Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is the nation’s eighth oldest institution of higher education and one of the nine colonial colleges established before the American Revolution. Chartered in 1766 as the church-affiliated Queen’s College, it was renamed Rutgers College in 1825 in honor of Revolutionary War veteran Colonel Henry Rutgers. In 1864, Congress established Rutgers as New Jersey’s land-grant college. The University of Newark (now Rutgers University–Newark) became part of Rutgers in 1946, followed by the College of South Jersey (now Rutgers University–Camden) in 1950, which gave Rutgers wide presence throughout the state. By 1956, state legislative acts had designated all of Rutgers’ divisions as The State University of New Jersey, the state’s comprehensive public research university.
Our more recent history also has brought significant positive changes to Rutgers. Rutgers University–New Brunswick was invited to join the Association of American Universities in 1989, establishing its place among the top 62 research universities in North America. Through enactment of The New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act of 2012, Rutgers became a fully comprehensive public university with the integration of most units of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey ("UMDNJ"). This legislative act, effecting the largest merger in the history of U.S. higher education, created a new academic health center and patient care division, dedicated to educating future medical professionals, providing clinical care, and conducting cutting-edge health care research. The integration of UMDNJ into Rutgers occurred officially in July 2013, but full implementation is an ongoing process. In the same year, Rutgers University–New Brunswick was invited to join the Big Ten athletic conference and its academic counterpart, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (now called the Big Ten Academic Alliance)—an academic consortium of 14 top-tier universities; the consortium is instrumental in helping member institutions maintain balance in achieving excellence in both academics and athletics, and facilitates the sharing of best practices and participation in joint initiatives. Lastly, a Building Our Future Bond Act was approved by New Jersey voters in 2012, enabling Rutgers to undertake a comprehensive capital construction program for the first time in many years.
With the intersection of these potentially transformative changes at Rutgers, and in the context of the larger societal and budgetary forces reshaping higher education nationally, Rutgers launched a comprehensive strategic planning process in December 2012, the first such exercise at the University since the mid-1990s. After an 18-month University-wide process, the resulting plan identified a single straight-forward goal—Rutgers aspires to be broadly recognized as among the nation’s leading public universities: preeminent in research, excellent in teaching, and committed to community. The plan also identified four strategic priorities for reaching that goal:
- Envisioning tomorrow’s University by identifying opportunities and risks associated with external partnerships, technology-driven change, and the organization of our academic structures;
- Building faculty excellence through aggressive recruitment, faculty development, and the use of appropriate incentives coupled with infrastructure improvements to support education and research;
- Transforming the student experience by creating innovative living and learning communities, providing better advising services, increasing access to hands-on learning and more direct interaction between students and faculty, and improving our student support systems; and
- Enhancing our public prominence by addressing institutional weaknesses and better communicating University strengths.
The plan also identified five foundational elements required for success in each of these four areas, as well as five integrating interdisciplinary themes that reflect Rutgers’ academic and institutional strengths and that can serve as a framework for operationalizing the plan across all levels of the University. The foundational elements include: sustaining and developing strength in core science and humanities disciplines; ensuring a diverse and inclusive community; facilitating an environment characterized by administrative responsiveness and student service; identifying new sources of revenue and aligning the use of resources with strategic goals; and maintaining our commitment to shared governance, academic freedom, and effective leadership and communication. The integrating themes identified in the plan represent Rutgers' areas of interdisciplinary strength to be incorporated in scholarship, teaching, and outreach across the University. These interdisciplinary emphases include: diversity, equality and migration; health and wellness of individuals and populations; environmental sustainability through technology and innovation; the education of future citizens and effective leaders for a changing world; and creative expression and the human experience. Using the University Strategic Plan as a guide, chancellors and deans have developed their own strategic plans that elaborate on the concrete initiatives and resources necessary to realize our strategic priorities and advance Rutgers to new levels of excellence.
Today Rutgers remains New Jersey’s preeminent comprehensive public research university, and is identified by its threefold mission of providing for the instructional needs of New Jersey’s citizens through its undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education programs; conducting the cutting-edge research that contributes to the medical, environmental, social, and cultural well-being of the state, as well as aiding the economy and the state’s businesses and industries; and performing public service in support of the needs of the citizens of the state and its local, county, and state governments. Confirmed by the recent strategic planning process, each component of the University’s mission reinforces and supports the other two. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence, to conducting research that breaks new ground, and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.
Academic Structure and Organization
Rutgers has evolved over its 250-year history from a small private college to a leading national public research university through the confluence of history, New Jersey’s social, economic, and political environment, and an educational market different from that existing in many other states. Throughout this evolution, which continues today, at its heart Rutgers remains a uniquely New Jersey institution that has transformed itself over the years to best serve the citizens of the state at that time. It has a presence throughout the state and operates in a federated organizational structure supported by broad centralized services to ensure that it meets its tripartite mission. Autonomy and initiative are fundamental characteristics of its management structure.
Rutgers is one university with three distinct operational locations in New Jersey—in Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick; each is headed by a chancellor and characterized by its own distinctive identity. The integration of UMDNJ into Rutgers has created a fourth unit, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS), also headed by its own chancellor. Organizationally part of Rutgers University–New Brunswick, RBHS has educational and clinical operations throughout New Jersey.
Rutgers University–New Brunswick is the University’s flagship campus, classified by the Carnegie Commission as a Doctoral University: Highest Research Activity, and Rutgers’ largest community. It is located primarily in the central part of the state and consists of five interconnected campus communities. It has an enrollment exceeding 40,000 undergraduate and graduate/professional students, 4,000 full- and part-time faculty members, and a total staff of approximately 6,000 employees. The 18 degree-granting schools and colleges affiliated with New Brunswick offer more than 100 undergraduate majors and over 200 graduate and professional degree programs. These include liberal arts and science programs, medical and health care programs (under the aegis of RBHS), and professional school programs in the arts, engineering, education, business, psychology, management, planning, social work, and communication. Rutgers University–New Brunswick is home to hundreds of research centers and institutes; its 2014 research expenditures were approximately $677 million, with $440 million in externally sponsored research grants and contracts. Rutgers–New Brunswick is also the home of the University’s Division I Big Ten athletic teams.
Rutgers University–Newark is an exceptionally diverse, urban institution, classified by the Carnegie Commission as a Doctoral University: Higher Research Activity. It is located in Newark and identifies itself as also being of Newark—an anchor of its home city. Characterized by theoretical and applied research, an emphasis on professional education, and deep engagement with its surrounding community, Rutgers–Newark’s seven degree-granting schools and colleges offer more than 40 undergraduate majors and more than 50 graduate and professional programs. In addition to a full array of liberal arts and sciences fields, Rutgers–Newark offers professional degrees in criminal justice, business, public administration, and law (the law schools in Newark and Camden were merged into a single Rutgers Law School with two locations in 2015). It enrolls over 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and employs 585 full-time faculty members and 770 full-time staff. Rutgers University–Newark is committed to research and public scholarship that has real-world impacts, and to building strong public-private partnerships in one of the nation’s most densely populated urban regions.
Rutgers University–Camden serves the southern part of New Jersey. The third of the Rutgers locations, it is classified by the Carnegie Commission as being among Master’s Colleges and Universities: Larger Programs, but has been growing its doctoral education programs with deliberation. In addition to its research and teaching agendas, it has developed a special focus on providing its students opportunities for civic engagement and experiential learning. Its six degree-granting colleges and schools offer 36 undergraduate majors and 29 graduate and professional programs (six at the doctoral level). Programs in the arts and sciences are complemented by professional programs in business, nursing, and law. Rutgers–Camden enrolls just over 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students and employs over 280 full-time faculty members and almost 450 full-time staff. As a result of the 2012 Restructuring Act, Rutgers–Camden has a unique relationship with nearby Rowan University in the area of medical education delivery, overseen by a joint board established to help structure future health sciences programs in southern New Jersey.
In addition, Rutgers maintains educational services in many other communities throughout the State of New Jersey and beyond. The New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) contains the land-grant component of the University; affiliated with Rutgers–New Brunswick’s School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, it is the outreach arm of the School, with cooperative extension agents and specialists delivering wide-ranging educational programs and services in every county of the state. The Division of Continuing Studies coordinates and supports continuing and distance education, including degree programs, and outreach across all units of the University. It also maintains operations at multiple locations, coordinating hundreds of non-credit programs and enrolling thousands of participants. In recent years Rutgers has also experienced tremendous growth in international activity. At present, Rutgers has more than 300 formal partnership agreements with higher education institutions and international organizations around the world, supporting study abroad programs for students, exchange programs for faculty and students, faculty and graduate student research collaborations, and transfer and other cooperative academic degree programs.
Rutgers’ academic units work closely with University-wide operations headed by senior vice presidents. These include administrative units for academic affairs, finance and administration including human resources and information technology, general counsel, research and economic development, risk management and compliance, facilities and operations, development and alumni relations, and external affairs. The interplay between the chancellors and the vice presidents provides for a responsive and malleable management operation that enables the University to meet its many responsibilities in delivering instructional, research, and service activities in an efficient and effective manner.