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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

Role of Higher Education in Revitalizing Newark Will Be Message at 3rd CHEN Summit

A clarion call describing how higher education can revitalize Newark’s economy will be heard March 19, 2004, at the third annual summit hosted by the Council For Higher Education (CHEN).   CHEN is composed of Newark’s four public institutions of higher learning-- Essex County College (ECC), New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Rutgers University at Newark (RU-N) and the University of Medicine and Dentistry (UMDNJ). 

Anne S. Habiby, the protégé of Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, will sound the trumpet.   Habiby, co-director of the Cambridge-based Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), will detail how higher education consortia, such as CHEN, can nurture the economic development of Newark.

The summit, open by invitation only, starts at 8 a.m. in Weston Lecture Hall (#1) at NJIT.  The building is located at the intersection of Warren and Summit streets.  Parking will be available in the NJIT parking garage at the intersection of Summit and Warren streets. (For directions see: www.njit.edu/about/visiting/driving.php .)


“Universities and colleges may be this country’s greatest untapped urban revitalization engine,” Habiby said in a recent telephone interview.  “Consider the fact that urban university spending on salaries, goods, and services is nine times greater than federal direct spending on urban business and job development each year.  Despite the overwhelming size and spending of these enterprises, colleges and universities have largely been off the urban policy radar screen.”   


More than half of the nation’s college and universities are located in central cities and their immediate surroundings.  Unlike corporations that relocate or are transformed by mergers and acquisitions, these super-sized economic engines are largely immoveable enterprises in urban economies.


The resources of universities can be mobilized and directed toward improving the quality of life in surrounding poor communities. 


“At a time when fiscal constraints are forcing communities to identify new and leveraged sources of funding, universities’ massive resources cannot be ignored,” Habiby added.

Following the keynote address, panel respondents will explore local challenges. Respondents will be Alfred C. Koeppe, president and CEO of the Newark Alliance; Brenda Hopper, the state director of the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers (RU-N); Richard Monteilh, the business administrator for Newark; Gloria Bonilla Santiago, distinguished professor of public policy and administration and director of the Center for Strategic Urban Community Leadership at Rutgers University at Camden.

The summit will also feature the more than four dozen community-based partnerships and programs between CHEN members and the Newark schools.  “The programs, many of them local and unusual, aim to improve the lives of young people in Newark,” said Theodore Johnson, PhD, vice president human resources at NJIT.  Unique offerings include professional development for high school chemistry teachers, teaching urban teenagers about entrepreneurship and showing both male and female athletes ways to protect their teeth.

Other summit speakers will include the four leaders of each CHEN institution:  A. Zachary Yamba, president, ECC; Robert A. Altenkirch, president, NJIT; Steven J. Diner, provost, RU-N; Stuart D. Cook, president, UMDNJ. 

The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1994 by Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter. The ICIC’s mission is to build healthy economies in America’s inner cities that create jobs, income, and wealth for local residents. ICIC acts to transform thinking, provide cities with a new vision of economic development, and engage the resources of the private sector to accelerate inner-city business growth.  ICIC is known for a distinctive market-based approach and for generating cutting-edge solutions.  ICIC also brings together community and business leaders to put ideas into practice.

CHEN is an association of four public institutions of higher learning dedicated to providing public service and educational opportunities throughout the Newark area. ECC, NJIT, RU-N and UMDNJ founded CHEN in the 1970s and have had solid working relationships ever since. Together these four institutions constitute a major university center. CHEN continues to build the intellectual and research capacity of its students and faculty, the number and excellence of academic programs and the responsiveness of the four institutions to the needs of Essex County and beyond.  CHEN institutions are committed to advancing the interests of each institution by undertaking collaborative ventures that will benefit the residents of both the county and state.

NJIT, New Jersey's science and technology university, enrolls approximately 10,000 students pursuing bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 120 programs. The university consists of six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, College of Computing Sciences and Albert Dorman Honors College. U.S. News & World Report's 2012 Annual Guide to America's Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities. NJIT is internationally recognized for being at the edge in knowledge in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. Many courses and certificate programs, as well as graduate degrees, are available online through the Division of Continuing Professional Education.