CSCU Leader Proposes Consolidating Community Colleges Into One System

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CSCU Leader Proposes Consolidating Community Colleges Into One System

Post by J.J. » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:39 pm

Connecticut’s 12 community colleges would be consolidated into a single college led by a vice chancellor for a savings of $28 million under a plan released Tuesday by the leader of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system.

That new college, which would be called the Community College of Connecticut, would be the fifth largest community college in the country with 52,761 students.

Mark Ojakian, president of the CSCU system, said the plan is “all about making it easier for our students to stay in school, to complete their education and to ultimately get a job and contribute to the Connecticut economy.”

All campuses and satellites will continue to exist under the plan, Ojakian said, but the consolidation will allow the CSCU system to cut back on administrators and invest in services that directly affect students, Ojakian said.

The plan calls for the elimination of all of the community college presidents, chief financial officers and chief academic officers or provosts, replacing them with a single vice chancellor to oversee the one college, a single provost and a single chief financial officer, Ojakian said.
http://www.courant.com/education/hc-new ... story.html

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Re: CSCU Leader Proposes Consolidating Community Colleges Into One System

Post by Skyhawkct » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:29 am

I actually agree with this proposal since CT is such a small stare geographically.

Let me throw this out...

Collectively, Central, Southern, Eastern and Western have a total undergraduate population of about 31,000, the size of many large universities in the nation.

Would a similar consolidation make sense for the CSU system?

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Re: CSCU Leader Proposes Consolidating Community Colleges Into One System

Post by J.J. » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:01 am

Skyhawkct wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:29 am
I actually agree with this proposal since CT is such a small stare geographically.

Let me throw this out...

Collectively, Central, Southern, Eastern and Western have a total undergraduate population of about 31,000, the size of many large universities in the nation.

Would a similar consolidation make sense for the CSU system?
I don't think it would be awful, but it very hard to implement at the university level. The problem has become the System Office became duplicative or oversight of campus functions which added little value. The old CSUS System Office was a lot of bloat and the Board of Regents wasn't any better.

I think most "Administrative/mission support' functions such as Human Resources, Finance/Accounting, Procurement, Information Technology, Financial Aid could be consolidated at the System office for the 4 universities. Keeping Admissions, Academic schools and programs, and Athletics at the Campus level.

No offense to the Community Colleges, which offer 2-year degrees, but their complaint that consolidation would hurt their identity and programs just doesn't hold water. In this case, you can strengthen the enter community college system by leveraging all the campuses across the state. The idea that Manchester has to be 'unique' from Norwalk is silly. Each campus serves the local community, and students who commute don't pick campuses based on programs.

At the university level, that is a much different scenario. Students do travel across the state to attend the university that best fits their interests. It will be interesting what happens next, but honestly I don't trust Ojakian or the Board of Regents will do anything positive for Central or the other campuses. He is the fox in the henhouse.

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Re: CSCU Leader Proposes Consolidating Community Colleges Into One System

Post by J.J. » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:26 pm

At Thursday’s meeting, Hector Navarro, a student at Naugatuck Valley Community College and student representative to the board asked what the plan would mean to the regional universities.

Ojakian said there are no plans to do to Western, Southern, Central and Eastern universities what is being done to the community colleges but there are efforts being made to share services, leverage purchasing contracts and implement best practices across the system.
http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Col ... 291132.php

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Re: CSCU Leader Proposes Consolidating Community Colleges Into One System

Post by Skyhawkct » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:41 pm

Interesting developments.

Off on a tangent, I got so frustrated when everyone was concerned about UConn during the last budget go around...but not a peep was mentioned about the CSU system.

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Re: CSCU Leader Proposes Consolidating Community Colleges Into One System

Post by Shoreline » Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:04 am

Here is the latest update from today's NH Register. Two CCSU professors are quoted in the article.
http://www.nhregister.com/local/article ... o-14703310

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Re: CSCU Leader Proposes Consolidating Community Colleges Into One System

Post by J.J. » Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:46 pm

The New England Association of Schools and College’s Higher Education Commission rejected the plans put forward by the State to consolidate 12 Community Colleges into a single entity.
HARTFORD — A controversial and unprecedented plan to merge the state’s 12 community college into one of the biggest in the nation was summarily rejected Tuesday by a regional accrediting body.

In a pointed three-page letter dated April 24 to system President Mark Ojakian, architect of the plan called “Students First,” the New England Association of Schools and College’s Higher Education Commission said it was not persuaded the plan was realistic.

Ojakian, who had proposed merging the states community college into one accredited body with 12 campuses to save money and preserve student services, called the decision devastating.

"Students First was created to avert a major crisis for our institutions and our students,” said Ojakian in a statement released jointly with Matt Fleury, chairman of the Board of Regents that oversees not only community colleges but the state’s four regional universities as well.

In his letter to Ojakian, David Angel, chair of the commission, said the commission determined that what as being proposed wasn’t just a “substantive change” but an entirely new institution that needs to go through an entirely different vetting process. That process can take up to five years.

Ojakian said the NEASC decision is not in the best interest of students and will damage the system’s ability to hold the line on tuition and keep all campuses open.

“In the face of an on-going fiscal emergency, it forces us to consider options that we have strongly fought against because it will harm the 50,000 students who rely on their campuses and their campus communities, said Ojakian.

The system has struggled with dropping enrollment and diminished state support for several years.

The consolidation plan, however, got vocal push back from some faculty, staff, and foundations that work to support the 12 colleges. Some claimed the process wasn’t transparent enough. Others feared the colleges would lose the “community” focus that makes them special.

Still, Lauren Doninger, a psychology professor at Gateway Community College in New Haven said she was stunned by the decision.

“It was all moving very fast,” she said. “And we were all moving along with the assumption it was going to happen.”

She worries about what will happen next.

So does Barbara Richards, a professor at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, who is on the system’s Faculty Advisory Committee.

“It’s not what we expected, but (NEASC) saw what we saw,” Richards said. She called the decision very thoughtful.

David Blitz, a philosophy professor at Central Connecticut State University and member of Central’s faculty senate, said he too was pleasantly surprised by the decision.

“I was not sure what NEASC would do but clearly they saw it as the poorly formulated plan it was,” Blitz said.

Blitz maintains the system, would do better, to start, by chipping away at one third of system office personnel to save money.

Louise Blakeney Williams, president of Central’s AAUP chapter said she was relieved.

Rather than putting students first, Williams said faculty worried the plan would put them at a serious disadvantage.

“NEASC saw that the Board of Regents’ consolidation plan ... was ill-researched and woefully underestimated the scope of the undertaking,” Williams said.

The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities has been working for a year on the plan and hoped to complete the merger by the fall of 2019. It would have created one application and one financial aid form for students to fill out. Many administrative positions would have been eliminated or merged. Resources saved, presumably would have been redirected to students services.

Without NEASC approval, the colleges would not be authorized to issue diplomas. During the planning process, the state consulted several times with NEASC and in January issued a lengthy set of questions and concerns before the final application was submitted last month. Last week, the commission met to vote on the plan and disclosed its decision to state officials on Tuesday.

“The commission is concerned that the potential for a disorderly environment for students is too high,” Angel said. The commission also faulted the merger plan for not appearing to have sufficient administrative staff at the campus level.

State Rep. Pam Staneski said she is shocked that after working with the Board of Regents on the application they now want them to fill out a different kind of application.

“This plan was put forth in good faith and would have saved students money while keeping our community colleges open. ... Our students cannot afford another tuition increase, and I am not sure that we can afford to keep schools open that are operating in the red.”

NEASC said the 12 separately accredited colleges can continue as they are now. Ojakian said the accrediting body is aware that individually, the colleges cannot financially survive.

“While we expected further guidance, we did not expect NEASC to redirect us to consider “candidacy for accreditation”, a new process that will take another five years,” Ojakian said. “The problems that our institutions and students face cannot wait five years. In five years, our institutions will be financially insolvent.”

In the coming days, Ojakian said the Board of Regents will review all options including legislative and accrediting options, a review of tuition rates, and the closing of one or more campuses.
https://www.stamfordadvocate.com/local/ ... 860679.php

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Re: CSCU Leader Proposes Consolidating Community Colleges Into One System

Post by J.J. » Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:06 pm

Basically, this means the State will likely move to close some of the Community College campuses.

My guess is Northwestern (Winsted) is the first to be closed and students will transfer to Naugatuck Valley (Waterbury) or Tunxis (Farmington)

Next to go is Asnutuck (Enfield) with student having to go to Capital (Hartford) or Manchester.

Quinebaug Valley (Danielson) will likely also have to close and most students will served by Three Rivers (Norwich).

Capital should probably be on the chopping block as well with such a small headcount (less than 700) and students could go to Tunxis and Manchester, but you know the State will not close any institutions in Hartford. As such, Middlesex (Middletown) could also be on the chopping block.

Going from 12 to 9 campuses, will likely save enough money and can adequately serve the State of 3.5 Million residents and just 5,500 square miles.

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Re: CSCU Leader Proposes Consolidating Community Colleges Into One System

Post by J.J. » Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:12 pm

http://www.courant.com/education/hc-acc ... story.html
Ojakian and Matt Fleury, chairman of the Board of Regents for Higher Education, issued a statement Tuesday that said the decision “is devastating to our ability to hold the line on tuition and keep all campuses open.”

“While we expected further guidance, we did not expect NEASC to redirect us to consider ‘candidacy for accreditation,’ a new process that will take another five years,” the leaders said. “The problems that our institutions and students face cannot wait five years. In five years, our institutions will be financially insolvent.”
...
In the coming days, Fleury and Ojakian said, “we will review all of our options including legislative and accrediting options, a review of tuition rates, and the closing of one or more of our campuses.”

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Re: CSCU Leader Proposes Consolidating Community Colleges Into One System

Post by J.J. » Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:11 pm

Connecticut could keep all the Community Colleges open and follow the Wisconsin model by transferring the them as 'regional branches' of the State Universities.
https://www.wpr.org/uw-regents-approve- ... m-campuses

Central Connecticut State University
- Asnuntuck Community College (Enfield)
- Capital Community College (Hartford)
- Manchester Community College
- Middlesex Community College (Middletown)
- Tunxis Community College (Farmington)

Eastern Connecticut State University
- Quinebaug Community College (Danielson)
- Three Rivers Community College (Norwich)

Southern Connecticut State University
- Gateway Community College (New Haven)
- Housatonic Community College (Bridgeport)
- Norwalk Community College

Western Connecticut State University
- Naugatuck Valley Community College (Waterbury)
- Northwestern Community College (Winsted)

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