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Jul 02, 2024

'ReNew CSCU' Initiative with Social Impact Partners Will Lead to Strong Investment Case for Next Biennium Budget

Partnership will set future strategic priorities for the CSCU system and build a roadmap for strengthening education and employment pathways

Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) announced today that it has been working with Social Impact Partners, formerly known as SVP-CT, throughout the spring 2024 semester on developing and setting future strategic priorities for the CSCU system, which will lead to a strong investment case for the next biennium budget. The partnership is being branded as “ReNew CSCU.” Social Impact Partners is providing CSCU with pro bono consulting.

As part of ReNew CSCU, Social Impact Partners will engage with a wide range of stakeholders, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, employers, government officials, and community leaders to gain a deeper understanding of CSCU. To date, Social Impact Partners has conducted more than 100 meetings, inclusive of 65 focus groups, engaging stakeholders across CSCU’s 17 institutions. Social Impact Partners plans to continue connecting with key stakeholders in the coming months in order to gain insights that will inform strategic priorities, such as how to strengthen the overall CSCU system and ways to identify synergistic partnership opportunities.

“Next year, Connecticut will have an opportunity to make critical investments in our system and our state. CSCU is the growth strategy for Connecticut and the opportunity creator,” said CSCU Chancellor Terrence Cheng. “This partnership with Social Impact Partners will allow us to engage with key stakeholders – students, faculty, staff, and state, business, and community leaders – on developing a shared vision, a shared North Star, on what investment in higher education looks like and how we can accomplish that together.”

Social Impact Partners works closely with organizations to reimagine, design, and implement systems that deliver equitable outcomes for all people. They recently collaborated with the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood serving as lead project planner/consultant for the Blue-Ribbon Panel on Child Care. This partnership resulted in the creation of a comprehensive Blue Ribbon Panel Report, which has played a crucial role in shaping Connecticut’s policy and strategic initiatives.

“We are excited to work with CSCU to build a strong and sustainable higher education system that enables students to achieve their education and employment goals,” stated Mark Argosh, Executive Director of Social Impact Partners. “In this way, our colleges and universities will become engines of economic and social mobility, while supporting the workforce needs and economic growth of Connecticut. We look forward to engaging students, faculty, staff, union leaders, employers, government leaders, and community organizations to develop plans that reflect the deep knowledge of the many stakeholders in the system.”

In addition to engaging stakeholders and developing strategic priorities, Social Impact Partners will also build a roadmap for how to strengthen education and employment pathways and CSCU’s early college and dual enrollment plan – two core areas of focus for the system. 

Early college programs offer students a head start on attaining a higher education degree, which will increase the likelihood that following high school graduation, students will continue on to college. Dual enrollment programs, which enable high school students to take college courses and earn credits, can help improve student outcomes and close equity gaps in higher education.

“Accessibility and opportunity are paramount for student success. Through CSCU’s partnership with Social Impact Partners, we can shape a plan to strengthen and expand early college and dual enrollment programs in Connecticut. These programs will give our students a head start and ensure they are ready to succeed at the post-secondary level,” said Marty Guay, chair of the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education. “Our CSCU students learn critical thinking, analysis, and domain knowledge in a variety of specializations. By aligning higher education and workforce development with important and fast-growing sectors, we can ensure our students are trained and ready to fill the jobs of tomorrow.”

Social Impact Partners is led by Executive Director Mark Argosh. The team working with CSCU is led by Chris Rivers and includes professionals who have education, consulting, financial, and program development backgrounds. Work is expected to be completed by December 2024.