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.

If “Free College” Sounds Too Good to be True, That’s Because It Often Is 
September 13, 2018

On the morning of September 13, 2018, New Jersey Secretary of the Office of Higher Education Zakiya Smith Ellis gave a thoughtful and thorough summary to the NJ Assembly Higher Education Committee of the free community college pilot program being implemented at select community colleges in the Spring 2019 semester. 

Before talking about the free college program, Secretary Smith Ellis emphasized the importance of her office completing a higher education master plan/vision – a process in which all sectors of higher education will have input and in which all comments about the free community-college initiative will be considered. Her comments before the NJ Assembly Higher Education Committee indicated a desire to make the initiative as simple as possible for the prospective student. She addressed only the pilot program (which does have an income restriction) and made no specific comment on the free-for-all (no income restriction) vision articulated by the governor during his campaign. The goal of the administration is to make the community colleges truly open-access educational vehicles – no barriers – going back to the founding principle of community college. She made no mention of the impact on four-year schools – private or public – and this has been an issue in other states. The members of the committee had several questions, most of them procedural, a few of them philosophical (specifically, the wisdom or lack of wisdom in providing a college program in which the student has no financial skin in the game.) But Assembly Committee chair Jasey promised to invite the Secretary back for further discussion once the pilot program is initiated this spring.


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.

NJ State Assemblyman Jamel C. Holley (District 20), New Jersey City University, Class of 2002; Kean University, Class of 2006

“The first,” “the youngest,” “the most” are superlatives defining New Jersey State Assemblyman Jamel C. Holley, a New Jersey City University undergraduate alumnus and Kean University graduate alumnus. His goal is to embrace a public service career that would be defined by yet another superlative – “the best,” specifically “the best” at helping others.

In 2002, Jamel earned his B.S. in criminal justice from New Jersey City University (NJCU) and followed that in 2006 with an M.A. in public administration from Kean University. He was the first in his family to go to college.

In 2001, before he even finished NJCU, Mr. Holley was appointed by New Jersey’s deputy majority leader to serve as chief of staff. That appointment earned him as the youngest chief of staff in the State of New Jersey for any of New Jersey’s 120 Legislators.

On November 2, 2004, Mr. Holley at the age of 25 won the seat of councilman in the Borough of Roselle, and, by doing so, he earned the designation as the youngest councilman in Union County. In November 2011, Mr. Holley became Mayor Holley, and became the youngest mayor ever elected in Roselle’s 117-year history.

Most recently, in January 2015, Assemblyman Holley was appointed to fill a seat in the New Jersey General Assembly representing the 20th Legislative District (including the municipalities of Elizabeth, Hillside, Roselle, Union). By doing so, Mr. Holley became the first African-American to represent the 20th Legislative District in the New Jersey State Legislature.

Assemblyman Holley describes himself as a most passionate supporter of New Jersey’s public education system (K-16), because he never would have acquired all the professional superlatives without “the amazing educational support.”   Read more.

See our previous alumni profiles here.

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

Investiture Speech of William Paterson University President Richard J. Helldobler

October 7, 2018

The following is the Investiture Speech of William Paterson University President Richard J. Helldobler, presented during an on-campus ceremony at the WPU Shea Center for Performing Arts, Friday October 5, 2018. The speech includes a moving personal account of Dr. Helldobler’s journey to the presidency, as well as profound commentary on the value of public higher education in New Jersey (highlighted )

As someone with a doctorate in theatre, I have always wanted to say this and have it mean something: “I’d like to thank the academy.” In all seriousness, I am in awe of the academy and all that we in higher education accomplish together in our dedication to improving the world. I am honored to be your president, and I thank you for your trust in me. 

I thank the members of the Board of Trustees of William Paterson University for their support and service to this wonderful institution, and for their helpful advice and guidance—wise women and men, as devoted to our students as those of us who learn and live at William Paterson daily. I thank the Alumni Executive Council and the Foundation Board for their presence and support today. These individuals give so generously of their time and resources. To the faculty, staff, and students who, since July, have emailed me, sent flowers, cookies, sweatshirts, books, and tons of advice and good wishes, I thank you. I know you care deeply about the academic life of this institution. I would also like to recognize and thank all the elected officials that are with us today. 

I want to recognize my predecessor, President Emerita Kathleen Waldron. For eight years, Kathy presided over and transformed this institution. Regrettably, Kathy is out of the country, but I know she is here in spirt. I am grateful to her for being so generous during the transition process. 

I would also like to recognize President Emeritus Arnie Speert, who served as president for 25 years. Your presence here brings a sense of history that is so important to universities on days like today. Thank you, Arnie. Read full speech here.

Governor Murphy Outlines Programs and Innovations Geared to Economic Growth 
October 1,2018

Below is complete coverage of the various aspects of Governor Murphy’s NJ economy presentation on Monday, October 1, 2018. Here is NJASCU’s Statement regarding the announced initiative.

The New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities applauds the governor’s economic policy message and envisions how the state’s senior public higher education institutions can serve as the ideal partner for fulfilling this vision. The institutions are double-barreled economic engines in that they are the state’s largest provider of high-quality post-secondary degrees that are so vital to a vibrant workforce, and the actual process of providing these degrees creates a multi-billion-dollar economic stimulus to the state.

Nine out of 10 new jobs created in the last year have gone to those with a college degree. By 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the economy will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school. New Jersey’s senior public higher education institutions are positioned to continue to be the largest providers of an excellent four-year degree education – thus making New Jersey a very attractive place for investment. Furthermore, as these institutions are doing their jobs, they are employing hundreds of thousands in permanent jobs and construction jobs and serving as invaluable hubs for urban and community revitalization. The governor, by creating an environment to facilitate partnerships that will enhance the mission of the universities, is implementing a winning economic policy.  Read complete coverage.

The U.S. Senate Race in NJ is a Statistical Dead Heat, According to Stockton University Poll 
October 1, 2018

The race for a U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey is a statistical dead heat, with incumbent Democrat Bob Menendez leading Republican challenger Bob Hugin by two percentage points, according to a Stockton University poll released today.

Sen. Menendez leads with 45 percent to Mr. Hugin’s 43 percent five weeks before the Nov. 6 election, according to poll numbers of likely voters who say they lean toward one candidate or the other. Libertarian Murray Sabrin pulls 3 percent, while other candidates and undecided voters total 8 percent.

Sen. Menendez, who was reprimanded by a Senate ethics panel after corruption charges were dismissed following a mistrial, is viewed unfavorably by 54 percent, with 30 percent having favorable views and 6 percent unsure.

Mr. Hugin is viewed favorably by 34 percent and unfavorably by 21 percent, although 43 percent are not familiar with him. Only 10 percent are unfamiliar with Menendez.

The Stockton Polling Institute of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University interviewed 531 adult New Jersey residents who were screened as likely voters. Live interviewers working from the Stockton campus called landline and cell phones Sept. 19-27, 2018. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.  Read more.

Renowned Historian Jon Meacham and ‘Professional Fixer’ Judy Smith Open Kean’s 2018-19 Distinguished Lecture Series
September 27, 2018

Presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jon Meacham and Judy A. Smith, whose career in high-level crisis management inspired the hit TV show Scandal, will launch Kean University’s Distinguished Lecture Series this semester.

Mr. Meacham, whose work uses history as a lens to view the modern-day political climate, will explore American politics and current events in the first lecture of the semester on Wednesday, October 24.

Ms. Smith will speak about crisis management and her work in communications, media and politics during an address on Wednesday, December 5.

“We are proud to welcome both Jon Meacham and Judy Smith to our Distinguished Lecture Series,” said Kean University President Dawood Farahi, PhD. “These speakers bring a wealth of expertise and knowledge in the crucial areas of American politics and current events. We can learn a great deal from these distinguished observers of American politics.”

The Distinguished Lecture Series launched during the last academic year with an appearance by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward, TV journalist and women’s activist Soledad O’Brien, and animatronics expert and former Mythbusters’ host Grant Imahara.

Additional speakers for the 2018-19 Distinguished Lecture Series will be announced in the coming months.

A contributor to TIME and a regular television political commentator, Mr. Meacham is known as a skilled raconteur and one of America’s most prominent public intellectuals, with a depth of knowledge about politics, religion and current affairs. He will examine the present moment in American politics and life by looking back at critical times in U.S. history, when hope overcame division and fear. His latest book, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, debuted at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list.

Ms. Smith was the inspiration for and co-executive producer of Scandal, a TV drama revolving around the life and work of a high-powered crisis management executive. She is the founder and president of Smith & Company, a leading strategic advisory firm with offices nationwide.

Ms. Smith has worked on some of the most historic and sensational events of our time, including the Iran-Contra investigation; the prosecution of former Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry; the 1991 Gulf War; the congressional inquiry of Enron; the President Clinton scandal involving Monica Lewinsky; and the Sony Corporation hacking crisis. She also serves as counselor to Fortune 500 corporations and authored the book, Good Self, Bad Self.

Mr. Meacham is scheduled to speak at 4:30 p.m. on October 24, and Ms. Smith will speak at 4:30 p.m. on December 5, both in Kean’s STEM Building, 1075 Morris Avenue in Union.

Admission is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and will be first come, first served. Reserve your seat at kean.edu/lectureseries. Reserved tickets will be available at Will Call beginning at 3:30 p.m., and doors will open at 4 p.m. Unclaimed tickets will be released to the public at 4:15 p.m.

Following his speech, Mr. Meacham will sign copies of The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels and meet with guests at Ursino Steakhouse & Tavern, also in the STEM Building. Admission to that event is $60, which includes light hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine, and a copy of the book. For advanced reservations, please visit kean.edu/lectureseries.

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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