Academic Portfolio/Efficiency Analysis & Administrative Services Review

Academic Portfolio and Efficiencies and Administrative Services Review

NJCU is undertaking a review process to analyze our programs and services to better understand the return on investment they provide in supporting our mission and the success of our students. Ultimately, our findings will help NJCU respond proactively to longstanding external challenges to higher education.

Together, the academic portfolio/efficiency analysis and administrative services review will help to inform our developing strategic priorities. In particular, they will support our pillar of Resilient and Sustainable Stewardship.

Academic Portfolio and Efficiency Analysis Goals

  1. Understand, at a more granular level, what NJCU is spending, and the return on investment from that spending
  2. Uncover opportunities for increased efficiency and productivity to allow for reinvestment of resources
  3. Develop a new framework, vocabulary and analysis to support decisions on new investments and reallocation within the academic portfolio.

This project is focused first on informing where we can best make our future investment decisions.

Administrative Services Review Process 

This will be a deep dive into administrative services, allowing NJCU to maintain current levels of service at lower cost, enhance services as appropriate, and address existing service “pain points” at the institution.

The project will focus on services within institutional administrative functions as well as within academic administration.


Tamara Jhashi, Provost and Senior Vice President, and Jason Kroll, Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer are co-leading these projects. They will be supported by a Steering Team that includes the following members:

  • Andy Acebo - Interim Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Trustees
  • Dr. Tracey Amerman - Professor, Department of Educational Technology
  • Aaron Aska - Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
  • Damaris Castillo - Finance and Operations Manager, William J. Maxwell College of Arts & Sciences
  • Sue Gerber - Associate Vice President, Institutional Effectiveness
  • Ben Rhodin - Interim Vice President, Enrollment Management and Student Success
  • Jim White - Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer

Project Partner: rpk GROUP

Our partner on this project will be rpk GROUP, a leading national consulting firm supporting colleges, universities and other non-profits with their growth and reallocation strategies. rpk GROUP was engaged after a competitive search, and will provide project management support, data collection and analysis. Given their work with a wide variety of institutions nationally, including institutions with profiles similar to NJCU’s, they are well positioned to support us in this deeper analysis of our academic portfolio and administrative services. 

Data Team

  • Lead: Sue Gerber - Associate Vice President, Institutional Effectiveness
  • Rosemary Tavares - Controller
  • Randi Miller - Senior Director of Human Resources
  • Navin Saiboo - Registrar


The Steering Team kicked off the project in April, and we anticipate a seven-month process that will culminate in final recommendations being delivered in Fall 2021. 

Current Project Status

NJCU’s academic analysis project with rpk GROUP is making good progress. Since April, the NJCU and rpk GROUP teams have accomplished the following:

  • Developed and launched two key cross-functional teams that are guiding the work, made up of representatives from faculty, staff, and institutional leadership
  • Completed a benchmark analysis using IPEDs and other federal data sources
  • Completed collection of all program-level variables that will constitute the academic portfolio portion of the project
  • Productive and ongoing discussions and data collection for the financial portion of the analysis, as well as the course and faculty portions

We anticipate completing all data collection on the academic analysis within the next month, and plan to begin presenting initial results of portions of the analysis back to the Steering Team beginning in September.

We are also pleased to share that we have started the administrative services review. While the first project is focused on the academic areas of the institution, this next phase is focused on all institutional operational functions, such as finance, human resources, facilities, and auxiliary services.

Throughout the month of August, rpk GROUP team members are interviewing 40+ NJCU Vice Presidents, department heads, and deans. rpk GROUP will bring a summary of those conversations to the Steering Team in September before going deeper into each functional area to surface recommendations for improved service delivery, efficiency practices, and new revenue generation.

Summaries of all meetings are available here.  

Frequently Asked Questions

As higher education has developed its response to changes in the external environment, institutions have begun the difficult work of analyzing their academic portfolios.  The goals of this analysis should be to move away from an emphasis on cutting (budgets, people, programs) and a shift to a return on investment lens. That lens looks at “return” not only in dollars, but also in time and, especially, in greater quality and student success.

The work with academic portfolios takes two approaches: 1) a full portfolio review to determine where program investments can be made and reallocations can occur; and 2) an efficiency and productivity analysis, which investigates how to maintain high quality delivery and student success at lower cost. These two approaches will be conducted simultaneously for this project.

Yes. A review of the university’s administrative services will be conducted upon completion of the academic portfolio/efficiency analysis.  In this way, NJCU will have a comprehensive set of recommendations available to move toward a more sustainable business model that invests in our students, faculty and staff.

The university must look carefully at how it uses existing resources. This focus is consistent with the pillar of Resilient and Sustainable Stewardship in our new strategic priorities document

The university selected rpk GROUP to assist us with this project. rpk GROUP has previous experience working with institutions nationally on reshaping their portfolios and services, and identifying resources for reinvestment. That work includes work with institutions like NJCU. rpk GROUP will work with a steering team that represents an intersection of academic, finance and planning, and pulls personnel from across our institution. The team is led by Tamara Jhashi, Provost and Senior Vice President, and Jason Kroll, Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer.

We anticipate that, combined, these projects will take approximately seven months.  Final recommendations will be made in early fall 2021.

These projects are first and foremost focused on supporting the university’s investment decisions. Secondly, the projects will provide a framework and tools to allow stakeholders to understand how the business model connects to elements of quality and student success.

Updates on the project will be provide to the campus by a variety of means, including this webpage, email, and meetings such as a town hall.