I am happy to report that 2003-2004* has been an exceptionally productive time for New Jersey Institute of Technology. Throughout this report, you will see many examples of the outstanding achievements of our students, faculty and staff. But the accomplishment of which I am most proud is our new strategic plan.
Developed with the participation of representatives from all sectors of the university community, this new plan is a series of action steps designed to take NJIT to its next tier of development. We expect to see NJIT counted among the nation’s leading public research universities, an essential component of this region’s intellectual and economic development. The strategic plan provides the roadmap to get us there.
NJIT is well positioned to move forward. Our research program is among the fastest-growing in the nation. We now rank among the top ten technological universities in the nation for research expenditures. Our educational programs grow out of a century-long tradition of academic excellence, and our student body is one of the most diverse in the United States. We have extensive community outreach and economic development programs, including New Jersey’s oldest and largest small business incubator – one of the top 25 in the nation -- focusing on high-technology companies and minority-owned businesses.
NJIT also has a unique essence that fosters growth and development. In cataloguing our assets during the planning process, we identified three characteristics that define the university:
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These qualities blend together into a unique university spirit that is apparent in everything NJIT does. One example is our Homeland Security Technology Systems Center, created last June by Executive Order of Governor James McGreevey. Well before the official designation, NJIT had been focusing its resources to address the heightened security needs of New Jersey and the nation. Researchers began soon after 9-11 to investigate innovative applications of technologies for sensing, surveillance, detection of hazardous biomaterials and toxic chemicals, telecommunications and Internet security. The university's Office of Research and Development took an active role in coordinating potential security-related projects and sought out partnerships with public agencies and private companies. The result has been a significant increase in research activity as well as an opportunity to participate in an important state and national priority.
Another illustration of NJIT character is our new contract to play home baseball games at the Bears/Eagles Riverfront Stadium in Newark, providing an excellent professional venue for Highlander baseball, while allowing us to upgrade Lubetkin Field for soccer and other sports. Our solution was an untraditional one, certainly; a risky one, possibly; but one that has important advantages for both the university and the Newark community.
The qualities of innovation, entrepreneurship and engagement are not new to NJIT; they are woven into the very fabric of the university. Several months ago, I had the opportunity to meet with members of our class of 1933 as part of a “virtual reunion” project to mark their 70th anniversary. Each of these men had memories of a particular professor, or class, or project that went beyond the ordinary to give them some insight into technology or science or business or human nature that they have never forgotten. They credit their later successes as inventors, technology professionals and business leaders to the quality of their educational experience, their exposure to the most current technologies and to the support and concern of faculty and staff.
With this deep-rooted tradition of excellence as a foundation, we can move the institution to the next level of accomplishment. Within this decade, we will see NJIT recognized as a top-ranked public research university, as a national leader in the education of underrepresented groups for the technological professions, and as a catalyst for a healthy New Jersey economy.
Robert A. Altenkirch
President of NJIT