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Parent & Family Newsletter

May 2016


With the end of the semester quickly approaching, we are excited to bring you our final newsletter for the 2015-2016 academic year. Below, you will find great summer reading recommendations for you and your student, read about a cool course offered in the School of Science, and hear from faculty and staff about some of the academic happenings at the College. We have also included a number of important dates and deadlines for your reference.

We hope you have a wonderful summer!

Susie Orecchio, MA, NCC
Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs
Coordinator of Parent & Family Programs

Highlights from the Vice President
for Student Affairs 

Dear Parents and Family Members,

As we approach the close of the 2015-2016 academic year, we celebrate the achievements of our students, especially those who will be graduating. We will surely miss them, but know that they are well-prepared to embark on the next stage of their personal and professional journeys.

With the end of the academic year comes fresh beginnings for all of our TCNJ students. Summer is a time for new experiences, whether it be working a job or internship, traveling the world, or simply relaxing. We hope that students take this time away from campus to rejuvenate and reconnect after the busy Spring semester.

As always, thank you for supporting your student here at the College. It is so exciting to see the great things they accomplish, just a small fraction of which are highlighted in this newsletter. I look forward to continuing that tradition of excellence in the fall, and send my wishes for a happy and healthy summer in the meantime.


Dr. Amy Hecht
Vice President for Student Affairs
Table of Contents
Connect with us across the web for more information and resources!
TCNJ Parent & Family Resources
TCNJ Parent & Family Resources
Parent and Family Webpage
Parent and Family Webpage
TCNJ Student Affairs
TCNJ Student Affairs
TCNJ Student Affairs
TCNJ Student Affairs
2016 TCNJ Parent & Family Day

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Mark your calendar! We are already looking forward to a day of fun on campus with our TCNJ families. Keep your eye on our website for registration and the tentative schedule later this summer!
Summer Reading Recommendations
By Dr. Glenn Steinberg and the Department of English

Want to get some reading in this summer but not sure where to start? We asked professors from the Department of English for their recommendations. From dystopian fiction to biographies and everything in between, there is sure to be something to satisfy everyone's inner bookworm.

The Good Food Revolution, Will Allen
This year's campus-wide summer reading book, which all incoming first year students are required to read, follows Allen's personal journey in building America's preeminent urban farm—a food and educational center that now produces enough vegetables and fish year-round to feed thousands of people in the Milwaukee area. His efforts have inspired a grassroots movement to improve public health and engagement. There will be a number of events on-campus surrounding this book in the Fall semester, and we encourage you to read it alongside your student.
-Dr. Felicia Jean Steele

Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel
This novel falls into the currently popular genre of post-apocalyptic fiction, but it’s much gentler—and, surprisingly, more optimistic—than novels such as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. The book swings back and forth between our current moment and a dystopian future that is tempered by memory and by art, including Shakespeare’s savage and tender play King Lear.
-Professor Michael Robertson

Cleopatra: A Life, Stacy Schiff
The ancient Egyptian queen Cleopatra is one of the most famous women in all of history, yet popular culture has misconstrued much of the truth about her life. Schiff relies on classical sources to establish a clearer picture of who this woman really was, and the result is a fascinating portrait of a shrewd politician whose infamous relationships with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony were just a small part of an illustrious life.
-Dr. Michele Lise Tarter

The Late Homecomer: a Hmong Family Memoir, Kao Kalia Yan
Yan recounts the story of her family's life in Southeast Asia, time in refugee camps, and ultimate settlement in St. Paul, Minnesota. This memoir is heartwarming, timely, and a beautiful American story about the Hmong people, a little-known group with rich cultural traditions.
-Professor Diane Steinberg

You Could Look it Up: The Reference Shelf from Ancient Babylon to Wikipedia, Jack Lynch
Anyone who has ever waxed poetic about the days they went to the library to do research in actual books will enjoy this history of reference materials and the people behind them. Lynch's essays serve to illuminate the effect of works such as Hammurabi's Code, the first dictionary, and Google on the way we understand information about the world around us.
-Dr. Felicia Jean Steele
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 asked faculty members to describe a particularly interesting course that they teach. Here, Dr. Janet Morrison, Professor and Chair of the Biology Department, discusses a course she is passionate about: The Biology of Alien Invasions.

A hallmark of a TCNJ education is our students’ broad, integrated learning across many intellectual disciplines which we call the liberal learning program. All students at TCNJ take courses of their choice that satisfy its goals, including courses in science. Those in non-science majors choose from courses that provide students with an authentic experience of science “as a verb," connecting science to society, and building scientific literacy, which is a key characteristic of a well-educated person.
The Department of Biology has long offered two liberal learning science courses – in environmental biology and human biology – and last year began to offer new courses under the designation of Topics in Introductory Biology. This designation provides the faculty an opportunity to develop timely courses connected to their own intellectual interests. I offered the first such course, called The Biology of Alien Invasions. My own research concerns the ecology of non-native, invasive plant species in suburban forests, and I thought it would be interesting to create a course that uses invasion biology as a platform for the liberal learning science goals.
The learning activities were designed to engage students in active learning during class. We read and discussed two major books authored by ecologists with opposing scientific views about invasive species, which demonstrated that science is truly dynamic and alive with people who argue for and bring data to bear on different theories and perspectives. Each student became an expert on one invasive species and made a presentation about its biology, ecology, and societal importance. We heard about lionfish, zebra mussels, Norway maple, the sudden oak death pathogen, European starlings, and many others. The students also had experience with data interpretation, made graphical models to predict the outcome of experiments, and went on field trips.
A major component of the class was a research collaboration among myself and the students to investigate a novel scientific question about one of the invasive species I work on, Japanese stilt grass. It is a fascinating plant that uses a particular type of photosynthesis typically found in plants that grow in hot, dry, sunny places – not in the forests of eastern North America or eastern Asia (where it is native). I hypothesized that this special photosynthesis gives it a strong advantage in competition with other plants in the hot, dry conditions of summer. The class discussed how to test the hypothesis in a greenhouse experiment, groups proposed experimental designs and debated the best solution, and we carried out the agreed-upon experiment over many weeks. After we harvested the plants and analyzed the data, the students wrote papers in the style of a scientific journal article, and I even presented our data at a scientific meeting!
In sum, these non-science majors did real, novel science about a biological question, on a species that is currently affecting woodlands in their own communities. I am proud that TCNJ’s liberal learning program allowed them to have this unique experience.

School Spotlight
Spotlight on the School of Engineering
By Steve Schreiner, Ph.D., P.E.
Dean, School of Engineering

In the School of the Engineering, we are dedicated to developing the next generation of engineering leaders through mentoring, research, creativity and innovative thinking. The College's strong undergraduate focus means that our students have direct access to expert faculty and advanced scientific and prototyping equipment that allow our students to realize and validate their complex engineering designs. 
Our four engineering departments (biomedical, civil, electrical and computer, and mechanical) and our education department (technological studies) enable us to have purview over the entire engineering education pipeline from kindergarten through college.  We educate engineers and teachers who help to make the world a better place.

Our professors are dedicated to the classroom experience while also maintaining an active research program, engaging students in advanced research and design projects.  Our students present at numerous conferences and compete in a wide variety of design competitions, as well as business plan competitions throughout the year, often bringing home many awards.

Our graduates report a more than 90% placement rate after graduation. Engineers enjoy a good income and working environment, and the demand for qualified engineers grows as technology continues to find its way into every aspect of our lives. 

Some examples that highlight recent innovative activities at our school include:
  • New STEM Building:  The visionary design of TCNJ’s STEM building, currently under construction, will house state-of-the-art design, prototyping, and validation equipment that will advance multifaceted approach to teaching, learning, and collaboration.
  • New Integrative-STEM M.Ed. program:  Starting this summer, teachers will be able to earn a Master of Education Degree and apply design-centric i-STEM methods and skills to their teaching across PK-12 grade levels as part of a partnership between the Schools of Engineering and Education.
  • Ongoing Entrepreneurship:  For four consecutive years, teams pairing engineering and business students have placed in the top tier at TCNJ’s Mayo Business Plan Competition, a contest that rewards students who develop the most viable business plan with seed money for a start-up business.  This year, “Elementary Robotics,” a team of first-year engineering and business students, won third place and $6,000 for their ideas to bring robotics to elementary education.
  • Humanitarian Engineering:  A student team of engineers is making a difference on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation in South Dakota by designing a storm water retention basin that doubles as a recreational pond to minimize flooding in the area.  In prior years, students built a sustainable water delivery system for the residents of Hantham Village, Thailand, making a global impact. 
As we continue to encourage innovation and global responsibility in our students, we would like to thank all parents and families for your encouragement and support.  Please see our website for more information about the School of Engineering.

Spotlight on the School of Education
By Jeff Passe, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Education


This is an especially exciting time for the School of Education. Here are just a few of the highlights of the past year and things to look forward to in the future:

  • Our 5-Year Urban Education master's program was approved as a major by TCNJ's Board of Trustees. This designation will allow us to showcase our commitment to urban schools with an eye toward attracting a larger, more diverse cohort. As part of that effort, we have hired two new faculty members, with urban experience in New York and Philadelphia, who will join the program in August.
  • Middle School is a major School of Education initiative. Dr. Jonathan Davis, our middle school coordinator, reports that we now have 25 students officially enrolled in our Specialization program! Many of them will student-teach at our partner site, Trenton’s Kilmer Middle School. This bodes well for our continued effort to provide well-prepared middle school teachers who will make a difference in the long-term.
  • Education for Environmental Sustainability is another focus for our school, as it is a serious societal concern. TCNJ students can now earn a minor in this subject. Check out two videos on Sustainability and Middle School that we have produced.
  • The School of Education Board of Student Leaders is comprised of the leaders of nine different student organizations associated with the School of Education. Last year, the group organized its own conference, called Building Tech Savvy Teachers. This year, the group sponsored Bridging Schools and Families: A Conference on Working with Diverse Families.
  • The Department of Counselor Education will receive TCNJ’s Mildred Dahne Award for Department or Program Excellence. We are proud to note that two of the previous fourteen recipients of this award are Special Education Language and Literacy (2012) and Elementary and Early Childhood Education (2007). The criteria are:
    • Excellence in teaching and/or support of teaching
    • Academic excellence
    • Department impact
    • Innovation and creativity
    • Student involvement
    • Service to profession
  • We are on the Web! Check out the new School of Education homepage. Also, follow us on Twitter and Facebook for up-to-date School of Education news and alerts for upcoming events!
Summer Closing Information

All residence halls close for the summer on Tuesday, May 17th at 8:00 PM. Students must completely vacate their housing assignment within 24 hours of their last final or by Tuesday, May 17th at 8:00 PM, whichever comes first. Below are some important reminders from Residential Education to ensure a smooth move-out process:

  • All meal plan points will expire at the end of the day on May 17th. To make sure leftover points are not forfeited, take advantage of Sodexo’s Case Sale! Students will receive specific information about this in a closing email.
  • Students who rented a micro fridge will receive a separate email with information on the process of the company picking up the unit.
  • All personal items, including furniture, carpets, and other materials of this nature should be removed before your student's last day in residence. These items can only be thrown away in the dumpsters. Students can be fined for large trash items left in the hallways, stairways, or the smaller dumpsters.
  • If there are any repairs required in your student's room (except College Houses), they should report them using the on-line work order system located here. College Houses requests should be reported to TSC Corp at x3312.
  • Rearrange the furniture as you originally found it in August, which may include bunking or debunking the beds. Remove all items from walls, doors, and windows (posters, tape, stickers, hooks, mirrors, etc.).
  • To avoid cleaning fees, your student's room must be left in broom swept condition. All trash is to be removed and all drawers, closets, and sink cabinets are to be cleaned. All bathrooms in Cromwell, New Residence, Decker, Eickhoff, Townhouses, Apartments, and College Houses must be thoroughly cleaned.

Significant Dates and Deadlines

  • Last day of Spring classes: 5/6
  • Reading days: 5/7 - 5/10, 5/14 - 5/15
  • Exam period: 5/10, 5pm - 5/13, 5/16 - 5/17
  • Residence halls close for end of academic year: 5/17, 8pm
  • Spring Commencement: 5/19 - 5/20. Additional details here.
  • Find more important dates here.
Commencement 2016
  • Commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2016 will be held on May 19th and 20th. Families can access our Commencement newsletter here, which contains important information about the big day.
  • In the event of potentially dangerous weather, Thursday’s main ceremony will be moved indoors to the Recreation Center. Tickets are required for admission to the main ceremony in this situation. Each student received two tickets when they picked up their cap and gown. Find more details about the severe weather scenario here.
TCNJ Business Institute for Non-Business Majors

Back by popular demand, TCNJ School of Business is offering a summer program for liberal arts and science majors. Students gain an essential understanding of the world of business, with an unparalleled holistic approach from faculty at New Jersey’s #1 undergraduate business school (Bloomberg). Students will gain confidence, develop professional skills like teamwork and communication, learn about marketing, organizational structure, learn Excel and earn 8 credits.

For additional information on this program, check out our video and visit our website. Please contact George Hefelle with any questions at or 609-771-2540.
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.
Apply for the Parent & Family Association Executive Board

Join our team for the 2016-2017 academic year! The Parent & Family Association Executive Board works to implement new ideas and improve existing initiatives to further develop the relationship between TCNJ families and the institution. We also assist in planning and coordinating events such as the annual Parent & Family Day, which will be held this year on September 24, 2016.

The deadline for application is July 15, 2016. We look forward to your applications, and to welcoming new members to our Board!

Click here to access the application.

For additional information about the Parent & Family Association Executive Board, please contact Susie Orecchio, Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Coordinator of Parent and Family Programs at
TCNJ Barnes & Noble Bookstore

5 Reasons Why Mobile Banking is Convenient for Students

By Janel Bazih
Vice President and Marketing Manager, Spencer Savings Bank

Students lead busy lives. When they’re not in class, they’re studying. And when they’re not studying, they’re enjoying time with friends.
Since opening our new Financial Center in 2015, a big part of our mission has been to make students’ lives easier. Here are five ways students can benefit from the convenience of mobile banking:
1. Mobile Check Deposit
If you send a check to your student, they can use mobile banking to deposit the money into their account without ever having to visit the Financial Center. This can also help with your finances, as students don’t always recognize check etiquette, and may take days or weeks to visit the bank.
2. View Transactions
Instead of having to log in on a computer, students can review their transactions on the go, so they’re always aware of how their purchases affect their account balance.
3. Pay Bills
For students living off campus and learning the responsibilities of paying their own bills, mobile banking minimizes the likelihood of late payments. Students can pay a bill with just a few taps, and even set up recurring payments for monthly expenses.
4. Account Alerts
Students might not always be conscious of their bank account, which is why Spencer makes it easy to set up alerts for balances, transactions and more.
5. Transfer Funds through PopMoney
In early June, the bank will be introducing PopMoney. Designed to simplify your life in all sorts of ways, PopMoney allows you to send money securely from your bank account to your child’s account using an email or mobile number. On the flipside, students can easily request money from parents right from their smartphone. No banking information needs to be exchanged and there is no handling of cash or checks.
Get Started with Mobile Banking!
Does your student have the Spencer mobile app on their smartphone? If not, we encourage them to download the app free today from the App Store or Google Play.

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