Tag Archive: Rowan University

An open letter to Rowan University President, Dr. Ali A. Houshmand

Cross-posted from Marie’s blog. Promoted by Rosi.

I understand that you have invited Gov. Chris Christie to be the keynote speaker at next month’s commencement ceremonies and that you are bestowing an honorary degree on him. Why?

As you well know, Rowan University started out as a teachers college, and in fact in 1937, the school’s name was changed to New Jersey State Teachers College at Glassboro. Your school’s own website describes it thus:

“The college gained a national reputation as a leader in the field of reading education and physical therapy when it opened a clinic for children with reading disabilities in 1935… The college was one of the first in the country to recognize these needs and was in the forefront of the special education movement.” (emphasis mine)

Correct me if I am wrong, but no other New Jersey governor has treated public education, students and teachers with such vile contempt as Gov. Christie. No other New Jersey governor that I know of has denigrated, demonized and tried to destroy one of the best public education systems in the country the way Gov. Christie has. He has cut billions from education funding, which has resulted in 10,000 educators losing their jobs. He has contributed to and expanded the racial and socioeconomic segregation of our urban school districts with policies like One Newark. He has accused teachers of being ‘greedy, selfish and disgraceful’ and using our students as ‘drug mules’. If you need more proof, here it is, and as blogger, TeacherBiz said in her post on this issue, if that’s not enough, just Google it.

The Forgotten Victims of Violence

When 20 children were viciously murdered, the nation simultaneously grieved and initiated a call to action. Yet, the reaction was quite different when 67 people were viciously murdered. For the most part, those victims were ignored, and very few people are addressing the root cause of that violence.

Those 67 victims are the latest count (and may be higher by the time this is posted) of the people murdered in Camden this year.

The situations are, of course, different. The Connecticut murderer was a single deranged individual whose motive will never be known for sure. The Camden murders have come from a variety of motives from domestic violence to drug deals gone bad.

Stricter gun laws are essential and would have reduced the number of people killed in Camden and Connecticut. Maybe the Connecticut murderer’s death count would have been less if he was only able to purchase magazines with five rounds. Maybe some of the carnage in Camden could have been reduced if vengeance were taken out by knife attacks instead of the more lethal and efficient guns. So the push for more effective gun control is necessary. But it is not sufficient.

The Myth of Outmigration

promoted by Rosi

A large number of New Jersey students chose to go to college out of state, and have for at least the past 40 years.  This is a frequently stated rationale for the restructuring of higher education, particularly in South Jersey.   A review of research on this topic does not support the idea that combining or more closely joining the Rutgers University Camden and Rowan University would keep more students at home.  In 2009 Seton Hall doctoral student Alyssa McCloud wrote her dissertation,  Migration Patterns of College Students in New Jersey:  A Synthesis of the Data and Literature, and reviewed all existing studies and data on the subject.

She found that:

• Students who leave their home state for college have higher academic ability and higher family income (41).  NJ students out migration by county reflects the county income; students from more affluent counties are more likely to go out of state for college (158)

• Students prefer to migrate to neighboring states; New Jersey students who attend college out of state primarily choose colleges in New York and Pennsylvania (43).

• Students who go to college out of state most often attend a private college (45); academic reputation was the most frequent reason NJ students chose an out of state college (159); NJ students who want to attend public schools tend to stay in state (167)

• Greater state support of higher education leads to less out migration and more in migration (48).  States with more schools and more programs retain more students (53)

• First generation college students (those whose parents did not go to college) are less likely to go out of state for college (52)

• Capacity (the number of spots available) had no effect on NJ student migration (137)

• New Jersey has a relatively small system in comparison to most other states in terms of number of students, faculty, and institutions (139)

• Rutgers is one of the highest quality institutions in the state, and this is known to be an important draw for high-achieving students (150).  Princeton and Rutgers attracted 45% of out of state students coming to New Jersey for college (163)

I have looked for outmigration statistics by county and have not been able to locate them, so I cannot report on the difference in outmigration in South Jersey as opposed to other areas of the state.  Since students who leave the state tend to be from wealthier families and tend to choose private colleges and universities, it doesn’t make sense to restructure public universities in an attempt to keep them here.

Since students who do go out of state for a college education step over one state border to do so, to New York or Pennsylvania, it is impossible to say whether they step back across that state line when they graduate.  One prime example of this is Gov. Chris Christie, who attended college in Delaware and then came back home.  At least two of his senior administrators, the Secretary of Agriculture and the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs also went out of state for college and then came back to New Jersey.

It is important to make in-state higher education as attractive as possible to New Jersey’s high school students, restructuring higher education, especially in South Jersey, is not the way to do it.

Norcrossippi Rising

A Blue Jersey commenter has repeatedly written what I consider insulting remarks about residents of South Jersey and Mississippi. I want to believe that his comments were not meant to be insulting, but nevertheless, that’s how I interpret them. There are many fine and decent people both in South Jersey and in the Magnolia State who don’t deserve such disparaging remarks, regardless of their political affiliation.
I love New Jersey. I live in South Jersey, used to live in Central Jersey, and have close relatives whom I frequently visit in North Jersey. The state offers a tremendous amount of diversity – not only in its residents, but in what it has to offer. Most people I know from out of state envision the Garden State the way it is portrayed in the opening scenes of The Sopranos – a series of dirty highways littered by oil refineries and crumbling infrastructure and nice homes occupied by crooks and thieves. But anyone who has lived here knows we’re more than that.
So I decided to have some fun with our commenter’s proposition. What would happen if he had his way?
Story below the fold… 

North/South Divide over Higher Education should end now

Important – Assemblywoman Wagner, a member of the Joint Higher Education Committee, parts ways with Sen. Steve Sweeney’s response to U.S. Sen. Lautenberg’s call for a federal review of the proposed merger of Rutgers-Camden and Rowan universities. – promoted by Rosi

As a member of the Joint Higher Education Committee on the merger of Rowan, Rutgers and UMDNJ, I had the opportunity to listen to the passionate testimony of over 100 individuals who represented varied interests.  

I came to the meeting with an open mind and the hope that two questions would be answered.  Would this merger offer expanded educational opportunities for the students of New Jersey and would this plan provide for a more efficient less costly method of delivering higher education to the students of New Jersey?  

Sadly enough, the plan offered little in the expansion of choice for the students of South Jersey and offered no financial details as to how this can occur.  

The plan simply needs more work.  The four month deadline is absurd.  There are too many questions that need to be answered.  The first one is how to pay for this.  I heard estimates from as low as 40 million dollars each year to millions upon millions of dollars to make this happen.  In addition, I struggle to have Rutgers Camden Law and Rutgers Camden Business School simply go away and be turned over to Rowan.  

The students in South Jersey deserve an opportunity to have a choice of Rutgers Camden or Rowan.  A possible alternate, if we are looking to cut down costs and offer more opportunities, would be to form a consortium of the two schools in order to share services, grants etc.

The Rutgers-New Brunswick UMDNJ piece of the consolidation also needs more work.  How will this merger affect University Hospital and how will this merger help or hinder the progress of Newark’s revitalization program? During his testimony, Mayor Corey Booker quoted an African Proverb when he stated, “Go fast, you go it alone.  Go slow and you go together. ”  

Christie Playbook: The Overreach

Governor Christie is always reminding us that he’s the governor. If you watch his town halls or television appearances and count the number of times he does this, you will quickly run out of fingers. We get it, Chris. You’re “in charge.” We know.

But perhaps he needs to insert a word into this meme he’s created, and start saying “I’m ONLY the governor.” Because his actions over the past few years indicate that when it comes to power, Chris Christie always seems to want more. The latest example can be observed in his plan to merge Rowan and Rutgers. Shooting first and asking questions only if someone makes him, Christie now plainly admits his tendency to act despite the law. He admits  that he doesn’t even know for sure if his plan is legal.

 Is this a pattern? You bet:

– His attempted elimination of COAH was illegal.

– His refusal to fund the state’s most troubled schools was illegal.

 – His early intention to unilaterally reopen government worker contracts in 2010 was squashed by his lawyers; it would have been illegal.

These examples of over-reaching are the ones involving illegality. Of course, there’s also the wide range of over-reaching that may be legal but is nonetheless unseemly. There are plenty of examples: He scuttled at $400M education grant in order to sustain his fight with teachers and the NJEA. He goes from zero to asshat in seconds, barfing insults at women, men, student “drug mules,” legislators, Navy Seals, teachers, or anyone else who disagrees with him without cowering in fear. And of course, there was the unilateral canceling of ARC.

More. More. More.


Rowan Hires PR Firm

promoted by Rosi

Rowan University is advertising for a PR firm to help with internal communications, brand management, and merger issues relating to the the Barer Committee’s recommendation that Rutgers University’s Camden Campus be peeled way from Rutgers and made a part of Rowan University.  There has been more opposition to this than expected.  The full request for a quote, a 10 page pdf, can be found here.

New Jersey, Delaware to Merge

In a surprise move today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced a merger between New Jersey and Delaware. The new state will be called “New Jersey.”

“It makes a lot of sense”, Christie said. “It has always bothered me that New Jersey had an odd number of counties, and by adding Delaware’s three counties to the state, we now have a nice even 24, which coincidentally is the same as the name of my favorite television program.”

In a related move, Christie announced that his alma mater, the University of Delaware, will be merged into Rowan University. Attorney Philip A. Norcross has been named President of the academic institution. When questioned about this action, Christie replied, “It just makes sense. This gives Rowan a Division I football team and nobody ever heard of a blue hen, anyway.”

When told that Delaware Governor Jack Markell strenuously objected to the merger of the two states, and that the matter should be brought to the people, Christie replied, “He’s an idiot. Someone should take a bat to him.”