Student Profile: Marc Cicchino



Marc Cicchino always felt a strong connection to Rutgers University. When he came to Rutgers as an undergraduate in 2004, he initially pursued a degree in business, but soon realized that this was not where his passion was and transitioned to studying English Education under the Five-Year Teacher Education Program at the Graduate School of Education (GSE). After graduating with his master’s degree, Marc continued his studies at the GSE as a doctoral student focusing on Design of Learning Environments.

Marc’s dissertation shed light on game-based learning and the process of how students are able to solve complex problems that are presented in unique ways through games. He focused on critical thinking during a game-based learning intervention which took place in an 8th grade social studies classroom. Specific aspects that he studied included student discourse and levels of critical thinking within conversations among students and with their teachers. His dissertation also included a self-designed, 15-hour professional-development curriculum for teachers. He had the opportunity implement the curriculum this past summer in the Roxbury Township School District where he currently serves as supervisor for humanities (English and Social Studies) for grades 7-12.

The inspiration behind studying game-based learning started with a paper that he completed while pursuing his master’s degree.

“Game-based learning was something that really sparked my interest,” Marc recalls. “When it came time to pick my dissertation topic, it just kept coming up.”  

The format of Marc’s dissertation project was unique. Instead of writing a traditional five chapter dissertation, he chose to complete a portfolio which enabled him to develop practical solutions and implement them in school settings. He is thrilled with the progress that the project has made and continues to revisit the teachers who participated in the program. He even had the opportunity to do a presentation about game-based learning at the 2013 New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Conference (NJPSA).

Looking back on his experience at the GSE, Marc is thankful of the opportunity to apply the skills that he acquired through his coursework in real-life classroom settings.

“I now have a pool of current research and resources that is incredibly important for my career in education,” said Marc. The GSE helped me become a good teacher and now that I’m interviewing teachers, I know that those who come from Rutgers are good candidates.”

To learn more about the doctoral programs at the GSE, click here.