TRENON – The head of an advisory committee calling for the realignment of two major universities and creation of a new health sciences school said New Jersey has a great opportunity for “a new beginning” in establishing itself as the premier state for scientific research through this proposed plan.
Dr. Sol Barer said implementing the plan will not be easy, but said it’s worth doing to attract the best doctors, researchers, students and grants in the future.
“It’ the right model at this time,” Barer said. “I think it is vital to have a medical school to encompass that kind of research.”
When committee chairwoman Sandra Cunningham asked what Barer made of the fact that all three presidents of the major schools – Rutgers, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Rowan – were being run by interim or soon to be outgoing presidents, Barer painted an optimistic picture.
“This gives us a great beginning and great opportunity that the higher education community deserves,” he said. “All of this comes together at a unique time.”
Even though a private entity would be in charge of the management of the Newark schools, Barer insisted, “it will still be a state facility.”
Sen. Paul Sarlo questioned why Rutgers – Camden merger’s with Rowan University was thrown into the mix, saying it seemed like it was something included to “sweeten the pot.”
However, Barer said there was a different motivation.
“Our approach to this was that the southern part of the state deserves its own major university,” he said.
While Rowan has grown, it still doesn’t have the “critical mass” that would help it propel from goodness to greatness, he said.
But by absorbing Rutgers-Camden, which Barer described as “a satellite campus of a major campus”it helps increase the southern region school’s prestige and impact.