College’s reputation builds with high rankings, Times story

The Class of 2009 is likely aware of the reputation the College has cultivated for itself in the last several years. The phrase used to describe the institution, thrown around informally in the echoing corridors of Green Hall, is “public ivy.” And with the recent release of 2005’s U.S. News & World Report college rankings, moving the College up another notch to fourth on the list of Best Masters Universities in the north – making it the highest ranked public school on the list – College officials say the Class of 2009 should be excited about the quality of the institution to which they now belong.

“(Incoming freshmen) should take a moment to soak in the time that they’re spending here and everything that’s occurring around them,” Matt Golden, assistant director of public information for the office of College and Community Relations, said. “Great things are happening, they have access to a quality of learning that’s one of the best in the country and they’re among top students and faculty members.”

This year marks the twelfth consecutive year the College has been ranked among the top Masters Universities in the northern region by U.S. News & World Report. Last year, however, was the first time the College was named a “Most Competitive” school by “Barron’s Profile of American Colleges,” ranking among the likes of Duke, Princeton and Harvard Universities on the list of 75 schools.

Likewise, the College was the subject of a feature in the New York Times on June 5, calling it “The Hot College.”

“The College of New Jersey,” Debra Nussbaum wrote for the Times, “having shaken off its old name, Trenton State, and its mantle as a mediocre teacher’s college, has arrived.”

In addition, the College has been attracting an increasingly qualified pool of applicants. According to statistics from the office of Institutional Research, the average SAT score for the incoming class has risen to an average of almost 1300 (based on the 1600-point scale), up almost a hundred points from a decade ago.

“The applicant pool that’s been applying has been getting stronger from year to year, both in-state and out of state students,” Kevin Fay, admissions counselor, said. “We’re definitely among a small pool of schools that are able to offer what we are able to offer. Lots of other public schools are larger; we’re a smaller public institution that provides a number of liberal arts degrees.”

As the College tries to attract a more talented breed of student, it has recently completed an overhaul of its scholastic programs, a move that became known as the “academic transformation.”

Under the transformation, all courses offered by the College were redesigned and enhanced, being revalued at four credits as opposed to the former three-credit system.

“When you go to an institution that takes undergrad education very seriously, there are certain kinds of experiences that make the learning more powerful,” Steve Briggs, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said.

“I think the idea was to provide an opportunity within the curriculum to really challenge students in a way that really allowed them to expand their learning curve,” Golden said.

Not only can the College boast a new curriculum, but it likewise possesses new facilities to match. In the past year, the campus’ new Spiritual Center, located between Norsworthy and Decker Halls, opened its doors. And the New Library, located between Eickhoff Hall and the Roscoe L. West Library, is scheduled to open Aug. 29.

As the College’s Sesquicentennial Celebration winds down this fall, officials urge the Class of 2009 to recognize the achievements of its new alma mater.

“It’s the 150th birthday of this institution, Golden said. “Great things are happening.”