With the Spring semester off and running, we are excited to bring you the March 2017 Parent & Family Newsletter. Below, you can read about recent Bonner Scholar volunteer trips along with updates on the new STEM building and Chemistry Addition. You can also read about two courses from the First Seminar Program and the variety of academic programs offered by the School of Education. We have included important Spring Break closing information and a number of dates and deadlines for your reference.
We hope you enjoy this quarter's newsletter!
Susie Orecchio, MA, NCC
Director of Administration & Operations
Coordinator of Parent & Family Programs
Highlights from the Vice President
for Student Affairs
Dear Parents and Family Members,
The new year welcomes many exciting possibilities and opportunities for our students. From first year students starting their second semester of studies to senior students finishing up their undergraduate college experience, the new beginnings that await are endless.
The College places an emphasis on preparedness, especially for careers that students will begin after their educational experience here. TCNJ’s emphasis on career readiness is evident when it comes to post-graduate success: 97% of 2015 graduates were either employed or pursuing higher degrees within one year after graduation according to TCNJ’s Class of 2015 One-Year Out Survey.
The National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) Taskforce defines career readiness as “the attainment and demonstration of requisite competencies that broadly prepare college graduates for a successful transition into the workplace”. The top three competencies that potential employers are looking for include strong communication, critical thinking and team building/leadership skills. The TCNJ Career Center works with students to develop and discover their skills in many ways including the utilization of online assessments and the facilitation of workshops to over 85 classes and organizations this academic year.
The TCNJ Career Center hosts several networking opportunities including Career and Internship Days, Meet & Greets, a trip to Washington DC, Dining Out in Professional Style, and several other major-specific events. The Career Center also offers open hours where students can visit to receive feedback on their resume, ask questions about careers and the job search process, or evaluate job offers. By May 2017, over 330 employers will have visited the TCNJ campus where over 300 interviews take place every year for student jobs and internships.
TCNJ strives to foster an environment that encourages the career development of its students through opportunities offered by the Career Center and other areas to supplement academics, leadership and involvement as essential components of the TCNJ experience. I am eager to see what our students will accomplish by applying the tools they have learned, both in their current role as undergraduate students as well as in their future career or graduate studies.
Mark your calendar! We are already looking forward to a day of fun on campus with our TCNJ families on Saturday, September 23, 2017.
Winter Break the Bonner Way By Michael Nordquist, Ph.D.
Executive Director, The Center for Community Engaged Learning and Research
TCNJ’s Bonner Community Scholars program provides an intentionally diverse group of 108 students scholarships to support their education, in exchange for 300 hours of service over the course of each academic year. TCNJ Bonners meet that expectation through facilitation of the First-year Community Engaged Learning (CEL), direct service at one of more than twenty non-profit community partnersin the Trenton region, and trainings that support the Bonner program’s student development model. As one of sixty Bonner programs across the country, TCNJ’s Bonner program is one of the three largest and contributes more than 30,000 hours of service to the region each year. Housed in the College’s Center for Community Engaged Learning and Research, the Bonner program forms the backbone of the College’s Community Engaged Learning initiatives.
After spending some time at home with family and friends, two groups of TCNJ Bonner Community Scholars spent the rest of their breaks serving communities in New Orleans and Nicaragua. The first-year Bonner cohort traveled to New Orleansfor ten days in January to contribute to the ongoing rebuilding effort in response to the damage of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. While there, they partnered with a local non-profit, Saint Bernard Project, to assist in their housing projects. The group also went to Baton Rouge to aid flood victims and get started on much needed rebuilding projects. In addition to the community rebuilding projects, Bonners took time to get familiar with the city and experience the unique New Orleans culture. The group participated in a scavenger hunt throughout the French Quarter and took a tour of New Orleans, including the Garden District, Uptown, Lake Pontchartrain, and the Lower 9th Ward.
From January 9th through January 21st, eight TCNJ Bonners and two staff members traveled to Nicaragua to learn about the culture, meet leaders of non-profit organizations, and reflect on how U.S. foreign policy has affected countries like Nicaragua. This educational trip allowed Bonners to explore their role as global citizens and gain international perspective on today’s global world. This eighth annual Nicaragua trip is the culmination of a four-year sequence of community engaged trips, designed to provide a global perspective on service, community development, leadership, and culture. Hosted by ProNica, the students visited five non-profit organizations to learn about the impact of service, globalization, and the interconnectedness of U.S. and Latin American politics and society.
Now back on campus, TCNJ Bonners have begun their service at local non-profits again, with the added experience and insight that these trips have provided.
STEM Building and Chemistry Addition By Curt Heuring
Vice President of Administration
The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Building and Chemistry Addition are progressing on the TCNJ campus. These projects, totaling over $75 million dollars in cost, are funded in part by the Building our Future Bond authorized by the State of New Jersey, TCNJ borrowing, fund raising, College capital reserves and energy efficiency rebates. The 89,000 gross square foot (GSF) STEM building and the 26,300 GSF Chemistry Addition are approximately 75% complete and are anticipated to open to faculty, students and staff in August 2017 for Fall 2017 classes. These buildings represent the first of a three phase major capital investment in the STEM disciplines by the College. Phases 2 and 3 call for targeted renovations of the Chemistry, Biology, Math, and Physics buildings in the Science complex plus renovations to Armstrong Hall for Engineering. The STEM Building and Chemistry Addition not only provide additional space but also the swing space necessary to vacate other areas for renovation.
The STEM building is situated on the site of Holman Hall, which was demolished in 2014 to make room for the new facility. The Chemistry Addition replaces the link and bridge between Chemistry and Biology. Perhaps the most exciting part of the STEM complex is the new Forum, located between the new STEM Building and the Biology Building. The Forum will be a student centric space in the heart of the complex providing students with social, group study and lounge space. The Forum completes the north side of Quimby’s Prairie making it a true quadrangle enclosed by buildings. The Forum is designed to be compatible with the collegiate Georgian buildings facing Quimby’s Prairie while at the same time being contemporary and transparent to allow views to and from Ceva Lake.
The STEM Buildings will house the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Computer Science, and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. It will contain state-of-the-art laboratories and prototyping facilities. Examples include:
• Open Commons – the center of the STEM Building with two-story atrium space and glass walls to the Innovation Center, Robotics Lab, Thermo-Fluids Lab, and Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering Labs.
• STEM Classroom – a 48-student teaching space, with flexible furniture.
• Computer Lab – a student computer lab for the entire Engineering School.
The Chemistry Addition will include a Multidisciplinary Super Laboratory Suite that will allow for seamless transition between computational, experimental, and analytical activities. A state-of-the-art instrumentation laboratory will house current and new equipment, and it will be outfitted with camera and screen capturing technology to facilitate instrument usage and instruction. This lab, along with a specialized instrument lab and a laser facility, will interconnect to a computational chemistry laboratory, a synthetic chemistry laboratory, and a multipurpose chemistry laboratory.
The College has been watching the construction of the STEM Building and the Chemistry Addition and is anxiously awaiting their completion in August 2017.
Sleeping to Achieve Success By Rafia Siddiq Strategic Health & Wellness Specialist
Sleep has been a great conundrum for as long as we could remember. We are in constant debate within ourselves on whether to get enough sleep or sacrifice a few hours of sleep to either complete an assignment or finish binge watching a show. It is essential for our everyday function, but as a society and especially for college students, we have given sleep very little priority thus affecting our health and well-being.
What makes sleep so important? Well to answer that question, you would need to understand what sleep does for you and your body. Sleep has several positive impacts that we hardly think about such as learning and memory, which helps the brain to solidify and consolidate memories. This process is done overnight when information from short-term memory transfers over to long-term memory. With the appropriate amount of sleep, we are better able to retain information and perform better on memory tasks. Additionally, our body restores the energy burnt throughout the day and rejuvenates itself, muscle growth occurs, tissue repair, and secretion of hormones all take place while we are sleeping.
With our busy day-to-day schedules, we often do not make time for sleep into our schedules. In fact, students should be encouraged to sleep because it is seen as a critical piece in achieving academic success and general well-being. Here’s why you should encourage students to make time for sleep. Students at TCNJ who slept for 7 to 8 hours were in excellent to very good health. Those who slept 7 to 8 hours received higher GPA’s than those that had less than 6 hours of sleep. TCNJ students that did not get enough sleep were not as physically active and also did not have a healthy diet (0 servings per day of fruits and vegetables). In addition, lack of sleep leads to poor memory, increased impulsiveness, poor judgement, and even suppressed immune system.
What are some ways students can improve their sleeping habits? Sleep hygiene is a practice defined as behaviors that one can do to promote good sleep. Encourage them to start the week by making time for sleep and keeping it consistent. Adults/young adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep to properly function. Also, advise them to avoid anything caffeine-related after lunch as it can disrupt their sleeping pattern. Turning off mobile, computer, and laptop devices at least a half hour before going to bed might be a big challenge, but is highly recommended. Blue light from screens can disrupt the circadian rhythm and affect your ability to sleep. Creating a comfortable environment for bed time by keeping the room dark and cool will help to get a good night’s rest. Lastly, avoid doing any work on your bed, so that your body and mind associate bed only for sleeping. Taking a power nap during the day can be refreshing, but limit it to 20 minutes or less, so that it does not affect your sleep at night.
As a society, we have grown accustomed to the idea that sleep equates to laziness or even failure, which is simply not true. As Thomas Dekker said, “Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together.” Next time you think: 'who needs sleep?', think again!
How Parents Can Identify Mental Health Challenges in their College Kids What to Look for and How to Proceed
When it comes to challenges small and large, parents and family members are one of the most important support systems for students during their college years. Being able to detect signs of mental illness is the first step to helping your student. U.S. News recently published an article about how to identify signs of mental health difficulties in college students and how to address them. You can view the article here.
Group Counseling and Workshops Counseling and Psychological Services
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is proud to offer at least 15 different groups and workshops each semester for TCNJ students. Group counseling and workshops are a popular opportunity for students to experience growth and change, and are an excellent long-term campus support opportunity. While many of our groups may be filled by early March, please explore our website to get a sneak preview of what we'll be offering in the Fall.
The Student Advocate
The Student Advocate is a health-minded letter designed to help faculty, staff, mentors, parents and family members support students. Topics of past letters include alcohol and drug education, party culture, stress, flu shots, procrastination and mindfulness. Check out the latest addition of the Student Advocate by clicking the image on the right.
Faculty Corner By Amanda Norvell, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology, Faculty Senate President
We are lucky to have many incredible faculty members at TCNJ. In order to give families some insight to the academic experiences we offer, we ask faculty members to describe a particularly interesting course that they teach. Here, Dr. Sarah Chartock, Associate Professor of Political Science, and Dr. Lisa Grega, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, discuss their recent First Seminar Program courses.
The First Seminar Program (or FSP for short) is a small seminar-style class taken by all first-year students. Working closely with a professor and their peers, students explore an intellectually stimulating topic selected by the faculty member. The writing and critical thinking skills that students develop during their FSP prepare them for future coursework, regardless of major or discipline. Two FSP courses offered last fall are described below.
Diversity and Its Responses By Sarah Chartock, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Political Science
In my Freshman Seminar, “Diversity and Its Responses,” we examine what racial and ethnic diversity is, what it looks like in the United States, and how individuals, groups and states have responded to ethnic and racial diversity in their midst. We focus on debates over diversity such as whether race is “real” or not; whether assimilation or pluralism represent ideal goals; and whether policies such as affirmative action are effective responses to issues of race and inequality. All students carry out individual research projects in which they examine a related topic in depth, thereby deepening their understanding of the course content, learning valuable research skills, and sharing insights and information with their classmates.
As another integral component of this course, students participate in Community Engaged Learning in conjunction with the Bonner Center. The students are split into three groups and primarily serve with one of three community organizations in Trenton. Each student not only carries out this service, but is also responsible for weekly journal responses in which they reflect on their experiences to tie their observations back to the content of the course. The students are ultimately responsible for a group presentation in which they share with the class an “Organizational Biography” of the institutions with which they have served. These presentations include how their observations at this organization link to the broader themes of the course. The students have noted the sense that not only are they making an impact through their service, but that this service is also making a profound impact on the way they think about the world. Many in the FSP have noted in their final journal entries their intent to continue serving with these organizations even once the course requirement is filled.
Energy, Policy, and Society By Lisa Grega, Ph.D.
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
This course examined the myriad array of energy sources available to power our economy, their role in shaping energy policy, and the realities of implementing them. Key factors driving decision making, including environmental, cost, and technological advances, were studied and debated. The course addressed current US energy policy as well as energy utilization in other parts of the world, particularly developing countries lacking in a strong infrastructure. Students discussed their perceptions of fossil fuels, nuclear, and renewable energy technologies as well as their current state of implementation. The role of government regulations such as carbon taxes or mandates was also debated in this regard. Global energy agreements were also studied, including recent ones such as the Paris Agreement. Students worked in teams to research energy portfolios in different regions of the world and current/future plans to implement them.
As part of their Community Engaged Learning experience, students performed an energy audit of the academic and residential buildings on campus, presenting their findings to some members of the President’s Climate Commitment Committee. A field trip was also made to the Hydrogen House in Hopewell, NJ. Here they learned about a house which produced, stored and used hydrogen energy to meet all energy needs using solar energy.
School of Education By Jeff Passe, Ph.D. Dean, School of Education
If you mention the School of Education (SOE) at TCNJ, most people would think of the hundreds of elementary and secondary school teachers graduating each year. While we are proud of the reputation we have earned among school districts who want to hire our graduates, the SOE has several other programs:
A Counselor Education program that develops marriage and family therapists, clinical mental health counselors and, of course, school counselors. Several of our counseling graduates also earn specialization in substance abuse counseling.
Within Secondary Education, a Middle School Specialization option prepares teachers who wish to focus on early adolescents. Our Middle School Advisory Council has formed close partnerships with several schools, including ones in Trenton.
The Career and Community Studies (CCS) program is a college-based, liberal studies certificate program preparing students (ages 18-25) with intellectual and developmental disabilities for adult life through academic rigor, career discovery and preparation, and peer socialization. Along with more than 40 CCS students, we have mentors, many from the SOE, who work alongside them.
A Minor in Educating for Sustainability in which students learn how to be a “green” teacher or work in a “green school”. We also have students from Business, Engineering, and other Schools selecting this minor.
If you were to visit an American or International School in a foreign city, there is a good chance that some teachers there will hold degrees or certification from TCNJ. We offer programs in Thailand, Spain, Egypt, Portugal, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
An integrated bachelor's and Master of Arts in Teaching in the Urban Education program is designed for students interested in the dynamic environment of urban schools. This program builds on our conceptual framework, which prides itself on creating "agents of change".
TCNJ’s Dyslexia Initiative provides training for teachers, resources for parents, and testing and tutoring services for children (with discounts for low-income families.)
The Intoxicated Driver Resource Center educates drivers and boat operators about alcohol and drugs and their relation to safety. The program also identifies those individuals who need further evaluation and treatment for an alcohol or drug problem.
Several education majors do half of their student teaching in American or International Schools in such places as Rome, Paris, Prague, and Helsinki.
Our Masters’ program in Teaching English as a Second Language (which includes TESL certification) is offered in school districts across NJ.
Spring Break Closing Information
As your student prepares to return home for Spring Break, TCNJ Residential Education & Housing offers a few things to keep in mind while packing up to head home and relax:
All blinds should be left open unless you live in a ground floor room. Please close the blinds if you live on the ground floor.
Close and lock all windows.
Remove all trash from your room and dispose of it properly in the trash room or designated dumpster. Don't forget to recycle!
All valuables such as jewelry, money, game systems, etc. should be taken home.
Approved pets should be taken home as Residential Education staff will not be responsible for the care of any pets.
Turn off all lights and lock your room door.
Review, complete, and sign the check-out slip that will be placed on your door by the staff.
Residence Halls will close at 8pm on Friday, March 10th for Spring Break, and reopen at 2pm on Sunday, March 19th.
Significant Dates and Deadlines
Residence Halls close for Spring Break: 3/10, 8pm
Spring Break: 3/13 - 3/17
Residence Halls reopen: 3/19, 2pm
Fall 2017 and Winter 2018 registration window: 4/4 - 4/14
Last day of Spring classes: 5/5
Reading days: 5/6 - 5/8, 5/13 - 5/14
Exam period: 5/9, 5pm - 5/12, 5/15 - 5/16
Residence halls close for end of academic year: 5/16, 8pm
Spring Commencement: 5/18 - 5/19. Additional details below.
Class of 2017 families, be sure to visit tcnj.edu/commencement for detailed information on Commencement festivities and RSVP to the Facebook event. The site will continue to be updated as additional details become finalized. Also, watch your mailbox for a commencement planning guide to get you and your student ready for the big day.
Give your Graduate a Place in TCNJ History!
As a member of the TCNJ family, you are invited to leave a lasting and unchanging legacy for your graduate by personalizing a brick in Alumni Grove. Class of 2017 graduates, parents, and family receive 15% off!
Bricks are available in two sizes and can be engraved with names, short sayings, Greek letters, and the college logo of your choice. Be imaginative! This is an opportunity to create something special that your graduate and your family will always remember and appreciate while visiting the campus.
Visit the Brick Campaign web pageto order your brick. Each order includes a keepsake mini brick replica! Orders received by noon on Friday, March 10 will be installed by Commencement.
TCNJ Yearbook: The Seal
Don't forget to order your TCNJ yearbook today!
Please visit the Jostens web page for "College of New Jersey" to purchase a 2017 copy of The Seal at its lowest price. Feel free to email The Seal staff with any questions firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are You a TCNJ Legacy Family? Let us Know!
A Legacy at The College of New Jersey is an alumna/alumnus or current student who is the grandchild, child, or sibling of another TCNJ alumna/alumnus or current student. The Office of Alumni Affairs hosts special events for Legacy families throughout the year. Please let us know if you are a TCNJ Legacy family by clicking here to fill out our survey.
TCNJ Summer Programs
TCNJ Business Institute for Non Business Majors
In just 26 days, undergraduates can gain an essential understanding of the world of business, with an unparalleled holistic approach from faculty at New Jersey’s top business school. Credit and Non Credit options available.
Should Your Student Have a Credit Card? By Rebecca Kelly
Branch Manager, Spencer Savings Bank Financial Center
Your student’s first credit card can be nerve-racking, for you and them alike. But, it’s a necessary step into adulthood, and it only takes a short conversation for you to help them understand how to use their credit card appropriately. Here’s what your student needs to know about credit cards in order to establish responsible and sustainable credit habits.
Many students lack the credit history and/or income to qualify for a credit card by themselves. Aside from simply helping your student get approved for a credit card, co-signing allows you to monitor their spending and lead by example. Note that co-signing does mean you are mutually responsible for any debts incurred. If you are not comfortable with co-signing, you might consider instead adding them as an authorized user to your existing credit card account.
The foremost reason your student should have a credit card is to establish a credit history. As you know, strong credit is a must-have for most major purchases in life, including buying a car, renting an apartment, or purchasing a home. Essentially, your student’s first credit card is their foot in the door to life after school. The sooner they begin showing that they are able to manage a credit card, the more borrowing power they will have down the line.
Cash flow might be synonymous with business finances, but it also applies to personal finances. The Simple Dollar explains this perfectly:
“Think about the dollars you earn flowing into your bath tub through the spout, and the dollars you spend flowing down the drain and out the tub. In order to keep enough water in the tub, you need more water flowing into the tub than draining out.
Now imagine you have $0 in your tub and you need to buy a $5 sandwich today for lunch, but you won’t get your paycheck until Friday. A credit card can help you manage this imbalance in cash flow by paying for your sandwich today, and letting you use money to pay the credit card company 30 days from now — when you have money in your tub.”
It should go without saying that your student needs to pay their credit card bill on time every month, especially considering that payment history makes up 30 percent of a credit score. But even with a late payment fee, it’s not just late payments to beware of. Making the minimum payment each month can lead to ongoing debt accumulated from the interest charged on the remaining balance. Encourage your student to pay their balance in full each month. This will naturally make them more mindful of their spending.
A rewards credit card can give your student extra incentive to actively manage their credit. The Spencer Savings Bank College Rewards VISA® card gives students access to the invaluable credit education website, Smart Credit Matters, along with a generous Rewards Program.
With Spencer College Rewards, your student can earn 1 reward point for every $1 in net purchases, and redeem their points for cash back, merchandise, travel, and gift cards from their favorite retailers and restaurants. They can even earn 1,000 bonus points after their first purchase, plus 500 points for enrolling in auto-pay and 500 points for enrolling in e-statements. To learn more about Spencer’s many financial tools and products for TCNJ students, visit www.spencersavings.com.
TCNJ Barnes & Noble Bookstore
*Enterprise CarShare Terms and Conditions: Offer expires 7/31/17. Offer includes $10 application fee, waived first year membership fee, and $10 driving credit. Driving credit applies to time and mileage only and expires one year from approval date. Offer cannot be transferred, applied to previous rentals or balances owed or other fees, charges and has no actual cash value or surrender value. Must meet Enterprise CarShare membership qualifications. Offer cannot be combined with any other offers, promotions or discounts. Taxes, fees and other restrictions may apply. New applicants only.