CSCU successfully graduates students prepared to become productive workforce members

A recent CTViewpoints opinion — Connecticut’s four year public state university graduation rates fall short — correctly observed that Connecticut’s state universities “have a responsibility to help students graduate.”  Their success would “provide the state with more educated individuals equipped to enter the workforce and ultimately, enable them to become more productive citizens.” The good news is that the CSCU universities are in fact successful in achieving that objective. But that was not the conclusion of the author of the op-ed, who argued that six-year graduation rates of the CSCU universities were unacceptably low.

Connecticut’s four-year public state university graduation rates fall short

Low completion rates are a problem at some of Connecticut’s four-year public state institutions. A recent report outlining the number of bachelor’s degree earners reveals a significant gap in the graduation rates between the four-year public state institutions that make up the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities and the University of Connecticut. Although in-state, undergraduate tuition costs at each of the five public institutions are the same, their graduation rates are vastly different. The CSCU graduation rates are lagging behind those at UConn, and strategies need to be instituted in the CSCU system to correct this discrepancy.

Okjakian shares his revised Students First consolidation plan

This week the Board of Regents will convene to discuss, among other things, our proposed revisions to the Students First consolidation plan. In keeping with the promise to keep you informed, I am sharing our recommendation to the Board in advance of the meeting. I encourage all of you to review the Staff Report that will be discussed in detail during the Board meeting on Thursday.

Free college that is actually FREE!

Many complain about the high cost of college. I often read about free college. Bernie Sanders comes to mind. I like some of the principles that Bernie advocates, but exactly how many trillions of dollars will Bernie’s free college actually cost? And who will pay?
PROPOSITION: Allow adjuncts at community colleges to teach as volunteers.

Resolved: That the CSCU system needs a better plan

In its April 24, 2018 decision letter, the New England Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (hereinafter Commission), noted that it was not persuaded that the planning for the new Community College of Connecticut, as advanced by the Students First plan, was realistic. We acknowledge President Mark Ojakian for continually asserting the need to institute system-wide changes for the betterment of the student body. Yet, faculty has been intentionally excluded from meaningful participation and genuine involvement and engagement. Moreover, we agree with the Commission and believe the accelerated process for planning/implementation was insufficient and will cause disruption to our students.

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.