New Jersey Commission on Higher Education

NJ's Renewable Resource:
A Systemwide Accountability Report

April 1996

Executive Summary

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For the past decade, educational policymakers have stressed the importance of institutional quality, productivity, and effectiveness. These leaders look to state-level accountability measures to guide state planning, form a context for budgetary decisions, and monitor the return on public investment in colleges and universities.

Institutional accountability is a natural consequence of institutional autonomy, a major objective in the 1994 restructuring of New Jersey's higher education system. Annual institutional excellence and accountability reports were launched in the fall of 1995 to inform the public and state policymakers about individual institutions. This first systemwide report on New Jersey higher education complements institutional reports. The document provides valuable information and opens the door for meaningful policy discussions and decisions.

New Jersey's statewide goals for higher education are affordability and accessibility, institutional excellence, and effectiveness in addressing the societal and economic needs of the state. This report provides evidence of progress in meeting these goals and informs planning efforts for future improvement. Following are some of the major issues, successes, and challenges discussed in the report:

This systemwide accountability report, along with individual institutional reports, is an initial effort and an important first step in providing information on the state's higher education system to state policymakers and the public. New Jersey's new accountability reporting system is an integral part of the restructuring of higher education and relates directly to the master planning process. Once the master plan is in place and a clearer direction is established for New Jersey's higher education system, the accountability reporting system will evolve and more completely document progress toward identified goals.

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