Rutgers Boards Approve Restructuring Act and UMDNJ Integration
November 19, 2012
Members of the Rutgers and UMDNJ Communities:
We have achieved a milestone in the advancement of higher education in New Jersey—one that will greatly benefit students, citizens, the health sciences, and the faculty and staff of our institutions as we become one university in service to New Jersey and the world.
Today the Rutgers Boards of Governors and Trustees, exercising their unique responsibility to consent to fundamental changes to the institution under the covenant Rutgers signed with the State in 1956, voted unanimously to approve the changes outlined in the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act.
This historic act, which was signed by Governor Christie in August and will take effect July 1, 2013, transfers to Rutgers nearly all of the schools, institutes, and centers of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. (The exceptions are the School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, which is being integrated into Rowan University, and University Hospital in Newark, which will become a separate nonprofit entity but will remain the primary teaching hospital for the New Jersey Medical School, School of Nursing, and New Jersey Dental School.) Further, the act provides greater autonomy for the Rutgers–Camden Campus, creates advisory boards for each Rutgers campus, and establishes formal collaboration between Rutgers–Camden and Rowan in the area of health sciences.
For Rutgers, which has lacked a medical school since the early 1970s, this restructuring will present enormous opportunities to excel in the medical, dental, and health sciences, bolstered by the strong basic health science research capabilities UMDNJ has demonstrated throughout its history. Likewise, the outstanding UMDNJ programs that are joining Rutgers will benefit immensely from new synergies with research and teaching in pharmacy, nursing, the life and social sciences, engineering, law and business, the arts and humanities, and many other areas of strength. For all our students, it means an even more robust institution with far more academic options. For New Jersey, it will achieve Governor Christie’s goal of strengthening biomedical education and research statewide and engendering new public-private partnerships with industries that are critical to our state’s economic prosperity. For the women and men of our combined institution—the new and stronger Rutgers—we have an unprecedented opportunity to serve every region of New Jersey as one of the top comprehensive research universities in the nation.
The path to implementation of the Restructuring Act will demand continued hard work. The Rutgers-UMDNJ integration teams have already been meeting for many months to sort out the details of combining the operations and finances of our two institutions while ensuring that no student’s academic progress is hindered, no patient’s care is negatively affected, and all of our schools’ accreditations remain in place. These efforts will accelerate in the months ahead. In addition, we have embarked on a national search to select the chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and will take great care in appointing leaders for the other administrative positions created by the Restructuring Act.
Change, especially of this magnitude, is difficult and filled with uncertainty, and so I understand that there are many questions and concerns. While I anticipate some efficiencies and redeployment as we combine operations and adopt best practices across the new institution, our priority must be to maintain all critical academic, administrative, and clinical functions as we build a university that is greater than the sum of its parts. I recognize the many deeply talented faculty and staff at UMDNJ and know that the skills and experience they possess will be critical to the effectiveness of the university we are building together. And students of both UMDNJ and Rutgers should know that the excellent relationships they have developed with their faculty will be a vital part of the new institution.
I look forward to welcoming all of our new colleagues and students to Rutgers next July. I am eager to work with you, and for you, in creating a future of unparalleled success for our new institution. In the meantime, I know that President Rodgers, her administration, and the UMDNJ board will continue to provide dedicated leadership and support to the UMDNJ community, and we will be working together to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.
I invite you to read the news release regarding today’s historic vote by the Rutgers boards. I also encourage you to continue to consult the jointly operated website for the Rutgers-UMDNJ Integration, as well as the integration enewsletter, for updates on the progress of integration.
Robert L. Barchi
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey