The School of Education provides high-quality academic programs to students studying at the undergraduate and graduate levels. With a legacy in education innovation dating to 1855, we are equally committed to our students and our profession. We prepare teachers, counselors, and school administrators who are critical thinkers and capable researchers. As lifelong learners, our graduates are poised to lead positive change throughout their careers, even as educational issues and practices evolve.
A Legacy of Excellence and Innovation in Education
Founded in 1855 as the first teacher-training school in New Jersey, and the ninth in the nation, The College of New Jersey has a long commitment to the transformative power of education. Today, the School of Education is the steward of this legacy, and continues the college’s original mandate to prepare active, informed, and self-reflective educators committed to the right of all students to learn, grow, and thrive. Guiding our work is the shared vision that teachers and other school professionals can and should be agents for positive social change.
Through meaningful, challenging academics and collaborative partnerships with the K–12 community, the School of Education has built a reputation for graduates who are well educated and well prepared for the challenges and opportunities of today’s classrooms. In fact, TCNJ-educated teachers can be found in nearly every district in the state, and the School of Education is recognized throughout the region as the most in-demand source of talented new teachers, counselors, and administrators.
Our connections with the K–12 community allow us to proactively address unmet and emerging needs in education. We are, for example, one of only four schools in New Jersey to offer Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships to support students aspiring to teach in the STEM fields in high-need secondary schools. In recent years, we have developed and launched innovative academic programs in urban education, middle school specialization, and environmental sustainability education, among others. Students and teachers are the direct beneficiaries of our extensive outreach efforts, from summer academies in the public schools to professional development collaborations with local school districts.
Located in suburban Ewing, New Jersey, the School of Education is housed in its own dedicated building. Opened in 2012, the three-story, 72,000-square-foot Education Building models the collaborative, technology-rich environment that our students will encounter in contemporary classrooms and schools. Learning spaces include standard and smart classrooms, a STEM classroom, model classrooms for early childhood and elementary education, and an observation room for counselor education as well as a computer lab, seminar room, auditorium, and extensive study and gathering spaces.
High-Quality Academics to Prepare Agents of Change
The guiding framework for all of the academic programs at the School of Education is a commitment to educating teachers, counselors, and school administrators who are agents of change for children and communities. Undergraduates pursue well-designed courses of study in both an education area and a major content area. Academic work is complemented by extensive professional experience, beginning in the first year of study, and is grounded in the rich liberal arts curriculum of TCNJ. Our graduate, certificate, and professional development programs reflect the same standards of academic quality and student engagement.
All of our programs are fully accredited, reflect current state and national standards, and meet the teacher licensure requirements of the New Jersey State Department of Education. In addition, our teacher-preparation programs have certification reciprocity with most other states. Four academic departments deliver well-designed programs incorporating the latest thinking, research, and practice:
Elementary & Early Childhood Education: undergraduate programs for teachers at levels from preschool through middle school, including a five-year, dual-degree program in urban education; and graduate programs in early childhood and elementary teaching
Education Administration & Secondary Education: undergraduate programs for teachers at the middle and high school levels; and graduate programs in education leadership and secondary education teaching
Special Education, Language & Literacy: a variety of programs for teachers of students with disabilities, teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing, teachers of English as a Second Language, and reading specialists, among others, including five-year, dual-degree programs in special education and in education of the deaf and hard of hearing
Counselor Education: graduate programs for counselors in the areas of school; clinical mental health; and marriage, couple, and family counseling as well as for student assistance coordinators
Our faculty are experienced teachers and active scholars who are widely recognized as mentors to their students and advocates for their profession. Opportunities for students to conduct research and analyze data alongside faculty mentors are integrated across the curriculum, ensuring our graduates start their careers with a strong foundation in educational research. We believe that strong research skills are essential for today’s teachers, who must continually learn, evaluate, and innovate as educational practices change and new opportunities arise.
Our students benefit from extensive opportunities to integrate content knowledge, teaching practice, and assessment skills across their educations. Professional development includes on-campus workshops, research apprenticeships with faculty, and course-embedded practicum experiences in local schools, among other opportunities. Classroom exposure begins as early as the first year and culminates with a full-time experience with supervised student teaching in the senior year; field placements occur throughout the region and are coordinated by a dedicated office, the STEP (Support for Teacher Education Programs) Office.
A Supportive Community for Student Opportunity
The single most important variable for a student’s success is access to caring, competent, highly qualified teachers and counselors. Not only are we committed to preparing such education professionals, we do so by embracing and modeling these values as teachers of our own students. Our day-to-day interactions with students are guided by a commitment to educating teacher candidates who demonstrate:
expertise in their chosen subject matter. Our students master a solid base of knowledge and meet the eligibility criteria of a highly qualified teacher.
excellence in curriculum planning and practice. Our students develop the sophisticated pedagogical knowledge necessary for effective instruction in a productive learning environment.
a commitment to all learners. Our students believe in the potential of all children to learn and grow and are supportive of the diverse needs of the many kinds of learners.
a strong, positive effect on student growth. Our students learn to accurately assess their students’ progress and to judge their own success through their students’ success.
a foundation for professionalism, advocacy, and leadership. Our students prepare to become lifelong champions for their students and their profession by developing the capacity to reflect, analyze, and communicate.
Setting such high goals for our students requires that we provide not only the academic environment to learn but also the campus culture to grow personally and thrive professionally. Our school community is close, supportive, and engaged. A peer advisor/mentor program matches first-year students with upper-level students who can ease their transition to college. Our exceptional faculty members foster strong mentoring relationships with their students, welcoming interaction that often grows into collaborations on research papers or curricula development.
Our school curates a lively intellectual atmosphere, hosting guest speakers and visiting scholars and inviting student and faculty alike to engage with critical—and sometimes controversial—topics in education. One recent panel discussion addressed the schools-to-prison pipeline, a disturbing national trend. Monthly school-wide meetings provide a forum to share scholarship, debate policy issues, or celebrate the achievements of student and faculty. The school also comes together on community service projects, from tutoring in local schools to providing backpacks stuffed with school supplies to disadvantaged schoolchildren.
Students learn to lead, as educators and as concerned citizens, through community-engaged learning as well as involvement with more than 150 student clubs and organizations at TCNJ. Among these are School of Education-based organizations focused on the concerns of our aspiring teachers, for example, the Deaf-Hearing Connection, which provides outreach services to the local deaf community, and FUSE, which organizes social events for children and young adults with intellectual disabilities. Student chapters of national honor societies and professional organizations help students to network and prepare for successful careers.
Advocacy and Service in the Profession
As a public institution, TCNJ embraces a clear mandate of service for the benefit of New Jersey’s citizens and communities. Consistent with this mission, we at the School of Education believe that education is key to addressing the inequalities that exist in society, and that our efforts on behalf of teachers and communities can help to narrow these gaps and effect positive social change.
We instill these values in our students, through academic programs grounded in the belief that all individuals deserve an education of the very highest quality. And we act on them directly, through partnerships with colleagues in K–12 education, local communities, state government, and other interested stakeholders. These efforts result in real advances and effective solutions, transforming educational opportunities for all. We advocate and serve our profession through:
faculty research and scholarship. Our faculty transform educational theory and practice through scholarship that explores critical issues in education and through targeted research that addresses specific needs within our local educational and clinical communities.
direct action to meet local community needs. Our faculty study issues and design solutions with partners in local school districts and clinical programs. Among our recent efforts are studies of student engagement, middle school curricular reorganization, and the challenges of counseling clients with substance abuse issues.
opportunities for professional development. We help teachers and other professionals to continually learn and stay current with the latest advances. Our Teachers as Scholars series, for example, connects teachers with the latest ideas and practices to emerge from scholarship through two-day, faculty-led seminars.
the work of our centers, institutes, and partnerships. We serve as a locus for academics, professionals, and community members to focus resources and achieve real solutions. These initiatives include campus-based career education for young adults with disabilities, a summer academy for high school students interested in urban teaching, and direct services to support students with dyslexia and their families, among others.