NJIT: A Vision for the Future
In the past forty years, NJIT has transformed from a local, commuter-oriented
engineering school into New Jersey’s Science and Technology university. Today the
university invests more than $100 million in research every year, plays NCAA Division I
sports, and enrolls more than 10,000 students. These are impressive accomplishments,
but the work is not finished. Academic Plan 2013-2015 and the vision for the aspirational
Academic Plan 2020, developed in collaboration with the NJIT faculty, sets new and
ambitious goals for the university community.
The conclusion of the Academic Plan 2013-2015 reads:
“NJIT will be one of the leading universities of science and technology in the
country. Dedication by the entire university community will make it so.”
What does it mean to be a leading university? NJIT is already in the top tier of ranked
universities in the United States, but the aspirational goal of Academic Plan 2020 is to
achieve recognition in national rankings as a top 100 university. This demands more than
a ranking; it means actually becoming one of the top 100 research universities in the
country and being recognized for that accomplishment.
To reach this goal, NJIT must become a nationally recognized center for education and
research. That means a place where students come to succeed and find inspiration to push
the limits of science and technology, and where faculty set a standard for research and
accomplishment that makes them leaders in their fields.
As higher education continues to adapt to the new computing intensive world, NJIT will
become an innovator in digital learning. This entails exploiting technology and pedagogy
to develop an educational infrastructure for the generation of students for whom instant
communication and access to the shared knowledge of the internet is second nature. We
call these students the i-Generation, and a technology university like NJIT is ideally
positioned to offer them the educational environment they need to thrive.
The outline of a new digital learning environment is emerging and it offers the promise of
breaking down barriers between the physical campus and virtual campus to create a fully
digital learning environment without a distinction between face-to-face and online
learning. In moving toward this goal, NJIT will build new curricula and cultivate a
vibrant community of learners who will choose NJIT for the quality of the education.
Together, we will make NJIT a place to remember for excellence and energy that will
also foster enduring alumni loyalty, and promote student career success and university
A bold vision is not achieved quickly or without a carefully designed plan. Academic
Plan 2013-2015 sets five initial goals as the preconditions for moving toward the aspirational 2020 vision.
They are to:
• Design a measurement system to identify our leading programs, and target
investments in them to make them recognized as top tier;
• Promote a culture of rigorous planning and assessment to support wise decision
making, especially with regard to investment;
• Foster efficiency and equity in delivering the curriculum to increase the
productivity of our faculty in teaching and research;
• Enhance student success by improving learning experiences from admission to
• Undertake sustainable investment in university infrastructure to provide state-of the-art facilities, classrooms, laboratories, instructional technology, and support
We must also effectively prioritize resource allocation and make the most effective use of
a limited budget to upgrade facilities and equipment. As we invest in student success, we
must have the courage to begin new programs and terminate them if they do not live up
With the implementation of Academic Plan 2013-2015 underway, we are already moving
toward accomplishing the stated goals:
- Achieve national recognition: we have begun assessing programs to identify the leading, important, and sustaining programs for appropriate investment.
- Improve efficiency: we are well advanced in making faculty workload transparent and consistent.
- Promoting student success: we have initiated a comprehensive review of admission, retention, and graduation; announced a new initiative to improve advising, particularly for undeclared majors and students in transition; and moved forward with the Institute for Teaching Effectiveness.
- Improve university infrastructure: we have begun improving classrooms and laboratories, developing additional learning spaces, and acquiring modern equipment. A pillar of this process is the more than $100 million Central King Building project where construction has already begun
It seems distant, but 2015 is not far off and we are now preparing for the complete
Academic Plan 2020. This month, we will commence meetings of the Academic Plan
Steering Committee, which will include faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The new
academic plan will develop in conjunction with the next university strategic plan and the
two will merge together to give NJIT a coherent and concise framework for achieving our
The year 2020 is coming. We will work toward it, day by day, to ensure that the future is
bright for NJIT and, more importantly, rewarding for our students. Their success is the