Combined University Senate Committee Responses to Nursing Merger Proposal
February 2014

Academic Standards, Regulations, and Admissions Committee

Members of ASRAC spoke with Julie Salmon, Dean of the Rutgers School of Nursing for about 20 minutes and then continued discussion of the merger proposal after Dean Salmon went on to the next committee.
All those present were in agreement that it is untenable to continue to have two Rutgers nursing schools less than two miles apart with different curricula and academic regulations , competing for students. Thus we are ready to recommend unanimously that the Rutgers School of Nursing and Rutgers College of Nursing be merged into one nursing school. The specific proposal before us, however, is too sketchy and incomplete to allow us to recommend that the Senate do anything beyond approving the merger in principle.  Besides a great deal more specific information about the structure and governance of the proposed new (merged) school, we would also need more information about the process by which the proposal was developed before we would be willing to recommend approval of this proposal.
ASRAC’s therefore recommends that the Senate approve the merger in principle but reserve the right to consider and vote on the detailed merger proposal after it has been finalized.
Submitted by Martha Cotter for ASRAC

Budget and Finance Committee:

The following is a short summary of comment raised during our discussion:
·         In the copy of the proposal given to us Thursday 1/23/2014 there were no budget and finance data. Members of BFC raised concerns about the role of BFC in this discussion. Many felt that the BFC could not say much about this merger.
·         A number of BFC members said that given the specific situation of these schools, the proposed merger made sense on its face, and no one disagreed.
·         A number of BFC members also said that the following should be addressed
o   The question whether the faculties in question approved the suggested merger.
o   It was said that the budget and other financial issues should have had been attended more carefully and should have been reported to BFC.
o   A question was asked whether the union contracts would be affected.

Faculty and Personnel Affairs Committee

The FPAC was asked by the University Senate Executive Committee to review the proposed merger of the Rutgers College of Nursing – Newark & New Brunswick with the Rutgers School of Nursing – Newark during the committee meeting on January 24, 2014. 
The committee invited the Dean of the Rutgers School of Nursing, Susan Salmond, to address the group.  Dean Salmond provided background on the proposed merger and answered questions. 
The FPAC was satisfied that the merger appears to be a collaborative one that has the support of the faculty of each unit.  Although the committee unanimously endorsed the general spirit of the merger, it requests that the Senate reserve the right to examine the full merger proposal once adopted by the faculty of the affected schools.
Concerns expressed by committee members included:
·         Sufficient faculty approval of the merger and participation in the merger process
·         Labor contracts
·         Staffing issues:  layoffs; change in administrative processes; training
·         Student issues:  location of classes; access to needed coursework; impact on enrollment or time to completion of degree
·         Change in Master’s level programs offered
·         How the merger might impact the Stratford University School of Nursing and the Rutgers School of Nursing – Camden
·         Role of Senate in the merger approval
·         The accreditation process
·         Alignment of degrees offered given the apparent differences in philosophy between the two schools (one more clinical, the other more academic)
·         Why there should remain two Rutgers schools of nursing in the state
The FPAC suggests that a suffix be added to the proposed name of the merged nursing school to establish a separate identity from the Rutgers School of Nursing – Camden. 

Instruction, Curricula, and Advising Committee

At its January 24, 2014 meeting the Senate Instruction, Curricula and Advising Committee reviewed the proposal entitled “The merger of the Rutgers College of Nursing – Newark & New Brunswick and the Rutgers School of Nursing – Newark.” Dean William Holzemer of the College of Nursing presented the proposal and answered Committee questions.
The discussion was wide-ranging, with questions about programs—especially those targeted for closure—as well as curricula, personnel, and facilities. There was some concern expressed about the lack of detail in the proposal as to both the justification (what would be the advantages for the University?) for the merger and the implementation.  Dean Holzemer explained that the version we received was the brief overview prepared for the Board and that he would be happy to provide whatever expanded information we needed.
There were questions from the Committee about the facilities required to move the College of Nursing to New Brunswick. The College currently has 60,000 sq. feet of newly renovated state of the art facilities in Ackerson Hall in Newark. They are trying to find 40,000 sq. ft. in New Brunswick, with the search focusing on the RWJ Hospital area. There were questions about why they weren’t looking on Busch Campus where the other New Brunswick health sciences programs were centered.
There were questions about faculty issues—the College of Nursing requires Ph.Ds for their non-clinical tenure track faculty; the School of Nursing only requires a Masters degree. There are also differing missions and philosophies that need to be resolved.
Fourteen ICA members were present at the meeting; several others who could not be present sent comments. The fourteen present at the meeting voted to support the merger in principle—we didn’t feel we were familiar enough with the details to do more than that. One member who could not be present cast a “No” vote. She was concerned about the extent to which the faculties at the College of Nursing and the School of Nursing had or had not been consulted and involved in merger discussions as there was nothing in the proposal about this. She was also concerned that there was nothing In the proposal about where the Stratford programs would fit.

Research, and Graduate and Professional Education Committee

On January 24, 2014, The Research and Graduate & Professional Education Committee (RGPEC) of the Rutgers University Senate heard testimony from William Holzemer, Dean, College of Nursing – Newark campus, about the proposed merger of the College of Nursing (Newark and New Brunswick) and the Rutgers School of Nursing (legacy UMDNJ) into one school, the Rutgers School of Nursing.
From a strategic perspective, Dean Holzemer explained that the merger will create the largest nursing school in the United States, with more than 1,800 students. Since 90% of the programs at the current schools are identical, as specified by the State’s licensing board, minimal programmatic impact will be felt. Operational issues surrounding the merger include addressing the existence of two different faculty unions, two salary structures, and two teaching loads.
The RGPEC recognizes that the culture shift for faculty, students, and staff affiliated with both institutions will be time consuming, and is pleased to see that mechanisms are in place to address these changes. We also recognize that changes will be needed in both the admissions systems and the grants application systems. The care with which merger issues are being addressed bodes well for the future of the merged schools.
By acclamation of the members present at the January 24 RGPEC, we support the merger of the College of Nursing (Newark and New Brunswick) and the Rutgers School of Nursing (legacy UMDNJ) into one Rutgers School of Nursing.
Gayle Stein and Jane Otto, committee co-chairs
on behalf of the RGPEC

Student Affairs Committee

The Student Affairs Committee voted in support of the concept presented in the proposal to merge the nursing programs in Newark and NB.
The concerns are as follows:
1.      There should be clear name/location distinction with the newly merged programs and the School of Nursing-Camden. Our suggestions were: School of Nursing-Newark/NB or School of Nursing-RBHS.
2.      The name of the school on a student's diploma needs to be resolved for any current students. Will they have the name of their current school/program(the one they were admitted under) or the soon to be created merged school on the diploma? Will it be their choice which to have on the diploma?
3.      Where will the newly merged school be centered in terms of physical location? How will this impact on other schools/programs located in the same places?

University Structure and Governance Committee

Report of the University Structure and Governance Committee Recommendations on the merging of the Rutgers College of Nursing – Newark & New Brunswick and the Rutgers School of Nursing – Newark.
Background:  The University Structure and Governance Committee was tasked by the Chair of the University Senate, Ann Gould, to look at the proposal by Chancellor Brian Strom of the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences to combine Rutgers College of Nursing – Newark & New Brunswick and the Rutgers School of Nursing – Newark.  Each committee in the Senate has been asked to assess this proposal and vote as a whole on whether to support or not a proposed merger.  The USGC and other committees are tasked with responding to the Executive Committee by Wednesday January 29, 2014.
In preparation, the committee posed a series of questions internally in a preliminary discussion of the consequences and potential advantages of this merger.
The following questions were posed by committee members prior to the meeting with College of Nursing Dean William Holzemer.
1.      What is the rationale for the merger?
2.      What are the merits of the merger?
3.      What are the consequences of not merging the units?
4.      What will happen to each curriculum?
5.      What is the result of the harmonization meetings by the respective faculties?
6.      What exactly is the committee being asked to do?
7.      What are the costs of the merger?
8.      What are the savings?
9.      How will the admission process change if at all?
10.  What will happen with enrollments?
11.  Where is the financial data for the proposal?
12.  How does the College of Nursing in Camden relate to the merger?  Will it eventually be merged as well?
13.  What impact will a potential merger have on staff?
14.  What impact will a potential merger have on Part Time Lecturers?
15.  What impact will a potential merger have on Senate entitlements?
A brief introduction by Dean Holzemer included an apology to the Senate with his admission that the school had been working on this proposal for a year.  With the addition of RBHS, most other units easily moved over into the new Rutgers structure.  Nursing was the only school that had been duplicated.  Dean Holzemer expressed that the main idea under which the proposal is submitted is to “do no harm to the students.”  The two nursing schools are approximately 10 blocks apart, and space is an issue because what is currently available is inadequate.
The curricula of both schools are approximately 95 percent similar, largely because the relevant accrediting body constrains the nursing curriculum.  The student side of the merger will be a unified school (curricula, research), and appears to be a seamless union.  The generic four-year program will benefit students due to the expansion.  The administrative side of the merger will take some time to transition because there are multiple unions, and otherlegal and financial issues that need to be worked out.
Upon conclusion of Dean Holzemer’s remarks, the committee began posing questions to better understand the issues at hand.
We began with the fact that the document presented to USGC provided information about what is going to occur for a merger but not any rationale for said merger.
1.      The proposal was originally released and tailored to the Board of Trustees only.  The schools had no sense that the Senate would be involved and subsequently that is why the information needed by the Senate is missing.  No one involved in the merger process indicated that they knew the Senate must be involved until now.
2.      The fundamental reason for the merger is that Nursing is a small community.  For Rutgers to have an impact statewide and nationally requires a large presence.  Running small schools maintains a mediocre reputation.  Coming together allows for the potential to becoming a national and global powerhouse.
3.      The mandate originally came from President Barchi to create efficiencies and reduce complexity.
4.      No extra costs will be passed on.  The merged school will manage all additional costs through their existing discretionary funds.
5.      No negative consequences other than the transitional issues are seen by Dean Holzemer.
6.      Both faculties do support the merger.
7.      Enrollments will stay the same.
8.      Faculty will stay the same with some additional recruiting.
USGC:  Will programs currently in Newark, come to New Brunswick?
1.      Some will, and some will not because of clinical affiliations in Newark that are missing in New Brunswick.
USGC:  Is there a transitional plan for the administrative issues?
1.      Yes, the financial and legal teams are working on this.  Some discussion will continue about RIAS vs. Banner as one example.
2.      Working with Academic Affairs concerning faculty issues.
3.      Space issues still need to be resolved.
USGC:  One combined student body?  What are the consequences for administration?
1.      Yes both student and faculty bodies will be combined into one student and one faculty body.
2.      Dean Holzemer will be appointed as the Dean of the merged school. Dean Salmond will act as the Executive Vice Dean.
3.      Administrative draft of the structure will go to faculty shortly, and changes are anticipated.
4.      Proposing a change from department structure to a functional entry, undergraduate programs, advanced practice and the science as three functional areas.
USGC:  No cost impact on the university as stated.  Will using school reserves have any impact on the university as a whole?
1.      It is not likely to have an effect on the university budget.
2.      One area long term will be in the construction of new building including simulation laboratories.  This will impact RBHS as a whole.
3.      Simulation labs are needed since it is difficult to get into hospitals for clinical training.  Community colleges have saturated those areas.
USGC:  In the future is Camden being considered for inclusion?
1.      Camden was invited.
2.      Camden has indicated that they are not interested.  Newark and New Brunswick are open to this if Camden does become interested. 
USGC:  Are their plans to consult with the student body before any construction occurs? Students felt they were not previously consulted with other Nursing facility projects.
1.      Meetings with Vice President for Facilities and Capital Planning Tony Calcado continue.
2.      Satellite areas are being looked at throughout the state.
3.      Students are included on multiple levels and will continue.
USGC:  Has it been established that Camden will not object to the name?
1.      They are the Rutgers, Camden School of Nursing, new name is going to be Rutgers School of Nursing.
2.      Right now there are two Schools of Nursing and one College of Nursing.
3.      Unsure if they will object though none has been heard.
USGC:  Does 66 clinical track include NTT include PTLs?  Merging includes PTLs?
1.      They are all full-time.
2.      PTLs are part of the 500 listed; the 66 are only full-time faculty.
USGC:  What, if any, will be the impact on accrediting bodies?
1.      Planning on how accreditation will be maintained, curricula changing minimally.
2.      All accredited by CCNE, with $25,000.00 annual dues per school.
Committee Conclusions:
Concerns include the lack of information on financials and rationale for the merger.
We don’t yet know how much of the school’s reserves will be used for the merger.  We do not have any financial data on cost savings or increased costs.  We do not have any idea of potential impact on faculty and staff at this time.
The structure, research teaching, curricula, funding and impact do point toward merging.  The increased impact from combining schools will enable more funding and national recognition.
Although it does not include all three campuses, this consolidation does appear timely to the committee and is a good start toward a complete integration of disciplines.
Committee Recommendation:
USGC has heard and read nothing that would recommend against merging these schools.