What the Regents know that just ain’t so

“It’s not what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”   —   Mark Twain

Recent coverage of the Board of Regents’ latest scheme to reorganize higher education in Connecticut by removing leadership, many programs and services, and potentially accreditation from the local campuses can all be summed up in the famous quote cited above from a neighbor of the Regents’ Hartford offices.

UConn Health must correct ‘blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars’

Over the past few months, multiple situations have come to light unveiling a pattern of failures at UConn Health that have severely damaged the public’s trust in your institution. We have seen blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars, failure to implement basic oversight, and apparent disregard for your core responsibilities to the state and people of Connecticut. I am writing today to ask UConn Health to commit to rebuilding public trust.

The calculus of dumbing down community college math

I challenge the validity of the transfer of credits for the course Calculus III from Connecticut community colleges to the University of Connecticut. Generally speaking, the standards associated with the teaching of the Calculus III (multivariable) course at Connecticut community colleges are very low. The community college classes do not teach the “essential” Fundamental Theorems of Multivariable Calculus – Gradient, Green’s, Stokes and Divergence. They are called fundamental for a reason! These four theorems set the foundation for Maxwell’s Equations.

Combating intolerance at Connecticut’s colleges

What should be done about the increased intolerance of differing points of view at residential and community colleges within the Connecticut State university system? There should be the free exchange of ideas at a public university. If private universities wish to depart from free intellectual inquiry and recede into enforced intellectual conformity, that may be their right, so long as civil rights such as due process are respected and no Connecticut state dollars are involved.

Connecticut should invest more in community colleges, not less

Connecticut faces an ongoing budget crisis and somehow the community colleges have become the scapegoat. Why is the sector of public higher education that serves the highest number of minority students, the most economically disadvantaged and has a majority female student population under attack?

UnCreativity, Inc.: The Board of Regents for Higher Education

Now that NEASC has confirmed what most of us already knew —that the Board of Regents’ Students First proposal to consolidate the state’s community colleges was a very bad idea —we are now left with the challenge of what to do next. NEASC clearly did the right thing —saving the state of Connecticut from a deeply flawed plan that was not good for the state, not good for students, and not good for community colleges. Characterizing the plan as not “realistic,” as NEASC did, is putting it kindly. There were many things that were deeply troubling about this proposal and the way it was developed and promoted. Two stand out as particularly egregious.

CSCU needs new management and leadership

As the legislative session draws to a close, the budget debate continues but in a much different environment than last year. Hopeful predictions for the future are changing the discussion from “slash and burn” to restoration and rebuilding. As you search for common ground in a budget that will demonstrate government’s responsibility to ensure the quality and availability of public services, we urge you to invest in public higher education by preventing the threatened closure of community colleges.

Why the CCSU Senate voted for Ojakian’s resignation, Regents’ abolition

On Monday, April 30, the Central Connecticut State University Senate voted by an overwhelming majority (38-1) through a secret ballot to call for President Mark Ojakian’s resignation, a halt to implementation of all parts of the “Students First” consolidation plan not already rejected by NEASC (the regional accrediting agency), the abolition of the current Board of Regents and its replacement by a body or bodies which will help rather than hinder the colleges and universities, and full funding for pubic higher education in our state.

General Assembly – Act now; Mr. Ojakian – Resign now

Wasting time and money, Mark Ojakian has churned the higher education community up-side down with his so-called “Students First” plan that the accrediting agency described in the press as “too half-baked to approve.”  What a disgrace for Connecticut. Ojakian responded with a threat to close community colleges.

President Ojakian, the NEASC rejection is not devastating after all

A few months ago, the Connecticut Mirror afforded me the opportunity to be one of the first critics to “come out” on the misguided initiative called “Students First” led by Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, and his benevolent Board of Regents.  May the good Lord afford them some compassion for the wasted time we all had to invest on this.  It has drained many of us. I could have retrieved many more Puerto Rican students displaced from Hurricane Maria if I was not so distracted by this bad mix of ideas and pure scorn towards the system I have been part of for the last 28 years.

Fighting for students, fighting with students

The tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has forced a national reckoning. The images of that fateful day continue to haunt me, and sweeping regulations on gun purchases and use are long overdue. But the shooting and its aftermath are about something more than guns. The past few weeks have reinforced one of my deepest beliefs, which inspired me to commit my life to public service in the first place: young people are the vanguard of progress.

Community college consolidation is a risky experiment

The Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education continues its push to consolidate the 12 state community colleges into one, having most recently just submitted a necessary change proposal to the regional accreditor, NEASC, for their approval. Promoters of the plan have, among other things, circulated a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article that features the experiment in Maine to carry out their own version of consolidation.