In 2007, Rutgers University launched North America’s first doctoral-level program in Childhood Studies–a multidisciplinary program located at Rutgers’ Camden, NJ campus that also offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
The program’s creation was fantastic news: the program promised to serve as a pipeline for research and social action on issues relevant to children.
The fact that an institution as esteemed Rutgers saw value in a Childhood Studies program was a boost to our growing field (which also saw the creation of the Journal of Children in Media in 2007 and Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal in 2008).
Now, in 2012–a mere 5 years later–New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has endorsed a plan to merge Rutgers University at Camden, hostile-takeover-style, into neighboring Rowan University.
Jettisoning Childhood Studies from Rutgers would sever the program’s faculty and students from the resources available at Rutgers–which could cripple this groundbreaking program. Professor Daniel Cook, director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers, explains:
All of this is threatened by this “merger” which would take the resources and name of Rutgers away and thrust us into incredible uncertainty. We are hoping to make the case to the Rutgers Board of Governors that our program is something unique and valued not only by us but others and an important part of that value comes from our identity as Rutgers.
Indeed, he is correct: Childhood Studies has symbolic value beyond Rutgers’ walls. A blow to the program would be a symbolic blow to our field.
Do you believe in the importance of Childhood Studies–in the value of treating children’s lives as a subject worthy of serious study?
If so, please sign this petition to help keep Childhood Studies part of Rutgers University. Thank you!