May 2019 – Drew University leaders are helping to shape a New Jersey higher education initiative.
Drew President MaryAnn Baenninger serves on the state’s Creating On-Ramps to College working group and Frank Merckx, the vice president of campus life and student affairs, serves on its Safe and Inclusive Learning Environment working group. Merckx is also Drew’s dean of students and Title IX coordinator.
The groups are part of a N.J. Office of the Secretary of Higher Education push under Gov. Phil Murphy to make higher education more accessible and affordable for students. The initiative began with a plan that Murphy unveiled in March.
Since then, N.J. has established five groups to tackle different pressure points in higher ed with the aim of refining the state’s plan. Seventeen colleges are represented on the Creating On-Ramps to College group and 20 on the Safe and Inclusive Learning group. Beyond college administrators, each group includes students.