Christie plan for university reshuffling means another chapter for Rowan

GLASSBORO — Twenty years ago, Rowan University’s reputation was synonymous with its teachers college, which prepared hundreds of elementary and special education instructors for South Jersey classrooms each year.

Tony Kurdzuk/The Star-LedgerThe Cooper Medical School of Rowan University is currently under construction in Camden. The building will house the first new medical school on the state in 30 years.
Back then, the school in Glassboro was known as Glassboro State College, and students looking for a bustling college town with a robust nightlife or a research institution with endless courses of study had to look elsewhere.

The run-down Gloucester County college town, once buoyed by a glass-manufacturing industry, was surrounded by peach orchards and featured two pizza joints, one bar and a lot of empty storefronts. The closest movie theater was 15 minutes away in Deptford.

Today, Rowan is a school transformed.

A $100 million gift in the early 1990s by engineer and businessman Henry Rowan kick-started a revival of both college and town, and a plan Gov. Chris Christie unveiled last week to dramatically change the state’s university system means another restructuring is on the way.

Christie’s plan calls for Rowan to take over the nearby Camden campus of Rutgers University, including its law and business schools. The plan also allows Rowan to maintain control of its new medical school, which is set to open in September.
[…] Not everyone is convinced about the benefits of the restructuring plan. Rutgers-Camden’s faculty union released a statement condemning the plan to strip the campus of its Rutgers title.

The union instead called on legislators to endorse a “consortium model” that would allow Rutgers Camden and Rowan to share some services while maintaining their distinction.

“The loss of the Rutgers brand name for South Jersey, and the unnecessary costs of merger, would do more harm than good,” said Patrick Nowlan, executive director of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT.