150 West State Street. Trenton NJ 08608 -- 609-989-1100 office

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Association Staff

Barbara Berreski, JD, MS

Chief Executive Officer

Director, Government & Legal Affairs



Patricia S. Berry

Chief Operating Officer


Pamela J. Hersh

Communications & Public Affairs


Support Staff

Charlene R. Pipher

Executive Assistant/Web Design


Terry Toth

Part-Time Secretarial Assistant


Contact Info

New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities

150 West State Street

Trenton, New Jersey 08608

609-989-1100 office

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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.

Lawmakers Discuss Initiative to Make Higher Education More Affordable for Students and Ensure the State is Closing the Racial Equity Gap in Postsecondary Education 
October 19, 2018

Lawmakers from the NJ State Assembly and Senate committees on Higher Education met in a joint session in Trenton on Tuesday, October 16, 2018, to discuss an initiative to make higher education more affordable for students and ensure the state is working toward closing the racial equity gap in postsecondary education.  As acknowledged by NJ Association of State Colleges and Universities for many years, New Jersey colleges and universities have long been running on a flawed state funding system that fails to incentivize student achievement and funds the public institutions in an inequitable way.  The solution, according to New Jersey’s higher education leaders is a new strategic funding plan tied to student outcomes.


“For a long time, we haven’t been funding higher education very well here in the state and every institution has had to go off on their own.  Some are doing well, others are not doing well, and in the end our students suffer,” Assemblywoman and Committee Chair Mila Jasey (D-Essex) said.  “I believe we are going to get a strategic plan that looks at the entire landscape and begins to address some of these issues like access, equity, attainment, completion and also cost.”


New Jersey already has a longstanding goal of “65 by ‘25” – meaning 65 percent of working New Jerseyans to attain a postsecondary degree or certification by 2025 – but lacks a meaningful roadmap and the appropriate resources to get there from the current count of 50.2 percent of workers with such a degree.


Indeed, state funding of New Jersey state colleges and universities is based exclusively on how much funding they’ve received in the past and that amount has decreased more than 28 percent over the past 12 years.  More dramatically stated, the NJ State appropriations to NJ public colleges and universities per full-time equivalent student has decreased by 40.1 percent between FY1991 and FY2016.  During this same period enrollment has increased by 63.2 percent.


Exacerbating the problem, students are coming out with more debt.  According to the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities, average in-state tuition among New Jersey’s senior public four-year institutions for the academic year 2016-2017 was $13,560 and the average cumulative student loan (borrowed by graduates) was $28,245.  Read more here.


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.

Marisa Chiorello, The College of New Jersey, Class of 2015


Five-year-old Ella is too young to enroll in The College of New Jersey, but she has a special relationship with the school.  One might say she owes her existence to TCNJ’s Women’s and Gender Studies program.


Children’s author Marisa Chiorello, a TCNJ alumna, class of 2015, now living in Hamilton Township, said that TCNJ gave her the knowledge, skills and courage to write her first book titled Ella, and subtitled How a sad girl learns she’s perfect just the way she is.  With a BA in English Literature and Women’s and Gender Studies, she benefitted from the support and mentorship of the English and Gender Studies faculty, plus the “instructive and thought-provoking” coursework.


The character of Ella, the book’s heroine, however, is the product of Marisa’s life experiences and creativity.  As described in the book, “Ella looked much different than her friends.  She had curly hair, green eyes, tan skin, and a big tummy.  Can she be perfect just the way she is?  The lesson of the story is that, Ella – a sad girl – learns how to be joyful just the way she is, without reinventing herself into someone she is not.”  Ella’s journey reflects what Marisa experienced as a young woman, who flirted with eating disorders and an obsession to look like a Barbie Doll in order to conform to the fashion magazine representation of healthy.


In her quest to be “beautiful,” said Marisa, “I lost something quite valuable – myself.  In college, I decided to major in Women’s and Gender Studies …. (In one of the classes), I learned all about girls’ body image.  I read Future Girl:  Young Women in the Twenty-First Century by Anita Harris.  Ms. Harris writes about the ‘can-do’ girl, the fashion magazine model to whom girls are exposed.


“We are ‘taught’ that we must have this specific appearance to be the ‘can-do’ girl.  She is beauty.  She is success.  If we don’t look exactly like her, we are failures.  Or so I thought.” Read more.

See our previous alumni profiles here.

Quick Takes (below) are current brief updates on legislative and policy issues being followed by NJASCU

Thomas Edison State University President Merodie Hancock Inducted in the 2018 International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame
December 4, 2018

Dr. Merodie A. Hancock, president of Thomas Edison State University, joined 12 other educators who were recently recognized with induction into the International Adult and Continuing Education (IACE) Hall of Fame.

The IACE Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to honor individuals who have made distinguished contributions to the field of adult and continuing education and to serve as a record and inspiration for the next generation of continuing education leaders. This year marks the 23rd anniversary of the Hall of Fame. Among previous notable inductees are Malcolm Knowles (1996), Barbara Bush (1997) and John W. Gardner (2003).

President Hancock was commended for dedicating her career to serving as a strong and consistent advocate for adult and continuing education policy, funding, practice and assessment. The IACE recognized that she is widely known for delivering innovative education across campuses and international borders. Among her other contributions to the field, Dr. Hancock served on the Department of Defense Taskforce on Developing Best Practice Standards for Distance Learning; in this capacity, she played a key role in guiding the expansion of the technology to deliver high-quality academic programming to busy professionals, parents, caretakers and other adults with time and place constraints.

Election to the Hall of Fame acknowledges that the honorees have made distinguished contributions to the field of adult and continuing education. Each has provided a crucial nexus between resources and learners. These innovative leaders have believed passionately in the evolutionary power of education. All are themselves exemplary lifelong learners and have left lasting impressions on the students, institutions and organizations they have served.  Read more.

The National Aviation Research and Technology Park of Stockton University Contracts with NJ Innovation Institute
December 4, 2018

The National Aviation Research and Technology Park (NARTP) of Stockton University has finalized a contract with the New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII) to advance, strengthen and facilitate the development of the NARTP.

NJII will leverage its association with government, academia, and industry to further research opportunities at the NARTP and to foster development of an Aviation Innovation Hub in Atlantic County.

A corporation of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, NJII will provide the NARTP with access to world-class intellectual and technological resources that will extend beyond the NARTP and augment Atlantic County’s economic development efforts. It will also develop and strengthen regional relationships between the NARTP, the Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center, the Atlantic City International Airport and military installations such as Joint Base MDL, as well as other state and regional economic development organizations such as the Atlantic County Economic Alliance.

“NJII is very pleased to be partnering with Atlantic County and providing management services to the NARTP. Collaboration is an exciting vehicle for a magnified outcome. We expect our partnership to yield great results in the area of economic development for the county as we launch Southern Jersey as an innovation hub for aviation,” said Ian Trammell, Regional Director for NJII.  Read more.

Kean University’s Patricia Morreale Honored by Being Named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

November 29, 2018


Kean University School of Computer Science Executive Director Patricia Morreale, PhD, has joined the ranks of Nobel laureates and science pioneers as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).


Dr. Morreale was elected to AAAS “for exceptional leadership and service to advance diversity in computing and for substantial research in multimedia systems and networks.”  Kean’s first AAAS fellow, Dr. Morreale joins Thomas Edison, Grace Hopper and others similarly recognized by AAAS for achievements in advancing science.


“It’s wonderful.  I’m very honored,” said Dr. Morreale, who has been at Kean since 2006, and became the founding executive director of the School of Computer Science in 2017.  “It is an exemplar of the types of initiatives at Kean University.  It’s great recognition for the University, and I’m happy to be in the company of all the other folks who were awarded this recognition.”  Read more.

NJCU Workforce Development Programs Can Jumpstart a New Career

November 27, 2018


For those looking for a new and exciting career, the New Jersey City University (NJCU) Workforce Development Center offers a variety of training programs for individuals seeking to launch a career in maritime or information technology.  Dr. Michael Edmondson, Dean of Professional Education and Lifelong Learning at NJCU, noted that “these workforce training programs offer individuals new careers and exciting employment opportunities that are in high demand and pay well in and around Jersey City.”


The Merchant Mariner Program co-sponsored by NJCU’s workforce training partner, Educate The Block, prepares students for competitive union positions in Port Logistics.  This four-month training program in partnership with the North Atlantic Mates, Masters and Pilots Union is designed to develop technical, communication and vocational skills for the Maritime Industry.


Classes begin on January 7, 2019 and meet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  Successful completers will receive job placement assistance up to five industry valued credentials.  Starting salaries range from $19-$38 per hour and positions are available in Jersey City, Bayonne, Newark and Elizabeth.  There will be an open house on December 5th at 10 a.m. in the Logistics Center located at 285 West Side Ave, Jersey City, New Jersey, 07305.


Those interested may RSVP by email:  logistics@njcu.edu or by phone: 201-200-2462.


Tech Fundamentals (January 22 – June 28, 2019) sponsored by NJCU partner NPower.  Participants can jumpstart their future and develop the tech skills needed for an entry-level, career-track job in fewer than six months.  NPower is a nonprofit that offers a tuition-free, 23-week training program for young adults, veterans, and spouses of veterans interested in tech careers.


The Tech Fundamentals program includes 16 weeks of classroom learning, opportunity to obtain industry renowned IT certifications, a seven-week paid internship, and job placement assistance.


The next class will meet Monday-Friday from January 22 through June 28, 2019 at NJCU in Jersey City.  Students can choose to attend 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.  More than 80 percent of NPower alumni are employed or pursuing higher education within one year of graduation.  Those interested in joining NPower’s network of students and alumni may apply at https://www.npower.org/tech-fundamentals or contact Anna Perrotti at 201-433-1607 or anna.perrotti@npower.org for more information.

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.

Learn more

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