New Jersey has gone through historic changes in higher education as a result of the Rutgers and Rowan reorganization plan. Rutgers University Newark Chancellor and 2014 Executive Women of New Jersey honoree Dr. Nancy Cantor discussed her experiences from the past four months in the position with NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider.
Cantor said that the extraordinary diversity of the student body at Rutgers-Newark is amazing. She said that there is no majority group and there are many different languages being spoken at the university.
She said that the diversity makes working at the university easier because she has extraordinary talent to leverage and people are there with a purpose in mind. She said that there are students for whom attending is the opportunity of a lifetime and they know it so they are serious. She said the students learn different languages, cultures and a different sense of experience from each other.
“Our students are very engaged. They get that it is critical to understand the world around them. Being in Newark, we really have that sense that we have to understand the challenges of metropolitan America and push this world forward,” said Cantor. “Our students feel that way, they want to be in the public schools helping, they want to be ambassadors, they want to be in businesses really thinking about the next entrepreneurial idea. It’s amazing.”
Cantor said that she likes to use the phrase “anchor institution” and since Rutgers-Newark is an institution, it is not going to move even though it has global reach. She said the university needs to be intertwined with public-private partnerships, thinking about an arts and cultural district, thinking about what a strong, healthy and safe neighborhood is and how to make all that happen in this world.
“The most important thing to remember is that Rutgers University Newark, Camden and New Brunswick are full-fledged, full universities, each on their own and they are part of a larger system so that they can collaborate and work together. It is really important that what autonomy means is that gives you a sense of a full identity and a special mission. We are really an anchor institution in Newark. That is our mission and that is who we are. We are producing knowledge that will change the world. We are translating it on the ground in Newark. Then you can collaborate,” said Cantor.
Cantor said that she cannot wait to look out at the students at the upcoming commencement because the students are going to define the country and the world for the future.