Association Staff

Michael W. Klein, JD, PhD
Chief Executive Officer

Barbara Berreski, Esq.
Government & Legal Affairs

Paul R. Shelly
Communications & Marketing

Wendy A. Lang
Programs & Policy Initiatives

Support Staff:

Patricia A. Stearman
Budget & Administration

Charlene R. Pipher
Executive Assistant

Theresa M. Toth
Contact Info
New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities
150 West State Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08608

Phone: (609) 989-1100
Fax: (609) 989-7017

Policy Issues


Fulfill Governor's Higher Education Task Force Report

The Association fully supports the recommendations of the Governor's Higher Education Task Force report, made public in January 2011.  Many of the recommendations are consistent with the legislative and policy priorities which follow.  To view the Governor's Higher Education Task Force Report, click here.

Maintain a High Degree of Flexibility in the Selection of Trustees

As the state colleges and universities continue to mature and become more entrepreneurial, there must be a high degree of flexibility in the choice of board members.

The Association cautions the state about imposing upon trustees unduly burdensome financial reporting requirements that could adversely affect interest in this highly demanding volunteer position requiring excellence in stewardship.

Reform Civil Service

The nine state colleges and universities are currently operating a cumbersome and expensive dual system for about 40% of all employees.  The current regulations are not only duplicative, but inconsistent with the institutions' fully developed personnel policies.

Because the 21st century college work environment is not at all like that of a government agency, many of the civil service rules are difficult to apply.  Civil service is simply a vestige of a bygone era when the colleges were, in truth, operated as state agencies.  No other public higher education institution in New Jersey -- that includes Rutgers, NJIT and the county colleges -- has employees classified under civil service titles.

Reform in this area will have its benefits.  State colleges can more quickly fill key positions without cumbersome restrictions that are inefficient, costing time and money.  Those employees with civil service titles can rest assured that they will retain all career service rights as long as they maintain uninterrupted service in a state college/university position, or are on approved leave of absence from that title. 

Reform Collective Bargaining

According to current law, the governor is the employer of record for employees at the nine state colleges and universities.  As a result, collective bargaining for colleges and universities currently is conducted in conjunction with other state agencies, terms and conditions of employment often mirror the expectations for work at a state agency.  Colleges and universities are very different entities from state agencies, and terms and conditions of employment of their employees need to be negotiated within the context of the complex national practices relevant to higher education.  The current practice whereby college and university labor agreements are forced into patterns that mirror the expectations for work at a state agency does damage to the educational environment for students and the professional environment for employees.  The administrations and boards of trustees of the colleges and universities are in a much better position than a central state office to appreciate the educational and employment needs and conditions of the institutions and to conduct negotiations and implement personnel policies that are fair and appropriate to the nature and mission of the particular college or university.  Each college and university should be able to provide a distinctive educational setting and choice for students, so that New Jerseyans have a diversity of choices from which they can select the institutions that best meets their educational needs.

Increase Facilities Construction Flexibility; Allow Design-Build Contracts

The State College Contracts Law (N.J.S.A. 18A:64-52 et seq.) restricts the ability of the state colleges and universities to enter construction contracts that are innovative and cost-effective.  Under current law (N.J.S.A. 18A:64-76.1), the institutions typically commission an architect or engineer to prepare drawings and specifications under a design contract.  The institutions then select a construction contractor to build the facility.  Costs can increase because of change orders derived from errors and omissions as the project moves from design to construction.

It is ASCU's position that the state colleges and universities should be able to enter design-build contracts, under which a single entity performs both architectural/engineering services and construction under one contract.  The design-build method has many advantages regarding cost containment, risk management, and timely completion of projects.

Recent development:  Legislation enacted in July 2009 provides the opportunity for colleges to partner with private firms to build, economically, structures needed by the colleges and universities to increase educational and public service and help grow the economy.  The legislation suspended the State College Contracts Law for 18 months to allow these partnerships.  In 2012, additional legislation extended the provisions of the legislation until August 2013.

Act on the Colleges' Long-Term Infrastructure Needs

The Governor's Higher Education Task Force identified finding colleges and universities long-term facilities needs as a top priority for making New Jersey a leader in serving its students and advancing its economic competitiveness. Until 2012, there had not been, since 1988, a general obligation bond for all the state's higher education facilities needs.

Justification to provide facilities funding includes unprecedented demand, inadequate current capacity, and $5.8 billion statewide in capital needs.  The Building Our Future Bond Issue, passed by the NJ Legislature in November 2012, will address many of these critical needs as well as facilities needs as well as facilities needs at county colleges and independent colleges.

A record number of 108,000 students are enrolled at New Jersey's colleges and universities.  This is about 26,000 more than 10 years ago.

Fund Critical Campus Infrastructure Needs

There is currently at least $1 billion in critical infrastructure needs at senior public colleges and universities.

The Building Our Future Bond issue will make $750 million available statewide including about $550 million for senior public colleges and universities. To help with other critical needs, New Jersey recently reauthorized four revolving higher education facilities funds administered by the NJ Educational Facilities Authority. This will make over $560 million available to New Jersey institutions of higher education.

Even with this substantial investment, not all of the state colleges' and universities' critical infrastructure needs will have been met. A strategy for continued investment in facilities will be vital to New Jersey's future. 

Restore Higher Education Incentive Funding

The Higher Education Incentive Endowment Program was established in September 1999 to build partnerships between private business leaders and New Jersey's colleges and universities.  Under the program, the state provided matching dollars for significant donations and endowment contributions.  The state's institutions of higher education and their students greatly benefitted from this program.  Four-year public colleges and universities received a 100% match over 10 years for endowment contributions of at least $1 million, and a 10% match for donations of at least $1 million.  Two-year colleges and independent colleges and universities also received benefits for securing significant endowment contributions and donations.  Institutions receiving Higher Education Incentive funds earmarked them to help stabilize tuition and provide scholarships, attract talented faculty, and build new classrooms and research facilities.

Funding for this program has been eliminated.  ASCU supports restoring this program with its added benefit of helping public institutions help themselves in fundraising and expanding their endowments.