Building a better TCNJ
A model of the planned Art and Interactive Multimedia Building.
Construction on the building is scheduled to break ground in April 2008.
The College unveiled its Academic/ Administrative and Housing Facilities Master Plans last semester, outlining major changes that will take place to the campus’s physical structure over the next 15 years.
The plans are the result of two years of research and discussions by two separate committees made up of students, staff, and faculty. Each committee relied on outside expertise from ikon.5 Architects (for the housing plan) and the architectural firm Einhorn Yaffee Prescott (for the academic/ administrative plan) during the process.
The initial reaction of students, staff, and faculty to the two plans was mixed. During the campus forums announcing the plans, many in attendance voiced concerns that not enough open recreational space would be left on campus, that updates or expansion of the athletics facilities and the Brower Student Center were not included, and that the removal of the lecture halls in Forcina was to occur several years before adequate replacement spaces would be available.
Lynda Kane Rothermel, campus architect and director of campus planning, said that her office, which presented the plans to campus, heard those concerns loud and clear and that the comments “will have an impact on the plan.” She said that the Student Center and athletics/ recreation area needs are under discussion by the Division of Student Affairs, and campus planning will use that feedback to revise the master plans as needed.
In addition, Rothermel said her office, in conjunction with the provost’s office, is reviewing the actual demand for large lecture halls on campus and would adjust the plans accordingly depending on the types and sizes of spaces needed.
The planned construction and renovations will be paid for with college and state bonds, capital reserves, and, potentially, money raised from a capital campaign.
Master plans are designed to be flexible and, for the most part, should be considered works in progress. Individual projects can change over the course of time depending on the College’s actual needs in the future, as well as budgetary considerations that might arise. With that in mind, here is a look at the projects as envisioned in the current version of the plan.
In December, ground will be broken for two new student apartment buildings, which will house 400 students. The buildings, designed by Fletcher Thompson, will replace the former apartment buildings that were started in 2003 but razed earlier this year due to serious deficiencies.
The new student apartments will feature five-person suites, with three single bedrooms and one double bedroom. Each suite will have a communal living space and a kitchen. Each building will provide a laundry/lounge, a large multipurpose room, a graduate apartment, and a professional apartment. The buildings are scheduled to open their doors to upperclassmen in fall 2009 and will be located along Metzger Drive across from Lions’ Stadium and the Soccer Complex.
A new Sophomore-Year Experience Residence Hall will be constructed on the hill between Decker Hall and New Residence Hall in 2012. That building will house 310 second-year students and provide them with accommodations that are a “step up” from their first-year residence halls.
Norsworthy Hall is scheduled for demolition in 2014, while Centennial Hall will be demolished in 2017. Over the course of the master plan, Decker, Travers/Wolfe, Cromwell, and Ely-Allen-Brewster will be renovated to keep the facilities up to date.
The housing plan identifies the following locations as sites for possible future construction beyond the year 2021: what will then be the former location of Norsworthy Hall, the outdoor tennis courts next to the Student Recreation Center, and an area along Metzger Drive next to the two student apartment buildings.
The Housing Facilities Master Plan will add 262 total beds to campus if completed as written.
On the academic/administrative side, construction will begin on a new Art and Interactive Multimedia Building in April 2008, which will house departments from the School of the Arts and Communication. The three-story building, designed by Einhorn Yaffee Prescott, will feature studios and classrooms, computer laboratories, a recording studio, and faculty offices. It will be located directly across from the Music Building on what is now a parking lot. The demolished parking spaces have already been replaced in Metzger Garage.
The one-story wing in the back of Forcina Hall will be demolished in 2008 to make room for an education building, which will be completed in 2011. The four-story section of Forcina will be used as swing space for administrative offices while other buildings are being completed and/or renovated; it will then be razed in 2021.
Holman Hall will be demolished in 2013 to make room for a new academic building, which is scheduled to be completed by 2015. The new building will house the computer science department, as well as multiuse instructional laboratories and multi-use event space.
A new nursing building will be completed in 2019. It will be located next to Forcina Parking Garage, on what is now the circle in front of Centennial Hall (which, by that time, is scheduled to have been demolished).
The 1968 wing of the former Roscoe L. West Library will be used as swing space for various offices until it is demolished in 2013, leaving only the original 1934 wing of the old library building. That section, one of the original campus buildings, will continue to stand. The plan calls for it to be renovated and eventually house the admissions office, development and alumni affairs office, and the College Art Gallery.
Renovations and asset renewals are also planned for Paul Loser Hall, Green Hall, and Kendall Hall over the next 15 years. The plan calls for executive administrative offices to move into Paul Loser Hall in 2020, allowing Green Hall to become a “one-stop shop” for student services offices.
The Academic/Administrative Facilities Master Plan indicates that the land of what will then be the former Forcina Hall tower and the former Centennial Hall could be used as possible construction sites after 2021.
A footprint map of TCNJ’s campus as it would look in early 2021
if all projects in the master plans are completed.
The master plans will be revised based on the information related to Student Affairs programming and through discussions with the planning committees. The final plans will then be made available to the public.
Tony Marchetti ’96, ’02
TCNJ Is Tops Yet Again
For the 16th year in a row, TCNJ is the top public college in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Universities—Master’s category for the northern region of the country. Overall, the College ranks fifth out of 165 public and private institutions in the classification.
“TCNJ’s standing in the current U.S. News & World Report rankings is a source
of pride, and I am particularly satisfied by the consistency with which we have been ranked the top public institution in the north, ” said President R. Barbara Gitenstein. “Two of the statistics behind these rankings, freshman retention rate and graduation rates, are the best indicators of student satisfaction and student success. TCNJ excels in both because of our exceptional faculty and staff.”
TCNJ has the highest average freshman retention rate, 95 percent, and third highest graduation rate, 83 percent, among schools in the northern region.
The College also tops all public and private colleges in its category in the percentage of incoming freshman who come from the top 25 percent of their high school class (93 percent).
The Princeton Review’s Best 366 Colleges, 2008 edition, ranked TCNJ seventh on its “Happiest Students” list and 20th on its “Most Beautiful Campus” list.
In addition to the top 20 lists, the book includes two-page profiles of each of the 366 schools. Only about 15 percent of the four-year colleges in America and two Canadian colleges were chosen for the book.
In its profile of TCNJ, Princeton Review revealed several topics that TCNJ students identified as positive aspects of the College. These included small classes, great lab facilities, friendly students, a safe-feeling campus, happy students, and a great library.
Ensuring Successful Student Outcomes
Is TCNJ successfully serving its role as a bridge to graduate study? Do its transfer students graduate within an acceptable time frame? How do the knowledge bases of TCNJ students grow throughout their college experiences? To answer questions like these, as well as many others, the College established the Center for Institutional Effectiveness this fall.
“Our aspiration to greatness requires that we continue to question and continue to work hard at improvement, ” President Gitenstein said in announcing the center’s formation to campus during her opening speech in September [Play Audio].
The center has already taken the lead in this questioning process, working with units from across the campus to design, perform, and communicate analyses of institutional data. This data will be used to enhance operations and student outcomes and to improve college services and programs.
The center is under the joint leadership of Beth Paul, interim provost, and Nadine Stern, vice president for information technology and enrollment support services. Ellie Fogarty, associate provost, serves as the center’s executive director. Paula Maas, director of assessment, is leading and coordinating student learning outcomes assessment.
Rather than being housed in any one department, the center is cross-divisional so that it has greater access to data from offices and programs across campus.
The first three initiatives that the center is working on are improving retention rates, improving the advising process, and assisting in the effort to better position the College, Fogarty said.
Tony Marchetti ’96, ’02
Student Life Reorganization Enhances Services
After a year of evaluating and reinventing itself in response to President Gitenstein’s challenge to “articulate a new student development model” and “foster a campus culture that values student life professionals as essential partners in the l earning process,” student life, now the Division of Student Affairs, has redefined its mission and restructured its delegation. The reorganization provides a more definitive role for student affairs administrators in an effort to enrich the students ’ living experiences at the College.
James Norfleet, vice president for student affairs, spearheaded the transformation process, working toward renewing the division ’s mission to “support efforts to promote student engagement, learning, and success.”
The reorganization will better allow Student Affairs “to enrich the College experience and foster the development
of students as whole persons” and develop globally conscious citizens with character and a “commitment to act and lead with integrity.”
“We have heard consistently from students that, prior to the realignment, they did not feel there was a clear pathway to having their issues and concerns addressed, ” explained Magda Manetas, assistant vice president of student services. “The creation of the dean of students position and office addresses this concern and will provide students with that pathway. In addition, we believe that students will benefit significantly from the synergies made possible by our new connection to the Offices of Career Services and Academic Support Programs, which, in turn, will drive a more complete and holistic approach to their educational experience. ”
The transformation entails a three-step process of reorganization, realignment, and renewal that will take place over the next several years. The first order of business is reorganizing offices, programs, services, and functions within the division that can greater benefit students from closer alignment with each other. Several areas were also renamed to better reflect their roles at TCNJ: residential and community development is now the Office of Residential Education and Housing, and campus activities is now the Office of Student Activities and Leadership Development.
The Department of Athletics and Office of Auxiliary Services will continue to report directly to the vice president, whose office will focus on policy, planning, budgeting, crisis response, and general administration of the student affairs enterprise. All of the other units, programs, and services have been grouped into two clusters: the dean of students cluster and the student services cluster.
The dean of students position is a new one at the College, and a national search is underway to fill this key post. Once the office is staffed and fully operational, it will serve as an initial point of contact for students and will work to advance student learning and development.
The assistant vice president for student services cluster will pilot the needs of specific student populations, improving student learning and success and promoting the health and well-being of all students.