The College of New Jersey’s academic tradition reaches back to 1855 when it was established by the state legislature as the New Jersey State Normal School. It was the first teacher training school in the state and the ninth in the nation. Governor Rodman Price, sometimes called the founder of the New Jersey Normal School, promoted the idea of a training institute for New Jersey’s teachers and mobilized support among influential state leaders.
Originally located on Clinton Avenue in Trenton, the Normal School flourished in the latter 1800s, expanding both its academic offerings and physical facilities. In 1925, the first four-year baccalaureate degree program was established. This change marked the beginning of TCNJ’s transition from a normal school to a teachers’ college and was accompanied by a change in physical surroundings. In 1928, a beautiful 210-acre tract of land in Ewing Township was purchased as a new site for the College.
Today, the School of Education is made up of four departments (Early Childhood & Elementary Education, Education Administration & Secondary Education, Special Education, Language & Literacy, and Counselor Education), the Center for Sensory & Complex Disabilities, a certification office, and the STEP (Support for Teacher Education Programs) Office, which coordinates student field placements. The School of Education is housed in the Education Building, a three-story, 72,000 square-foot building opened in 2012, with twenty-one standard and specialized Smart classrooms, a STEM classroom, model classrooms for Early Childhood and Elementary education students, a computer lab, a 165-seat auditorium, a seminar room, an observation room for counselor education, a multipurpose room, a rooftop terrace, several student lounges, and a café.