Below is the letter-to-the-editor of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in which NJASCU CEO Michael Klein challenges the assumptions made in a June 5 WSJ op-ed.
June 23, 2017
The Wall Street Journal
1211 Sixth Avenue
New York, NY 10036
Dear Mr. Lemmer:
Richard Vedder and Justin Strehle (“The Diminishing Returns of a College Degree,” June 5) ask: “[How] does knowing a lot about, say, anthropology, make one a more productive worker?” The answer is skills like communication, organization, teamwork, critical thinking, social skills, creativity, and adaptability. These so-called “soft skills” are prized by employers (“The Soft Skills Employers Are Looking For,” August 30, 2016) and increasingly recognized and rewarded in liberal arts and humanities majors (“Hunting for Soft Skills, Companies Scoop Up English Majors,” October 25, 2016).
Thank you for considering my comments.
Michael W. Klein, JD, PhD
New Jersey Association of State Colleges & Universities
The legislature approved the $34.7 million FY 2018 state budget just after midnight, July 4, 2017, approving over $300 million additional spending added by the legislature to his proposed budget, and line-item vetoing some language. As soon as the governor's line-item veto message becomes publicly available, we will publish information if it removes any language affecting public higher education. Read analysis.
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.
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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.
John Reitmeyer, The College of New Jersey, Class of 1997
John Reitmeyer, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) alumnus, class of 1997, is in the spotlight and the Spotlight. As a financial reporter and writer, he prefers to avoid the lowercase spotlight and devotes his intellect and energy to the uppercase NJ Spotlight, New Jersey’s online news source, renowned for its award-winning, thought-provoking coverage of New Jersey politics and public policy. (www.njspotlight.com)
By Wall Street standards, writing about finance is far less lucrative than working in finance. By John Reitmeyer standards, however, his compensation brings him great wealth, because it goes beyond dollars and cents.
“I love my job covering budget, tax policy and other state financial issues, because it is “gratifying” to help New Jersey residents be informed accurately about the issues playing such a crucial role in the lives of New Jerseyans, he said.
And TCNJ played a crucial role in his life, both inspiring him and then enabling him to succeed as a journalist in an economically precarious time of change and upheaval for the media industry.
“The college was everything to me,” he said. It propelled him into a “fulfilling,” professional, as well as personal life. It was where he met his wife, Mai, also class of 1997, who is the senior research services librarian at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Read more.
Previous Alumni Profiles:
James J. Florio, The College of New Jersey, Class of 1962 (Featured May 2017)
Nelida Valentin, Stockton University, Class of 1986 (Featured March/April 2017)
Mohamad Bassel Khair, Montclair State University, Class of 2013 (Featured February 2017)
Robin Schwartz, William Paterson University, Class of 1979 (Featured January 2017)
Denis Oniela, New Jersey City University, Class of 1976 (Featured November/December 2016)
Kenneth Lacovara, Rowan University, Class of 1984 (Featured October 2016)
NJCU Alumni Jazz Big Band (Featured September 2016)
Dean Peter Straub, Stockton University, Class of 1980 (Featured August 2016)
David Keefe, Montclair State University, MFA, 2009 (Featured July 2016)
Kayleigh Shangle and James Shangle, The College of New Jersey (Featured June 2016)
Edward Shannon, Ramapo College of New Jersey, 85 (Featured May 2016)
Joanne Robinson, William Paterson University School of Nursing, '75 (Featured March 2016/April 2016)
Danielle Kovach, New Jersey City University, '01 (Featured February 2016/March 2016)
Patricia Powell, William Paterson University, '73 (Featured January 2016/February 2016)
Harvey Kesselman, Stockton University, '79 (Featured December 2015/January 2016)
Lamont Repollet, The College of New Jersey, '94, Kean University, '00 (Featured November/December 2015)
Dennis Devery, Thomas Edison State University, '05 (Featured October 2015)
Lester E. Taylor, III, Montclair State University, '97 (Featured September 2015)
A.J. Sabath, Ramapo College, '93 (Featured August 2015)
Rick Ricciardi, Stockton University, '76 (Featured July 2015)
Quick Takes (below) are current brief updates on legislative and policy issues being followed by NJASCU
July 11, 2017
The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) President R. Barbara Gitenstein, the first woman to serve as the school’s president, announced at the July 11 meeting of the college’s board of trustees that she will retire in June 2018 at the conclusion of the coming academic year. It will mark the end of a nearly 20-year tenure, the third longest in the college’s 162-year history. She is the first woman to serve as president.
“This was not a decision I arrived at easily, but the timing is right for the institution, for my family and for me,” said Dr. Gitenstein, who assumed office on January 1, 19999. “It has been the highlight of my professional career to have served as president of this extraordinary institution.”
“With deep respect and admiration, the board of trustees has accepted President Gitenstein’s intention to retire,” said Jorge Caballero, chair of the board. “Under Dr. Gitenstein’s leadership, the college has continued to pursue a path of excellence ….” Read more here.
Stockton Receives Additional 168 State-Funded Positions for Atlantic City Campus
July 7, 2017
The number of state-funded positions for FY 2018 for Stockton University increased from 764 to 932. The funding will cover pension and healthcare benefit costs for the additional 168 positions, allowing the university to hire faculty, security personnel and operational staff essential for the future Atlantic City campus.
“This represents the largest increase in our central appropriation in Stockton’s history and equates to an additional $4 million to our FY 2018 operating budget,” said President Harvey Kesselman.
Dr. Kesselman acknowledged Senator Whelan and Assemblyman Mazzeo, the primary sponsors of the Budget Resolution, and Senators Connors, Van Drew, and Beach and Assemblypersons Brown, Gove, Rumpf, and Singleton who all strongly supported Stockton’s increase. Significantly, Stockton received bi-partisan support from both northern and southern New Jersey legislators throughout this very difficult budget process. Read more here.
June 8, 2017
Thomas Edison State University’s (TESU) longtime president, Dr. George A. Pruitt, effective December 31, 2017, after 35 years of leading New Jersey’s only college or university dedicated exclusively to serving adults. Under his leadership, the university helped redefine higher education in the U.S. and made degree completion more accessible for working adults, including active duty military service members and other nontraditional learners.
He will take a year’s sabbatical in 2018 and then serve as a distinguished fellow at TESU’s John S. Watson School of Public Service and Continuing Studies. 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.