By Briana Keenan
Starting in fall 2025, students at the College enrolled in the elementary education program will only need 30 credits for their content area, according to Tabitha Dell’Angelo, interim dean of the School of Education. This change does not impact secondary education majors.
Under chapter nine of the New Jersey Department of Education, the proposed policy would allow many students in the program to take eight classes in their dual major instead of 10, but there are some exceptions, according to Dell’Angelo. The two extra courses would leave room for students to take electives, though many of the details are not yet finalized.
“We have, in the state of New Jersey, a high need for teachers of Spanish,” Dell’Angelo said. “The Spanish major will require the full dual major.”
Students that enjoy taking more classes in their dual major can use the electives to do so, but this change would also allow for students to explore other classes that they may not have been able to take.
“There’s so little flexibility,” Dell’Angelo said of the current curriculum. “It’s kind of a heartbreak to not have any room to explore something that you might just be passionate about.”
Those that are already enrolled in the elementary education program at the College will finish the program they started, according to the interim dean. This change will start for all incoming students in the fall of 2025.
The classes that can be used as electives are not yet known, but the School of Education is looking into several options.
“There are some more education classes that could really benefit students,” she said. “There could be more classes in art and music, better utilizing technology, utilizing AI…we don’t really know yet.”
The electives can also be used as credit towards other degree aspects, including a master’s, certifications and minors.
“TCNJ allows you to take up to two or three graduate courses as an undergraduate for undergraduate tuition,” she said. “So now, you can use those electives and start getting your [English as a Second Language] certification, or do a different minor.”
Current students reacted to the change and commented on their current program.
“I want to expand and venture out more,” said Brianna Littler, a freshman elementary education and English major. “Like, if I wanted to take a psychology course, just to spice it up, that would’ve been nice.”
“I definitely would have preferred that chance because I feel like this would have given me more space in my schedule,” said Marissa Pagnillo, a freshman elementary education/special education and psychology major. “It’s a lot to juggle with finding classes in both majors and worrying about the requirements for the core classes.”
“Even as a freshman, I am worried that I am not going to have enough time to take all of my required math classes,” said Miranda Fabisch, a freshman elementary education and math major.
Dell’Angelo expressed the uncertainty of change, but feels that this one will benefit students at the College and prepare them for future employment.
“We know that students are really happy with our current program and employers are really happy with our graduates, so the idea of change is a little anxiety producing,” she said. “I think that if we can get past the anxiety of change, this will be a positive evolution of the program.”
Editor’s Note: This story was updated to clarify that students in the elementary education program will need 30 credits for their content area beginning in fall 2025.