be coordinated. We have a Middle States Periodic Review Report due in a year. We have an ABA accreditation visit in a year and a half. For supporting schools in meeting these challenges and for a number of another initiatives, including creating new expectations for recruitment and admissions, our point person is Vice Chancellor John Gunkel, who I now ask to stand and be recognized.