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

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Association Staff

Michael W. Klein, JD, PhD

Chief Executive Officer



Barbara Berreski, Esq.

Government & Legal Affairs


Patricia A. Berry

Budget & Administration


Pamela J. Hersh

Communications & Marketing


Support Staff

Charlene R. Pipher

Executive Assistant/Web Design


Terry Toth

Part-Time Secretarial Assistant


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New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities

150 West State Street

Trenton, New Jersey 08608

609-989-1100 office

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Higher Education Association Gets New Leadership as Current CEO Accepts Position to Head Public Policy Center at Stockton University

The New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities (NJASCU), the nonprofit advocacy organization serving as the voice of public higher education in New Jersey, is pleased to announce the appointment of Director of Government and Legal Affairs Barbara Berreski, JD, MS, as its interim executive director, starting January 1, 2018. NJASCU's current executive director, Dr. Michael W. Klein, has accepted a new position as interim executive director of Stockton University's William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy.

Ms. Berreski has managed the public higher education advocacy efforts with state officials since 2012 on behalf of NJASCU, which represents nine New Jersey public colleges and universities. Previously, she was a deputy attorney general with the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety from 1991 to 2012. Ms. Berreski is a member of the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of New Jersey, and the District Court of New Jersey. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, JD from Temple University Law School, and master's degree in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

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.

S-2552 – Authorizes reciprocal agreements with other states for academic credit transfer and directs public institutions of higher education to enter into such agreements.  Senate Higher Education Committee on December 11, 2017, voted to move forward with the proposal.

The state colleges and universities strongly agree with the intent of this legislation to help students earn their degrees by preventing the loss of already earned credits and valuable time through transfer and articulation policies. But we find no examples of interstate articulation and transfer agreements – thus making implementation of such legislation problematic. Read NJASCU Alert.

New House and Senate Tax Bills Would Affect College Students, Families


December 7, 2017


Tax bills passed by the House and Senate in Congress would have major implications for universities and students if signed into law, college officials say, including reducing or eliminating some popular tax deductions and taxing tuition waivers for graduate assistants.  Other provisions would reduce incentives for charitable giving, which could make people less likely to donate to nonprofit university foundations.  Both bills have passed their respective house of Congress and must be negotiated before a final bill is sent to President Donald Trump.


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.

Bonnie Watson Coleman, Thomas Edison State University, Class of 1985

December 2017

When asked to describe her life’s work, U.S. Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman responded without equivocation: “My profession is advocacy.  My job is and always has been to fight on behalf of economically and socially disadvantaged populations and other vulnerable groups in society.”


When asked how she trained to enter the profession of advocacy, she said that her passion for         advocacy comes from within, not from an external textbook.  She did acknowledge, however, that she became a “far better advocate,” thanks to obtaining her BA from Thomas Edison State         University (TESU – then Thomas Edison State College) in 1985, just three years after Dr. George Pruitt was appointed president of the college.


“I was an adult learner …. The course work was very challenging, but Thomas Edison made getting my degree easier, because it accommodated my fulltime work schedule, my responsibilities to my family, and took into consideration the academic value of what I learned through my professional work.  Most importantly, when I got the degree, all the barriers for my moving forward in my profession in government and advocacy were eliminated,” said Congresswoman Watson Coleman, who was 40 when she obtained her degree.  And moving forward on behalf of “those often left behind” is something she has done with focus and an unwavering commitment.


Bonnie Watson Coleman, a native of Camden, now lives in Ewing Township with her husband, the Rev. William E. Coleman, Jr., and they have three sons and three grandchildren.  Serving her second term in the United States Congress representing New Jersey’s 12thCongressional District, Rep. Watson Coleman had served eight consecutive terms in the New Jersey General Assembly.  She shattered racial and gender barriers to become the first African American woman to serve as Assembly majority leader, and as the chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.  Her election to the House of Representatives makes her the first African American woman to represent New Jersey in Congress.  Read more.

See our previous alumni profiles here.

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

Legislative Office of NJ Assemblyman Dan Benson Mentors Kean University STEM Major 

December 4, 2017

The summer before starting her graduate studies in biotechnology at Kean University, and just weeks after graduating from Kean with a Bachelor of Arts in science and technology, Union resident Chelsea Mann ’17 worked at a summer internship – in politics.  It wasn’t a typical path for a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) major.  The position didn’t involve her usual activities of drawing chemical compound structures or experimenting with organic synthesis, but it proved that a career in STEM can take many forms.


As a science and environment intern for Assemblyman Daniel Benson, Ms. Mann drafted articles on STEM-related news, updates and legislative policies.  She also sat in on voting sessions, hearings and assembly meetings at the New Jersey State House, witnessing the legislative process as bills dealing with some of the state’s most pressing issues moved through the legislature. Read more here.

William Paterson University Jazz Studies Director Bill Charlap Nominated for 2017 Grammy Award

 November 29, 2017

Bill Charlap, internationally acclaimed pianist and director of William Paterson University’s Jazz Studies program, has been nominated for another Grammy Award.  “Uptown, Downtown” – the latest album by the Bill Charlap Trio, which includes bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington – is up for the 2017 award in the Best Jazz Instrumental Album category. The 60th annual Grammy Awards, telecast live on CBS, will take place Sunday, January 28, 2018.


Mr. Charlap won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for his collaboration with         Tony Bennett, “The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern.”  This year’s nomination is his fourth.  He was previously nominated for his recordings “Somewhere” The Songs of Leonard Bernstein” and “The Bill Charlap Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard.”


A member of the William Paterson University faculty since September 2015, Bill Charlap has performed with many leading artists from Phil Woods and Tony Bennett to Gerry Mulligan and Wynton Marsalis.  He is known for his interpretations of American popular songs and has recorded albums featuring the music of Hoagy Carmichael, Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin.  Read more here.

Stockton’s Hughes Center Honors NJ Leaders Renowned for Civility; Joe Biden Gives Keynote
November 13, 2017

A Stockton University Hughes Center program on Thursday, November 9, 2017 highlighted the extraordinary civility and integrity of the program’s honorees and the need to restore these qualities in government today. Former Vice President Joe Biden set the inspirational tone for the evening when he presented the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award to U.S. Ambassador William J. Hughes, also a former U.S. congressman.

“When Bill (Hughes) sat down with you, he listened …. He reached agreement and moved the process along. It is only through consensus that the United States can continue to function,” said Vice President Biden.

Vice President Biden and Ambassador Hughes worked together in Congress when Mr. Hughes was in the House of Representatives and Mr. Biden was in the Senate. They became friends riding the Amtrak train to Washington, DC together, talking about not just policy, but family.

“Those hours were precious because we got to know each other,” Vice President Biden said. “Back in our day people (in Congress) knew each other and respected each other.” He referred to this connection as the “invisible moral fabric.” 

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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