One University, Four Unique Missions

Robert Barchi


Nick Romanenko

The New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act of 2012 is recognized primarily as the legislation that paved the way for the integration of the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, establishing Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS). But this historic legislation also includes lesser-known provisions designed to more clearly articulate the relationship between the campuses in Camden, Newark, and New Brunswick and RBHS. The new administrative structures have profound implications for Rutgers.

During the last year, we have conducted national searches for senior leadership positions, and we are fortunate to have recruited Nancy Cantor to serve as chancellor of Rutgers University–Newark, Phoebe A. Haddon to serve as chancellor of Rutgers University–Camden, and Brian Strom to serve as the inaugural chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. With these nationally recognized leaders working together to help guide Rutgers, the university is poised to take its place among the elite public research universities.

During the 18-month planning process that led to our newly approved University Strategic Plan, I challenged communities at Rutgers University–Camden, Rutgers University–Newark, Rutgers University–New Brunswick, and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences to articulate their own identities and their differentiated missions within the broader context of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

The community at Rutgers University–Camden takes pride in its standing as a national model for civic engagement and its commitment to bringing research and education to southern New Jersey and the Delaware Valley. The university community in Camden is focused on creating distinct areas of research excellence, strengthening select interdisciplinary graduate programs, and providing excellence in teaching and student support.

Rutgers University–Newark identifies itself as a nationally recognized leader in diversity and social mobility for undergraduates, a top-ranked public research institution in the New York metropolitan area, and an anchor institution for the city and the region. Newark boasts a high concentration of graduate and professional programs and specializes in impact-oriented scholarship.

Designated by the Association of American Universities and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation as the flagship campus, Rutgers University–New Brunswick distinguishes itself through its high level of faculty research activity and its history as New Jersey’s land-grant institution. The university community in New Brunswick takes pride in its nationally ranked departments and its standing as a leader in research and education in the arts, humanities, and sciences.

During the strategic planning process, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences highlighted its outstanding programs, research units, and clinical practices and the opportunities it provides Rutgers to become a national leader in the medical, dental, and health sciences. RBHS physicians, dentists, mental health professionals, and other health practitioners record more than 1.7 million patient visits to faculty practices annually, creating New Jersey’s largest network of patient-care providers.

The increased autonomy for Rutgers University–Camden, Rutgers University–Newark, Rutgers University–New Brunswick, and RBHS means that each will have the freedom and incentive to distinguish itself through its own unique areas of excellence. In working together, however, they create a truly comprehensive research university, one that will establish Rutgers as a leader in public higher education. As I write, each community is engaged in developing its own strategic plan, which will be anchored by the universitywide strategic plan, and these individual visions will highlight the unique missions of Camden, Newark, New Brunswick, and RBHS.

With the integration of the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey that created RBHS, Rutgers added thousands of students and faculty and more than a billion dollars to our budget. Now, with a dynamic team of chancellors in place and a shared commitment to autonomy with accountability, Rutgers is a research powerhouse that stretches across the entire state of New Jersey.