Dean Roger Dennis endorsed a compromise being considered for restructuring New Jersey’s research universities in an opinion article published in the Cherry Hill Courier Post on June 8.
Dennis said a legislative proposal by New Jersey State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, to combine Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey while merging Rutgers-Camden into Rowan University would help address numerous issues that have hampered higher education in New Jersey for many years. Dennis applauded the proposal’s plan to maintain local governance committees for each school while simultaneously providing for a joint oversight board, claiming it not only preserves each school’s identity but also promotes collaboration between the universities.
However, fiscal underinvestment could hinder such reorganization plans, Dennis said. Therefore, governance structures such as those suggested in the Sweeny plan must be coupled with proper funding so that schools can encourage research productivity and, thus, develop students that become interdisciplinary thinkers, Dennis concluded.
Sweeney’s proposal modifies a controversial plan unveiled by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie that would have folded Rutgers-Camden into Rowan University.