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Mission & History
Felician is an independent co-educational Catholic/Franciscan College founded and sponsored by the Felician Sisters to educate a diverse population of students within the framework of a liberal arts tradition. Its mission is to provide a full complement of learning experiences, reinforced with strong academic and student development programs designed to bring students to their highest potential and prepare them to meet the challenges of the new century with informed minds and understanding hearts. The enduring purpose of Felician College is to promote a love for learning, a desire for God, self-knowledge, service to others, and respect for all creation.
Felician College, a co-educational liberal arts college, is a Catholic, Franciscan, private, independent institution for students representing diverse religious, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. The College operates on two campuses in Lodi and Rutherford, New Jersey. The College is one of the institutions of higher learning conducted by the Felician Sisters in the United States. Founded by the Felician Sisters of Lodi, New Jersey, it began as Immaculate Conception Normal School with the first summer session commencing on July 5, 1923. For more than a decade, the Normal School trained in-service teachers and qualified them for state certification. On May 27, 1935, the Normal School was raised to the status of a teacher training college approved by and affiliated with the Catholic University of America. The students who belonged to a religious order completed a maximum of seventy-two semester hours of their undergraduate work at the College and then transferred to the Catholic University of America, Seton Hall or Fordham Universities.
The institution became reorganized as a junior college in 1941, and on March 26, 1942, it was incorporated under the laws of the State of New Jersey as Immaculate Conception Junior College. In December 1963, the State Department of Education granted to the College the power to confer, in its own name, the degree of Associate in Arts. By September 1964, the College extended its curriculum to admit the first class of laywomen. At about the same time, St. Mary’s Hospital in Orange, New Jersey, having decided to expand its facilities and to replace the three-year nursing school with the two-year Associate in Arts program, transferred its nursing program to Immaculate Conception Junior College. The first class of nursing students was admitted in September 1965. In June 1967, the New Jersey State Department of Education authorized Immaculate Conception Junior College to offer a four-year program in Elementary Teacher Education under its new name, Felician College.
The dedication in May 1969 of two newly constructed facilities, the auditorium-administration-classroom building and the library, marked the completion of a physical expansion program begun in 1966. In 1970, the College began a continuing education program initiated for persons who chose to attend Felician College courses for college credit or audit, a workshop or a seminar. The New Jersey Department of Higher Education authorized Felician College to offer a two-year program in Medical Laboratory Technology in July 1973, a four-year Liberal Arts program in January 1974, and a four-year program in Special Education in 1975. Certificate programs in Handwriting Analysis and in Business were introduced in 1977 and 1978 respectively. An upper-division baccalaureate nursing program for Registered Nurses was instituted in 1979.
Felician College introduced certificate programs in Computer Programming and in Data Processing into its curricular offerings in September 1983. A Computer Science Center was established at this time. A Religious Studies Certificate Program was inaugurated in 1984; a Business certificate was introduced in 1985. In May 1986, Felician College became coeducational, accepting men and women into all programs and courses. Further expansion occurred in 1986 when Felician College began offering its Religious Studies Certificate Program at off-campus locations in the diocese of Metuchen. In 1987, Academic support services became available through the Center for Learning. In 1987, the College dedicated a newly constructed facility housing a Child Care Center and a Nursing Resource Center. In collaboration with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, a program of Cyto-technology, Medical Technology, and Toxicology was established in 1988.
In 1989, Felician College was authorized by the New Jersey Department of Higher Education to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. At this time, the Office of Continuing Education was restructured into a Division of Evening and Weekend Programs. The Nursing programs were expanded by the introduction of off-campus sites for Associate Degree in Nursing courses at Overlook Hospital (1988) and Bachelor of Science Nursing courses at Chilton Memorial Hospital (1989). In addition, an evening Associate Degree in Nursing Program was established (1990). In 1990, the College expanded its offerings to include an Honors program and Weekend Classes degree programs in Business Administration, Psychology, and Social Sciences. In 1991, the College implemented a Transition Year program with courses and tutorial support to help academically under-prepared students attain college-level competencies. In 1994, a comprehensive Developmental Studies program replaced the Transition Year program. In 1992, the College received grants from the New Jersey State Department of Higher Education to implement Community Service/Service Learning components in Honors courses. In 1993 and 1994, the College expanded its offerings to include concentrations in Biochemistry, Environmental Science, and Philosophy.
In 1994, the College began offering a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science as authorized by the New Jersey State Department of Higher Education. In September 1994, the College inaugurated Kirby Hall, 48,000 square feet of renovated convent space. In 1995, the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education approved the College’s amended mission to include the offering of graduate programs and authorized the implementation of a Master of Science degree program in Nursing, the College’s first Master’s degree program. The New Jersey Commission on Higher Education approved the College’s offering (1996), in con-junction with the University of Medicine and Dentistry (UMDNJ), the baccalaureate degree in Psychosocial Rehabilitation.
The College developed an Athletic Program for men and women’s basketball in 1996, followed by a men’s soccer team and women’s softball team. In 1996, the Master of Science Degree in Nursing was approved to offer a Family Nurse Practitioner Track and in 1999 an Adult Nurse Practitioner Track to meet the growing need for advanced practice nurses. The College’s first web page appeared in the fall of 1996. Subsequent semesters saw the broadening of Felician’s “web presence”, the increasing availability of the Internet and e-mail to our students, and the use of our site to inform, educate, and integrate all the members of our community. In 1997, the Commission approved new Bachelor of Arts degree programs in Computer Science, Philosophy, and in Management and Marketing. The newly created Office of Academic Support Services designed and implemented plans to achieve greater coherence and accountability in the areas of student advising, counseling, testing, tutoring, and Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In the fall of 1997, Felician College purchased the Rutherford Campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University. In 1997, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the New Jersey State Board of Nursing accredited the Generic BSN Program in Nursing. In 1997, the State approved the College’s offering of a Master’s Degree in Catechesis (Religious Education). This program prepares people for ministries that seek to make God’s word dynamic and intelligible to people at every stage in their lives. The President’s Council formally constituted the Felician College Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the Protection of Human Subjects on February 12, 1998. The introduction in the spring of 1998 of Distance Learning Courses (also made available through the New Jersey Virtual University) began offering students an alternative approach to selected classroom courses. In 2001, the College offered its first online Master’s degree in Religious Education. In 1998 a Post Master’s Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate Program began. In 2000, a Post-Master’s Adult Nurse Practitioner Certification Program was added.
One of the first programs launched by the newly introduced Center for Academic Support Services was the Jump Start Program (summer 1998) - of workshops designed to enhance both the academic and survival skills of new students. In 1999, the Master of Science in Nursing Advisory Committee was established. In 1999, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredited the Baccalaureate and Master of Science Degree in Nursing Programs. State approval of M.A. programs in Teacher Education (1999) and English (2000) have helped the College broaden its commitment to a rising graduate student population.
Success at Felician, an accelerated Business Management degree program aimed at the working adult, began offering courses in the spring of 2000. In the spring of 2000, a record number of students - 1328 - were attending Felician College. By the fall of 2001, the College’s steadily increasing enrollment had reached a new record of 1724 students. In 2001, the Nursing Advisory Board replaced the MSN Advisory Committee. The Nursing Advisory Board provides input on all nursing programs. Fall of 2001 witnessed the inauguration of the new Core Curriculum. Consisting of four courses and centered on Franciscan charism, the Core requires students to complete at least 20 hours of service learning before graduation. The New Jersey Commission on Higher Education approved (fall 2001) the B.A. degree in Mathematics with P-12 Certification, the B.A. degree in Early Childhood Education and, in cooperation with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, a collaborative program leading to the Ph.D. in Physical Therapy. In fall 2001, the Business Department received accreditation from the International Association of Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).
The Felician College Men’s Soccer team (started in 1996) won two Conference championships in 2000 & 2001 and two Regional Championships in 2000 & 2001, with two National Tournament appearances. The first online degree program, the Master of Arts in Religious Education, was offered in 2001. In 2001, the title of Division Director was changed to Division Dean. In 2002, the New Jersey State Board of Nursing approved the phase out of the Associate Degree in Nursing Program as of December 2004. New and transfer students enrolled in the Generic BSN Program. The Felician College Athletic program gained full membership in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II (fall 2002). In 2002, the College initiated a Certificate Program in Liturgy in cooperation with the Diocese of Newark.
In 2002, the New Jersey State Nurses Association accredited the Division of Nursing and Allied Health as an approved provider of continuing education. In 2003, the Business Department became the Division of Business and Management Sciences. In 2003, the Division of Nursing and Allied Health changed its name to the Division of Nursing and Health Management and reorganized its departments to Associate/ Baccalaureate Nursing; Upper Division RN-BSN, and Graduate Nursing. The Fast Track RN-BSN program began in the fall semester of 2003. Designed for the working nurse seeking an accelerated pace of study, it is a 19-month, one day per week program for Registered Nurses with an Associate Degree (or Diploma) in Nursing. In 2003, the New Jersey State Department of Education approved the School Nurse/Health Education Post Baccalaureate Certificate Program. The first class of students was admitted in January 2004. In the summer of 2003, low enrollment forced the closure of the Medical Laboratory Program.
The Office for Mission Integration was established (2004) to promote the continuance of the Felician Franciscan identity and heritage of the College in all aspects of the collegiate experience. In 2004, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredited the Master of Science Degree in Nursing Program - Online. The MSN Program Online was later approved by the Middle States Association of Higher Education. In the fall of 2004, the College began offering a B.A. in Communications and a Social Science degree with a concentration in Criminal Justice. The Associate Degree in Nursing Program graduated its last class on December 30, 2004 and closed. Students seeking to study nursing apply to the Generic BSN Program. During 2004-2005 the College established articulated programs in Physician Assistant Studies (with UMDNJ), Optometry (with the SUNY State College of Optometry), Podiatry (with the New York College of Podiatric Medicine), Chiropractic (with New York Chiropractic College), Audiology (with Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania), and Occupational Therapy (with Sage Graduate School). The position of Associate Dean was created in 2005.
In fall 2005 the College received State approval for a B.A. Degree in Education with an Instructional Certificate: Elementary Endorsement (K-5) and Elementary Endorsement with Specialization (K-8 Science).
The Communications Department began offering courses (fall 2005) in the newly renovated Little Theatre on the Rutherford Campus. The theater features digital video projection and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. The theater is also used by student groups and academic departments for shows, theatrical performances, and special academic presentations. Early in 2006, the College received approval to offer the degree of Master of Business Administration (MBA).
In the spring of 2006, construction was started on WRFC, the student-run, internet-based college radio station. Web-casting started in September of 2006.
A Clinical Nursing Residency Program for senior nursing students was implemented in spring 2006 in partnership with the Saint Barnabas Health Care System. The first RN-BSN Fast Track Program cohort was offered off-site at East Orange General Hospital in August 2006. In the fall of 2006, the College began offering a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. In the fall of 2006, the Division of Teacher Education began the TEAC national accreditation process. In the fall of 2006, the Division of Nursing and Health Management expanded its Departments to include Undergraduate Nursing Program, Accelerated BSN Programs for RN’s, and a Graduate Nursing Program. In the fall of 2006, the Division of Teacher Education expanded the Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education (K-5) and Pre-kindergarten- through Grade 3 (P-3) offering to off-campus programs in Paterson and Raritan Valley Community College. Additionally, a Bachelor of Arts in Education for the Working Adult Program initiated at the Rutherford campus in Elementary (K-5) and P-3 with a co-major in English.
In 2006-2007, the Division of Teacher Education and the Division of Arts and Sciences began additional development of K-12 education programs in the areas of Fine Arts, History and Science. In 2007, the New Jersey State Nurses Association accredited the Division of Nursing and Health Management as an approved provider of continuing nursing education for a period of three years. In the spring of 2007, the Division of Teacher Education received national accreditation from the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Also in 2007, the School Nurse/Teacher of Health Education Post Baccalaureate Certificate Pro-gram was transferred to the Division of Teacher Education from the Division of Nursing and Health Management. The College’s Franciscan-Felician Center was inaugurated in 2007.
In the fall 2007, the Division of Teacher Education announced its new Master of Arts in Education-al Leadership Degree. The New Jersey Department of Education Approved the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership in May 2008. In the fall of 2007, Freshmen Year Experience became a required course for all first time, full-time freshmen. In spring of 2008, the College approved the addition of an Education track in the Master of Science Degree in Nursing program beginning spring 2009. In spring 2008 the Gerontology program became a free-standing minor available to students majoring in any discipline, and a Liberal Studies major with concentrations in Humanities and Global Peace and Justice Studies was approved. Courses in Philosophy and Communications were also add-end to the graduation requirements for Arts and Sciences majors.
The first East Orange General Hospital off-campus cohort of RN-BSN Fast Track nurses graduated in May of 2008. Also in May of 2008, an off-campus RN-BSN Fast Track cohort began at Monmouth Medical Center. The Division of Teacher Education and the Division of Arts and Science are completing the development of K-12 education programs in the areas of Fine Arts, History and Science. The K-12 English program is in the development process. A transfer articulation agreement was signed with Bergen Community College for course work in Psychology, Communications, Fine Arts and Graphic Design, and an agreement was signed with Sussex County.
In the Spring of 2008, the College approved the addition of an Education track in the Master of Science Degree in Nursing program beginning Winter 2009. And the Division of Teacher Education and the Division of Arts and Science received state approval of K-12 education programs in the areas of English, the Fine Arts, History and Science.
In the fall of 2008, the Division of Teacher Education and the Division of Arts and Science received approval from the New Jersey Department of Education to offer Secondary Degree programs for Teacher of Art ( K-12), Teacher of Biology ( K-12), Teacher of Earth Science ( K-12), Teacher of History ( K-12) and Teacher of English ( K-12). The Teacher of Music ( K-12) is in process of completion. In November 2008, the B.A. in Music was given State approval; the degree program will be launched in September of 2009.
In fall 2008 the Division of Business and Management Science began to offer Bachelor of Science degrees in management, marketing, and accounting.
A transfer articulation agreement was signed in 2008 with Bergen Community College for course work in Psychology, Communications, Fine Arts and Graphic Design, and an agreement was signed with Sussex County Community College to begin a Bachelor’s Degree Completion Program in Criminal Justice.
In January 2009, the Fast Track RN/BSN program began a cohort at Mercer County Community College. By fall 2009, the SUCCESS program was completely replaced by the accelerated degree completion program in Business Administration. And in September, 2009 a joint degree program leading to the Bachelor of Science degree in Health Information Management was begun with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Health Related Professions.
In the fall of 2009, the Division of Teacher Education received national accreditation from the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Also, the Criminal Justice Program became a separate department within the Division of Arts and Sciences. In September 2009, the Fast Track RN/BSN program began a cohort at Sussex County Community College. This was followed, in January 2010, by the beginning of a cohort at Middlesex County Community College.
In 2009, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredited the Baccalaureate of Science Degree in Nursing Program for a full ten-year accreditation. In November of 2009, in honor of her twenty-five years of selfless dedication to the College, Becton Hall (Rutherford Campus) was officially renamed Sister Theresa Mary Martin Hall.
The first Monmouth Medical Center off-campus cohort of the RN/BSN Fast Track nurses graduated in May 2010. Graduating at the same time (and from the same program) was the off-campus cohort from Mercer County Community College.
In spring 2010, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Educational approved the five-year continuous improvement progress report for the Master of Science Degree in Nursing Program. In addition, the accelerated Bachelor’s-to BSN Program for working adults with a non-nursing degree began as a cohort program. Also, the Division of Nursing and Health Management established an Exploratory Committee to study the feasibility of offering a Doctoral Degree in Nursing Practice (DNP). In June 2010, a joint degree program leading to the Bachelor of Science degree in Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Psychology was begun with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Health Related Professions.