The Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR) — which governs the 17 Connecticut State Colleges & Universities — was recently awarded The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) 2013 Award for Institutional Innovation and Integration. Gail Coppage, BOR’s director of Innovation & Outreach, will accept the award on behalf of the BOR in July at SCUP’s 48th annual international conference in San Diego.The award was given for the BOR entry, “Manufacturing Centers Initiative” in recognition of the three new advanced manufacturing centers launched last fall at Naugatuck Valley, Housatonic and Quinebaug Valley Community Colleges. The award honors the achievement of higher education institutions whose work has demonstrated integrated and innovative thinking, planning and implementation; and is driven by the institution’s vision, mission and academic priorities. “This award is a great recognition of the collaboration between our campuses, system, state agencies and private sector to ensure that the new Advanced Manufacturing Centers are helping train and educate students for advanced manufacturing jobs in Connecticut,” said Coppage. “We strongly believe that the innovation and collaboration demonstrated by this initiative should serve as a model for the possible expansion of other types of additional programs at many of our institutions.” At the conference, Coppage will also make a presentation about Connecticut’s three new Advanced Manufacturing Centers. Her presentation, “Connecticut Manufacturing Centers Initiative—Innovation Within a System of Higher Education,” will address issues such as identifying sources of support, planning and funding to replicate one successful program across several diverse campuses; and comparing ways to strengthen and enhance industry connections. The presentation will discuss outcomes and best practices resulting from the rapid implementation of new academic programs across multiple campuses, and the long-term outcomes of training the unemployed and under-employed in high-demand, high-skilled areas such as advanced manufacturing. In 2012, the BOR was awarded $17.8 million in state funding to support the creation of new advanced manufacturing centers located at three community colleges. This project's innovations included rapid implementation of a standardized curriculum across three unique college campuses, the speed with which the centers were designed, expanded, and staffed; financial support from the governor and legislature; involvement of a dedicated group of college leaders and industry partners; and support from key business associations and organizations, which helped guide the implementation of the centers in under six months.
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