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University News

New Looks for a New Academic Year, 110 Years After the Very First Class

Posted in: University

Graduate walking across stage at CHSS Convocation ceremony under flag.

It was 110 years ago, on the Tuesday morning of September 15, 1908, that 187 future teachers “came by trolley on the Valley Road line, by the Erie Railroad to the Montclair Heights Station, and on foot,” to attend the first day of class at what over time would become Montclair State University. From its early days and singular focus on teaching, Montclair State has grown in ways that would have been hard to imagine in 1908: It is bigger, stronger and more complex, offering 300 majors, minors, concentrations and certificate programs.

In the 2018 version of Montclair State University, professors collaborate with other research institutions to solve the mysteries of space. They are advancing autism research and treatment, and using drones to assess floodplains; they are examining racial bias and charting paths in STEM. Such research, scholarship, funding and partnerships now form the heart of University life. The campus itself has grown from a single schoolhouse to a modern-day campus with interactive spaces for teaching and learning in areas as diverse as communications, life sciences, business, computer science and information technology, nursing and dance. Diversity, inclusion and acceptance are an important part of the fabric of life on campus.

With the start of this academic year for more than 21,000 students, here are the highlights – 110 years since our very first opening – for September 2018.

Doors Open to University College, Academic Opportunities

University College administration and staff.

Not every student enters college with a road map for the future. That’s why we have launched University College, a pre-major academic home for discovery and advising. The new college connects students with academic advisors to guide them through exploration of our 300 different programs – from Accounting and Anthropology to Urban Studies and Visual Communication Design (and everything in between). The program puts a focus on retention and graduation rates and is especially designed to tap into the support, guidance and programs needed to explore and connect with an academic discipline and career path. New this year are a number of academic opportunities, including nine new majors and three new minors. Those include a bachelor’s degree in Medical Humanities to examine far-ranging questions about health and illness, and to connect the hard science of modern medicine with the healing powers of art. A new online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program to prepare registered nurses (RNs) holding bachelor’s degrees for professional growth opportunities. A Master of Social Work to prepare professionals who provide clinical and advocacy services to vulnerable children, teens and their families.

Building for the Future: Computer Science Reboot

Photo of colorful lounge within new CCIS building.

Inside the new Center for Computing and Information Science (formerly Mallory Hall) is a state-of-the-art incubator for technology and innovation that supports Montclair State’s mission as a Carnegie-designated research doctoral university and state-designated public research institution. Facilities include specialized research labs and instructional spaces for areas such as cybersecurity, data science, image processing, parallel and distributed computing, human-computer interaction, and computational sensing. “Our programs focus on core and competitive areas of STEM education,” says College of Science and Mathematics Dean Lora Billings. “To teach students these 21st-century skills, you need a 21st-century facility.” Elsewhere on campus, you’ll find interior renovations to Richardson Hall and vibrant, original art work adorning the walls of Calcia Hall.

Presidential Scholars Arrive on Campus

Montclair State Presidential Scholars sitting in small groups on campus green.

This fall semester, over 3,100 new freshmen and more than 1,500 new transfer students joined us on our ever-evolving campus. Among the new students is Montclair State’s first class of Presidential Scholars – a designation that recognizes New Jersey’s best and brightest students. Representing just over 10 percent of the incoming class, the Presidential Scholars have formed a small cohort who will get to know each other through shared coursework in specialized learning communities. They are participating in academic, cultural, research-driven and career-focused programs and activities that take the college experience to the next level. Also new to campus is the Jamie Fox Forum on Public Service at Montclair State University, which will give 25 students from colleges and universities throughout New Jersey access to training with public sector professionals.