Gov. Chris Christie has appointed members to committees that will advise him on a possible merger between Rutgers University and the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey.

The state’s Higher Education Council and the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) Advisory Committee are part of the governor’s focus on reforming the state’s higher education system and improving effectiveness. 

Both the council and advisory committee were formed on recommendations from the Higher Education Task Force, chaired by Governor Tom Kean, earlier this year.

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The Higher Education Council will serve as an advisory body to the governor on all higher education matters. The Advisory Committee will review recommendations concerning graduate medical education and UMDNJ’s structure, including a possible merger with Rutgers. 

The deadline for the advisory panel’s recommendations is Sept. 1.   
The Higher Education Council will be chaired by John McGoldrick, who previously served on the Higher Education Task Force and is chair of Zimmer Holdings, Inc. Members will include vice chair Anne Evans Estabrook, chief executive of Elberon Development Co. and a longtime college trustee; Patricia Nachtigal, former vice chair of Rutgers’s board of governors; John Wefing, Esq., law professor at Seton Hall University; and Dr. Richard Wellbrock, former chairman of Raritan Valley Community College Board of Trustees and chairman of Hilltop Community Bank of Summit. 

Each member will serve a five-year term. 

The appointments do not require Senate confirmation and each member will serve without compensation.

The UMDNJ Advisory Committee will be chaired by Dr. Sol J. Barer, executive chairman of Celgene. Members will include Robert E. Campbell, former vice chairman of Johnson & Johnson; Joyce Wilson Harley, Esq., Essex County Administrator; Anthony J. Perno 3rd, Esq., president & CEO of Cooper’s Ferry Development Association, Inc., and Harold T. Shapiro, Ph.D., former president of Princeton University. 

Specifically, the Advisory Committee will consider:

·       Whether Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the School of Public Health should be merged with Rutgers University’s New Brunswick-Piscataway campuses.

·       Whether UMDNJ’s Newark-based schools should be merged with any of the senior public higher education institutions in Newark.

·       Whether UMDNJ’s South Jersey-based school should be merged with any of the senior public higher education institutions in South Jersey.

·       The role and mission of University Hospital.

·       Whether the New Jersey Institute of Technology should start its own medical school.

·       How graduate medical education should be delivered in South Jersey.

·       Whether the various public nursing schools should be merged.