Obtaining a university designation for Richard Stockton College would likely take at least a year, President Herman J. Saatkamp Jr. said.
The college already has comprehensive university status with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Convening a task force of college and community stakeholders to examine the effects of making the change is the next step. The task force would make a recommendation to the college president. If a status change is recommended, the president would take the recommendation to the board of trustees for approval.
Once approved, the president would submit a petition for a name change to the state Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, where it would be reviewed by the Office of Academic Affairs. The secretary would present the proposal to the New Jersey Presidents' Council, made up of state college presidents, for a recommendation. The secretary would make the final determination.
A Stockton Faculty Senate Task Force that spent more than a year investigating the issue outlined several benefits to a name change, including the fact that Stockton already is measured against universities, and it could enhance the college's status and recruitment of students and faculty. Potential considerations include the cost of rebranding the college and how that might affect its image and self-definition.
Faculty Senate President Rodger Jackson said the issue directly addresses Stockton's future.
"Would this just reflect what we have already become?" he asked. "Or is it a total shift in perspective?"
A faculty survey found about half of respondents strongly favor the change and about 20 percent strongly oppose.
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The Faculty Senate task force report is available at http://loki.stockton.edu/˜assembly/committees/