Stuart D. Cook
September 19, 2000
you Dr. Tama. And a special thank you to our five deans on the Newark
campus for hosting this year's University Day.
It is a pleasure
to have the opportunity to provide the University family with an
overview on the State of the University--to update you about what
has been happening in our eight schools and review the progress
we have made in achieving our five strategic goals.
I'm here to
tell you that we're doing well and getting better every day. This
is not just the optimistic view of a University president since
this year we have outside validation to back up my assessment. We
have a report by reviewers from the prestigious Commission on Higher
Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
team has given us very high marks, based on their assessment of
a report prepared by a steering committee representing all our schools
and health care units. Although the Commission will not formally
adopt the report until October, I'd like to quote from the memo
by the reviewers.
University is a prominent academic health center coping well with
the multifaceted changes in resources, work force, technology and
health care delivery. It is clear from the report that UMDNJ is
aggressively pursuing institutional excellence through deliberate
growth, strategic planning, strengthened internal and external communication,
enhanced collaboration and continuous quality improvement." (End
The team also
commended the University for assuring its institutional integrity.
First, by recognizing the pressures of a rapidly changing academic
and health care environment, and second, by actively responding
to the challenges by developing and implementing a five-year strategic
when I unveiled the plan, I said that our challenge in this environment
was to have a vision of ourselves as a successful health sciences
university--an institution capable of bold decision-making when
circumstances require immediate and decisive action. We now have
that vision and are well on the way to achieving our goals.
At this time
I would like to review the strategic intent and five goals.
intent, "The Pride of New Jersey Today, The Pride of the Nation
Tomorrow" states our commitment to moving UMDNJ into the elite tier
of academic institutions nationally recognized for their uniformly
high caliber of scientific inquiry, innovative teaching methods
and clinical expertise.
In March 1999,
we established five goals that were adopted by the University's
Board of Trustees. They are:
- To double
- To improve
- To enhance
patient care and patient satisfaction
- To improve
our efforts in community service and diversity
- and To build
UMDNJ's reputation both statewide and nationally.
How are we
doing? Based on observations of the Middle States' group, and positive
reports from several other accrediting bodies during the past year,
our strategic goals are right on target.
a closer look at our accomplishments over the past year.
The goal to
double research funding by 2003 is on track thanks to the efforts
of our deans and faculty. Let me present a few examples:
- In Academic
Year 2000, federal grant funding increased by an impressive 16
- We now have
four University Professors whom you heard about earlier in the
program: Jerrold Ellner, Jeffrey Merrill, Kathy Widom and StephenVatner
- We established
four new endowed professorships--one in multiple sclerosis, two
in child health, and one in cancer and will bring four more endowed
chairs to the trustees for approval in the near future--in hematology,
innovative teaching, surgery and neurosurgery
- Last week
we held a topping off ceremony for the International Center for
Public Health in Newark, which will bring together 250 scientists
from the Public Health Research Institute and UMDNJ to form a
world-class infectious disease research institute
- The Board
of Trustees approved a $356 million Universitywide capital construction
plan. Within the next few months, we will break ground for exciting
projects on the Newark, Piscataway and Stratford campuses
- We increased
stipends for students enrolled in the Graduate School of Biomedical
Sciences and expanded financial support for post-doctoral fellows
Each of our
eight schools is also developing an individual strategic plan to
support and complement the University's plan.
- Our three
medical schools have committed to aggressively recruiting highly
regarded researchers to their faculty
- The dental
school is developing a new dental research center
- The school
of health related professions is developing a center for alternative
and complementary medicine
- The nursing
school is applying for more federally funded graduate traineeships,
- The school
of public health is seeking opportunities for collaborative research
across the state
programs now in place and the commitment of our schools to action
plans that support research growth, I am fully confidant that when
I stand before you next year, our progress will be even more impressive.
Before I present
our accomplishments related to educational excellence, I again quote
from the Middle States' report:
see truly remarkable accomplishments as a result of the University's
high quality education programs. Impressive student outcomes are
reflected in retention and graduation data, excellent performance
on regional and national examinations, and recruitment and placement
of students in Graduate Medical Education."End quote)
States' review team also commended the University for its on-going
efforts to reshape the scope and size of its curriculum, and for
making changes that address current and future work force requirements
and changing health care practices.
In fact, the
strategic plans of our schools encourage the on-going evaluation
and improvement of their educational programs. For example:
- Robert Wood
Johnson Medical School is increasing funding for curriculum development
- New Jersey
Medical School is developing an Objective Structured Clinical
- The School
of Osteopathic Medicine is improving the cultural competency component
of its curriculum
- New Jersey
Dental School is implementing a totally electronic curriculum
- The School
of Health Related Professions is increasing the number of distance-learning
degree programs it offers
actions to support the educational excellence goal are highlighted
today by the 12 faculty members who have become the first members
of our Master Educators Guild. When I announced the creation of
this program during my inaugural speech, I shared with you the results
of a National Science Foundation survey of leading scientists who
were asked what they felt was the most important factor in their
was almost uniformly the opportunity to work closely with a great
and inspiring teacher.
The 12 faculty
members selected as our first Master Educators exhibit the highest
standards of educational excellence and have a true gift for teaching.
have been established by the University in the past to recognize
academic excellence, but the Master Educator designation is the
only award in which the selection process includes formal input
from students, faculty peers and administrators. In addition, the
Master Educators will have a unique role within the University.
They will serve as a resource for evaluating curriculum, be provided
funds to carry out educational research, become mentors to junior
faculty to make them more effective teachers, and serve as a crucible
for testing innovative educational concepts. They will be the University's
guides to achieving educational excellence.
And to reinforce
our commitment to quality education, the fall issue of Health State
will highlight our Master Educators and innovative academic programs
at our eight schools.
But a University
is more than bricks and mortar or outstanding teachers. An exciting
educational environment also requires the presence of intelligent,
hard-working and curious students. Fortunately, UMDNJ is blessed
by having a large and diverse group of outstanding students. Our
new annual report, whose theme is academic excellence, identifies
a handful of those exceptional students who represent a cross section
from all of our schools.
support academic excellence during this academic year, we are undertaking
a major initiative to increase funding for our University Libraries,
which provide the critical resources necessary for scholarly endeavors.
Now I turn
to our activities in the clinical care arena. The University and
its affiliated hospitals continue to provide the highest quality
care to the citizens of New Jersey. In fact, there is now growing
evidence that the best patient care emanates from hospitals which
are truly major academic health centers. This opinion is supported
by a study published in the September 13 issue of The Journal of
the American Medical Association, which shows that Medicare patients
admitted to major teaching hospitals for treatment following a heart
attack received better care, based on four indicators, and a lower
mortality rate, than patients admitted to minor teaching or non-teaching
The care we
give is provided not only to those covered by private insurance,
but also to the less fortunate members of our society who have no
insurance at all and have no place else to turn. For example, University
Hospital is the largest provider of charity care in the State of
Health Care Center in New Brunswick also provides health care to
a large portion of the un-and-underinsured in Central Jersey.
But in the
current managed care environment, it is not enough to provide high
quality care to all our citizens. We must also remain financially
solvent. In this regard, I note that the Middle States report cites
the University for its ongoing initiatives to enhance market place
competitiveness. I would like to cite just a few examples of this:
- A prototype
for the Centers of Excellence concept has been approved by the
deans of our medical and dental schools and submitted to the Board
of Trustees. These will offer the opportunity for every man, woman
and child in New Jersey to have access to University-sponsored
world-class clinical programs no matter where they live in the
Behavioral HealthCare generated $5.2 million more in revenues
than expenses last year while providing mental health access to
more than 500,000 citizens in New Jersey
Health Plans, the University's managed care company, has had its
most successful year since it was established in 1994 and is a
major insurer of Medicaid patients throughout the state
Hospital, which faced a projected deficit of $29 million for FY
2000, closed the year with a deficit that is anticipated to be
only $8 million
This was accomplished
through a focused effort by many people at University Hospital and
I commend them for the long hours and hard work they invested in
stabilizing and turning around the hospital's financial situation
without sacrificing our ability to provide the highest quality health
goal defines our commitment to diversity and community service.
Diversity has always been a major focus of UMDNJ, and over the years,
we have received many national accolades for our success in building
and maintaining a diverse student body that attempts to reflect
the population composition of our state.
In this academic
year, to attract more outstanding disadvantaged students to our
University, we are increasing scholarship support by $500,000, which
represents a 20 per cent increase over our present scholarship funding.
We are able to do this through the generous assistance of the Foundation
Some of our
other efforts on behalf of service to the community include:
as institutional chair of the newly created Governor's Council
on Autism, whose purpose is to oversee and fund research initiatives
related to this devastating childhood disorder
- The creation
of the Black Infant Mortality Task Force whose purpose is to draw
upon researchers from all our schools to help find answers to
this serious public health problem
- The hosting
of three Health Care summits that addressed racial and ethnic
disparities in health care delivery
goal states our commitment to enhancing the University's image both
statewide and nationally. We have evidence that this is happening
at the statewide level.
Based on the
results of the UMDNJ/Eagleton poll we conducted last spring to measure
public opinion of UMDNJ, I am pleased to report that our name recognition
keeps growing. And we will continue to monitor this growth by carrying
out a similar poll annually. We will also poll our internal constituencies
to give students, staff, alumni, and faculty the opportunity to
evaluate the University.
relations effort is also directed nationally. Research 2000, our
newest publication, is sent to 12,000 scientists, academic leaders
and pharmaceutical company executives throughout the United States.
In addition, earlier this year, we retained Hill and Knowlton, one
of the top public relations firms in the country, to increase our
national visibility regarding the quality of research being done
I hope you
have also noticed our new University logo which we have unveiled
the rededication of the University to excellence and it expresses
the essence of our very complex mission with three simple icons:
a book connoting the importance of education, a flask symbolizing
our world-class research; a caduceus representing the commitment
of our faculty and students to the healing arts.
Today, I would
also like to pay special tribute to Michael Bassoff, who was introduced
to you last year as the new president of the Foundation of UMDNJ.
Since then, many of you have been impressed, as I have, by his energy
and boundless enthusiasm. He is making extraordinary improvements
in the organization of the Foundation and the scope of its activities.
This in turn will enable the Foundation to provide even greater
support to our schools as we strive to meet current and future challenges.
his board chairman Roger Fine, vice president of Johnson & Johnson
and a trustee of the University, and all the members of the Foundation
board have been very supportive of our five strategic goals and
have made a serious commitment to provide significant financial
support for our scholarship program, our construction program and
our research endeavors.
Today I am
also announcing a new University initiative to support our institutional
commitment to excellence. The University Quality Council is establishing
two awards that will be given annually.
Excellence in Process Improvement Award, which carries a $10,000
stipend, will be given to the unit judged as having made the most
significant process improvement at the school, department or business
University Award for Process Innovation will recognize the application
of unique solutions to problems that result in new performance benchmarks.
This award carries a $5,000
stipend. You will hear more about these programs in the near future.
The winners of the awards will be announced at University Day next
Now that you've
heard about some of our achievements since we last gathered last
University day, I hope you agree that we've had a very good year...thanks
to the creativity, commitment and hard work of all of you--faculty,
students and staff. And I'd like to add a special note of appreciation
to Isabel Miranda and our Board of Trustees for taking their responsibility
as stewards of the public good so seriously while also providing
me and my administration with timely, well-thought out counsel and
We have our
work cut out for us during this new academic year if we want to
maintain our commitment to excellence in the fast-paced, highly
competitive environment in which we operate. It's clear to me that
our strategic intent and five goals provide a clear road for building
the institutional excellence that has been UMDNJ's hallmark since
its inception 30 years ago.
As the new
academic year begins, I want to wish you well and hope your year
is filled with great productivity and multiple occasions for feeling
proud of being a member of the University family.
As you leave
this program today, you will each receive a lapel pin bearing our
new logo. Wear it with pride and remember that your efforts count
every day as we continue on our path to excellence in research,
education, healing and community service. Thank you for being here
today and thank you for your continual efforts on behalf of the