Office of Public Relations
Pomona, NJ 08240
Richard Stockton College to Move Forward With Initial Plan to Address Issues of Capacity and Growth
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, November 16, 2004
Contact: Tim Kelly
Stockton Public Relations
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, NJ – The Richard Stockton College of NJ has announced plans to deal with capacity and growth issues at the institution through a series of facilities and program recommendations.
President Herman J. Saatkamp, Jr. will submit a set of guidelines and recommendations to the Board of Trustees at today’s special meeting to address the future of the college. In August, the Board approved $104 million in bonds to fund new construction and renovations for the initial phase of campus expansion. The special meeting of Wednesday, November 17, 2004 will mark the implementation of a framework for making specific academic and budgetary recommendations.
Saatkamp said the plans were developed in an institution-wide effort bridging all divisions of the College and utilizing the new Board of Trustees committees. He said flexible planning models would be employed in all possible facilities and growth scenarios, keeping academic excellence, fiscal responsibility and accessibility to New Jersey students uppermost in the process.
“The plans are not cast in stone, given the uncertainties of state funding levels and the economy,” he said. The recommendations serve as guiding principles for the College and have built-in flexibility.
“These recommendations are goals,” Saatkamp said. “However, the college has critical needs that will remain regardless of the direction of the economy or if our state funding drops off substantially. We will still need additional classroom space, a College Center and a reduction in student-teacher ratio, no matter what the future holds from a financial standpoint. Thus it is critical that we move ahead.”
“The planning recommendations were developed on a three-prong basis,” Saatkamp said. They include:
· CAPACITY: Undergraduate fulltime equivalent student (FTE) growth will be capped at no more than three percent annually through fiscal year 2009, with specific dates determined each year. A reassessment will take place in fiscal year 2008 to project the rate of undergraduate growth in 2010 and beyond. The College’s primary focus will continue to be on undergraduate education, with the graduate student population percentage capped at 15 % of total enrollment.
The teacher-student ratio will be improved from its present 20-1 to a long-term target of 16-1 through the addition of strategically-planned new faculty positions. The College also will consider increasing its percentage of full-time, first-time students to balance that category with the percentage of transfer students. The first-time, full-time student reenrollment increase would be in the 1-2 percent annual range. This would depend on the availability of faculty, staff, facilities and quality applicants.
· FACILITIES: The initial phase of the campus facilities master plan includes the “overbuild” project of the deck of F-Wing to add much-needed classroom and faculty office space. The initial phase would also include a College Center, renovations to the h-vac systems in the residence halls and a parking garage, with target completion date in fiscal year 2009.
The second phase of construction would be a new Science Building with a target completion date of fiscal year 2010. New Residence Halls would be built in that fiscal year with a goal to increase the percentage of residential students to 50 percent.
The College would also make use of existing space that would become available as it is vacated upon completion of new facilities. For example, the area now occupied by Student Affairs would be freed up for renovation to classroom or faculty office use when the College Center is completed. The College will also consider increased academic use for such facilities as Townsend Residential Life Center and Lakeside Center and continue renovation and replacement schedule for existing facilities.
· ACADEMIC AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT STRUCTURE: This recommendation would involve the implementation of the college development plan, including the establishment of an Annual Campaign, and the building of endowments for scholarships academic programs and teaching positions. Events such as the Spring Benefit and the Annual Golf Outing will continue to be an important phase of the structure.
The college will strive to increase student aid proportionate to increases in tuition and student fees. Faculty development initiatives will also be stressed such as sabbaticals, opportunities for research and development of teaching and learning and subvention funding.
Educational programs and student life are to be enhanced. The implementation of an Honors Program is projected for Fiscal Year 2006. A Freshman Year Experience program will be developed with the goal to eventually include a four-year experience program.
Staff support should be maintained to match the expected growth in student and faculty. To this end, staff development programs at the unit and College-wide levels will be utilized, staff promotion and recruitment programs will be developed.
Saatkamp stressed that the planning models outlined for consideration by the Board of Trustees are based on the best information currently available and assume a two to three percent growth rate in undergraduate enrollment through fiscal year 2009, roughly equivalent to growth trends over the past few years. He said the “Vision 2010” planning document adopted by the College in 2002 calling for expansion to 7,500 undergraduate students by the year 2010 was an excellent starting point for planning purposes but the enrollment goals were not realistic given the current available facilities and state funding picture.
“We have revisited that document and now project the earliest we would grow in such a significant way would begin in 2010, perhaps growing to 7,500 students by 2014, if significant growth is considered desirable,” he said.
The models as proposed assume current funding levels and projected increases in fixed costs over the length of the building operations. Other scenarios would be adapted in the event of decreased funding or a downturn in the economy to allow for their implementation.
“We believe these planning models are an excellent step forward for the future of Stockton College,” Saatkamp said. “Although subject to adaptation, they formulate the basis for the beginning of responsible, sustainable growth of our campus and student body,” he added.