Stockton College has been officially deemed a university after the board of trustees voted to change the school’s designation and name from a college to a university last week. The change was approved by Rochelle Hendricks, New Jersey secretary of higher education, after research and study by her office and outside consultants who visited the campus recommended Stockton be recognized as a comprehensive university, a press release stated. The executive committee of the New Jersey Presidents Council, made up of the presidents of the state's public, private and community colleges and universities that receive state aid, also voted for the change.
|Photo via Stockton|
Stockton is New Jersey's newest
institution of higher learning.
A celebration held in the campus center following the board meeting featured the new seal and unveiling of a large banner with the new university logo. A special video made for the occasion was also aired, and attendees received baseball caps with the new logo.
According to the release, whether or not to seek the change had been the subject of research and internal discussion at Stockton for nearly two years. Faculty, staff, students, prospective students and parents, alumni and over 1,400 members of the public in South Jersey were surveyed. Town hall discussions were also held.
“The change from college to university status has been more than simply a reclassification. This decision has come after a great deal of critical thought and self-reflection by our community and perhaps this fact is what is most significant,” said Rodger Jackson, president of the faculty senate and a professor of philosophy.
“It’s great to be a part of Stockton history, and most students are excited to be here for the transition,” added Carl Archut Jr., president of the student senate. “They feel that Stockton is really taking a step up.”
The estimated costs of a name change, which are expected to be phased in over five or more years, range from $654,208 to $956,082, depending on what is included. The range covers replacing signage and updating institutional and marketing materials such as stationery, business cards, flags, seals and banners. Some of those materials are updated and reprinted annually, and their costs would be absorbed in existing budgets. Some items of historical significance may not be changed.
Over the years, Stockton has been known as Richard Stockton State College, Stockton State, and most recently, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
“Since its founding in 1969, Stockton has had many names, but one consistent mission: excellence in teaching, dedication to learning and a tradition of community service,” said President Herman Saatkamp. “In becoming a university, we honor those values while continuing our journey as an environment for excellence and a partner in New Jersey’s social and economic development.”
Stockton had met the requirements to be designated a university for over five years and was already classified as such by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review.
Comprehensive universities emphasize teaching and offer master’s degrees in a variety of academic disciplines and professional fields, as opposed to research universities, it was noted.
The board is currently in the state approval process for a new doctoral degree in organizational leadership to be offered in the school of education. Once it obtains the necessary approvals, the program is expected to be offered at the Atlantic City Island Campus in 2016, which would bring Stockton’s total number of graduate programs to 14.
Stockton is ranked number nine among public regional universities of the north by U.S. News and World Report in its 2015 edition of “America’s Best Colleges.” The school is also ranked overall at number 41 out of 135 public and private Northern universities by U.S. News and World Report.
For more information, visit stockton.edu/university.
— Kelley Anne Essinger