Chiera On Appointment of Zakiya Smith Ellis for Secretary of Higher Education

AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera said: “We believe that higher education is a public good and encourage Governor Murphy to make sure that the incoming Secretary of Higher Education has the support and tools to make higher education more readily available to New Jersey students and families. As the largest higher education union in New Jersey, we have long advocated for more coordination at the state level so that our schools have incentives to cooperate and collaborate rather than competing for resources and in programs.

“Zakiya Smith Ellis has publicly opined that living expenses should to be taken into consideration as a part of affordability for college students and stated that merely increasing financial literacy does not equate to making college affordable. We welcome Smith Ellis’ expertise in affordability to New Jersey and look forward to working with her to best serve our students by offering the opportunities they so richly deserve—to learn, grow and develop as mature young adults, rising professionals and tomorrow’s leaders.”


AFT New Jersey is the largest higher education union in New Jersey, representing faculty and staff at all the state’s public four-year colleges and universities and eleven community colleges.