Below is the letter-to-the-editor of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in which NJASCU CEO Michael Klein challenges the assumptions made in a June 5 WSJ op-ed.
June 23, 2017
The Wall Street Journal
1211 Sixth Avenue
New York, NY 10036
Dear Mr. Lemmer:
Richard Vedder and Justin Strehle (“The Diminishing Returns of a College Degree,” June 5) ask: “[How] does knowing a lot about, say, anthropology, make one a more productive worker?” The answer is skills like communication, organization, teamwork, critical thinking, social skills, creativity, and adaptability. These so-called “soft skills” are prized by employers (“The Soft Skills Employers Are Looking For,” August 30, 2016) and increasingly recognized and rewarded in liberal arts and humanities majors (“Hunting for Soft Skills, Companies Scoop Up English Majors,” October 25, 2016).
Thank you for considering my comments.
Michael W. Klein, JD, PhD
New Jersey Association of State Colleges & Universities
(March 2, 2017)
Who We Are
New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities - the leading voice for public higher education in New Jersey.
Acting as an advocate in the state capital and throughout the state, the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities (NJASCU) supports the missions and well-being of senior public institutions of higher education. In cooperation with trustees, students, faculty and campus administrators, NJASCU plays an active role in developing and proposing state higher education policy to better serve New Jersey's citizens. Its members are the eight senior public institutions of higher education: The College of New Jersey, Kean University, Montclair State University, New Jersey City University, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Stockton University, Thomas Edison State University, and William Paterson University.
Rowan University, which recently assumed the status of a research institution, now is an affiliate member.
Specifically, NJASCU does the following:
- Analyzes and monitors public policy issues and legislation affecting its member institutions. Issues include: college access and affordability; higher education finance trends and comparisons; trustee governance, student welfare, ethical standards; unprecedented enrollment demand and the need to increase capacity; addressing the needs of evolving student populations;
- Collaborates with public institutions on communicating and promoting the distinctive excellence and advantages of New Jersey's senior public institutions of higher education; and
- Creates educational and public service opportunities for those interested in the success and sustainability of New Jersey's public institutions of higher education.
The Association played a key role in achieving landmark legislation in 1986 and 1994, which transferred important fiscal and administrative authority to the campuses from state government, emphasizing trustee governance and direct public accountability. The state colleges and universities in New Jersey are among the nation's most autonomous public institutions.
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NEW! ALUMNI PROFILES
Profiles of NJASCU alumni whose work is making a difference in the lives of others. The website will feature a new profile each month. Please submit suggestions for profiles to Pam Hersh or call (609) 256-8256.
John Reitmeyer, The College of New Jersey, Class of 1997
John Reitmeyer, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) alumnus, class of 1997, is in the spotlight and the Spotlight. As a financial reporter and writer, he prefers to avoid the lowercase spotlight and devotes his intellect and energy to the uppercase NJ Spotlight, New Jersey’s online news source, renowned for its award-winning, thought-provoking coverage of New Jersey politics and public policy. (www.njspotlight.com)
By Wall Street standards, writing about finance is far less lucrative than working in finance. By John Reitmeyer standards, however, his compensation brings him great wealth, because it goes beyond dollars and cents.
“I love my job covering budget, tax policy and other state financial issues, because it is “gratifying” to help New Jersey residents be informed accurately about the issues playing such a crucial role in the lives of New Jerseyans, he said.
And TCNJ played a crucial role in his life, both inspiring him and then enabling him to succeed as a journalist in an economically precarious time of change and upheaval for the media industry.
“The college was everything to me,” he said. It propelled him into a “fulfilling,” professional, as well as personal life. It was where he met his wife, Mai, also class of 1997, who is the senior research services librarian at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Read more.
Previous Alumni Profiles:
James J. Florio, The College of New Jersey, Class of 1962 (Featured May 2017)
Nelida Valentin, Stockton University, Class of 1986 (Featured March/April 2017)
Mohamad Bassel Khair, Montclair State University, Class of 2013 (Featured February 2017)
Robin Schwartz, William Paterson University, Class of 1979 (Featured January 2017)
Denis Oniela, New Jersey City University, Class of 1976 (Featured November/December 2016)
Kenneth Lacovara, Rowan University, Class of 1984 (Featured October 2016)
NJCU Alumni Jazz Big Band (Featured September 2016)
Dean Peter Straub, Stockton University, Class of 1980 (Featured August 2016)
David Keefe, Montclair State University, MFA, 2009 (Featured July 2016)
Kayleigh Shangle and James Shangle, The College of New Jersey (Featured June 2016)
Edward Shannon, Ramapo College of New Jersey, 85 (Featured May 2016)
Joanne Robinson, William Paterson University School of Nursing, '75 (Featured March 2016/April 2016)
Danielle Kovach, New Jersey City University, '01 (Featured February 2016/March 2016)
Patricia Powell, William Paterson University, '73 (Featured January 2016/February 2016)
Harvey Kesselman, Stockton University, '79 (Featured December 2015/January 2016)
Lamont Repollet, The College of New Jersey, '94, Kean University, '00 (Featured November/December 2015)
Dennis Devery, Thomas Edison State University, '05 (Featured October 2015)
Lester E. Taylor, III, Montclair State University, '97 (Featured September 2015)
A.J. Sabath, Ramapo College, '93 (Featured August 2015)
Rick Ricciardi, Stockton University, '76 (Featured July 2015)
New to the NJASCU Site
Quick Takes (below) are current brief updates on legislative and policy issues being followed by NJASCU
June 8, 2017
Thomas Edison State University’s (TESU) longtime president, Dr. George A. Pruitt, effective December 31, 2017, after 35 years of leading New Jersey’s only college or university dedicated exclusively to serving adults. Under his leadership, the university helped redefine higher education in the U.S. and made degree completion more accessible for working adults, including active duty military service members and other nontraditional learners.
He will take a year’s sabbatical in 2018 and then serve as a distinguished fellow at TESU’s John S. Watson School of Public Service and Continuing Studies.
“Serving as president of this wonderful university has been the single greatest privilege of my professional life,” Dr. Pruitt said in a prepared statement. “I have no words to express my appreciation to the trustees, past and present, as well as my colleagues who have joined in the work of transforming the lives of the students we serve.”
Brian Maloney, chair of the board of trustees, said the board will form a committee that will oversee a nationwide search for a successor. Dr. Pruitt formally notified the board of his retirement earlier this week, according to a TESU statement.
“It is hard to imagine Thomas Edison State University without George Pruitt as our president,” Mr. Maloney said in a statement. “The impact that he has made on our university and on higher education in this country is extraordinary. We are grateful for Dr. Pruitt’s remarkable leadership and his record of accomplishment over the past 35 years.” Read more here.
Kean’s New College of Liberal Arts Shines Spotlight on Developing Critical Thinking Skills
June 19, 2017
Kean University recently launched a new College of Liberal Arts, encompassing programs formerly under the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The College reflects Kean’s dedication to student success and to liberal arts education as a core component of any undergraduate degree program.
The Kean University College of Liberal Arts will provide current and future generations of students with affordable access to a liberal arts education. Areas of study include journalism, English, psychology, history, political science, sociology, economics and the performing and fine arts. Read more here.
Dr. Henry Pruitt, Jr., Serving on William Paterson University Board for 33 Years, Retires and is Named Trustee Emeritus
June 19, 2017
Dr. Henry J. Pruitt, Jr., who is retiring from the William Paterson University Board of Trustees after 33 years of service, has been named trustee emeritus by the board. He is the longest-serving board member in the University’s modern history.
Dr. Pruitt, who joined the William Paterson board in 1983, has served in numerous leadership roles, including chair of the board from 1991 to 1993, and chair of several key committees, including the Educational Policy and Student Development Committee, the Finance and Audit Committee, the Minority Affairs Committee, and the Personnel and Compensation Committee. Beyond the University, Dr. Pruitt served as chairman of the board of the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities (NJASCU), the agency that advocates on behalf of public higher education in New Jersey.
“I leave this college in good hands and I am confident that any issues of concern that might arise will be handled efficiently and effectively,” said Dr. Pruitt. “I wish William Paterson University the best and I will be watching as this institution continues to prosper in the future.” Read more here.
NJASCU is part of the Innovation NJ Coalition
Innovation NJ is a coalition of busineess and academia established to promote policies that foster an environment for innovation in the state that will:
- encourage increased private and public sector R&D and the commercialization of new medicines, technologies and products to improve our quality of life;
- stimulate economic growth in New Jersey;
- retain and advance high-paying jobs in the state;
- retain and advance high-paying innovation-related jobs in the state; and
- increase the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) related graduates from New Jersey colleges and universities.