CT legislature undermining the future of its higher education system

Gov. Dannel Malloy announced last week that TheDream.US, the largest privately funded national scholarship program, will be dispersing hundreds of scholarships to undocumented immigrant students to attend ECSU. Bravo!

But while Gov. Malloy can applaud the disbursement of hundreds of thousands of dollars in private scholarships, he falls flat when it comes to supporting those very institutions poised to make the biggest impact on our state’s young people and their ability to succeed.

In saving UConn Torrington, is litigation necessary?

Almost since its inception in 1965, the main campus in Storrs, Connecticut, has sought to shut down the Torrington Campus of the University of Connecticut. Through the years unsupported and disparaging comments from those same faraway administrators would filter back that somehow the University branch system did not measure up to the academic standards of the main campus in Storrs. Then, suddenly in early March, the people in the Northwestern Connecticut were given a few weeks to react to the impending permanent closing of the Torrington Branch, forestalling any attempt to honestly and fairly discuss and dissent from this decision.

Connecticut higher ed should put more emphasis on faculty

The annual college student recruitment cycle is a spectacle. Colleges jockey for attention each spring by attempting to position themselves as the best: the most elite, the most recognized, with the best faculty, academic programs, and prolific intercollegiate athletic programs. The superlatives are effusive. Institutions spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on glossy marketing publications, pumping money and verbiage into social media, blogs, scheduling costly special events, passing out promotional items that showcase residence halls, dining commons, labs and clinics, and classrooms. And sometimes these glossy tomes mention the achievements of their faculty.

CSCU tuition increase no surprise, but is just as wrong

Connecticut State College and University System (ConnSCU) President Mark Ojakian’s decision to increase tuition at our community colleges and state universities is a slap in the face to people who are going to college on a budget. What’s worse is that he made the announcement in the middle of the system’s spring break. Ojakian knows that if the tuition increase is announced while class is in session, students would hear about it and action will be taken almost immediately by students and the faculty unions.

Eliminating college program approval regs is the right choice for CT

If you owned your own restaurant and wanted to create some new signature meals to attract new patrons and increase your competitiveness, how would you feel if you had to wait for state government officials to review your suggested dishes, taste those recipes and approve their preparation before you could offer them to customers? To make matters worse, what if that process could take a year or more and, meanwhile, up the street and in surrounding towns, other restaurants were not restricted from changing up their menus as and when they saw fit? For many of Connecticut’s private non-profit universities and colleges, this hypothetical example of unnecessary government oversight is analogous to a program-development challenge we are facing.

Taxes on college endowments: Their time has come in Connecticut

Many of the richest universities in the country, sitting on billions of dollars in tax exempt endowments, receive through the tax laws government subsidies that greatly eclipse the appropriations received by public colleges. Hidden tax subsidies that increase inequality are not good policy. In contrast, Senate Bill 413 is reasonable in scope, fair in its goals, and represents advancement well within the current public policy thrust aiming to reassess the tax codes to help address America’s need for an educated citizenry and a qualified workforce.

Faculty must have a say in determining UConn’s future

The staunch advocates for public higher education and stewards of the state’s future – UConn-AAUP- should have a strong role in influencing university decisions that impact the common and public good.
Unfortunately we have witnessed exclusionary praxis from the UConn administration in recent months – dismissing the role of UConn-AAUP and leaving them out of vital decision-making. If this pattern continues where educators don’t have a voice in student learning conditions, scholarly work, or university direction, then the quality of education at the University of Connecticut will suffer immensely.

CSCU president could have addressed protest instead of breezing by

Last Thursday, this year’s President of the Connecticut’s Board of Regents for Higher Education, Mark Ojakian, hurried past a large group of AAUP protesters outside of his scheduled Board of Regents meeting at the old Phoenix Insurance building on Woodland Street in Hartford. It probably never occurred to this right-hand man of the governor that he was presented with a rare opportunity. In Ojakian’s defense, his boss probably would not have seized the opportunity either.