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September 2014
Board of Regents President Gregory W. Gray First Monday

Sept. 8, 2014

This edition of First Monday is a first in itself: It represents the first "State of the System" that I plan to send to you annually at this time each year. It is intended to provide you with my thoughts as we look ahead to the coming academic year (my second), and assess the progress we have made during the last 12 months. I understand each college president does a similar review at their "opening of school" address.

To begin with, I would say we have developed a greater level of stability at the administrative level across the System. Today, after undertaking rigorous searches, we have hired three new presidents James Lombella, Asnuntuck Community College, Dr. Carlee Drummer, Quinebaug Valley Community College and Dr. Mary Ellen Jukoski at Three Rivers Community College. We have also just begun our fourth presidential search at Housatonic Community College, to fill the position formerly occupied with distinction by President Anita Gliniecki. In addition, a number of new hires at the System office have also added stability here - Dr. Michael Gargano (Provost & Vice President); Liz Caswell (Chief of Staff); Erika Steiner (CFO); Dr. William Gammell (Interim Director of Policy, Research and Strategic Planning); Joe Tolisano (Chief Information Officer) and Michael Kozlowski (Director of Marketing and Public Affairs). These changes and additions have provided us the stability needed to confront our next challenge - the further maturation of Connecticut's Community Colleges, State Universities and Charter Oak State College through Transform CSCU 2020.

At this point in our journey with Transform, I am amazed by how it has evolved. From an initial idea formed in July of 2013, through the Excel CT phase, to Governor Malloy's $125 million down payment on Transform CSCU 2020, it has culminated in the launch of our planning efforts this past May. The seed we planted has taken root and grown quickly into a strong and sturdy young tree. As we develop along with it, we will experience the synergistic effect it has on the System, making us stronger than the sum of our parts. We will have to be, because extraordinary change is also occurring in higher education across the country, a game changing environment the likes of which we have not seen before:
  • Funding challenges abound - the era of education spending growth has ended, and is not likely to return during our professional lives;
  • Many states face high school enrollment declines (1.8%/year in Connecticut);
  • Remediation has become a requisite for students who arrive from high school unprepared for the rigors of higher education;
  • Time to degree no longer follows the traditional model - economics, family and job demands, and other external realities have caused colleges to become increasingly flexible in facilitating completion;
  • The cost of Higher Education - continuing to rise, putting an Associate or Bachelor degree out of reach for many;
  • The increasing interest in, and need for, online programs.
And there's no cessation in sight.

So, as the pace of change accelerates in higher education generally, Transform is accelerating change internally, engendering discussion, and indeed some suspicion and anxiety. It's also raising a logical and understandable question, "Is this the wrong time for a program like Transform CSCU 2020?" My answer is unequivocally "No." For it's my belief that the only way we can survive, thrive and indeed excel as the Connecticut state higher education system is through transformation. The Plan will position us to make the necessary modifications in academics and infrastructure, enabling us to make better use of our scarce resources.

The Board of Regents remains solidly and enthusiastically behind Transform, for the most compelling of reasons-our students. Students are the reason we are here, and the reason why the status quo is unacceptable. They truly represent the future, and we have the awesome and compelling responsibility of helping them realize it.

Transform has 36 initiatives all of which are important. It includes a constant commitment for enrollment growth through new marketing strategies, expanding our target marketing and other innovative appeals to enrollment management.

Innovation too must be a guiding principle for our future. Using technology in the new smart classrooms will provide faculty unprecedented opportunities for teaching and reaching our students. The P-Tech and early college programs will provide pathways for students and the GBTGA program opportunities for returning students.

Speaking of innovation, I am excited to share the news that CSCU's Advanced Manufacturing Centers Initiative was chosen as the Northeastern Economic Development Association's (NEDA) Program of the Year and is being recognized at NEDA's 2014 Annual conference for its program longevity since the creation of the first Advanced Manufacturing Center at Asnuntuck Community College in 1998, and for successfully duplicating the initiative at Housatonic , Naugatuck Valley, and Quinebaug Valley Community Colleges. I'd like to share the video shown at the NEDA conference: NEDA Program of the Year.

So I ask you to look ahead at the next 12 months not with distrust, frustration or anxiety, but with energy and excitement. At this time of great change we are presented with great opportunity, to engage and contribute, and to help the tree we planted become stronger and taller.

With that as a backdrop, I would like to demonstrate, through each of your institution's achievements during the past year, why I believe the state of the system is sound. As you read through the following, I am confident you will agree with me.

Asnuntuck Community College
Asnuntuck Community College's (ACC) Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center (AMTC) achieved National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) Recertification in August 2014. The 6,500-square-foot Welding & Fabrication Center is scheduled for completion in October, and a 25,000-square-foot addition to the AMTC was approved for bond funding, with the project scheduled to begin in 2015-16.

A fifth-year program in Advanced Manufacturing Technology was implemented for middle school students throughout the region. These students will be able to earn an associate degree in Advanced Manufacturing within one year of graduating high school. An AMTC Externship Program is also offered to public school administrators, counselors, and faculty to experience what this career path can offer students.

A new accelerated Winter Session semester was offered to help students complete their degrees faster and to create new enrollments. Fifty four percent were students progressing towards a degree, and 46 percent were students taking classes to transfer to a nursing program, high school partnership students, or those returning to ACC after a gap of several years. ACC also celebrated the 15 anniversary of its Freshwater Poetry Journal.

ACC received approval of veteran's benefits eligibility from the Connecticut Department of Higher Education for ACC's Continuing Education certificate healthcare programs. The college also received two prestigious designations recognizing the college's outstanding services for military and veteran students from Military Times Edge magazine and G.I. Jobs magazine.

ACC secured $250,000 of new scholarship funding in year one for S.N.A.P. (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients and provided scholarships to more than 100 students in ACC's Healthcare certificate licensure programs. This award is anticipated to increase to $300,000 for Fiscal Year 2015-16.

Capital Community College
Capital Community College (CCC) is part of the Northeast Resilience Consortium to aid workforce development. A $2.3 million grant from the Trade Assistance Act and the Labor Department - focusing on veterans and dislocated workers - is allowing CCC to expand programs in green construction, emergency services, health and nutrition, cybersecurity and IT. This grant follows receipt of $1.3 million in labor department funds for a Health Careers Initiative.

A seven-year partnership with Travelers Insurance involves CCC interns in the insurance and financial services field through the Crossroads to Careers program, a model for partnerships CCC is developing with other employers. Crossroads is a tuition-free financial literacy and responsibility course launched with support from Guardian Life Insurance. Its success has led to a new year of the course in 2014-15.

CCC received a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award, a "Military Friendly School" designation, and was designated a "leader college" among two year schools in the nation to reduce achievement gaps among educationally disadvantaged students.

Planning and recruiting began for The Capital Community College Magnet Academy that will give 11th and 12th graders the opportunity to concurrently earn their high school diploma and complete credits for an associate degree.

Central Connecticut State University
In March, Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) welcomed President Barack Obama to campus as he joined Governors Dannel Malloy, Daval Patrick, Peter Shumlin, and Lincoln Chaffee, as well as United States Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, to rally support for the minimum wage increase.

CCSU was also the recipient of the largest bequest in the university's history. The C.J. Huang family bequeathed a $6.5 million gift to benefit the existing Huang scholarship fund and establish a new fund supporting student scholarships in the CCSU schools of Business, Education & Professional Studies, and Graduate Studies. The gift will also provide supplemental support for a proposed new student recreation facility.

To provide a gateway for educational, cultural, and business opportunities between Connecticut and mainland China, the university officially opened a new Confucius Institute. The institute will offer study abroad opportunities, student scholarships, academic exchanges, teacher training, a summer language camp in China, and after-school and summer programs for at-risk youth in New Britain.

Ground was broken and construction has begun on CCSU's first new residence hall in 20 years. The eight-story, $82.3 million hall will house 600 students when it opens in fall 2015. It will also enable CCSU to effectively steward state resources by making it possible to take older residence halls offline for deferred maintenance and renovation.

The School of Business also launched an MBA Program this fall, a master's in STEM Education was approved, and a School of Engineering, Science, and Technology was established.

Charter Oak State College
Charter Oak State College (COSC ) reached a new student enrollment goal of 1,200 for 2014-15 - a 22 percent increase over last year and a six percent increase over its highest year ever in 2005-06. COSC has enrolled 514 new students in July and August, of which 94 students were Go Back to Get Ahead (GBTGA) students. This was an increase of 18 percent without the GBTGA students and a 90 percent increase with the GBTGA students over the same period last year. Because of the increase, the college has adjusted its new student enrollment goal to 1,500.

COSC offered scholarships to 14 students this fall to help cover the cost of prior learning assessment activities, in which scholarship funding came from the Breakthrough Model Incubator grant from the Gates Foundation. The purpose of the grant is to increase the use of prior learning assessment activities as a way of decreasing the cost of an education.

The Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium Call Center (CTDLC) - a division of COSC - recently expanded its Student Financial Aid service to a fifth Connecticut State Colleges and Universities institution. Housatonic Community College joined COSC, Tunxis Community College, Middlesex Community College, and Western Connecticut State University in its use of the service.

CTDLC's eTutoring program has expanded to more than 140 institutions across North America, including two Canadian provinces. Currently, 10 CSCU institutions take advantage of the program. CTDLC has agreed with UMassOnline and Mass Colleges Online to form the North East Open Education Resource (OER) Consortium, focused on fostering the growth and use of open education resources - education materials that are openly and freely available to re-use.

CTDLC is currently developing the CT Education Academy platform with the Department of Administrative Services. This program will provide state employees a central location for all training and professional development needs. The first pilot group started this fall.

Eastern Connecticut State University
Following months of curricular development by faculty, Eastern Connecticut State University launched five new majors this fall including Health Sciences, New Media Studies, Finance, Philosophy and Liberal Studies.

Eastern received many accolades in the last year. Its Child and Family Development Center (CFDRC) received a new, five-year term of accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Eastern's Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) received the 2014 Energy Star Partner of the Year Award from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Eastern President Elsa M. Nez was honored with the Eleanor M. McMahon Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 2014 Excellence Awards Banquet of the New England Board of Higher Education.

The university also sponsored a statewide sustainability conference at Middlesex Community College, where Eastern and Yale University announced that they will co-chair a new "Connecticut Alliance for Campus Sustainability." The ISE is also developing "green" curriculum for Connecticut schools.

For several years, Eastern has hosted an on-campus "Work Hub," where students could work in paid internships without leaving campus. Following a successful working relationship with CIGNA, Eastern will now offer internships to social work, psychology, health and physical education, and education students through a partnership with Horizons, Inc., a regional nonprofit agency working with special needs and developmentally disabled persons.

Gateway Community College
Yale-New Haven Hospital and Gateway Community College (GCC) celebrated the naming of the college's nursing suite with an April 28 ribbon cutting, punctuating Yale-New Haven Hospital's longstanding commitment to Gateway's nursing and allied health programming.

GCC was also honored by The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce by receiving its 2014 Workplace Wellness Award based on the outstanding features of GCC's Wellness Challenge program.

Now in its second very successful year, GCC is continuing its Step Forward program designed to support students with high functioning autism. The transition program for young adults with mild cognitive disabilities now includes a High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder Program, one of few such programs in the state.

The GCC Foundation also celebrated 119 scholarship recipients with more than $129,000 in scholarships - the largest amount since the Foundation's establishment in 1993.

Housatonic Community College
Housatonic Community College (HCC) received several new grants this year. This includes a $2.2 million grant Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant to train trade-impacted workers, veterans and others for high-skill, high wage jobs in information technology and health care fields; a Financial Industry Authority (FINRA) grant from the Investor Education Foundation and a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to develop curricula using solid modeling and technical computing to link mathematics and engineering technology, creating three dimensional objects. The American Library Association also funded eight free workshops on personal finance.

The HCC Foundation steering committee launched the American Manufacturing Hall of Fame at a kick-off event where actor and Bridgeport native John Ratzenberger named the local manufacturers who will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame in October, National Manufacturing Month.

President Anita Gliniecki also received the August F. Serra Award for a Lifetime of Excellence in Community Engagement given by the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County; the Susan L. Davis Women's Leadership Award from the Women's Leadership Council, an affiliate of the Regional Business Council; and the Leadership Award from the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Manchester Community College
Highlighting the critical importance of improving student success in America's community colleges, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program named Manchester Community College (MCC) as one of the nation's top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million dollars in prize funds.

MCC was one of six colleges and universities in Connecticut which include Central, Eastern, Southern and Western Connecticut State Universities; as well as Naugatuck Valley and Three Rivers Community Colleges, and nearly 50 nationwide, to join the Multistate Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment. Higher education leaders and faculty from nine states are working together to evaluate authentic student work in ways that allow measurement of student achievement.

MCC was also rated sixth among two-year colleges by mtvU's, the largest online destination for college professor ratings based entirely on students' input.

The MCC Foundation, Town of Manchester and First Niagara Bank were awarded a 2014 Connecticut Main Street Center Award of Excellence in the "Main Street Partnerships" category for MCC on Main.

Middlesex Community College
Middlesex Community College (MxCC) is continuing its leadership role in sustainability efforts with dozens of environmental improvements such as use of LED and solar lighting; using green chemistry techniques in labs; becoming a smoke-free campus; and creating the Student Environmental Association for Sustainability organization, and is in the process of developing its Climate Action Plan.

Good news continues at the college with full-time equivalent enrollment increasing 2.5 percent from 2012-13, and the college graduated its largest class in its history. It also began offering college courses at Westbrook High School, and became part of the enhanced manufacturing apprenticeship through a multi-agency partnership.

The college is also growing with its $1.6 million, 3,413-square-foot expansion to the cafeteria in Founders Hall and a Center for New Media in the lower level of Chapman Hall.

In addition, MxCC received several grants and donations to improve student services which include funds from the Home Depot Foundation for a veterans memorial garden; supplies for the Transitional Year Program from Price Chopper's Golum Foundation; and funds from the Cuno Foundation to help fund the Meriden Center's "New York Times in College" project and the Meriden Center's intensive college prep summer workshops in math and English.

Naugatuck Valley Community College
Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC) will kick off the celebration of its 50th anniversary this fall with a variety of college and community meetings.

In May 2014, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) officially accredited NVCC's Danbury Center as a full-service campus. Expansion of the NVCC Danbury Campus is expected to meet the growing demand for classroom and other student space.

NVCC also continued its collaboration with the City of Waterbury during the second year of the GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) grant. The college is also preparing for renovations to Founders Hall that will create a Center for Health Sciences.

The Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center awarded 113 Level I and Level II certificates in its second year of operation. Grant applications have been submitted to create a Level III certificate program and NVCC continues to partner with the Smaller Manufacturers Association to meet the needs of students and local manufacturers.

Pass rates on certification and licensure exams for five of NVCC's career programs are at or near the 100 percent level. NVCC's Nursing program ranks in the top five percent nationally according to the National Council of State Boards for Nursing, and first in Connecticut, with a 97 percent pass rate on the NCLEX exam.

NVCC is venturing ahead on plans to establish an Early College program and a P-Tech program. Both focus upon preparing and transitioning high school students into college-level study and career-related experiences leading to jobs. Similar efforts are being explored for collaboration with the recently opened Waterbury Career Academy.

Northwestern Connecticut Community College
Northwestern Connecticut Community College (NCCC) was awarded a $199,960 Advanced Technology Education grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a Manufacturing Technology Pathway under their existing Industrial Technology Associates Degree program. Professors Sharon Gusky and Tara Jo Holmberg will oversee the Manufacturing Associates Degree Education in Northwestern Connecticut (MADE in Northwestern Connecticut) project.

This project will increase the number of skilled workers in the northwest corner of the state and provide recent high school graduates, and unemployed and underemployed adults with the knowledge and skills they need to obtain advanced manufacturing jobs.

The technical courses will be offered through NCCC using Oliver Wolcott Technical High School's facilities and equipment. A number of area manufacturing companies have agreed to provide students in the proposed Manufacturing Technology pathway with hands-on experience through paid internships.

Quinebaug Valley Community College
At the beginning of 2014, Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC) opened Quinebaug Middle College, a 38,000 square-foot magnet school that will enhance educational opportunities for Northeast Connecticut students in grades 9-12.

Now in its second year, the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center, housed in Ellis Technical High School, enrolled 52 students during the fall 2013 semester and 49 graduated in December with a Level I Certificate. In 2015, the college will break ground for a 10,000 square-foot Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center enabling enable QVCC to expand its manufacturing programs.

The QVCC Foundation also established an endowment for the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center. To date, approximately $400,000 has been raised to support the AMTC initiative.

The College also launched a Student Success Center - a one-stop location for the services most frequented by students, and Student Services initiated the Connect for Success Mentoring Program by assigning a "mentor" to all first-year fall and spring student.

Norwalk Community College
Norwalk Community College (NCC) is part of a collaboration with IBM and Norwalk Public Schools to open the state's first Pathways in Technology Early College High School known as a P-TECH model school. Norwalk Early College Academy (NECA) will serve grades 9 to 14 and enable students to graduate with both a high school diploma and a no-cost Associate in Applied Science degree. The First Niagara Foundation also announced a $100,000 partnership grant of to the Norwalk Education Foundation ($50,000) and Norwalk Community College Foundation ($50,000) in support of NECA at Norwalk High School.

NCC is helping students finish what they start with a new Student Success initiative called Start2Finish@NCC. Funded by the NCC Foundation, with support from the Dalio Family Foundation, Start2Finish@NCC is a program for incoming, full-time freshmen. It offers a full range of support services from orientation through graduation, and incentives to ensure that students complete a degree or certificate in three years or less.

NCC has also partnered with Western Connecticut State University to bring its RN to BSN program to the NCC campus.

The college has also received the Campus-Community Partnership Award for its partnership with Family & Children's Agency (FCA) in Norwalk which provides an afterschool program for middle school students on the NCC campus. By locating the ASPire! Afterschool program on NCC's campus, students have the opportunity to act as tutors and role models for youth.

Southern Connecticut State University
Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) is developing new programs and policies to support student progress and bolster graduation and retention with several initiatives in place for the new academic year.

These include the creation of a Student Success Center with programs and services to support student transitions and academic success, and a new - and unique in Connecticut - advisement position that helps students plan for the cost of education and manage their financial obligations. Four-year academic maps have also been completed every academic program.

Additionally, as part of the university's efforts to improve pathways for students transferring from community colleges to SCSU, an admissions and advising center is located at "Southern on the Green," the university's new downtown New Haven location at 900 Chapel St. that serves as a center for fundraising, financial aid, business development, community engagement and academic programming.

SCSU is also offering innovative graduate-level programs to enhance workforce development and meet the needs of adult learners. These include an Accelerated MBA, in which students can earn their degree in 17 months, and a fully online M.S. in sport and entertainment management. Graduate degree programs in applied physics and computer science now include nanotechnology and optics, cybersecurity and software development.

SCSU was selected in the "The Princeton Review's Guide to 332 Green Colleges," and in 2012, placed fourth of 98 schools in the country in reducing its electricity use during the Campus Conservation Nationals, a competition among colleges and universities to reduce energy consumption. The new home for the School of Business recently received LEED Gold certification, and the university also earned consecutive statewide "Power of Change Top Building Awards" for the energy efficiency of the School of Business building and for SCSU's team-based effort to reduce electricity use in nine residence halls.

Three Rivers Community College
Three Rivers Community College (TRCC) was awarded the American Technical Education Association's Outstanding Technical Program Award for its nuclear engineering technology associate degree program. Techapalooza was held in May where the manufacturing labs were open for visitors to learn about how community college classes can translate into exciting local careers. The event was hosted by The Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance which consists of local manufacturing companies, TRCC and Quinebaug Valley Community College.

TRCC was also named an approved training school by the Fiber Optic Association, allowing TRCC to offer certification for basic fiber optic skills. It is the only approved school in southern New England, and Professor Judy Donnelly has been certified as an instructor for the basic skill level course.

Tunxis Community College
As the only publicly supported dental hygiene program in Connecticut, Tunxis Community College (TCC) students continue to provide dental care to the state's low income residents who cannot afford regular dental care. Some students and faculty also annually visit the Mohave and Navajo reservations in Arizona and Utah to provide dental care.

Campus renovations are now completed that will provide laboratory learning spaces for students enrolled in newly designed English and math courses as a result of curricular changes meant to comply with PA 12-40.

In partnership with Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) and Capital Workforce Partners, the Tunxis Accelerated Certified Nurse Aide Training program - created to respond to employer demand for CNAs with enhanced skill sets - was highlighted by Vice President Biden as an innovative model for meeting employer's needs for health care workers.

In June, Tunxis Community College (TCC) faculty and students were recognized with the Outstanding Health Provider award from the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce. Tunxis Business & Industry Services delivered customized Lean Manufacturing training to two groups of employees from TRUMPF Inc., the largest manufacturer of fabricating equipment and industrial lasers in North America.

Western Connecticut State University
The semester at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) kicked off with the opening of a 130,000-square-foot state-of-the-art Visual and Performing Arts Building on the westside of campus to house art, music, and theatre arts in three wings connected through a multi-tiered lobby.

This year, WCSU also received the two largest individual gifts in its history: $1.25 million from Earl and Irene Hagman to support scholarships; and $3 million from Constantine "Deno" Macricostas for enhancing programs in the School of Arts and Sciences. WCSU has also been awarded a three year, $174,331 grant from the Davis Educational Foundation to develop and implement a First Year Experience as part of a new general education-tiered competency framework.

WCSU received New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) Reaccreditation in June, and established a nursing transfer agreement with Norwalk Community College and reverse transfer agreements with Housatonic, Norwalk and Naugatuck Valley community colleges.

The Math Emporium -a learning center wish helps students be successful in math - opened and helps fulfill the Connecticut Public Act 12-40 mandate. WCSU and Danbury High School also launched the Teaching Fellows program, a minority/bilingual teacher pipeline initiative. The WCSU-DHS Teaching Fellows program was borne in April 2014, from a unique multi-layer partnership between the Danbury Public Schools, the WCSU ConnCap Upward Bound program, and the WCSU Department of Education and Educational Psychology, attracts first generation college-bound students to earn their education degree in Education, and fill a critical shortage of bilingual teachers.

I am extremely proud of the excellent work you are all doing, and the results you have achieved during the past 12 months. And I know the next 12 months will be even more productive and successful for our System and our students. We will no doubt face additional budget constraints, and change wrought by Transform as it gains more and more traction. But my resolve and, I'm sure yours as well, will be strong as we keep our focus on the mission...students first.

Thank you for a great year!

Gregory W. Gray
Gregory W. Gray
Board of Regents for Higher Education
Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (ConnSCU)

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