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Looking Forward

The final substantive section of this volume focuses on the recent past at Stockton with an eye to how we are moving forward. Stockton is now positioned in a way that it can become a major force for educational advancement in the region. In part this is due to sound fiscal management over the last ten years, which has allowed the college to invest in new buildings, as well as do so without falling dangerously into debt as other colleges have done. The college has come through the last few lean years of the economic downturn and declining state support, better off than many other public and private institutions in the mid-Atlantic region. In part, though, it is also because of the college's heritage, drawing on the innovations of the past and being willing to adapt to the changing educational landscape. Here the Stockton Idea has been of importance in helping the College retain its critical and creative edge, while remaining committed to benefitting the surrounding communities by its presence in southern New Jersey.

In the first essay, Rob Gregg describes the significant contributions Stockton's fourth president, Herman J. Saatkamp, Jr., has made to the College. This is then complemented by two pieces that focus on the Stockton strategic plan, the 20/20 Vision and, the changes that have occurred since the mid-1990s. Stockton began to undergo a major transformation from being a college that was divided between an administration that tended to be very hierarchical in its approach and a faculty that was quite belligerent in its opposition to administrative initiatives, to being one that is very much more harmonious in the relations among all the various constituencies. The unions remain powerful and respected, the faculty assembly has been replaced by a more effective governmental body (the Faculty Senate), and, while conflict has not evaporated entirely, there has been a greater sense of cooperation with the administration.

In 2001, Stockton witnessed one of its faculty members receiving a Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Stephen Dunn had been well respected for many years and had published a great many books of poetry – some of the best known works being "Between Angels," "Landscape at the End of the Century," "Loosestrife," "Everything Else in the World," and his most recent, "Here and Now." But the Pulitzer Prize was certainly an honor of a greater magnitude than he or any other Stockton faculty member had ever received. Dunn was awarded the honor for his work—"Different Hours"—from which "The Metaphysicians of South Jersey", printed below, comes. This is accompanied by two other Southern New Jersey poems, "At the Smithville Methodist Church," and "Landscape at the Turn of the Century." Stephen also has a great reputation as an inspirational teacher and a taskmaster who is able to provoke the will to search for great writing in his students. Poet BJ Ward, who graduated from Stockton in 1989, highlights this element of Stephen's accomplished career at Stockton.

Much of the published work produced by Stockton's faculty has been supported by college funding. Beth Olsen's discussion of grant seeking highlights an important element of Stockton's future, namely the ability of the faculty to secure funding for their innovative research and creative endeavors. Such funding will help the college build on its reputation both regionally and nationally.

In the next part we return to the contributions Stockton has made to the community. The first of these essays draws on the expertise of Economics professor, Oliver Cooke, who outlines the College's economic contribution to the region – which has been very significant in the past and looks like it will only grow in the future with the acquisition of the Seaview Hotel, a new educational center in Hammonton, and other projects throughout Atlantic County and southern New Jersey. Harvey Kesselman and Patricia Weeks then provide a brief history of the Southern Regional Institute & Educational Technology Training Center, which has had a great impact on all area public schools, through the services and training it has provided to area teachers. Diane Falk then discusses the development of the Baccalaureate Child Welfare Education Program, an innovative venture that has dramatically enhanced the state's Public Child Welfare System. Once again, Stockton has made contributions to the area through the arts. In addition to the on-going efforts of the Performing Arts Center, led by Michael Cool, Beverly Vaughn and Henry van Kuiken, with more than 30 years of service to the college each, have been electrifying audiences with their dance and choral concerts that have been generated in the classroom and have been performed to area audiences. Beverly Vaughn, in particular, has been one of the premier ambassadors for the college, increasing awareness of Stockton among residents of all the surrounding communities.

The last word goes to a recent editor of the Argo, Emily Heerema, describing her work as a recent editor of the student newspaper, which has been appearing continuously since the earliest days of the college (the first issue being published on October 29, 1971). Through her service as editor, Heerema helped revive interest in the student newspaper, making it once again an important voice for students.

Inside Looking Forward:

Toward the Environmentally Responsible Learning Community
— Herman J. Saatkamp, Jr.

Rob Gregg
  20/20 Vision
Claudeen Keenan
  Changes at the Turn of the Century
Rob Gregg and Claudine Keenan (with assistance from David Carr and Marc Lowenstein)
A Tribute to Stephen Dunn
BJ Ward
  Not Taken for Granted — Grants and Grant-Seeking
Beth Olsen
  Stockton's Regional Economic Contribution
Oliver Cooke
Impacting the Region
— The SRI & ETTC

Harvey Kesselman and Patricia Weeks
  Enhancing New Jersey's Public Child Welfare System — The Baccalaureate Child Welfare Education Program
Diane S. Falk
  Tales from an Argonaut
Emily Heerema

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