PROFILE: ROWAN UNIVERSITY, GLASSBORO, NJ
This is one of a series of U.S. college and university profiles for 2011-12 and it will be
continually updated as new information becomes available to prospective students and
their families as well as the author. Statistics provided for this profile have been provided
from a variety of sources, most notably the U.S. Department of Education and the school
itself. Any use or reproduction of this profile without the expressed permission of the
author is prohibited.
Rowan University opened its doors as the Glassboro Normal School in 1923 as a two-
year teacher’s college to help address the shortage of teachers in Southern New Jersey.
The school’s location was chosen in part because it offered convenient access to rail
transportation, but also because 107 residents of the community raised more than
$7,000 over six years to purchase 25 acres to be used for the site. The buyers offered
the site to the state for free.
According to the university’s Web site,the land tract included the Whitney mansion (now
known as Hollybush) and carriage house. Before the purchase, the entire property
belonged to the Whitney family, prominent owners of the Whitney Glass Works during
the 1800s. Today, the Whitney name also appears on the front of the university’s newest
mixed use building which houses students in the university’s Honors Program.
In 1934, the two-year school became a four-year college. In 1937 the school changed its
name to New Jersey State Teachers College at Glassboro. The college gained a national
reputation as a leader in the field of reading education and physical therapy when it
opened a clinic for children with reading disabilities in 1935 and added physical therapy
for the handicapped in 1944. The college was one of the first in the country to recognize
these needs and was in the forefront of the special education movement.
In 1958, the school’s name was changed to Glassboro State College to reflect a broader
selection of academic offerings. Nine years later, Hollybush was the setting for a private
meeting between President Lyndon Johnson and Russian premier Alexei Kosygin. The
location was ideal because it was equidistant to the White House and the United
Nations, where Kosygin was scheduled to speak.
Between 1969 and 1984, the college grew to add schools of business, engineering and
communications to its programs in education and the liberal arts. It also offered its first
doctoral programs. However, the college’s greatest expansion has taken place over the
last 20 years, thanks to a $100 million gift from industrialist Henry Rowan and his wife,
Rowan, who had been approached to make a far smaller contribution to the business
program and had rebuffed the request, pushed to expand and improve undergraduate
education in engineering. Sparked by the gift, leadership within the newly named Rowan
College, later changed to Rowan University, visited and benchmarked several leading
undergraduate engineering programs to develop a “hands-on” engineering curriculum,
one that would bring students into projects called clinics from the first semester forward.
In 2012, Rowan seeks to become a more comprehensive university. It’s medical school,
affiliated with Cooper Medical Center on the Camden waterfront, will open this fall with
an entering class of 50 students. Expansion will be gradual with enrollment maximizing
At the same time, this 12,000 student university with nearly 9,000 undergraduates is at
the center of a controversial plan that could increase its undergraduate student
population by nearly 50 percent. Governor Chris Christie has proposed that the medical
education and cancer research programs directed by the University of Medicine and
Dentistry in Newark and New Brunswick be assigned to Rutgers University. In turn, the
governor has asked that Rutgers undergraduate campus, graduate programs and law
school in Camden be transferred to Rowan.
Governor Christie and the Rowan administration support this plan because it would
consolidate medical education and research in each region, Northern, Central and
Southern New Jersey, with the largest research university in its region. Adoption of this
plan would also make Rowan the second comprehensive research university in the
state, serving a region of almost 2 million residents.
Placed in perspective, this seven-county region has a larger population than 14 U.S.
states. A larger and more comprehensive Rowan would still serve the state--
approximately half of the university’s recent freshmen classes came from outside
Southern New Jersey--but its primarily regional base would have more constituents than
institutions such as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of New Mexico
and West Virginia University, all flagship state universities which have their own doctoral
programs, law school and medical school.
However, plan or no plan, Rowan is positioning itself to become a much larger school
than it currently is.
The most recently posted Common Data Set for Rowan, for the year 2011-12 shows that
the school attracted nearly 7,300 applications and accepted just over 4,200 (58 percent)
to get a class of just under 1,600 students. The university did not need to go to the
waiting list to fill the class. More than half of the entering class had a grade point
average of 3.5 or better
The SAT scores in Critical Reading and Mathematics, for the middle 50 percent of the
class ranged from 1,030 to 1270 according to the Common Data Set. However, 72
percent of the entering freshmen scored above 500 on the Critical Reading section of
the test and 80 percent scored above 500 on the Math. One third of the entering
freshmen had a Math score over 600. It is safe to presume that a score below 500 on
any section of the exam, including the Writing section, will place a student in the bottom
quarter of the applicant pool.
Rowan operates on a “semi-rolling” admissions process says Al Betts, the university’s
Director of Admissions. Strong candidates who apply early can be admitted earlier;
decisions may be rendered as early as mid-October. Rowan does not ask applicants to
declare a major; as much as a quarter of the class enters undecided. Decisions on
borderline applications are not rushed.
However, any student who is seriously interested in Rowan should complete their
application by mid-January, especially if they are interested in merit-based scholarships.
Grades, the rigor of the high school transcript and standardized test scores are the
primary considerations, though portfolios, auditions, successful demonstrations of
leadership and extracurricular activities can pull a borderline applicant into the freshman
class. The university has not asked applicants to write an essay or personal statement.
However, the school will be moving to the Common Application next year, which requires
a 200 word essay.
This year, Betts says, the admissions office was given $2 million in additional funds to
award to incoming freshmen in 2012. These monies have been used to double the usual
scholarship awards from $2,000 to $10,900 per year for in-state students to $4,000 to
$21,800, which is nearly a free ride. Scholarships are renewable for students in good
academic standing. Students who have scored 1150 or better and rank in the upper fifth
of their class or higher are scholarship eligible and amounts rise for students with
stronger academic records and higher test scores. In 2011 one quarter of the entering
freshman class received merit-based aid. Should the admissions office continue to
succeed in attracting better qualified students, the percentage is likely to be higher for
Betts adds that the median SAT scores for accepted applicants to the incoming
freshman class are around 1190 on the Critical Reading and Math sections of the test.
However, applicants to the four engineering programs: Chemical Engineering, Civil and
Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical
Engineering have a median near 1280; those who have declared in Mechanical
Engineering have median scores around 1320. Approximately 10 percent of all
applications to Rowan are for these four majors, Betts says.
Students who cannot be admitted to the engineering programs may still be admitted as
undeclared majors and attempt to gain admission to an engineering program after the
summer following their freshman year, or they may choose another major. Last year 400
students received second choice admission to Rowan. About half chose to attend the
university and study in another major.
Betts says that students are also attracted to Rowan for its programs in biology, athletic
training, communications and education. They like not only the academic options, but
also the opportunity to take small classes within a medium sized university. The school’s
marketing literature mentions that few classes have more than 35 students; students in
most majors are unlikely to have the large lecture classes common in universities such
as Rutgers-New Brunswick or the University of Delaware
To date Rowan loses more students to Rutgers-New Brunswick than any other school,
although The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), Richard Stockton College of New Jersey,
Montclair State University and Ramapo College of New Jersey are also strong
competitors. Other schools that applicants consider include Drexel University and
Temple University, both in nearby Philadelphia, the University of Delaware and West
Chester University of Pennsylvania. The increase in scholarships means that Rowan has
become a more aggressive competitor for students who fall within the middle of the
applicant pool at Delaware, Ramapo, Rutgers-New Brunswick and TCNJ.
The generous scholarships might have also have an impact on the geographic make up
of the class. To date, says Al Betts, more freshmen come from Northern New Jersey
than the southern part of the state. Less than five percent of the student body comes
from outside the Garden State.
However, the size of the junior transfer class is about equal to the size of the incoming
freshmen class. Those students come largely from seven Southern New Jersey
counties: Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem.
Rowan accepts more transfer students from the community colleges in these counties
than any other college or university. They also take more graduates of New Jersey
STARS, a state-funded scholarship program, from these schools than any college in the
state. This is unlikely to change. For while Rowan has become a more selective
institution, it has no plans to retreat from its role as a regional university.
Rowan has gradually improved its graduation and freshman retention rates. From 2008
through 2010, freshman retention has risen from 82 to 86 percent. However, the
improvements in the graduation rate have been more dramatic.
The freshman class that entered in the fall of 2001 had a four-year graduation rate of 36
percent and a six-year graduation rate of 66 percent, a performance that is slightly
above average for a four-year college. However, the freshman class that entered in 2004
had a four-year graduation rate of 44 percent and a six-year graduation rate of 72
percent,; the latter is considered to be very good for a four-year school. The class of
2005, however, had a 67 percent graduation rate, according to the university’s 2011-12
Common Data Set.
The four-year graduation rates, however, have been closer to those of a commuter
school where students work more hours and reduce course loads in order to avoid
incurring debt. College Results Online, a database managed by The Education Trust, a
non-partisan, non-profit, Washington D.C.-based education policy organization reported
that Rowan had a transfer-out rate of 20 percent as of 2009. This is fairly high for any
school, including a state university. By comparison, TCNJ had a transfer-out rate of 10
percent, and the rate at Rutgers-New Brunswick was 13 percent.
There is potential for retention and graduation rates to improve not only by attracting
more qualified students but also by adding programs that will help them succeed. For the
coming school year Rowan will introduce a new program called Start Up Smart. Running
over two weeks, this program will cover time management, study skills and other survival
tips as well as issues such as sexual assault and appropriate behavior on campus. The
school will also offer a three-tier certification program in leadership skills as well as
Rowan Rewards, which enters students into a pool to win prizes such as iPods and gift
cards every time they attend a university-sponsored program. The school will also host
as Emerging Leaders Conference in April to honor outstanding continuing students.
More important will be a new program called Academic Reboot, a technology-based
program that will enable students and their academic advisors to track academic
standing and attendance with reports after 10 days and at the midpoint of a semester.
This will enable advisors to assist students earlier, match them with workshops that can
get them on track and keep them from hitting academic probation, which is normally
declared at the end of the spring semester. The Reboot program will also be linked to
the leadership programs so that students can also become more engaged.
For 2011-12, New Jersey residents pay approximately $12,000 in tuition and mandatory
fees before scholarships are taken into account. Engineering students are assessed and
additional $500. Even before scholarships are considered, a Rowan student was asked
to pay around $800 less for tuition and fees than a Rutgers-New Brunswick student
(though Rutgers also charges higher tuition for engineering students) and around $2,100
less than s/he would have paid to attend The College of New Jersey. Ramapo College
of New Jersey charged about the same as Rowan for the current academic year, and so
did Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
For 2011-12 the Rowan administration kept its tuition increase at three percent from the
previous school year. If tuition increases hold at that level for the next four years, an
incoming freshman will be asked to pay just over $52,000 for the full four years. Out-of-
state students paid slightly less than $20,000. The tuition increase for out-of-state
students was also held to three percent. If tuition increases hold at that level for the next
four years, an incoming freshman will be asked to pay just over $83,000 total for all four
Another way to consider costs is by looking at average net price, the total costs of
attendance--tuition, fees, room and board, books, transportation and incidentals for a
year on campus, less scholarships or grants, which do not need to be repaid.
In 2009-10, the last year data is available from the U.S. Department of Education, a
Rowan in-state student from a family with an income between $75,000 and $110,000
paid an average net price of $19,895. This represented an average discount of around
$4,700 or 19 percent. By comparison:
• A Rutgers-New Brunswick student whose family was in the same income bracket paid
$20,627, receiving an average discount of $5,710 or 22 percent.
• A TCNJ student whose family was in the same income bracket paid $22,572, receiving
an average discount of around $3,650 or 14 percent.
• A Richard Stockton College of New Jersey student whose family was in the same
income bracket paid $22,988, receiving an average discount of $4,870 or 17 percent.
• A Ramapo College of New Jersey student whose family was in the same income
bracket paid $23,523, receiving an average discount of just over $2,100 or 8 percent.
Rowan is in a better position to discount tuition and fees than TCNJ, Ramapo and
Richard Stockton, in part because the school has a larger endowment than all three of
these schools combined. In 2011, the National Association of College and University
Business Officers reported that the market value of Rowan’s endowment was around
$141 million. By comparison, Ramapo, TCNJ and Richard Stockton collectively have
endowments of less than $50 million. In addition to Henry Rowan’s $100 million
commitment which has been fulfilled, eight other donors have made commitments of $1
million or more, according to the Fall/Winter 2011 issue of Rowan Today, the school’s
alumni magazine. The university has also received an additional 46 commitments in
excess of $100,000.
Another measure of costs is the debt-to-credentials ratio. Developed by Education
Sector, a non-partisan, non-profit education policy organization based in Washington
D.C., this ratio represents the average level of indebtedness that a student will take on to
complete a degree. A low tuition charge, generous financial aid or the greater likelihood
of graduating on time help to lower the ratio.
For Rowan University, the debt to credentials ratio for the 2008-09 school year, the last
year data was available, was $21,756. By comparison, the ratios for other competing
New Jersey schools were:
Rutgers-New Brunswick $17,675
Ramapo College of NJ $19,757
Richard Stockton College of NJ $18,531
There are two possible explanations for why Rowan’s average net price for a student
from a middle income family is lower than these competing schools, but the debt-to-
degree ratio is higher.
First, Rowan has had a lower 4-year graduation rate than three of these four schools:
Rutgers-New Brunswick, TCNJ and Ramapo. In 2009, according to College Results
Online, a database managed by The Education Trust, a non-partisan, non-profit
education policy organization based in Washington D.C, and Ramapo College sources,
TCNJ graduated nearly 73 percent of the students who entered four years before,
Ramapo 60 percent and Rutgers 52 percent while Rowan’s four-year graduation rate
was 47 percent. Rowan students were more likely to need mire time to finish their
degrees than the students enrolled in these other schools. They might have qualified for
need-based aid to help them finish that extra year, but not merit-based aid, which is
usually limited to four years. Another year also means another student loan.
Second, while Rowan was more generous with merit-based financial aid to attract the
students who might have chosen one of these other schools, the students the school
attracted made up a smaller percentage of the full student body. Most likely, a student
who would have chosen Rowan over Ramapo, Rutgers or TCNJ would have had grades
and test scores in or close to the upper quarter of their freshman class. They would have
ranked in the middle 50 percent at these other schools.
All Rowan students must take at least 42 credits of General Education courses. These
represent about a third of the credits required towards a degree. The Communications
requirement is satisfied through two semesters of English Composition. The Math and
Science requirement is satisfied by taking one Math course and one laboratory science
course. Students must take six credits in Social and Behavioral Sciences as well as six
credits in History, Humanities and Language. In addition, every student must
demonstrate computer literacy by passing an exam or by taking a computer competency
course. They must also take six credits of non-program courses, which fall outside their
major area. For example, students who have a major in a social science must take those
six credits outside of the social sciences.
Rowan also has a selection of courses under the heading of Rowan Experience. Every
student must take at least one, usually the required Freshman Seminar, though several
of these courses may also be used to fulfill General Education requirements. These
courses may be writing-intensive, help develop public speaking skills, or they may cover
literature, the arts and creative expression or multi-cultural/global perspectives.
Rowan was founded as an education school and education programs remain the most
popular programs to this day. Over 3,800 of the university’s nearly 12,000 undergraduate
and graduate students, nearly a third of the total student body, were enrolled in an
education-related degree program during the 2010-11 academic year. Among Bachelor’s
degree candidates, Teacher Education and Health and Exercise Science are the two
most popular majors in the university followed by Psychology, Law and Justice,
Biological Sciences and Radio/Television Film. Other majors that have attracted more
than 250 students include Art, Computer Science, English, History, Mathematics, Music
and Public Relations.
In addition to the education-related majors, Public Relations program is one of Rowan’s
signature departments. One of only 28 certified by the Public Relations Society of
America, this program is also supported by a student society that has been selected as
Outstanding Chapter in the nation eight times. The Radio/Television Film program is
supported by a campus station, WGLS-FM, that has won more than 200 awards since
1993. The Rohrer College of Business, accredited by the Association to Advance
Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is one of the few that allows students to work
with faculty and business professionals in a small business incubator. Advertising majors
also have extensive opportunities to work with real world clients. The Music program is a
Steinway School, named for the internationally-known pianos used for student
However, Rowan is becoming better known for its College of Engineering, which were
the major focus for Henry Rowan’s gift to the university. The curriculum is based on
hands-on instruction from the freshman year forward. The curriculum works in lock-step;
courses follow pre-requisites, which set a full class schedule. While the program can
easily monitor the progress for all students, transfer students from other Rowan majors
or other schools must make up the pre-requisites, which means that it takes more time
to complete the degree. In addition, a student’s choice of electives is smaller when
required courses must be scheduled first. However, other majors, including subjects
such as accounting and education, have the same issue.
The four engineering majors: Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental
Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering enroll
645 undergraduates; this represents around seven percent of the total population.
However, the number of students per faculty member is the lowest in the university.
While, for example, six tenure-track faculty worked with 500 Public Relations and
Advertising majors in 2011, the same number taught 172 electrical engineers. The
Chemical Engineering department has 10 tenure-track faculty that taught 163 majors.
Fourteen other departments at Rowan--the school has more than 50 majors--have 10 or
more faculty members, but Chemical Engineering has the smallest student enrollment.
U.S News ranked Rowan’s College of Engineering 16th among engineering schools,
public and private, that do not grant doctoral degrees. The Chemical Engineering
program ranked third, Mechanical Engineering ranked 8th. While U.S. News rankings of
schools are not always considered reliable measures of quality by educators, this
ranking was only for academic departments and it was based largely on the opinions of
academic peers at similar engineering schools. More significantly, Rowan’s engineering
program ranked ahead of those at schools that have had higher overall retention and
graduation rates including Union College (NY), one of the country’s best liberal arts
schools, Miami University of Ohio a top public national university as well as Santa Clara
University (CA) and Gonzaga University (WA), two of the top five regional universities on
the West Coast. Rowan’s overall ranking tied with Lafayette College (PA), also a top
liberal arts school. The Chemical Engineering program was ranked equally with the
program at Bucknell, another liberal arts school held in similar regard with Union and
Rowan reports a student-faculty ratio of 15 to 1, higher than Rutgers-New Brunswick or
TCNJ, though lower than any of the larger state-supported schools that offer similar
engineering programs such as the University of Delaware, Penn State-University Park,
the University of Maryland-College Park and Temple University. More important, thanks
in part to the engineering program, the average class size is around 21 students.
Engineering is best known as being a hands-on major, but other majors, even those with
much larger enrollments, also have more classes where students would receive more
attention than they would at a larger state-supported university.
Rowan accommodates just over 3,700 students in its residence halls. The university
requires freshmen and sophomores to live on campus, unless they commute. To date
about a third of the freshmen and sophomore classes live on campus, says Travis
Douglas, the university’s Director of Residence Life. About one-quarter of the junior class
lives on-camps as do slightly more than 10 percent of the seniors.
Room and board charges in the residence halls are around $10,700 including the full
meal plan; even with fewer meals the costs are high for a state university. The university
charges $6,600 for a standard dorm room while apartments run between $7,000 for the
older complexes all the way to $9,300 for the newest apartments in Whitney Center.
However, apartment residents do not need to carry meal plans and might save money by
planning meals on their own.
Freshmen living in the dorms may not have cars, except in cases of disability. Juniors
and seniors are given housing assignments through a lottery. Students placed on a wait
list may be offered housing during the summer before the fall semester starts. Rowan
has handled over-enrollment in past years by tripling students in rooms, says Travis
Freshmen have the option of suite-style living where two to six rooms share a common
bathroom. Some suites have their own lounges while other floors share a common
lounge in the lobby. There are no traditional dorms with double-loaded corridors (rooms
on either side of a wing or hallway) where several students share a large common
Six residence halls of varied design have rooms dedicated to freshmen. Bathrooms are
cleaned by custodial staff in three halls: Chestnut, Magnolia and Willow that have as
many as 16 students in a suite. Freshmen who live in the remaining halls: Evergreen,
Mimosa and Mullica are responsible for cleaning their bathrooms. Honors students may
live in apartment-style units in Whitney Center on Rowan Boulevard. All residence halls
are Wi-fi and Ethernet enabled and wired for cable TV. Some rooms are carpeted while
others are tiled. However, no rooms are air conditioned. Students must pay additional
fees to have microwave ovens or compact refrigerators in their rooms.
Freshmen also have the option of participating in one of nine learning communities
focused around academic majors. Students enrolled in the engineering programs or
computer science are required to be in a learning community as are students in
Exploratory Studies who have not declared their major. In addition, students who receive
financial aid and advising through the New Jersey’s need-based Educational Opportunity
Fund live in a learning community.
Upperclassmen have the option of living in two dorms, Oak and Laurel, that house 59
students each, also in suite-style arrangements. However, Rowan is unique in that it has
more on-campus residents living in apartments and townhouses (around 2,100) than in
dorms (just over 1,500 total). The Rowan Boulevard apartment complex houses nearly
900 students, more than any residential building on campus while the townhouses house
slightly more than half that number. Two older apartment complexes, Edgewood
Gardens and The Triad, house approximately 760 students.
A popular option for students who wish to move off campus is to share a house within
walking distance. One site, Glassboro Rentals, lists houses to share at rates ranging
between $900 and $2,000 per month depending on the number of residents. Landlords
advertising on this site limit occupancy to one person per bedroom. Apartment rentals
are available as well. As one example, rentals for a two-bedroom apartment in Campus
Terrace, an older apartment complex, range from $950 to $1,500 per month. Whether a
student shares an apartment or a house, rents and utility charges between $500 to $600
per person per month for rent and utilities are quite common in Glassboro. So are
security deposits that can sometimes be in excess of a month’s rent.
Places4Students.com is a useful resource for information on rental properties near
The university has no fraternity or sorority housing on campus.
Rowan essentially is two campuses. The first, on the south side of University Boulevard
is the original campus, which includes Hollybush, now a historic museum now used for
receptions and events, the main administration building, Bunce Hall, the first campus
building, which houses the business school and the buildings for the school of
communications, among others. Academic buildings on this side of campus as well as
the grounds are showing their age.
Across University Boulevard, the mix of academic buildings blends together well. The
newest academic buildings house the College of Engineering and the College of
Education as well as the science majors; these are as nice as anything you will find at a
larger flagship state school. Savitz Hall, the main student services building, is modern as
well as easy to navigate as is the student center. The dining hall has the food court
arrangement that has become popular on college campuses, The campus and walkways
are amply lit.
The university has partnered with private developers and the town to construct Rowan
Boulevard, a mixed-use development that is surrounded by the newest residence halls
and centered with the second-largest Barnes and Noble in the state of New Jersey. This
project began in 2009 and land has been cleared for new development. The Barnes and
Noble doubles as the university store and also carries snack offerings beyond those in a
cafe case. While this superstore is an asset, it is still surrounded on both sides and the
rear by vacant property. It also lacks the parking spaces available in similar stores. There
is saw-tooth parking on street, which appears to be sufficient for now, but more parking
will be needed as more uses line both sides of the boulevard.
The major attractions for resident students, beyond on-campus programming through
Rowan After Hours, are at nearby Deptford Mall, Atlantic City, Cape May and
Philadelphia. Bus transportation is available to each from Glassboro. The town itself is
trying to start an arts district in the business center with the help of several local non-
profits. While some boutique stores have opened the lone movie theatre property is
vacant. Further complicating that objective, Rowan already has a performing arts center
and a fine arts gallery on the campus. Both have more than adequate visitor parking
during evenings and weekends.
Glassboro, a community of around 20,000 people, had a higher crime index than the
State of New Jersey from 2005 through 2009, the last year data is available, with higher
incidence of rape and burglaries over the past five years along with higher incidences of
assault over the past four. On the positive side incidents of theft, including auto theft,
have dramatically declined over the past three. In addition, the overall crime index itself
dropped by half from 2007 through 2009.
Drug and alcohol-related offenses are the major crimes on campus, according to the
university’s Clery Report data for 2008 through 2010. While there have been few
alcohol-related arrested--only 24 on campus in 2010 and only 14 near campus, there
have been more than 300 referrals each year for students caught in possession of
alcoholic beverages on campus, especially in the residence halls. The number of drug-
related arrests went down from 25 to 16, though the number of referrals rose from 33 to
52. There have been only four sexually-related crimes over the past three years and only
three robberies, with none occurring in 2010. Incidents of burglary have went down by
50 percent from 24 to 12.
Rowan’s athletic teams have won 15 national championships at the Division III (non-
scholarship) level. The university participates in 16 varsity sports, seven for men and
nine for women. Rowan also fields teams in nine club sports: bowling, ice hockey, men's
rugby, ultimate frisbee, men's lacrosse, roller hockey, tennis, men's volleyball, dance,
and wrestling.The football team has gone to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, a national
championship game, ﬁve times (1999, 1998, 1996, 1995, 1993) and reached the
national semiﬁnals in 1992, 1997, 2001, 2004 and 2005. The women’s ﬁeld hockey team
and the men’s basketball, soccer and baseball teams have also won national
championships. Teams and individuals have won numerous conference championships
as well. However, while the athletic program had numerous high-proﬁle successes
through the 1990’s and the start of the next decade, it is reasonable to ask if support for
the football team has declined since the school made its last appearance in a playoff
game seven years ago.
Rowan has 68,000 living alumni, most living throughout New Jersey. Approximately one-
third of Rowan’s graduates received their degrees since 2000, so the alumni relations
office is beefing up the university’s online presence as well as focusing on strengthening
affinity groups. The Rowan online community has 5,000 members, large considering the
total size of the alumni base. The university’s largest Facebook group has 4,350
members and the Rowan LinkedIn community has 940 members. The alumni relations
staff also run networking events off campus. All alumni are members of the alumni
association and pay no dues.
Alumni are also invited to sports events as well as class reunions and Homecoming.
However, younger alumni place more important on maintaining contacts with the clubs
and organizations they joined as students, including, but not limited to, the campus radio
station and athletic teams. There is also an emerging affinity group for African-American
While Rowan has the traditional events, it is trying to celebrate academics as well. This
past year, the university hosted a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and
Mathematics) Symposium that attracted 1700 alumni. The program included a reception
in the university’s state-of-the-art Science Hall as well as planetarium shows. There is
also a Senior Week highlighted by a Red Carpet ceremony where community and
student scholarship are celebrated. While Rowan is a Division III school, Homecoming is
a major event. So is the Cocoa Run, takes place the night before Homecoming when
students work all night to build their Homecoming floats fueled by hot chocolate and
The university helps its current students make employment connections through the
Career Management Center as well as through the academic departments. In addition to
career advising and job search assistance, the center hosts a Spring Career Fair
followed by a Recruitment Week where students interview on-campus with employers
who participated in the fair. Ninety one employers participated in this year’s fair. The
center also hosts a Federal Government and Non-Profit Agencies Career Fair, a
Graduate School and Career Exploration Fair and an Education Expo.
It must also be mentioned that while the university has successfully developed a small
engineering school,the smallness is a disadvantage for on-campus recruiting. While
schools such as Delaware, Rutgers and Temple, for example, produce enough
engineers to fill interview schedules, Rowan conferred only 100 degrees across all four
programs. While Chemical Engineering, for example, had 163 majors, only 22 bachelors
degrees were granted in 2011. These students need more help through their
relationships with the faculty to find work after graduation. They can develop an
impressive resume through projects and internship assignments, but they need more
help making contacts.
Thanks to Henry Rowan’s $100 million gift and those that have followed, Rowan
University has become a more popular option for New Jersey residents and the school is
attracting more interest from students in neighboring states. The education,engineering
and communications programs make it a more promising option as well. To date,
however, thanks to a large transfer population, the student body comes largely from
Southern New Jersey. The four-year graduation rate is more similar to a commuter
school where students prefer to reduce course loads and work rather than take on the
debt to finish on time.
The university’s current promise is to offer the more personalized education and
attention available at a private school for a public university price. The administration has
backed up their promise by offering more generous scholarships and by building state-
of-the art residences around Rowan Boulevard.
The university is also increasing resources towards student success, all of which will be
available to incoming freshmen and transfer students. These will become more
important if the university wants to be a more direct competitor to Rutgers-New
Brunswick, TCNJ and the University of Delaware. The “bread and butter” student at any
one of these schools would pay less to go to Rowan. For some majors such as those in
communications and engineering or health and exercise science, also offered at these
three schools, Rowan could be the better value. In these cases, there is a “win-win” on
price and academics.
The campus, however, is like an unfinished painting with vacant spaces between the
academic center and Rowan Boulevard. Other schools that have more history have a
more connected campus. Rowan’s major advantage, aside from some attractive
residence living options, is location. It is easy to get to Philadelphia or Atlantic City from
The impending opening of the medical school is a signal that the university wants to
move in a slightly different direction--to become a more research-driven school that can
attract grants and other outside income. State aid to higher education continues to
diminish, so Rowan, thanks to its endowment, is looking to a time when that money
might be gone.
The positive is that the university is exercising fiscal responsibility while trying to manage
an ambitious expansion. The downside is that assets, such as land, have to be held in
reserve, aka left temporarily vacant, until the money is there to develop them. The
unfinished painting, in this case, shows a plan for the future that will take several years
But it is uncertain what direction the university will take to develop and hire new faculty.
Research-oriented schools typically hire based on scholarship and researchers prefer
research to teaching. Too much emphasis on scholarship, especially in the sciences and
engineering, could lead to Rowan losing the advantage of more close student-faculty
interaction it has marketed so long.
At the same time, the development of new products through research and business
partnerships, a larger number of advanced degree programs, as well as continuing
education would make Rowan a more important catalyst to create new businesses and
new jobs in Southern New Jersey.
While that is not something that would be a high note on a campus tour for a high school
senior, it will be more important to that person as s/he is getting ready to graduate and
while they are alumni seeking to advance in their workplace. Successful public
universities retain and graduate their students, but they also make a commitment to be
there for them after they have finished their bachelor’s degree.
REPORT CARD-ROWAN UNIVERSITY
Costs: A 20 points
In-state tuition and fees are lower than they are at Rutgers-New Brunswick or
the College of New Jersey, though they are higher than average for a state
Generous scholarship program to attract bread and butter Rutgers-New
Brunswick or Delaware students, among others.
Out-of-state tuition is competitive, though most students come from New
Lower graduation rate have led to higher student indebtedness than students
take on at Ramapo, Rutgers-New Brunswick and TCNJ
Comforts: B+ 16 points
Several modern residential options
Attractive townhouse complex for upperclassmen right in the heart of campus
Students can get on-campus housing for all four years
On-campus housing charges are high for a state university, especially in
Community: B 12 points
Access to Philadelphia and Atlantic City by bus from Glassboro
Plenty of commuter parking
Ambitious Rowan Boulevard project intended to make Glassboro more of a
Winning sports program with 15 national Division III championships and
numerous individual and team conference titles
Largest regional university in region of nearly 2 million residents
Glassboro has higher crime index than the state average
Campus has “unﬁnished” look between academic centers and Rowan Boulevard
Large transfer population plus large freshman-sophomore base from South
Jersey contributes to “look and feel” of a commuter school
“No car” rule for freshman who live on campus, though less than half the
freshmen live on campus
Curriculum: A 20 points
General education requirements not cumbersome
Clinic-based engineering degree program is “hands-on” learning experience
that is highly regarded by academic peers
Signature programs in education and communications
Excellent out-of-class learning experiences through clubs and employment
opportunities handled by faculty and career center
Honors program students get more attention, as well as nice housing in modern
Commitments to student advising and early alert process should improve
graduation and retention rates
Non-science majors cannot avoid math or lab science courses
Lock-step engineering program has limited options for electives, also difficult
for transfer students to enter without making up courses
Connections: B+ 16 points
Alumni base is becoming stronger and more enthusiastic as the school moves
further into university status.
Faculty and career services partner well to provide access to internships and
other experiential learning opportunities.
Large career networks in long-time signature programs such as
communications and education
Public relations majors make strong connections through PR Society of America
Career center runs large number of events considering it has a small staff.
Henry Rowan gift was followed by eight other $1 million+ gifts to build
endowment valued at $141 million
Alumni association is not a dues-charging organization
Institutional memory for older alumni is that of a teacher’s college
Career center needs larger staff for a school of this size and growing
Small engineering program means less on-campus recruiting. Faculty
relationships become more essential for ﬁnding post-graduate employment
TOTAL SCORE: 84 points