Report and Resolution of the Rutgers University Senate
Committee on University Structure and Governance
on a Contract with the Governor on Higher Education

Passed unanimously by the University Senate October 24, 2003

Rutgers University is actively involved in serious discussions and potential planning for a wide-ranging restructuring that would require sustained long-term investment.  The expressed purpose of this restructuring  -- whatever its ultimate shape – is to advance New Jersey’s public research University system to the top tier of public universities in the entire nation in terms of excellence in teaching, research, and public service, as objectively judged by its peers. Rutgers University is now confronting the possibility of budget cuts that will severely undermine its core missions of teaching, research, and public service.

The Rutgers University Senate has studied the history of Rutgers University’s funding relationship with the State of New Jersey.  This relationship has been marked by long-term under-funding in annual budgets to support excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, and persistent under-investment in the University’s ability to build a faculty of the highest distinction and develop the University’s capital projects.  State support has not been predictable.  As a result, past periods of generous support have been followed by periods of notable lack of attention to investment in the future of higher education.  A stable long-term solution to this problem is absolutely necessary if Rutgers is to meet the growing demand for admission and the important requirement that a Rutgers education continue to improve in quality. The Senate has reviewed strategies for attaining stable funding that drives excellence and has concluded that one particular approach shows promise.  Stable funding is an important element in the University’s ability to deliver the potential benefits arising from the proposed restructuring.

Be it resolved, that the University Senate recommends to the president of Rutgers University that he seek to obtain a multi-year contract with New Jersey’s governor to attain the funding necessary to stabilize the gains Rutgers has already made, and to drive excellence for the future.  For its part, Rutgers would make specific measurable commitments including, but not limited to, the following:

(1)  provide access to the highest quality undergraduate, graduate, and professional education with a faculty of the highest distinction for the growing numbers of New Jersey citizens who are demanding these services in the context of a rapidly changing knowledge economy;

(2)  significantly strengthen Rutgers’ leadership in teaching, research, and public service in the arts, the humanities, and the natural and social sciences so that the University is capable of providing a broad liberal arts education and appreciation of the deepest human ethics and values to students in all fields of knowledge;

(3)  develop research in the sciences and the professions that will drive the knowledge-based industries that are the future of New Jersey’s ability to innovate and compete with other states, with the goal of expanding economic growth in which all citizens and their children can share;

(4)  demonstrably improve integration with the rest of New Jersey’s system of higher education through better collaboration and coordination that serves the expanding needs of students;

(5)  assume greater responsibility in assisting with critical state needs such as:  student achievement and teacher development in K-12, the health and welfare of inner cities and special regional needs, the prosperity of agriculture and the protection of the environment of the state (through the University’s land-grant mission), and continuing adult and professional education with special attention to life-long learning and the needs of New Jersey’s growing population of senior citizens.

(6)  improve productivity and transparency in managing Rutgers University as an institution.

For his part, the Governor of the State of New Jersey would make multi-year commitments including, but not limited to, the following:
(1)  a definite and consistent level of annual percentage increases in state funding plus funding for enrollment growth and expanding quality consistent with jointly developed master plans;

(2)  ongoing increases to eliminate past budgetary shortfalls;

(3)  an organized ongoing program of capital support that addresses the need for further growth and the reduction of deferred maintenance through both annual capital programs and bond issues;

(4)  special one-time funding for priority needs contingent on the state’s financial position in the areas of library, equipment, instructional technology, special building projects, and any one-time costs associated with any possible restructuring;

(5)  funding for special institutes and programs that will advance the reputation for academic excellence of the University and its contribution to developing and incubating businesses in New Jersey’s knowledge-based economy.