N.J. education panel proposes merging medical school with Rutgers

Gov. Chris Christie’s task force on higher education has offered more than 70 recommendations for changes at New Jersey’s colleges and universities.Among the task force suggestions is a plan to improve medical education by merging the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey with Rutgers University. The report also recommends giving college presidents more freedom to manage their institutions and negotiate labor costs.”Our goal is to make medical education in New Jersey as good as it can possibly be and the fundamental transformation of UMDNJ and its structure is something that the task felt strongly about, something I have great sympathy for as well,” said Christie Tuesday of the proposed merger.Former Gov. Tom Kean, the task force chairman, said the recommendations are a blueprint.”It can’t be done all at once. It’s a blueprint over a number of years,” said Kean. “But it is a blueprint to reverse what we consider a tragic decline in the support for higher education in this state which if it continues is going to make this not the kind of state a lot of people want to live in and work in.”Christie said higher education will be the first place the state will increase spending once the economy turns around.

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