In pitching a new B.A. in architecture program to a state oversight body for approval, Kean University made an unusual promise -- that it would limit the number of in-state students to 25 each year. The rest are to be recruited nationally and internationally -- the program has links to China -- so as to minimize competition with other New Jersey institutions.
The fact that Kean, a public university in New Jersey, is starting a new academic program with a cap on in-state residents was first reported Sunday by the Bergen County Record.
“We are a state university for the state of New Jersey,” said James A. Castiglione, an associate professor of physics and president of the Kean Federation of Teachers. “Our mandate, our mission is to provide an affordable education for the children of the citizens of New Jersey. That’s what we’re here to do, and to take the state subsidy and the state appropriations meant for that purpose and redirect it elsewhere is utterly at odds with our mission.”
The New Jersey Institute of Technology had initially opposed the introduction of an architecture program at Kean on the grounds that it would be duplicative of its own. NJIT, whose main campus is located less than 10 miles away from Kean’s, has since dropped its opposition and the Kean program gained approval from the Presidents' Council, which is made up of New Jersey college presidents.
“As Kean University followed the process for achieving approval of its architecture program, we learned more about it and its target audience and were no longer opposed to the program,” a NJIT spokeswoman, Lauren Ugorji, said via email. “Our president, Joel S. Bloom, was briefed on the program by Kean's president.” (Ugorji did not elaborate, saying she was not privy to the conversation, but an accounting of it in Sunday’s Record said that Bloom was assured by Kean President Dawood Farahi that the majority of seats would go to foreign students.)
Kean is planning to offer the new B.A. in architectural studies and, eventually, an M.A., at both its New Jersey campus and its campus in Wenzhou, China. The university expects, according to the proposal for the B.A. program submitted to the Presidents' Council, to ultimately enroll about 250 students at each of the two sites.
That proposal states: "The number of New Jersey residents will be limited to a total of 25 students at the B.A. degree each year. At the M.A. level only 15 New Jersey residents will be admitted into the program each year. The remainder of the cohort at each level will be recruited at national and international arenas to significantly minimize the impact on our New Jersey sister institutions."
“Enrollment in the School of Public Architecture in the Michael Graves College at Kean University in Union, N.J., is limited and competitive,” a Kean spokeswoman, Susan Kayne, said in an email. “Our fall 2015 cohort will have approximately 15 students from New Jersey with enrollment increasing to 25 per cohort. Classes are small as there will be intense individual tutorial sessions between students and faculty throughout the course of study. Students will have the opportunity to study at the Michael Graves School of Architecture at Wenzhou-Kean, Kean University’s English-speaking campus in China. Matriculation to the Michael Graves School of Architecture at Wenzhou-Kean will begin in fall 2016.”
Kayne did not directly address a question about why the university opted to impose a quota on the number of New Jersey students, but in a subsequent email she said the university expects enrollment at its Union, N.J., campus to be half in-state and half out-of-state. "We will accept 25 students a year from New Jersey and another 25 from out of state and/or international, eventually growing the program to 250 students, half of which will be from New Jersey," she said. "Given that more than 90 percent of our students are in-state, we don’t envision a one-to-one ratio for quite some time. We anticipate that most of the architecture students here in Union will be New Jersey residents for the near future, although we anticipate that the high caliber of this program will attract attention well beyond state borders."
Earlier this year, Kean’s University Senate issued a statement on the issue of shared governance after it said the proposal for the B.A. in architectural studies program was forwarded to the Board of Trustees for a vote prior to getting Senate approval.
As public universities nationwide have seen declines in state appropriations, they have increasingly looked to out-of-state domestic and international students for the tuition dollars they bring.
Edward St. John, an education professor at the University of Michigan who has researched the privatization of public universities, said the Kean case is at the “intersection” of issues of state regulation and privatization -- “but is not a new pattern per se.”
"Public colleges and universities now develop their financial strategies for new programs within market systems with dual methods of recruiting for in-state and out-of-state students," he said. "The 'duplication' argument was used in the Kean case relative to in-state competition for students. But to be understood, it must be placed in the larger national marketplace, including competition for high-achieving international students who can pay to attend."
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