With the busy Fall semester coming to a close, we are excited to bring you our first newsletter for the 2016-2017 academic year. Below, you can read about recent happenings in Fraternity & Sorority Life along with some tips for discussing the stress of finals and transitioning home for the holiday season with your student. You can also read about the English department's course on the topic of fame and the academic achievements at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. We have included important winter closing information and a number of important dates and deadlines for your reference.
We hope you have a wonderful winter holiday!
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,
As I reflect on the completion of another semester, I am struck by all that has happened since August. The Class of 2020 has completed their first semester at TCNJ, we’ve had a number of guest speakers, events, and programs on campus, we've seen students grow and challenge themselves, and as an officer of the College I have been working to realize the goals of the College’s strategic plan. One goal I would like to highlight is our efforts to become a more inclusive, healthy, and well campus. To accomplish this, we must engage in critical conversations.
On behalf of President Gitenstein, Student Affairs has been working to launch Sustained Dialogue, a program that “develops leaders able to transform differences into the strong relationships essential to effective decision-making, democratic governance, and peace.” One reason that Sustained Dialogue is attractive is because it allows the participants to decide what the conversation should be about. In small groups, students can decide what they discuss, share their thoughts and experiences, and eventually act upon those discussions. The goal is for our community to be able to develop mutual understanding and respect for different perspectives. Learning how to respectfully disagree and actively listen to each other is essential for learning and growth.
I am sure that your student is looking forward to the holiday break and some much needed “down time.” I know that I am ready for this holiday season and the New Year. I hope you enjoy a safe, happy holiday and healthy New Year.
Thank you to everyone who attended the 2016 TCNJ Parent & Family Day! For those who attended, please share any feedback on the day's events by filling out our feedback survey. To see photos from the event, check out our Facebook photo album.
Mark your calendar! We are already looking forward to a day of fun on campus with our TCNJ families on Saturday, September 23, 2017.
Fraternity and Sorority Life By Lauryn Resotka
Graduate Assistant, Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life
Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) at TCNJ is a vibrant community of enthusiastic leaders. During the Fall 2016 semester, FSL students focused on inclusivity, member engagement and school spirit.
This October, the FSL community participated in an Ally Training facilitated by recent TCNJ and Alpha Xi Delta alumna, Disha Dass. This training promoted awareness and inclusivity of the LGBTQ community at TCNJ and gave guidance on how to create alliance between the LGBTQ community and Greek community.
Spirit week at TCNJ is a week of competitive events leading up to the Homecoming Football Game. FSL organizations, along with other campus organizations, participated in several events such as a volleyball tournament, community service, tug of war, field games, trivia competitions, and two performances: lip-sync and dance. This year’s winning team consisted of three groups: Zeta Tau Alpha, Phi Alpha Delta and Delta Epsilon Psi (picture above). They swarmed the field at Homecoming half-time to collect their trophy. Caitlyn Altieri was another winner from the FSL community that day, as she was crowned Homecoming Queen. Caitlyn is a member of Delta Phi Epsilon and captain of the TCNJ dance team (pictured with her parents).
Throughout the semester, FSL members with evident leadership, enthusiasm and potential attended a series of workshops to explore the topic of leadership. The FSL Emerging Leaders Training prepared students for leadership roles by discussing strategic planning, how to motivate team members, how to exercise self-awareness and how to lead with purpose. This semester’s Emerging Leaders Training gave practical advice for students to succeed in leadership roles at TCNJ and in their future endeavors.
The FSL office is proud to welcome three new fraternities to our community: Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi and Beta Theta Pi. We look forward to another successful semester of meaningful programming and events for our FSL community.
Helping your Student Cope with the Stress of Final Exams
Final Exams have just begun, and it is important for families to support and encourage their student during this time. Click here to read about different ways you can help your student cope with stress during Final Exams.
Home for the Holidays A Survival Guide for College Students and Parents
The holidays can be a stressful time for families, especially when students return home from college. Dr. Mark J. Forest, Director of TCNJ’s Counseling and Psychological Services, offers guidance on keeping the peace during the holiday season and recognizing signs of mental unrest within your student. Check it out here!
Starting the Conversation College and Your Mental Health
Mental health is important to address throughout the college years. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and The Jed Foundation have collaborated to create a guide for college students and parents including mental health information, stress management tips and conversation starters. You can view the entire guide here.
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. David Blake, Professor of English, discusses a course he is passionate about: The Literature of Fame.
We are awash in celebrity culture. There are celebrity stories in the newspapers and celebrity faces on the covers of magazines. On Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, you can find the most glittering performers posing as intimates, sharing secrets and keeping us apprized of their daily thoughts and activities. With a kind of weary admiration, students often talk about “the celebrity lifestyle” as if it were a separate entity, a mode of being based on excess and visibility.
Having studied the history of celebrity for many years, I was intrigued by the possibility of looking into the history of fame, a somewhat different concept that existed long before the glamour of pop stars and movie idols. With the help of an “Enduring Questions” grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), I developed a new course for TCNJ students on the literature of fame from Antiquity to the Enlightenment. What makes this course distinct from others at colleges and universities is that we have approached the subject not as a study of popular culture but as an introduction to the humanities.
Writers and thinkers have grappled with the meaning of fame for nearly 3,000 years. Questions about fame have occupied the likes of the conqueror Alexander the Great, the Roman orator and statesman Cicero, and the Catholic theologian St. Augustine. The poet Ovid described fame as a “spur to virtue.” His ideas influenced Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton who argued in The Federalist Papers that “the love of fame” was “the ruling passion of the noblest minds.” Although you’d never know it from People magazine, the history of fame has long involved a web of moral questions about character, reputation, and immortality.
Our semesters begin with Homer’s The Iliad, a 2,700 year old poem that contemplates whether glory achieved on the battlefield can lead to immortality. Several weeks later, we find ourselves discussing the concept of Fama, which had two meanings in Ancient Rome -- fame, of course, but also Rumor, which the poet Virgil described as a winged monster that had thousands of eyes and tongues. Many students are drawn to the Gospel of Mark which depicts Jesus as attracting so many followers that he has to escape the crowds by preaching from a boat in the Sea of Galilee. With funding from the NEH, we travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to understand how important fame was to artists from Ancient Greece to Renaissance Italy. Imagine spending a semester reading on the subject and then seeing a giant 12 ft. x 10 ft. tapestry from the 16th century titled The Triumph of Fame Over Death!
I look forward to teaching “The Literature of Fame” course again. TCNJ students are outstanding intellectual companions, as they are open to exploring topics in which the familiar becomes increasingly peculiar and strange. And while students will often joke that the course has made them look at the Kardashians of the world differently, they also come out of the semester very proud to have read some of the most important texts in Western thought.
School of Humanities & Social Sciences By Ann Warner-Ault, Ph.D. Interim Assistant Dean, School of Humanities & Social Sciences
The School of Humanities and Social Sciences at TCNJ provides students with a broad-based education and hands-on professional experiences to build the critical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills necessary for a successful life and career. The School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) is the largest of TCNJ’s seven schools with over 1,500 first majors and over 600 secondary majors.
HSS houses 11 departments offering 14 different majors and an array of minor programs. We offer majors in African American Studies, Criminology, English and English Secondary Education, History and History Secondary Education, International Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Spanish and Spanish Secondary Education, and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Additionally, students can complete self-designed majors in fields including Anthropology, French, Publishing, Linguistics and Religious Studies.
Some students choose an HSS major to explore a variety of subjects in college knowing that the skills learned in HSS will attract a wide range of potential employers. Other students may come to TCNJ with a topic or question they are passionate about and will develop their own course of study in that field. HSS faculty work closely with students to help them master the skills twenty-first century employers are searching for: broad and deep knowledge, strong critical thinking, intercultural awareness, excellent written and oral communication skills, and the ability to solve real-world problems creatively.
All HSS programs offer rigorous training and real-world experiences to prepare students to succeed at meaningful jobs. Our undergraduates lead and participate in research projects, present at major conferences, study and complete internships domestically and internationally, and take experiential learning courses.
For example, in just one academic year HSS students …
Won 23 external awards (including Fulbright).
Made 19 conference presentations at non-TCNJ conferences.
Published 15 papers in non-TCNJ journals based on work written at TCNJ. (Approximately 25% of faculty publications in peer-reviewed journals were co-authored by current or former students.)
HSS graduates have completed top masters, doctoral, medical and law programs at universities including Princeton, Rutgers, Michigan State, Penn, Harvard, Brown, Brandeis, Columbia and UMDNJ.
The Wall Street Journal recently published several pieces highlighting liberal arts graduates’ skills and their relevance for today’s job market. As the articles below highlight, employers from many sectors particularly value skills taught in HSS: teamwork, broad thinking, clear writing, effective oral communication skills and the ability to challenge ideas and innovate:
Winter Closing Information By Tina Tormey
Director of Residential Education
Residence halls will close for winter break on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 at 8:00pm, and reopen Sunday, January 22, 2017 at noon. Residents are expected to vacate the halls 24 hours after their last exam or by the closing date, whichever comes first.
Please remind your student to take all valuable possessions home for the break, including electronics, jewelry, passports, medication, etc. and also to pack appropriately, as staff will not be available to let people back into their rooms before the halls reopen.
If your student is moving into a new room in the Spring, please vacate the Fall room completely by the hall closing date. Any possessions left behind after closing will be discarded as the room is prepared for a new spring resident.
Students will be emailed a notice with a closing check list, tips, dining hall times, and other important information for finals week in early December, and this information will also be posted on our website.
Housing Application Information By Tina Tormey
Director of Residential Education
TCNJ on-campus* housing applications for the 2017-2018 academic year will be available starting on December 5, 2016! Applying is as easy as 1-2-3:
1. Students may log in to My Housing and verify their personal information on the left of the screen.
2. Click on the 17-18 academic year application.
3. Fill out the required information and sign the housing contract.
Please note that students will be required to sign their contract upfront for their application to be considered complete. The contract is a binding agreement for the entire 2017-2018 academic year. If your student signs the contract but wishes to cancel the application, he/she may do so by Sunday, February 5, 2017 without penalty. All contract termination requests received after this date will be processed in accordance to the contract release policy and may be subject to the cancellation and refund schedule.
Last year, everyone who applied on time received a time slot. It is anticipated that if your student applies by the application deadline (Sunday, February 5, 2017) that he/she will also receive a time slot!
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.
Money Management Tips to Share with Your College Student By Rebecca Kelly
Branch Manager, Spencer Savings Bank Financial Center
Lectures and exams aside, money management is one of the most significant lessons young adults learn in college. For parents, it can be an uneasy feeling to know that your child is now responsible for their finances. But with a few simple talking points, you can teach and remind your student that money management doesn’t have to be a source of anxiety.
A Budget is a Mindset
College is typically the first time your child is fully in charge of managing their daily expenses. Take the time to sit with them (in person or on the phone) and help write out all of their expenses for the semester ahead so they know what to expect.
Credit Cards: Use Them with a Purpose, Not Fear
Your student should establish a credit history, and a credit card is great for both financial breathing room and unexpected expenses. The best practice to teach your student is that they should try to pay off their balance in full (or at least the majority of it) each month to avoid paying interest.
There’s Always a Way to Save
Saving is a healthy financial habit even when money might be tight. Encourage your student to live within their means and find small tricks to save along the way. Many students pick up a part-time job to be able to spend more and save more at the same time.
Bank Local and Online
With Spencer Savings Bank conveniently located in TCNJ’s Campus Town, there is no reason to incur unnecessary ATM fees, or to use up gas driving to a bank farther away. Spencer even provides a world of digital tools making it easy for your student to complete their banking needs online or on their smartphone. Learn more at www.spencersavings.com.