Issue Areas

During their program year, LNJ Fellows explore a variety of public policy issues facing New Jersey in different areas around the state. 


We examine the qualities leaders possess, and assess those characteristics and techniques.  Using widely-validated testing instruments,  we learn of our own unique leadership styles, strengths, and weaknesses; throughout the Seminar year our Fellows engage in small group exercises and real-world simulations to expand their repertoires of leadership skills.  Specific focus is placed upon better communication as leaders to broad and diverse stakeholders to improve performance and create durable solutions.  These themes are embedded throughout the Seminar program and are tested in the creation and implementation of Individual Learning Projects that are undertaken in the year following program participation.

Government and Budget

The State Budget is the guiding public policy document for our democracy.  The Budget embodies our values, plans, and actions. It is in facing the tough choices entailed in creating a balanced budget in the face of relatively fixed resources and expanding need that our cultural values are put into action.  We also explore in this Seminar the methods, leverage points, and actions, that we as citizens can take to impact government priorities and opportunities at all levels of our government. 


What is the role of public education in our country historically, today, and in the future?  What makes an educated person?  Using New Jersey's constitutional requirement to provide a "thorough and efficient education" for every child, how are we meeting this challenge?  Examining these issues through the laboratory of public and public-chartered schools in Camden, we face head on the leadership challenges of working with promising students living under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.  

Diversity and Inclusion

This Seminar was first devised early in our 30-year history as a lense through which to address the discriminatory practices of housing and educational segregation.  Today's Diversity topics have blossomed to consider gender, language, religion, sexual orientation, physical and mental capabilities, and explore the social and economic requirements to navigate through and take full advantage of the diverse backgrounds and talents that enrich New Jersey.

Economic Development & Entrepreneurship

So many of our economic comparative advantages in New Jersey have shifted with accelerating technological changes in communications, computational capacity, and organizational structures nimble enough to exploit new product opportunities.  We explore some of the most innovative practices and products being developed in our region, and meet the innovators, financiers, and corporations pushing forward to keep New Jersey competitive in a global marketplace. 

Criminal Justice and Corrections

Criminal Justice & Corrections. For two decades the State Department of Corrections was the fastest growing area of state government and state expenditures, responding to the mandatory jail sentences legislated for drug offenses in the 1990s.  Now States across the country are re-thinking the policies that led to a prison building boom, and New Jersey has instituted alternative courts, new sentencing guidelines and pre-trial interventions, that seek to prepare offenders to get on the path of productive citizenship.  We explore this history with current State Corrections leaders, and go inside New Jersey's maximum security prison to meet guards and inmates, and experience for ourselves what a life behind those walls really looks like. 

Environmental Policy

The New Jersey Pinelands encompasses over a million acres and comprises the largest protected stretch of open space between Washington and Boston. We meet the professionals and environmentalists responsible for maintaining the unique governance structure put in place to balance conservation and human use purposes in the Pinelands Preserve, while canoeing and hiking the woods to catalog species and monitor measures of environmental health.

Climate Change & Energy

As the effects of global climate change impact New Jersey's water quality, built infrastructure along our shoreline, agricultural base, and so much more, we examine climate impact mitigation strategies, explore what is being done to diversify our energy production towards renewables, and learn the measures we can take to cut deeply into energy demand.

Healthcare & Human Services

One in five New Jersey children are food deprived owing to persistent poverty. Our health care is among the most expensive in the country.  We meet the leaders who are addressing the issues of our own health care and the well-being of all New Jerseyans. We shop for a week's worth of food for our family on a public assistance budget, and see just how far we can stretch meager dollars to meet our children's nutritional needs.