NJCU outlines school’s 1st Academic Master Plan

Document driven by 4 pillars, led by student success and retention

As part of its next phase in the university’s commitment to its mission and refocus of its efforts around student success and support services, New Jersey City University unveiled its first Academic Master Plan.

NJCU officials said the plan was driven by four new institutional strategic pillars:

  • Student success and retention;
  • Community engagement;
  • Culture of continuous improvement;
  • Financial stewardship and responsibility.

The plan was designed by the Division of Academic Affairs and authored by the Office of the Provost with collaborative input provided by hundreds of members of the university community coming together during the fall 2023 semester to articulate guidelines for NJCU’s academic portfolio.

The plan addresses more than the formal curriculum for NJCU’s academic portfolio, which currently features 143 for-credit programs: 59 undergraduate, 31 graduate, two doctoral, 27 minors, 23 certificates and one specialized program. It includes goals to address the shared lived experiences of the university community.

Key measurable organizational actions and key performance indicators were developed to achieve the following 10 goals:

  • Prioritize academic programs that provide jobs where students can use their degrees;
  • Emphasize civic and community engagement within all academic disciplines;
  • Ensure a community of care for all NJCU students, including faculty and staff involvement in student success;
  • Ensure that principles of justice, equity and inclusion are taught and applied across all curricular and cocurricular programs and services;
  • Ensure that every student can be mentored through research, internships or other educational experiences;
  • Ensure that environmental conditions are optimized for teaching and learning;
  • Ensure that curricular content and degree offerings are responsive to the needs of the labor market;
  • Strengthen and develop academic programming that demonstrably provides opportunities for students to attain economic mobility;
  • Invest in academic programming that yields persistent and high levels of enrollment, retention, student learning, applicable licensing scores and career placement;
  • Ensure long-term financial sustainability of the academic portfolio.

The goals of the AMP were identified according to the results of the Mission Refresh Survey conducted in the spring 2023 semester. The university community was then invited to complete a survey responding to the degree of priority for each of the goals as well as an opportunity to provide an open-ended response to each goal.

Participants completed the survey, and the majority of those responding ranked all goals as either highest or high priority.

NJCU interim President Andrés Acebo said the plan is another step in the development of the school.

“We have outlined an outcomes-oriented approach that deliberately focuses on where our students’ journeys and stories begin,” he said. “This perspective is at the heart of our mission of meeting our students where they are and giving them the tools to empower their lives.

“Our university’s first comprehensive Academic Master Plan was an intentionally community-driven endeavor whose process exalts the potential of shared governance in higher education — a data-driven plan that was written by our campus, for our community.”

Donna Breault, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs, agreed.

“New Jersey City University’s Academic Master Plan is a guide to operationalizing our mission. It speaks to our shared lived experiences as a university community, and it helps us to create the conditions through which our community will continue to thrive,” she said.

Fran Moran, the president of the University Senate, said the plan is an example of school officials working together.

“The new Academic Master Plan is the culmination of months of close collaboration between administration, faculty, students and professional staff,” she said. “It provides a solid blueprint to guide this institution on how we can continue to best serve our students and our community.”

The plan is one of three strategic initiatives reflecting the university’s strategic plan: Academic Master Plan, Strategic Enrollment Plan and Strategic Plan for Student Development and Community Engagement. The latter two publications are also expected to be introduced in the first half of 2024.