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CSCU Student Success Center

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The CSCU Student Success Center (CSCU SSC) works to organize the state's 12 community colleges around common action to accelerate their efforts to improve persistence and completion of degrees and certificates.


The CSCU Community College system has established a set of councils that serve as communities of practice within the system and that offer collective expertise in particular areas. These groups meet periodically to share best practices and to recommend and assist in the implementation of system policy designed to improve student outcomes. A list of councils and points of contact are identified below.

Council Description Chair/Convener
Academic Affairs Deans Council

Group is comprised of the chief academic officers of the 12 CT Community Colleges.

Sandra Palmer
Manchester Community College
Admissions Council Group is comprised of the directors of enrollment management and admissions. Key Banner stakeholder group. Cynthia Zeldner
Associate Director of Admission
Manchester Community College
Career Council Group is comprised of campus leaders that provide career and job placement guidance for students. Marianne Fontaine
Director of Career/Veteran Services
Naugatuck Valley Community College
Counseling Council Group is comprised of individuals that provide personal, academic, and career counseling services on campus.  Services offered will be from campus to campus. Vivian Craven
Tunxis Community College
Disabilities Council Group is comprised of campus leads that coordinate the provision of services for students with documented physical, behavioral, and learning disabilities. Valerie Hamilton-Brodie
Learning Disability Specialist
Tunxis Community College
Financial Aid Council Group is comprised of campus and system financial aid directors.  Key Banner stakeholder group. Gennaro DeAngelis
Director of Financial Aid
Asnuntuck Community College
Registrars Council Group is comprised of the registrars and staff members responsible for registration related activity on campuses.  Key Banner stakeholder group. Susan Salowitz
Middlesex Community College
Retention Council Group is comprised of campus representatives that coordinate programs and services that promote student retention, persistence, and completion. Jim Buccini
Director of Student Development
Gateway Community College
Student Activities Council Group is comprised of staff members that have responsibility for student activities and student government oversight. Kathy Chapman
Director of Student Activities
Northwestern CT Community College
Student Affairs Deans Council Group is comprised of the chief student affairs officers of the 12 CT Community Colleges. Adrienne Maslin
Dean of Student Affairs
Middlesex Community College
Transfer Council Group is comprised of campus leaders that coordinate transfer systems, programs, and articulation agreements with four year institutions. Sabrina Adams-Roberts
Capital Community College
Veterans Council Group is comprised of the coordinators of veteran and military family services. Kellie Byrd-Danso (2020 Road Map Lead)
Director of Career/Veteran Services
Gateway Community College

About the CSCU SSC

The CSCU SSC provides technical assistance to colleges in the form of data driven research, identification of national high impact practices, and work with existing BOR faculty, staff, and administrators engaged in this work.


Founded in Fall 2014, the CSCU SSC aims to foster a collaborative process in which faculty, staff, students, and administration work together to develop a culture of academic and personal success for community college students across the state of Connecticut. Consistent with the mission of our colleges, we aim to promote communities in which students are encouraged to succeed and excel as they work towards achieving their goals of degree and certificate completion.


The CSCU SSC received a competitive $500,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation to initiate this work. In addition to supporting personnel to carry out the mission and goals of the CSCU SSC, the grant supports the convening of statewide faculty and staff meetings, student success summits, and professional mini grants to Connecticut's 12 community colleges.


  • Enhance existing and establish new student success knowledge communities through the regular exchange of information at system professional development activities and meetings.
  • Promote innovation and continuous improvement through the collection and dissemination of data and performance metrics.
  • Develop a sustained student-success plan based on the needs of Connecticut community colleges and research and analysis of nationally recognized high impact practices and initiatives.
  • Assist in the identification of areas where BOR policy and/or state statue should be developed or amended to enhance student learning outcomes and pathways to completion.

Partners: Kresge Foundation & Jobs for the Future

By virtue of its grantee status with the Kresge Foundation, the CSCU SSC joins a group of small but influential Student Success Centers in other states (Arkansas, California, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and Texas) that together comprise a growing national network organized by Jobs for the Future (JFF), a policy based organization located in Boston and Washington D.C. JFF has played a leadership role in the nationwide institutional adoption of many of the research-based high impact practices learned from the past decade of work involving the Completion by Design (CBD), Achieving the Dream (ATD) initiatives, and other national student success movements.

Staff/Human Resources

The CSCU SSC is staffed by an executive director, an assistant director, and a grant administrator. With regularity, graduate interns provide project based assistance on various initiatives originating from the CSCU SSC. The executive director serves as an ex-officio member of the BOR statewide Dean of Student Affairs Council and participates in regularly scheduled meetings of the BOR Academic Leadership Team to ensure the work of the CSCU SSC is informed by and aligned with system student success initiatives.

Men of Color Initiative

Many states have launched statewide initiatives aimed at improving the academic success rates of males of color enrolled in state public colleges and universities (California, North Carolina, Georgia, etc.) At the federal level in 2013, President Obama recognized the need for concrete strategies to improve success rates of this cohort and launched the My Brother's Keeper Initiative. An initiative listing and useful resource links are identified below.

The CT Student Success Center for Community Colleges has launched a similar initiative aimed at improving the academic success rates of African American and Latino males enrolled in our system and will be convening stakeholders interesting in engaging in the work.


Men of Color Initiative Description
Minority Male Community College Collaborative (M2C3) Many community colleges have programs, initiatives, or general efforts designed to enhance outcomes for historically underrepresented and underserved men, particularly men of color. However, only 17% and 15% of Black and Latino men earn a certificate, degree, or transfer from a community college to a four-year institution in six years. Since 2011, M2C3 has partnered with over 45 community colleges in eight states to support their efforts in addressing challenges facing men of color. We are the first research and practice center specifically focused on advancing student success outcomes for men of color in community colleges.
Georgia Highland College Georgia Highlands African-American and Minority Male Excellence (GHAME). GHAME is part of a statewide initiative to increase the recruiting, retention and graduation rates of African American male and Latino male students.
The University System of Georgia African American Male Initiative The University System of Georgia African American Male Initiative program is widely credited with being the first-ever statewide effort specifically focused on increasing post-secondary educational attainment among Black males.
Houston Community College HCC began its Minority Male Initiative to counter the on-going crisis throughout America of a diminishing presence of minority males on the campuses of higher learning, in corporate America and in entrepreneurial endeavors.
Central Piedmont Community College MAN UP is a Minority Male Mentoring Program that provides comprehensive activities that promote the personal development, academic improvement and other social and educational advancement needs of students at Central Piedmont Community College.
University of North Carolina The Minority Male Bridge to Success Project is an Initiative of the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC Chapel Hill in partnership with the Global Scholars academy based in Durham, North Carolina. Bridge to Success is designed to support and enhance the strengths in minority males while addressing the risk factors that exist at various stages in their life course beginning in infancy and continuing through early adulthood.
Maricopa Community College The Male Empowerment Network (MEN) is designed to improve the retention and degree completion rates of its minority male students.
University of Texas at Austin The University of Texas at Austin has formed a Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color.
Institutional Efforts to Improve Black Male Student Achievement: A Standards-Based Approach The March-April 2012 issue of Change, The Magazine of Higher Learning, identified a set of eight useful standards recommended for use in programs designed to improve outcomes for males of color.

Advisory Board

The CSCU SSC maintains an Advisory Board comprised of presidents, chief academic officers, chief student affairs officers, institutional researchers, faculty, staff, students, and non-profit and business leaders. This group meets quarterly to provide guidance and support to the CSCU SSC. Dr. David Levinson, BOR vice president for CT Community Colleges and president of Norwalk Community College, serves as Advisory Board Chair.

Name Title Organization Town/City
Doris ArringtonDean of Student AffairsCapital Community CollegeHartford
Sarah BarzeeChief Talent OfficerCT State Department of EducationHartford
James BucciniDirector of Student DevelopmentGateway Community CollegeNew Haven
Tommi DeMichaelStudentStudent Advisory CommitteeStafford
Carlos FigueroaVice PresidentTalent Acquisition TravelersHartford
Mary Ellen JukoskiPresidentThree Rivers Community CollegeNorwich
Margaret (Meg) LeakeDirector, Learning CenterCentral CT State UniversityNew Britain
David LevinsonPresidentNorwalk Community CollegeNorwalk
James LombellaPresidentAsnuntuck Community CollegeEnfield
Irene Rios-KnaufDean of Academic AffairsNaugatuck Valley Community CollegeWaterbury
Hector RiveraChief Operating OfficerOur Piece of the PieHartford
Michael RookeDean of Academic AffairsTunxis Community CollegeFarmington
Judy WallaceFaculty Representative (FAC)Middlesex Community CollegeMiddletown
Dudley WilliamsDirector of Corporate Citizenship and DiversityGE Asset ManagementStamford

Student Complaints & Request for Review Process

In compliance with the Higher Education Opportunities Act of 2008, the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) investigates Request for Review of all written and signed student complaints against the colleges and universities in the CSCU system. Additionally, CSCU also provides prospective and enrolled students with contact information for filing complaints with our accrediting agency and other appropriate state agencies.

Initiating a Request for Review

In order for the CSCU system to consider a Request for Review, the following must be true:

  • The student has exhausted all available grievance procedures established by the institution.
  • The student did not receive a satisfactory resolution and is contacting CSCU as a last resort in the grievance process.
  • The student has submitted the claim in writing to CSCU. The student complaint must provide CSCU with a detailed description of the claim(s), including dates, times, and full names of all involved, as well as the actions taken by both the student and the school to resolve the matter.
  • The student has signed the Request for Review, electronically, or by signature, attesting to the truth and accuracy of the request.
  • By signing the request, the student acknowledges that CSCU may share the information provided with the school or other relevant organizations, in order to help resolve the dispute. CSCU does not guarantee a resolution resulting from the submission or its investigation into the allegation(s).

Upon receiving a Request for Review, CSCU will determine whether the matter being disputed falls within its jurisdiction, based on the elements stated above. If it does, CSCU initiates an investigation into the allegation(s). If preliminary findings indicate an inconsistency with CSCU policy by the institution, CSCU will resolve the request administratively through mediated discussion. All parties are notified in writing of the outcome of the investigation. If the claim(s) in the Request for Review is outside of CSCU jurisdiction, it may be directed to the accrediting body, or to another agency that is authorized to resolve the matter, if appropriate.

CSCU will not investigate anonymous Request for Reviews.

Filing a Request for Review

Request for Reviews can be filed electronically via the online submission form link below. The online form also permits students to submit supporting evidence and documentation electronically.
Request for Review Form

The student and/or the institution may be contacted during the investigation to submit documented evidence regarding the complaint, which may include but is not limited to, copies of enrollment documentation, contracts, syllabi, receipts, financial aid notices, promissory notes, or other relevant correspondence.

Students should be aware that they have the right to seek advice from a private attorney.

Questions regarding a Request for Review can sent to

Accrediting Agency

New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The link provides information for students to address public comments, complaints against affiliated institutions, and complaints against the Commission.

State of Connecticut

The link to access the complaint form for the State of Connecticut is located at the Connecticut Attorney General’s website: