Local institutions are expanding their campuses and offering new degree programs this year.
West campus for New Jersey City University
New Jersey City University, located on Kennedy Boulevard in Jersey City, is the largest higher-education institution in Hudson County. It opened in 1929 and now enrolls about 10,000 students in 33 undergraduate and 21 graduate programs.
The university also offers an active program of non-credit, online, and continuing education courses for local residents of all ages.
Last October, university officials unveiled "Vision 2010: A Strategic Plan," an all-encompassing, multi-year action plan to guide the university's growth. The plan addresses issues including academics, recruitment, alumni involvement and capital improvements.
The university's largest construction project, now underway, is an entire 21-acre second campus between West Side Avenue and Route 440.
Plans for the "West Campus" include new academic buildings and residences, retail development, a reconfigured streetscape, parking facilities, and a University Promenade to encourage pedestrians.
Already completed is 285 West Side Ave., a former laundry warehouse that houses two other NJCU projects: the West Side Theater and the Business Development Incubator (BDI). The BDI opened last June to assist local entrepreneurs in starting up technology-based companies by offering reasonably priced office space, shared services, and marketing, technical and managerial assistance.
"[The BDI] allows us to take risks, pursue our goals, and make connections far more easily than if we were on our own," said Justin Strawhand, founder of multimedia company MutationEngine, one of the first companies to move into the BDI.
The West Campus is just a small part of an enormous decade-long, multi-agency effort to revitalize a 700-acre chunk - nearly 1/12 - of Jersey City. It is hoped that the Bayside Development Project will duplicate the success of the city's booming waterfront.
"It doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to realize that what happened on the [Hudson waterfront in Jersey City] is not an isolated incident," said Vice President for University Advancement John Nevin.
Plans call for a reworked street grid, a new light rail station, and aggressive commercial and residential development.
On the 15-acre Main Campus, several major construction projects are finally nearing completion.
The 77,000-square-foot George Karnoutsos Hall of Arts and Sciences is anticipated to open this fall. The hall will hold 14 classrooms, 10 computer labs and faculty offices for nine departments.
Just yards from the Arts and Sciences building, the Michael B. Gilligan Student Union has been getting a thorough, two-year-long overhaul that should finish up late this spring.
Various other projects - including a new fiber-optic network and a proposed performing arts center - may not be as flashy as the West Campus or the Bayside project, but they keep up the constant hum of activity at NJCU. Visit www.njcu.edu.
Eat up at Hudson County Community College One of the largest projects at Hudson County Community College, a two-year college offering a range of Associates degrees and certification programs, is a new $25 million five-story building for its renowned Culinary Arts Institute that broke ground in 2004. Classes have begun in the new space, and the entire project is expected to wrap up this year.
The new culinary arts facility includes kitchens, an ice sculpture/meat and fish carving studio, and a working model of a hotel front desk and guest suite. The project could double enrollment in the culinary arts program, college officials said.
Culinary classes are available to full- or part-time students as well as local residents. The college offers numerous non-credit continuing education courses throughout the year.
With the Culinary Arts project barely behind it, HCCC has already embarked on an even larger undertaking: planning its new 85,000-square-foot building in Union City. The facility will be located 165 feet above the just-opened subterranean light rail station at Bergenline Avenue near 49th Street.
Meanwhile, HCCC is working to expand its degree-transfer program so students can more easily transfer to four-year institutions, according to Vice President for Academic Affairs Abegail Douglas-Johnson.
Other signs of progress include more elective courses, a new practical nursing laboratory and certification program that will accept its first students this summer, an intended expansion of the honors program into an Honors Institute, and the possible expansion of the college's popular criminal justice program, Douglas-Johnson said.
Also, new social services Associates degree and certification programs debuted last year.
As for capital improvements, last year HCCC upgraded its Master Facilities Plan to include new parking facilities around Jersey City's Journal Square, a proposed expansion of the college library, and the final move of college facilities out of leased spaces into college-owned properties.
It's all part of the college's multi-year, multi-million dollar capital expansion plan.
"It's a very positive situation. The student body is getting much more," said Vice President for Administration and Finance Frank Crosby.
The college is seeing increased rates of retention and graduation, officials said. Over 6,000 students attend HCCC, which is one of New Jersey's most affordable colleges. Visit www.hccc.edu.
New degrees at St. Peter's College Founded in 1872, St. Peter's College now offers its 3,200 students 38 Bachelor's programs, four Masters programs, and numerous Associates programs at three locations - an 18-acre main campus in Jersey City and two others in Englewood Cliffs and South Amboy.
Students have been lured with a broad outreach program in recent years that includes the construction of new residence halls and an advertising campaign to attract students from a wider geographic area.
The response has shifted the college's demographics. Last year, for the first time, more than half of the college's freshmen lived on campus.
Starting in September, the Jersey City campus will offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. The Englewood Cliffs campus has offered the program since 1981.
Also this September, the college will start a new biotechnology program, thanks to two federal grants totaling nearly $1 million.
The grants will go toward a greenhouse on top of Gannon Hall that is now under construction, a tissue-culture lab, upgrading two current labs, and purchasing new microscopes and state-of-the-art genetics and histology equipment.
Also, the college's Department of Fine Arts launched a new Theatre Arts Minor program this spring.
This year will see the continued renovation of several campus facilities, including new dining spaces and the conversion of McIntyre Hall into the college's main meeting area. Also, SPC's quadrangle will be resurfaced this summer. Visit www.spc.edu.
Stevens Institute of Technology improves its rank Stevens Institute of Technology, a four-year engineering-oriented university in Hoboken, is blazing a trail in high-tech innovations - and bringing its students along for the ride.
Money spent on research at Stevens hit an all-time high last year, topping $30 million from external sources. That amount is projected to grow to $50 million annually by 2009.
Investment in campus construction hasn't slackened, either.
Stevens' most visible project is the new Babbio Center for Technology Management, with its impressive glass façade facing Sinatra Drive. The center was dedicated last October and is finally nearing completion, having broken ground in 2001.
Beneath the center, work is pending on a planned four-story parking garage that would be topped with a 1.3-acre public plaza.
Classes have begun at the campus's new cybersecurity laboratory, which was funded by a National Science Foundation grant last fall. The facility will allow students and faculty to carry out research projects covering network-security issues.
Perhaps the biggest selling point for prospective Stevens students is the opportunity to work on one of the institute's technology initiatives, gaining hands-on experience and contributing to some truly groundbreaking work.
Stevens' Technogenesis program allows students to work with faculty and industry leaders in developing new technology companies. Last year saw the launch of four new Technogenesis companies.
One former Technogenesis company - HydroGlobe, which offers unique processes for filtering heavy metals from drinking water - was sold for several million dollars early last year. Another, Plasmasol, was sold in December.
Another major initiative at Stevens is the new Secure Infrastructure Technology Laboratory, or SINTEL, announced last July. Established with funds from the U.S. Office of Naval Research, SINTEL will aid in naval anti-terrorism technologies and test and analyze real-world threat scenarios.
In last year's U.S. News & World Report college rankings, Stevens climbed to No. 71 in the country. The institute's 10-place jump from the previous year was the largest of any college ranked.
Also, last May, Stevens' Howe School of Technology Management was cited as one of the top technology programs in the world by the International Association for the Management of Technology.
And earlier this year, The Princeton Review ranked Stevens as one of the "Top 25 Most Connected Campuses" in the country.
"Being on this leading edge means that Stevens graduates are exceptionally well-prepared to thrive and flourish in the networked professional world," said Stevens President Dr. Harold J. Raveché.
Last fall, Stevens admitted more than 500 students, its largest-ever freshman class. Visit www.stevens.edu.
Business and other specialized programs Many other postsecondary educational programs can be found throughout Hudson County.
The University of Phoenix, a largely online college with classrooms around the country, opened a branch in Jersey City's Newport district in 2004. It offers degrees in the business and technology fields. Visit www.phoenix.edu.
The Chubb Institute operates a branch out of Journal Square in Jersey City, offering job training programs in assorted fields such as computer networking, graphic design, medical billing, and massage therapy. Visit www.chubbinstitute.edu.
Rutgers Business School offers part-time M.B.A. classes in two "smart" classrooms wired with high-tech learning equipment at its Jersey City branch, located in the Harborside Financial Center. Visit http://business.rutgers.edu.
Medicine and nursing Students looking for an education in medicine will find several programs in Hudson County.
The Bayonne Medical Center School of Nursing offers diplomas in nursing as well as an Associate of Science degree from HCCC. Call (201) 339-9656.
Christ Hospital in Jersey City offers a School of Nursing and a School of Radiologic Technology. Visit www.christhospital.org.
Micro Tech Training Center in Jersey City offers multiple medical programs. Director Anthony Buffalano said the center is awaiting final approval to offer a two-year Associates degree for its ultrasound program. This February, the center began its first criminal justice program, which includes Arabic-language studies. Visit www.microtechtrainingcenter.com.
Beauty training Two institutes offering training in the beauty industry reside in Hudson County.
Natural Motion Institute of Hair Design in Jersey City offers a cosmetology and hairstyling program that incorporates esthetics, nail technology and barbering. An instructor-training program is also offered. Visit www.natural-motion.com.
The New Horizon Institute of Cosmetology in West New York offers programs in cosmetology and manicures/pedicures. Call (201) 866-4000.