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.

RESPONSE: Public Colleges and Universities Are Working to Unlock the Future for Their Minority Students but Need Legislative Reform and Partnerships to Succeed 

January 22, 2019

The recently released “Locked Out of the Future” report http://bit.ly/NJLockedOut

from the progressive think tank and advocacy organization Education Reform Now (ERN) described a problem: Higher education in New Jersey is failing its black and Latino students. The ERN report, however, offered no solutions. New Jersey’s senior public institutions of higher education have been aggressively working on creating and implementing solutions that have gone unrecognized in this “Locked Out” report.  Comprehensive success will require continuing close cooperation with the governor, legislature, business, labor and others on an integrated set of policies tied to a statewide opportunity/prosperity agenda, in addition to innovative leadership from university leaders, governed by citizen boards of trustees.

 New Jersey’s public universities have been vigorously pursuing policy options to enhance opportunity, equity and accountability within the context of socio-economic and ethnic diversity. The public institutions all provide a wide range of programs focused on the ERN-defined problem, such as: combatting food insecurity; replacing expensive text books with on-line materials; providing individualized skills-enhancing tutoring; ramping up fundraising for need-based scholarships; partnering with businesses on mentoring and internship opportunities; restructuring the path to attaining a BA degree with increased partnerships with community colleges; and implementing strategies for debt-free education. 

See specific examples from our institutions.   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

Kean University Ranked Top in the Nation as Military Friendly University

January 31, 2019


Kean University is ranked first in the nation among large public schools for its commitment, effort and success in creating sustainable and meaningful benefits for its student veterans, according to the Military Friendly Schools survey.


In awarding Kean the #1 national ranking and gold status, Victory Media, the producer of the Military Friendly Schools Survey, highlighted how Kean far exceeds standards for academic policies, culture, financial aid, military support services and other key areas for student veterans.


In its 17th year, the Military Friendly® Schools list is released by Victory Media, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business that connects the military community to civilian employment, educational and entrepreneurial opportunities.


“This elite designation shows that Kean University is in a class by itself when it comes to helping our military veterans’ transition to student life,” said Kean President Dawood Farahi, PhD.  “At every step of the educational journey, we want to demonstrate our respect for their service to our country and support their success as students.”


Vito Zajda, a veteran of the Coast Guard and Kean’s director of Veteran Student Services, said that Kean offers one-on-one support to its 251 students who served in the military.  Read more.

Stockton University Offers New Subject Area of Concentration in Migration Studies 
January 31, 2019

Responding to a critical national issue in need of research, discussion, and thoughtful deliberation, Stockton University has added a new minor in migration studies to provide students with multiple perspectives on migration and its impact in America and around the world.

The migration studies minor will focus on the mechanisms and consequences of different migration processes, including the dynamics of nation-building, contested community borders, and changing regional demographics.

“Although we often focus on people moving across international borders as a result of conflict or disaster, students must also appreciate the patterns of movement and displacement within the United States – for example, labor migration, gentrification, and climate-related change,” said Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Jess Bonnan-White, program coordinator.

The minor will provide a complement to such majors as pre-law, criminal justice, social work, sociology, sustainability, anthropology, economics and cultural studies. Currently, 30 courses in a variety of disciplines, taught by more than 15 faculty members, are included in the program. Several of the faculty have conducted international and domestic fieldwork and teach about displacement from a first-hand view.

“We are lucky to have classes taught by faculty scholars who have witnessed the consequences of displacement around the world,” Professor Bonnan-White said. “For example, the ‘Displaced Persons’ course is taught by Assistant Professor of Social Work Elma Kaiser, who has conducted research among children forced out of their homes and who now live on the streets in Bangladesh. This means our students are not only learning theory but learn from faculty who have contributed to the scholarship on these areas, themselves.”  Read more.

William Paterson University and the City of Paterson Partner to ‘Propel Paterson’ Towards Revitalization

January 23, 2019


William Paterson University and the City of Paterson on January 23, 2019 held a press conference to announce a new partnership designed to support Paterson’s revitalization through learning, research, and action.


The university and the city will work collaboratively to transform faculty research into opportunities for economic and workforce development, educational growth and community action.


“Propel Paterson is an exciting new chapter in the shared history of William Paterson University and the City of Paterson,” said Richard J. Helldobler, president of William Paterson University.  “We believe that synergies between university expertise in our full range of disciplines and innovative ideas in Paterson can help to fuel the city’s revitalization while increasing our research profile.”


“This type of in-depth, cross-collaborative partnership is long overdue,” said Andre Sayegh, mayor of Paterson.  “Paterson has plenty of potential and William Paterson University will help harness it.”


The Propel Paterson initiative will kick off with an action-oriented conference on Friday, February 15 at the university that will include city leaders, university faculty and administrators, state legislators, and economic redevelopment experts.  The conference will lead to development of a blueprint for sponsored faculty research and community redevelopment projects.  Propel Paterson will examine opportunities in healthcare, education, business, social services, and arts, culture and tourism.


William Paterson University and the City of Paterson share a long history dating to the university’s founding in 1855 as the Paterson City Normal School to train teachers for the emerging free public schools of Paterson.  Since then, and continuing through William Paterson’s move from Paterson to Wayne in 1951, the university has continued to partner with Paterson on a wide variety of initiatives ranging from deep involvement with the Paterson Public Schools and the support for business through the university’s Small Business Development Center in downtown Paterson to the institution’s partnership with the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park and the involvement of faculty, students and staff in civic engagement projects with a wide variety of Paterson organizations.


Photo:  President Richard Helldobler (center) with Mayor Andre Sayegh (right) and Professor Vincent Parrillo (left).

The Tuchman Foundation Partners with TESU Foundation to Help Coast Guard Students Affected by Partial Government Shutdown 
January 22, 2019

Thomas Edison State University (TESU) announced last week that The Tuchman Foundation has committed to strengthen the TESU Foundation’s pledge to assist enrolled Coast Guard students affected by the government shutdown.

According to Tuchman Foundation chair Martin Tuchman, a new Coast Guard Education Fund will join the TESU Foundation’s pledge to cover February tuition for enrolled Coast guard students. It will also help to cover Coast Guard tuition for the following two semesters, if the government shutdown continues. Additionally, the new fund will include up to $500 per student to cover emergency personal expenses such as textbooks for those registered in the February term. The Tuchman Foundation’s pledge could total as much as $65,000 in support of Coast Guard students.

This gift is the first step toward the creation of a broader Military Student Reserve Fund to assure the continuous education of enrolled students who face exigent circumstances that may prevent them from continuing with their education through no fault of their own.

“The university is committed to doing everything possible to reduce the negative impact of these emergencies on our military students, just as we are to addressing the urgent situation currently facing our Coast Guard students,” said Dr. Merodie A. Hancock, president. “We are extremely grateful to The Tuchman Foundation for this display of generosity and humanity.”

“We began discussing this concept earlier this year with the idea of establishing a fund for the purpose of addressing tuition costs for students from the military, who faced unexpected hardships and were qualified and accepted into the university’s program,” Mr. Tuchman explained. “By serving as a backstop for Thomas Edison State University students, we ensure that they can continue their education without being affected by government shutdowns or other distractions.”

The Tuchman Foundation and its affiliates currently provide scholarships to New Jersey Institute of Technology, Seton Hall University, Mercer County Community College and Trenton Catholic Academy.

NJCU and the New Jersey Council for Economic Education Establish the Institute for Financial Literacy and Economic Education (IFLEE)

January 15, 2019


The New Jersey City University (NJCU) School of Business and the New Jersey Council for Economic Education (NJCEE) are excited to announce the establishment of the Institute for Financial Literacy and Economic Education (IFLEE).


The vision of the Institute is to empower community members to pursue a lifetime of financial health by providing the tools needed to make informed financial decisions.  IFLEE seeks to promote and improve personal finance skills among all New Jersey residents by providing education programs, acting as the New Jersey center and repository for financial resources, and conducting scholarly research.


NJCU President Sue Henderson noted, “The University is thrilled to partner with the New Jersey Council for Economic Education to create a financial literacy institute.  This initiative will result in pervasive and transformational impact on individuals, families, and communities.”  Read more.

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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