Robert Barchi


Nick Romanenko

What do you remember most about college? Perhaps a charismatic professor who set you on your career path. A lifelong friendship that began at orientation. The satisfaction of completing a well-researched project. The buzz of the campus on a fall afternoon. The jubilation of graduation. Hopefully, it is not standing in line or sitting on a bus.

All Rutgers graduates should have the pleasure of looking back fondly at their time here. That is why we are removing bureaucratic barriers and giving students a positive experience in every aspect of their college career.

As a first step, we are improving the way students interact with the university. We are establishing new self-service options and one-stop offices for everything from accepting financial aid to choosing courses to selecting a residence hall.

Rutgers is also helping students navigate their academic journey. Our new advising platform uses 10 years of data from past undergraduates to help us offer proactive advice at junctures where students would benefit most from targeted academic support, keeping them on track for a timely graduation.

At Rutgers University–New Brunswick, which has one of America’s largest university bus systems, we are working to reduce the time our students spend on buses. After analyzing factors that affect student travel, we have implemented protocols that coordinate class scheduling, classroom assignment, and first-year student housing assignment to maximize convenience. We have already reduced course-related student travel by 8 percent, or about 20,000 fewer trips a week. And to further improve student transportation, we are installing a  dedicated bus lane and bike lanes on College Avenue.

In New Brunswick (and soon in Newark and Camden), we have created synchronous lecture halls that enable undergrads to take the same course together while remaining on their own campus. Students in different locations see a live or life-size high-definition streaming display of the instructor and their fellow classmates, with whom they are able to interact from miles away. No other university has adopted synchronous technology on a scale this large. “Telepresence” classrooms not only provide convenience for students but also foster opportunities for collaborations throughout Rutgers. As of January, we have 11 courses, ranging from marketing to environmental science, that enroll 1,780 students who are using these classrooms.

These projects are just a sample of our new student-focused initiatives. Although more work lies ahead, we take pride in our commitment to give students across Rutgers the best possible collegiate experience.