September 14, 1999
Dr. Stuart D. Cook, September 14,
Thank you, Isabel. I would like to
thank Dr. Humphrey for serving as host for this years University
Day. I would also like to pay tribute to Dr. Ruy Lourenco, who has
announced that he is stepping down as the dean of New Jersey Medical
School at the end of this academic year. Over the past decade, as
a faculty member, department chairman, and most recently University
president, it has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with you.
"The important thing is that
we have the right view of ourselves. If we have the right view of
ourselves, that will lead to deeds that will give the world the
right view of us."
Warren Buffet spoke those words to the employees
of Salomon Brothers the day he took over a company which--if it
wanted to be successful--could no longer conduct business as usual.
While circumstances may vary, organizations are finding that "business
as usual" is no longer an effective operating mantra in a world
where competition is intense and technological advances are happening
faster than ever before.
In our own world--the world of academic health
science--technology has led to advances in fundamental and clinical
research that are producing spectacular discoveries daily. Successful
academic institutions in this fast-paced, technology-driven environment
will be those which--while placing their highest priority on education,
research, and service--are continually evaluating, planning, evolving,
changing and improving.
Our challenge in this environment is to have a
vision of ourselves as a successful health science university--an
institution capable of bold decision-making when circumstances require
immediate and decisive action.
Over the past year, the University community
has been engaged in a process of developing a strategic vision.
Without a vision and goals, an institution can only be reactive
and will never become a leader in its field. For several months,
we looked inward, asking ourselves if "doing business as usual"
was working. At the same time, we looked outward, evaluating the
changing world of academic medicine and scientific research. Because
we are a university, we sought the valued input of our faculty,
students and staff. We had meaningful conversations that brought
forth insightful perspectives and challenging questions.
And out of that process, we have created an ambitious
agenda, which is forged from our mutual hopes and aspirations. It
will enable us to recruit the best available faculty and students,
increase support for research and advance our commitment to high
standards of teaching and service.
Our strategic intent is to move into the elite
tier of academic institutions nationally recognized for their uniformly
high caliber of scientific inquiry, innovative teaching methods,
and clinical expertise. To realize this vision over the next five
years, we have adopted five goals that speak to research, education,
service, community impact, and diversity. They are:
- To double extramural grant support.
- To continuously improve the quality of our
educational programs through June 30, 2004.
- To improve University-sponsored health care
services as measured by quality indicators, productivity of staff
and clinical faculty, and customer satisfaction.
- To achieve a level of diversity in our students,
staff and faculty which reflects the richness of New Jersey's
- To improve UMDN's reputation statewide
In addition to the strategic vision and the
five goals, we have developed specific criteria that detail the
actions we must take to achieve our objectives. This morning I presented
the University's Board of Trustees with benchmarks that will serve
as the standards to measure our progress on this exciting journey.
In fact, we already have taken some important
actions to implement our plan. For example, in support of the goal
to double research funding:
- We established an Office of Research to
assist our eight schools and their faculties in identifying grant
opportunities, facilitating grant applications, and encouraging
potential collaborative initiatives both internally and externally.
- We completed an analysis of research space
needs on all of our campuses. This will serve as the basis for
new capital projects and renovation plans we will announce later
- As an added incentive for success in attracting
research grants, supplemented indirect costs will be returned
to each school when specific benchmarks are met.
- I am delighted to announce today that three
of our schools exceeded a 15 per cent increase in research funding
for AY 1999 and will receive a larger share of indirect costs
for funding above this level.
- We have also initiated a lending program,
which makes funds available to the deans for recruiting new faculty
- In addition, we have established a
University-funded program to bring leading researchers from around
the nation to UMDNJ. The first such recipient, Dr. Gerrold Ellner,
a world-renowned expert in infectious diseases, will be joining
the New Jersey Medical School faculty shortly.
Today, I am also delighted to announce that
in Academic Year 1999, University research awards increased by 12.1
per cent, almost doubling the mean rate from the previous four years.
I am sure this is a harbinger of even greater accomplishments in
the years ahead.
We have also taken steps to enhance our teaching
programs because teaching is our most important mission. All of
our schools are in the process of evaluating and improving their
curricula to make themselves more responsive to student needs.
- In addition, a Master Educators Program has
been established, the details of which will be announced this
This program will acknowledge our best teachers
and provide funding to modify and improve the curriculum at
each of our schools.
I am also pleased to announce that the newly
created School of Public Health now has programs at both the
Piscataway and the Newark campuses. 44 students are enrolled
in the new master of public health program in Newark, which
is co-sponsored with Rutgers University and the New Jersey Institute
250 students are enrolled at the Piscataway
campus, which has had an outstanding joint program with Rutgers
for more than a decade. We congratulate Dr. Audrey Gotsch, interim
Over the past year we have seen an impressive
increase in referrals to our clinical centers despite the challenge
of managed care.
To further support our service goals, I have established:
A committee of deans, chaired by Dr. Harold Paz, which is developing
criteria for creating statewide Clinical Centers of Excellence.
These Centers of Excellence will coordinate the delivery of selective
tertiary care programs on our clinical campuses across the state.
We are also exploring ways to maximize the attractiveness
of our patient care programs by enhancing the scope of clinical
services offered statewide.
A year ago, the University undertook an evaluation
of the Foundation of UMDNJ in conjunction with a nationwide search
for a new president. Part of that effort included visiting the most
successful institutions of higher education to study their institutional
advancement operations. As a result, we identified the type of outstanding
leader needed to head our Foundation in the next millennium. In
July, we welcomed Michael Bassoff as the new president of the Foundation
Under his leadership, we have great expectations
for increased fund raising to help support our ambitious efforts.
Several new initiatives are currently under way. We already have
begun meeting with pharmaceutical executives throughout the state.
Dr. Bill Stephenson, UMDNJ's acting vice president for research,
has joined us for these visits.
During this academic year we shall be taking
additional steps towards achieving our goals. A University capital
construction and renovation plan will be presented to the Board
of Trustees later this fall that will alleviate our critical space
University Excellence Awards will be expanded
to recognize not only individuals but also academic and support
departments that have excelled over the past year.
We will be providing an additional $220,000
for student scholarships for Class of 2004. This will reverse a
five-year trend of decreasing scholarship dollars relative to tuition
costs at UMDNJ. I am also announcing today that we plan to double
scholarship support at the University over the next five years.
This increase in scholarship support will enable us to recruit the
best and brightest New Jersey students to the University.
And, in October we will launch Research 2000,
a national publication that will showcase the exceptional clinical
and basic research being done by faculty throughout the University.
This new publication will help create a very positive image of UMDNJ
not only in New Jersey but throughout the nation.
It is a complex and controversial task to craft
a definition of quality, but achieving quality remains at the core
of our mission.
I believe--as I hope you do--that the measure of
an academic institution should be the level of its scholarship and
the achievements of its students and faculty. We want to become
part of an elite cadre of institutions that successfully compete
for the best students and the best faculty.
The most important task in institutional stewardship
is to retain a singular focus on academic mission and to never compromise
high standards of excellence. I want to reassure our academic community
that I am totally committed to ensuring the highest academic standards
Over the next few months, I will be visiting
with faculty members on each campus to discuss these actions in
more detail. I hope that you will listen thoughtfully, ask questions,
and offer suggestions.
At the beginning of my remarks this afternoon,
I spoke about the fast-paced technology driven environment in which
we find ourselves and the importance of evolving and changing to
remain a dynamic and competitive force.
I would like to close with something that really
is a beginning of the new directions we are taking to enhance our
image as a leading health sciences institution. Today, I am officially
launching our redesigned UMDNJ web site. Tens of thousands of people
visit this web site each month. Our goal is to make it easier to
navigate for our many different audiences--potential students and
faculty, patients and donors and our own University community. Lets
take a look.
You will see that we have designed four color-coded
portals to welcome our visitors--education, health care, research
and our university.
Take Our University:
Here visitors will find our mission statement,
our history and direct links to each of our schools.
We have also added new features--like a cyber news room so that the public
can easily find out about our latest accomplishment by scanning
news releases or HealthState magazine.
Our new web site also creates a virtual University
commons for our internal communities of faculty, students and staff.
When you turn on your computer tomorrow morning, after you check
your e-mail, check out the new web site. Its a terrific example
of the new directions in which our University is moving.
I would like to conclude by thanking our students,
staff, faculty, administration, volunteers, friends and the Board
of Trustees for their enthusiastic support during the past year.
As we enter the new millennium, I
am confident that working together as a team committed to excellence,
we will achieve our goals and realize our dreams.
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