Two years into the 2020 Vision plan, NJIT has been initiating a number of changes across campus – and students have started to notice. Dubbed the “blueprint for achieving the vision shared by the NJIT community for 2020,” by authors of the plan, NJIT’s 2020 Vision was developed with the goal of continuing the school’s trajectory towards becoming a leading institute of technology.
The plan was developed through collaborative efforts between the administration and the larger NJIT community, focusing on improvements in five strategic priorities: Students, Learning, Scholarly Research, Community, and Investments. Each strategic priority is divided up into specific objectives, and progress in these areas is recorded by monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) regularly, with reporting frequencies varying between annually to every 90 days.
If completed on time, these objectives will likely impact all areas of the university, as they include tasks from reforming and standardizing class curriculum across departments to increasing the percentage of women and underrepresented minorities in administrative leadership. They also differ greatly in their ambition for completion by 2020; a goal within the Students category aims to increase average High School GPA of admitted students by 0.15 points (from 3.15 to 3.65), while the aim within the Learning priority involves the increase of undergraduates completing milestone experiences from 20% to 50%.
We are already seeing results just two years into the Vision, as the school is anticipated to meet and exceed some KPI targets by the end of 2017. According to the June 2017 report, the number of Freshmen applicants is expected to reach 7,250 – a number that is well above 2020’s target of 6,000.
Beyond metrics, these changes are also rippling throughout campus – the construction of the brand-new Wellness and Events Center on Warren Street plays into the Investments in Infrastructure objective and the opening of NJII in CKB is part of the goal of developing greater private sector partnerships for the Scholarly Research strategic priority – and students are feeling the improvements, whether they agree with them or not.
Anne Marie Lim, a sophomore Civil Engineering major and Honors scholar, is one student who is excited about the changes that are happening around campus.
“I would say that [the 2020 Vision plan] can only help our university, as long as the funds are used efficiently. I think we would benefit a lot from it.” she stated.
When asked about which part of the plan is particularly interesting to her, Anne Marie was quick to speak about increasing representation for women and underrepresented minorities within the Community strategic priority: “Based on NJIT’s location and affordability, it’s the ideal school for continuing on the path of increasing representation for these groups in STEM fields.” she said.
While many students like Anne Marie are excited about these anticipated changes, many also believe that the 2020 Vision does not address smaller problems that the student body faces today.
“The whole program sounds great, but when NJIT can’t do simple things like get everyone the classes that they want or get anyone housed properly, how can we expect them to do those things?” says Adithya Kannan, a senior Biomedical Engineering student, “NJIT thinks that it is time to expand, but I think the school should focus on improving the problems students face today.”
Regardless of the issues at hand, there is no denying that NJIT has experienced a large number of changes since the 2020 Vision was implemented in June 2015 – and since we are only two years into the plan, this is just the beginning.