I visited two colleges in southern New Jersey: Rowan University and The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
Rowan University is a mid-sized school that started as the Glassboro Normal School (“Normal” in a college’s name indicates that it was a teachers’ college) in 19xx. Located about 20 minutes south of Philadelphia, Rowan now has a range of programs from humanities to pre-medical studies. A large percentage of the students are from Southern New Jersey, but the community feel is helped by a new college village right along Rowan Blvd., with new apartment buildings, a Barnes & Noble, Starbucks and other retail amenities.
Rowan’s mechanical engineering program is ranked #8 in the country, and strong students can transfer into the Engineering school. The business and education programs are also very strong. Interesting majors include law and justice, Africana studies, supply chain and logistics, health promotion and fitness management and environmental engineering. The jazz music program and public relations major are very strong as well.
Despite the university’s size of almost 11,000 undergraduates, class sizes are capped at 34 and there are no lecture classes. There are also no TAs teaching students. Rowan uses the Common App exclusively for freshmen (transfer applications are still on paper) and merit aid is generous.
In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson met Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin at Hollybush Mansion on Rowan’s campus, because Glassboro is halfway between New York (where Kosygin was at the United Nations) and Washington, DC. After the summit’s successful conclusion, Lady Bird Johnson visited Hollybush and took the chairs used by the President and the Premier, moving them to the LBJ Library. More information about the summit, and Rowan’s role, are here.
Rowan students are required to live on campus for two years. Sports are Division I and athletes have their own workout facilities. You can see all of my pictures of Rowan University here.
Richard Stockton College
Stockton College is named for one of New Jersey’s signers of the Declaration of Independence, and is located about 12 miles away from Atlantic City and about 50 miles southeast of Philadelphia. Stockton’s hospitality and tourism management department has an arrangement with Cornell University, whose hospitality students do not have access to gaming facilities in upstate New York, that offers them internships at the Seaview Resort, a former Marriott property that is still an active beach resort as well as the home to 200 undergraduate students.
Aside from the hospitality program, Stockton is a public liberal arts college with about 7500 students. They offer a variety of majors and minors, and some interesting graduate level programs, including a Master’s degree in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, as well as some specific advanced programs in education. They also have strong programs in oceanography, marine science, and physical and occupational therapy. There are two operational hospitals on this very large campus, much of which is wetlands.
Students are guaranteed housing for their first two years, and about 60% of freshmen live on campus. While only about 1% of students are from out of state, about 3,000 live on campus. Stockton’s administrators told my group of counselors about the core values and skills students will learn, as determined by the faculty; they call these their “Essential Learning Outcomes.”
Stockton has a beautiful brand new student center, as well as a state-of-the-art science building just opening in fall, 2013. You can see all of my photos of Stockton here.