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

Can't find it?

Association Staff

Barbara Berreski, JD, MS

Chief Executive Officer

Director, 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


Contact Info

New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities

150 West State Street

Trenton, New Jersey 08608

609-989-1100 office

Follow Us


NJ Student Debt

Read AASCU's Statement on DACA (January 17, 2018)

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.

Student-Athletes Attending New Jersey's Colleges and Universities Stand to Lose - Again - if Sports Gambling is Legalized in Our State.  NJASCU Executive Director Michael Klein submitted a letter-to-the-editor of The New York Times in response to a story about the legalization of sports betting. Read NJASCU Alert.

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.


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

Montclair State University Appoints Dr. Scott Herness as Vice Provost for Research and Dean of The Graduate School 
January 17, 2018

M. Scott Herness, PhD has been appointed vice provost for Research and dean of The Graduate School at Montclair State University (MSU), effective March 19, 2018.

Dr. Herness will join Montclair State after serving as the interim vice provost for Graduate Studies and dean of The Graduate School at The Ohio State University, commonly known as Ohio State, where he oversaw all aspects of graduate education. Ohio State is one of the nation’s largest Research 1 land grant institutions. Prior to his position at Ohio State, he held positions at The Rockefeller University and Indiana University School of Medicine. He will be responsible for the continued advancement of research and graduate studies at Montclair State.

“Dr. Herness brings exceptional experience as a faculty member and researcher in Neurobiology and as a senior administrator in graduate education,” says Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole. “He has the capacity to provide strong leadership to Montclair State’s growing initiatives in research and graduate education in the university’s 10 colleges and schools, and we are extremely pleased to welcome him to our dynamic institution.”  Read full story here.

Merodie A. Hancock Selected as President of Thomas Edison State University 
December 20, 2017

Merodie A. Hancock, PhD, was unanimously elected the fourth president of Thomas Edison State University (TESU) by the institution’s board of trustees at a special board meeting today. She will take office on March 5, 2018.

“Thomas Edison State University is such a respected pillar among adult-serving institutions in the United States and has been at the forefront of offering degree pathways for busy, working adults since its inception in 1972,” said Dr. Hancock, who currently serves as president of SUNY Empire State College in New York. “I hold dear this mission, and am honored to take on the presidency of such a pivotal university.”

TESU Board Chair Brian T. Maloney said Hancock’s record of accomplishment and commitment to innovation and excellence made her an ideal choice to lead Thomas Edison State University.

“We are honored and excited to have Dr. Hancock as our new president. She has the experience, expertise and vision to lead Thomas Edison in today’s challenging marketplace,” said Mr. Maloney, who chaired the university’s presidential search committee. “Dr. Hancock has dedicated her distinguished career to expanding access to higher education for adults, including active military service members and veterans, and is a national leader in meeting the unique needs of nontraditional students.”  Read more here.

 Stockton to Offer Educational Opportunity Fund Program at Atlantic City Campus
December 18, 2017

More local students will have the opportunity to participate in Stockton University’s Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) program under a new EOF-Atlantic City (AC) program approved by the state EOF Board at its meeting on December 15, 2017.

Stockton’s new EOF-AC program will accept up to 50 students and will be housed primarily in Stockton’s new Atlantic City campus, which will open in the fall of 2018. Student recruitment is statewide, but will focus heavily on Atlantic City and Pleasantville. An effort will also be made to reach students who are going out to foster care and need additional support to attend college.

The EOF program was established by the State of New Jersey to provide assistance in attending college to promising young men and women from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. The program provides some financial aid, but also ongoing mentoring and academic support to help students succeed and become leaders in their communities.
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.

Learn more

Copyright © 2017 - Rights Reserved.