Board of Trustees discuss potential merger, president
The University’s next president may be announced within the next month.
The Board of Trustees discussed the ongoing University presidential search yesterday at Winants Hall on the College Avenue campus.
Greg Brown, head of the Presidential Search Committee, said the presidential search is going well and the work of the search committee is almost done.
Brown said the search committee has whittled down the list of candidates since it began in Sept. 2011.
“Given the competitive nature of other searches, it very well possibly will be in April,” he said.
Kenneth Schmidt, chair of the BOT, said the board will schedule a vote with both the Board of Governors and the BOT.
Another major topic was the possible Rutgers-Camden and Rowan University merger and the proposed integration of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey with the University.
University President Richard L. McCormick addressed the BOT with a report that focused on the conversations about restructuring higher education in New Jersey.
Christopher Molloy, interim provost for Biomedical and Health Sciences, said despite the University’s close contact with UMDNJ, many of the details of the merger are unclear and complex.
But Molloy said even though there are concerns with the UMDNJ merger, the integration could provide benefits for the University, such as receiving federal grant money and other sources of income.
“It would create a real opportunity for externally funded research. … The goal is to create an academic medical center at Rutgers,” he said. “The science we have here, we now have a chance to plug that into clinical research.”
Molloy said the Cancer Institute of New Jersey would be a good financial investment for the University. The institute went from $20 million in grants and funding in 1996 to more than $100 million this past year.
Molloy also said that new grants would be available to the University that are not currently available at UMDNJ.
“We’ll put in for grant proposals that UMDNJ can’t without basic science,” he said. “Rutgers can get those grants because we have that basic science.”
But some members of the BOT were unconvinced that the merger could benefit the University.
Bruce Fehn, the treasurer of the BOT, said the framework for the plan is very comprehensive and complex, and there needs to be more clarity before the board can make an informed decision.
McCormick called the merger a “work in progress” and said the University was on the right path.
“In the meantime, we’re trying to accumulate an understanding,” he said.
McCormick called it irresponsible to give the board a date for the merger without knowing all of the information necessary.
Wendell Pritchett, chancellor of Rutgers-Camden, said students attending Rutgers-Camden might go to other institutions and colleges if the merger with Rowan University occurs.
“I continue to be amazed by the arguments of Rutgers-Camden faculty and students that Camden not be disinvested from Rutgers,” Pritchett said. “Our students chose to come to Rutgers-Camden. Our campus continues to be unanimously opposed to the disinvesting and the merger.”
Although the candidate was not revealed, the BOT disclosed the results of the board’s internal election results.
The board unanimously approved the nominating committee’s slate, which placed Dudley Rivers, current vice chair, as the new chair of the BOT.
Margaret Derrick and Dorothy Cantor were approved as the vice chairs, University secretary Leslie Fehrenbach was re-elected to her position as BOT secretary along with Mary Brennan as her assistant secretary.
Each of the elected positions will carry a term of six years.