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April 24, 2017

Dear CSCU community,

I am writing today to provide a brief update on the Students First planning process. We are busy forming teams in six key areas to design and implement the administrative consolidation strategy. Many of you have reached out to volunteer and the Community College Governance Assembly and labor unions representing the community colleges, SUOAF and the CSU Faculty Leadership Group are identifying representatives to serve in addition to subject matter experts from the campuses and system office. We will make an announcement on the teams in early May after all the recommendations have been received.

In addition, I mentioned that I would be forming a Steering Committee to join me in reviewing all recommendations and savings projections from the teams. I am pleased to report that the following individuals have agreed to serve on the Steering Committee:

  • President Joe Bertolino, Southern CT State University
  • President Zulma Toro, Central CT State University
  • President Jim Lombella, Asnuntuck Community College
  • President Paul Broadie, Housatonic Community College
  • Holly Palmer, BOR Student Advisory Committee Chair
  • Dan Barrett, Western CT State University, Faculty Senate Chair
  • Michael Buccilli, Gateway Community College, Director of Counseling and Student Services

Lastly, I am pleased to announce that President Mike Rooke has agreed to lead the effort on the community college consolidation strategy working closely with the presidents and management of the colleges. That work is getting underway as we speak and there will be future opportunities for campus community feedback into that planning process as well.

I hope to see many of you at the upcoming Town Halls. The input we've received from the 6 sessions held to date has been very helpful and we look forward to hearing your ideas about how to make our system the best it can be.


April 13, 2017

Dear CSCU Community,

Last week I recommended to the Board of Regents two management strategies to help address our system's fiscal challenges. One strategy is consolidation of administrative functions and the other is an organizational consolidation for our community colleges. The Board approved both strategies along with the savings target for each. These strategies are intended to deal with our structural deficit which only increases in the next few years and threatens the affordability and accessibility of our institutions.

As I've learned from my first Town Hall meetings, there is significant uncertainty and some confusion about the strategies. So first, I would like to provide some clarification. The consolidation will integrate administrative, not instructional or student support, functions across all institutions as well as the system office to eliminate redundancies and ultimately run more efficiently. The target savings of this recommended strategy is approximately $13 million. The second approved strategy is an operational consolidation of leadership and management of our 12 community colleges. The savings target for this recommendation is approximately $28 million. To be clear, reductions in faculty and staff that directly serve students are not included in either of these strategies and no campuses or student support or academic programs are being closed.

I believe these strategies support our common goal of providing our students with the high quality learning experience they need and deserve. It is a critical step to putting our system on a sustainable and predictable path forward and ultimately enhances teaching, learning and the high quality academic programs we provide our students.

Now our attention turns to the important work of finalizing the design of "Students First" and initiating its implementation. To move forward with these strategies, I am establishing implementation teams for specific administrative areas: Fiscal Affairs, Facilities, Human Resources, Information Technology, Institutional Research, and Financial Aid Processing. Shortly I will be announcing the creation of a separate implementation team to address the community college management consolidation.

Each team will be led by a system office manager in the selected functional area with teams made up of subject matter experts from the campuses. In addition, members, either elected or nominated representing the faculty, professional staff and other campus employees, will be invited to participate.

The teams will be charged to assess the current organizational structure, inventory campus activities, ascertain staff skills available through the system, identify technology supports needed to facilitate streamlining of processes, and document opportunities to integrate functions. I will establish a Steering Committee representing college and university presidents to join me in reviewing all recommendations and savings projections from the teams.

The process for each implementation team will be shared on this website including:

  • written documents that include the charge, meeting procedures, and schedule,
  • list of members,
  • meeting times, dates and locations, and;
  • meeting minutes.

Individuals are encouraged to provide their suggestions to Your input as CSCU community members will be critical to designing this plan and helping to move the system forward.

The work of each team will start immediately with members identified and recommended to my office and meetings starting in April. An implementation framework and timeline will be presented to the Board of Regents by their June meeting so we will be working as quickly as possible to get each team established.

As I said in my open letter to the CSCU community last week, building a sustainable organizational model will be a monumental task, but a critical one for our system's future. But we must act now in order to thrive in the future.

Thank you in advance for your hard work and support. Together we can give our institutions the opportunity to grow and be even greater than they are today with a stable financial future.


Mark E. Ojakian Signature
Mark E. Ojakian
Tuesday, April 11 Tunxis CC 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 13 Manchester CC 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Monday, April 17 Norwalk CC 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Tuesday, April 18 Asnuntuck CC 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Wednesday, April 19 Southern CSU 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Wednesday, April 19 Gateway CC 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Thursday, April 20 Western CSU 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Monday, April 24 Naugatuck Valley CC 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday, April 25 Central CSU 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Wednesday, April 26 Quinebaug Valley CC 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Wednesday, April 26 Three Rivers CC 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Thursday, April 27 Eastern CSU 1:15 - 3:15 p.m.
Monday, May 1 COSC 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Tuesday, May 2 Northwestern CC 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Thursday, May 4 Housatonic CC 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Friday, May 5 Capital CC 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Monday, May 8 Middlesex CC 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Administrative Consolidation - System Wide

Objective: A single administrative infrastructure to eliminate redundant functions system wide and provide shared services to all universities and colleges

  • Consolidate "back office" functions such as purchasing, human resources, information technology, and facilities for the universities, colleges and system office
  • Reduce number of non-student facing personnel
  • Leverage subject matter expertise across system
  • Savings target approximately $13M of total administrative costs (4% cut)
Requires 1-2 years for implementation and realization of target savings; some implementation costs will be incurred

Organizational Consolidation - Community Colleges

Objective: One centrally managed college with campuses statewide

  • Phased in consolidation of leadership and management
  • Retains unique mission of colleges and local community connections
  • Savings target approximately $28M (20% cut)
  • Requires 1-2 years for implementation and realization of target savings; some implementation costs will be incurred
  • Similar initiatives across the country