May 31, 2004
Stockton aims to serve community
By DIANE D’AMICO Education Writer, (609) 272-7241
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
is coming out of the woods.
The dedication earlier this month of the Carnegie Library building
in Atlantic City as a satellite campus for the college meant more
than just the restoration of a historic city site.
"This represents the first footprints beyond our campus,"
Stockton president Herman J. Saatkamp Jr. said of the Carnegie
Library building, and the recent move of its Southern Regional
Institute to Mays Landing.
The expansion is motivated by several factors:
- Fewer than 100 acres of buildable land remain on the Galloway
Township site. Of the 1,600 acres originally purchased for the
college, all but 400 are now protected by pinelands legislation.
Factor in buffers and other requirements, and the actual buildable
land space drops even more.
- Undergraduate enrollment at the college continues to grow,
a statewide trend reflected by an increasing high school population.
Saatkamp said about 5,000 applications were received for 825
freshman slots in the fall. Total enrollment is rapidly approaching
7,000, a goal previously not expected until 2010.
- As the only four-year public college in the southeastern
part of the state, Stockton also has a mission to serve the
larger community's need for professional and post-graduate training.
The college has begun several master's degree programs in recent
years and will begin a master's program in teaching this fall.
Saatkamp said the college is ideally suited as a catalyst to
help economic development in the region.
"We can provide training, and we also offer a neutral ground
on which business, government and nonprofits can meet and collaborate,"
In 2001, Stockton released an ambitious 2010 vision statement
calling for expanding both undergraduate and post-graduate programs.
The 2002 Middle State Association of Colleges and Schools evaluation
of the college praised its progress, but cited as its major challenge
the growing need for housing, parking, classroom space and faculty
Professional training has already become one of the fastest-growing
areas for the college. A prime example is the Educational Technology
Training Center, or ETTC, which opened in 1997 in one classroom
at the college as a training site for Atlantic County teachers.
The ETTC is now a regional arm of the college's Southern Regional
Institute, or SRI, which offers several hundred workshops a year
for 72 participating school districts, and government and nonprofit
agencies. The SRI and ETTC recently moved off campus to an almost
6,000-square-foot building on Route 50 in Mays Landing.
"We've expanded our services into other counties and this
location makes us more accessible," SRI director Harvey Kesselman
said. "We had outgrown the space at Stockton, and our move
also frees up space they can use."
The college spent about $150,000 to set up the Mays Landing site
with computer labs, classrooms and distance learning capabilities.
The site is funded by fees paid by participating groups.
Saatkamp said possible future expansion into Cape May and Ocean
counties is also under consideration as part of a "Stockton
on the Shore" plan.
Back at home, college officials will spend the summer reviewing
options for the Galloway campus. A new master plan is in development,
and expansion will be the primary topic of the board of trustees'
annual retreat in August.
Among the needs under discussion are a new science building,
a student center, a parking garage, dorms and faculty offices.
A private developer has been working with the college for more
than a year to develop dorm space just off campus, but that has
not yet been finalized. Recent college renovations will add some
space, but not all that is needed.
"We have full-time faculty sharing offices," Saatkamp
said. "And by offices, I really mean cubicles."
Ultimately, Saatkamp said, college officials and trustees will
have to decide just how big the college should be, and can be.
State funding has been tight, and major construction will be a
financial challenge. The decision has already been made to limit
new enrollment to between 2 and 3 percent a year.
"What is the optimal size for Stockton?" Saatkamp queried.
"We will spend much of the summer on that issue."
To e-mail Diane D'Amico at The Press: DDamico@pressofac.com