Category Archives: News

Faculty Senate Postpones Decision to Next Meeting

By Ruth Bruno

Members of Faculty Senate engaged in heated debates but postponed any major decision until a later meeting date.

Michael P. Alphano, Dean of the School of Education and Professional Studies, presented the Senate with a resolution to facilitate teacher preparation by dividing and merging departments within the School of Education and Professional Studies at CCSU.

Among other proposed changes that would occur within the School of Education and Professional Studies, the resolution calls for faculty members from the Early Childhood/Elementary Division to merge with faculty members from the existing Department of Reading and Language Arts to create a brand new department.

Alphano stressed the need for these changes saying that the standards set by CCSU’s new accrediting body, CAPE, are far more demanding than before.

“The landscape has changed. What’s expected of teachers to learn already the day they step into their own classroom has remarkably become more rigorous in the last few years,” said Alphano. In addition the state legislature has put forward changes to the list of requirements a student must fulfill in order to obtain a master’s degree in the field of teacher education.

 

According to Alphano, the Department of Educational Leadership, the Department of Language Arts and the Department of Special Education have all approved of the resolution.

Alphano said that the programs involved in the merge have been meeting and discussing these amendments over the last several months. However, Dr. Aram Ayalon, Chair of the Teacher Education Program, spoke to the Senate saying that the resolution had been agreed upon without the consent of his program.

“We met numerous times with the dean but we see little of our feedback or our comments in that [resolution]. We submitted questions and didn’t receive detailed answers,” said Ayalon.

Ayalon feels that if the resolution is passed, his division will be left ill-equipped to He said that the division is made up of six faculty that were hired to do elementary education. Three members would be moved out of the program cutting it in half. “Almost 100 students are accepted to our program every year. How can you staff that program with three faculty members?”

Ayalon went on to voice his worries that there will not be students graduating from his program if the resolution is accepted. He believes that students will pass through the program to complete the core requirements of their major, but will end up graduating from another department. “We’d like our students not to have to move to many, many departments. “So much for coherency.”

Dr.Karen Riem, a professor in the teacher education program felt that Dr. Ayalon’s presentation to the Senate did not fully represent the sentiments of the program. She spoke optimistically of the proposed resolution. “We’re teacher educators sometimes you need to rearrange the setting of the classroom based on what your goals are and what you hope to be learning. Sometimes you have to be willing to be a little uncomfortable if you wasn’t to bring new opportunities.”

Dr. Paul Karpuk, a professor of English voiced his concern that the discrepancies between the School of Education and Professional Studies and the Teacher Education Program need to be addressed so that the Senate can better understand the situation they are being asked to consider.

“There are a lot of ins and outs that many of us don’t understand. “It sounds to me like the Senate can’t do this right now. We’re not ready to vote on this. Greater efforts need to be made to reconcile the two parties,” said Karpuk.

Several faculty members agreed with Karpuk. The Senate passed a motion to postpone any discussion and advising concerning the resolution until the next meeting on Tuesday, October 13th.

CCSU Renews Aetna Contract

By Jacqueline Stoughton

Students at CCSU who are enrolled in the Universities insurance are now fully covered again for certain prescriptions following the bidding and renewal process of Aetna insurance that led to miscommunication of students not being covered following the finalization of the renewal.

“Aetna covers all four CSU schools.  More than two years ago we were supposed to go back to bid but because of the changes of the structure to the central office with the new board of regents and the Connecticut State colleges and universities system taking into place they got a waiver,” said Dr. Christopher Diamond.  “A year later we tried to go to bid again and got another wavier and that was fine but this year they couldn’t get a waiver and the process started very late.”

The late process of the renewal of Aetna’s health plan caused mishap for students under the universities insurance whenever they went to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions and had to pay the agreed upon full price with Aetna versus what they would pay as a copay, which would’ve been much more affordable.

Diamond explains that with a bid you must create a whole list of requirements and send it out to potential companies that would be interested.  Several companies will respond, leading into a very careful evaluation process which takes time and eventually the bid gets awarded.

Aetna’s bid unfortunately, got awarded late.  This led to a tough roll out this year.  After August 1st, students were supposed to be fully covered by Aetna but weren’t.  The Bursars office was able to arrange with Aetna that as long as students had their prescription receipts, they would be refunded.

“Overall, it’s a very good policy.  We have a healthy young group.  Our insurance includes full benefits, low deductibles, copays and all things that are included with Obamacare with a smile,” said Diamond.  “I’m happy with it because years go by and our student health wasn’t that great and this is where Obamacare is helpful with overall better coverage.”

According to CCSU’s student health care manual, all full time registered undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at CSU schools are required to participate in this plan.  Compared to part-time students who are eligible to enroll in the plan, but aren’t required to.  Although it is mandatory for full-time students they can wavier this plan with proof that they have their own equally adequate insurance.

Aetna’s health plan with CSU schools includes full accident and sickness benefits, including physicals, mental health treatments, free contraceptives and some types of blood tests.  For a full list visit www.aetnastudenthealth.com

Diamond explains those who don’t know how to use their insurance are less likely to use it and take advantage of all the benefits included in their plan.  Diamond suggests students look for not just health insurance with a good price but also health insurance that has a good, solid plan.  “There are hidden costs not only financially but also regarding your health.”

“Students have to learn to know their insurance, know how to read the balance, how to look online at what the benefits and how to aggregate for themselves, appeal and acknowledge things,” said Diamond.

In the upcoming semesters, Diamond hopes to team up with Aetna to host program particularly for graduating seniors who need that guidance when looking for good health insurance plans and how to navigate the system and learn how to read all the different plans to be able to effectively compare and contrast the different plans out there.

“A person who knows their health insurance and uses it will have a longer, happier and healthier life compared to people who don’t,” said Diamond.

Fifty Years of Breakers

by Jacqueline Stoughton

For the past 50 years that the Student Center has served the CCSU campus, they’ve always been sure to provide a comfortable environment for students to come together with friends to hang out, relax and unwind.  The Breakers game room has been part of fulfilling that purpose since the Center opened, while still continuing to do so today.

“When I arrived here in ’84 it was a room that was large enough to hold four billiard tables and some pinball machines,” said Otis Mamed, Director of the Student Center.  Mamed explains how the old game room became Breakers in the early 90s when a graduate student came up with a design plan along with the construction of the current control desk and the neon lighting that illuminate the now renovated and modern game room.  Breakers was given this much needed upgrade in 1999-2001 when the entire Student Center building was renovated.

From the day Breakers opened as just “the game room” back in 1984, students were charged a rate of $2.40 per hour for time on whatever game machine they wished to use.  That is until the spring semester of 2013 when Breakers decided to finally provide it’s gaming services free of charge.

“Over the past 10 years we would get comments from students saying ‘I don’t understand why I have to pay, I pay student activities fees,’ and we considered it. So we proposed to the Student Union Board of Governors (SUBOG) about going free,” said Tiffany Simpson, Assistant Director of the Student Center.  “It’s been a big success, our numbers have drastically increased.”

The approval to go free was based off of student surveys, along with test run free days on Fridays, that eventually changed to free weekends.

SUBOG provides most of the funding for Breakers now since going free by providing them with a yearly proposed budget.  The Student Center Department also assists with funding for Breakers when it comes to costs such as the upkeep and repairing of equipment.

“When they would charge, not many people would go, but now that it’s free it’s become very popular and a lot of people go now,” said Jimmy Ortiz, graduate student for Student Center operations.  “Everything is free including the events that student clubs and organizations hold in Breakers and we will provide free food for the event as well.”

“It’s a great place. I think it helps students to relax and have a good time and just have fun with each other,” said Ortiz.  “It’s a nice place to build relationships in, engage and actually build a community on campus even if they’re a commuter or not.”

Simpson says if students have any suggestions at all they they can fill out a “listen up” card and put it in the “listen up” boxes located all around the Student Center. They can also see a Breakers attendant on duty, especially if there’s a type of game that they think we’re missing.

“We try to refresh our games every so often to ensure its appealing for students,” said Simpson.  “We’re all about the students so it’s really what we can do to support them.”

SGA Plans Gen Ed Changes

by Larry Clark

General Education was a hot topic at the Student Government meeting last week. Senator Amber Pietrycha spoke to the senate on behalf of the committee overseeing the General Education program in an attempt to reduce the required amount of General Education credits.

Senator Pietrycha said that the new program would reduce the required amounts of credits to 40, as well as removing skill areas and implementing categories of subjects such as quantitative reasoning, natural phenomena, social and behavioral phenomena and arts and humanities.

“With this restructure it gives students much more freedom in choosing classes that meet the Gen-Ed’s needed, but also genuinely interest the students as well,” explained Pietrycha.

The biggest part of this restructuring will be the removal of the foreign language requirement bypass. Currently, students who have taken three years of a foreign language in high school can bypass or override the requirement.  But many of those students who are able to override this requirement don’t actually know or understand those languages.  The new program would require students to take a placement test or take three to six credits of a language at the university.

Senator Pietrycha then ended her presentation by taking questions from the Student Senate. The meeting then continued with committee reports, and then new business.

Tensions arose as senators began debating a motion that would restrict their rights when it came to helping those running for student senate.

Internal Affairs 2014 Zero Three (IA14-03) is a motion from the Internal Affairs Committee and would not allow any current senators to help in the campaigning of anyone running in an SGA election. While this rule was already in place for those sitting on the Public Affairs Committee, other senators and even executive board members are not bound to this requirements. This is something some senators have calling “unfair.”

Senator Lauren Hudeobenko made the motion to pass IA14-03 saying that “no one on SGA should be able to campaign for someone else.  It could create an unfair advantage and overall looks bad. We should follow SA/LD’s example. We chose to be student leaders and we should be held to a higher standard.”

Hudeobenko’s statement to the senate brought strong arguments from those feeling the by-law change was an infringement to their rights.

“I don’t know if anyone remembers this little thing called the United States Constitution and what it says about freedom of speech. The original point was to avoid a conflict of interest and scandal,” said Treasurer Kory Mills.  “When brought to my attention I realized how unfair this was to Public Affairs, but the solution shouldn’t be to ban the entire senate. We have a choice.  I personally choose not to endorse anyone, but that was my choice and what I chose to do should be of no matter to anyone else.”

The motion to approve IA14-03 failed, keeping the restriction on campaigning on others running for senate only to public affairs members.

Central’s Wellness Service Expands

by Matt Knox

The Department of Student Wellness Services is going on its second year as an integrated department after the decision by CCSU to combine all it’s health counciling and wellness departments.  Following the integration, an increased number of students are still continuing to take advantage of the services provided to them.

CCSU is the first of the CSU schools to make this drastic change within the Student Wellness Services Department, one that Dr. Christopher Diamond, Medical Director at Health Services, believes will be beneficial to the university.  He explains how he is now looking forward to moving all of the offices into one building and one level.

“We want students to leave equipped to take care of each other,” said Diamond.  “We want to get people the right provider, at the right time and in the right place.”

According to Diamond, throughout the year about 5,000 people will visit Student Wellness Services. With all the recent renovations and upgrades completed, handling that many patients has become much easier. Seven years ago, only half that many people visited the department. For students, most services are free except when special medical attention is needed or medication is prescribed. While most of the services provided are usually short term, the department will not leave you on your own in the case of long-term care.

“We’ll get you what you need, and if we can’t, we’ll find someone that can,” said Diamond.

One of Diamond’s goals for his department is to help students stay well on their own, so they need his services less often. One man who plays a large part in the realization of that goal is Dr. Jonathan Pohl, Wellness Education Coordinator.

Together with Sandra Rose-Zak, Wellness Program Administrator, Pohl focuses on eight major areas in a persons life that have the most impact. When one of the areas is struggling it can negatively impact with all of the others, but each one can also lend help.  “We want to help students achieve their goals,” said Pohl.

CCSU Studies Abroad

By Jesmarie Disdiel

The annual CCSU Study Abroad Fair took place last Thursday in Bellin Gallery.  International foods along with video presentations temped students to branch out and try something new, something that many students won’t get the opportunity to do after college: travel the world.

CCSU is one of the top 100 schools in America in regards to having a great study abroad program.  With more than 20 university partnerships around the world and 45 international programs available annually.

“I heard that CCSU is well known for their study abroad program,” said Wojciech Maszynski, CCSU student expressing great interest in studying abroad in the future.  “After experiencing the vibe of the meeting, I realized how sophisticated this is to expand my boundaries verbally and socially.”

Many of the Course Abroad programs are set in academic courses. This upcoming winter, students have the opportunity to take an English course in London, England. Professor Aimee L. Pozorski, who will be teaching the course that focuses on the literary legacy of World War I in modern England, says the trip will offer a perspective on literature.  The course offers a chance to learn about British texts that relate to World War I, while being given an understanding as to how the city of London was such an essential background for that point in history.

CCSU doesn’t just offer courses abroad, they also offer a non-credit international experience. Passport to Global Citizenship programs do not offer a credit but instead offers an enriched experience of the destination.  These trips allow students to immerse themselves into a destination, while being taken on tours, experiencing the nightlife and enjoying the traditional cuisine.

Studying abroad is a wonderful opportunity that every student should try and take advantage of.  CCSU offers a huge variety of programs from Ireland, Greece and even Costa Rica all for an affordable price.

“Studying abroad exposes you to a culture and society you don’t normally see,” says Jeremiah Jarret, Professor of Biology and Program Director of the upcoming Belize trip.  Jarret explains that students should take advantage of our international programs, and everyone should at least once in their life leave the country and experience a whole new one. CCSU’s study abroad program is the perfect place to start.