Tag Archives: csus

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CCSU Begins Interior Of Academic Building

By Acadia Otlowski

According to James Grupp, CCSU Project Manager, the new academic building’s exterior is almost complete and work has been started on the inside.

“The building is on budget; it is slightly behind schedule but the contractor has the plan to make up that time,” said Grupp, mentioning that the group will have to work some Saturdays. “The completion is planned for the end of February, and the opening of the building is planned for summer of 2013.”

Grupp said that Gillbane, the company constructing the building, is working on the outside, and are about three quarters of the way through the brick.”

“That’s a brick facade on the outside of the building,” said Grupp walking through the site. “The only thing left is this north side, everything else is all done, they’re washing it down.”

With the completion of the brick exterior almost complete the next focus is to prepare the building for sheet rock.

“Getting the building watertight right now is the critical task,” said Grupp. “We don’t want any sheet rock installed and have to take it out. Sheet rock can’t get wet.”

While it is assured that the building is watertight, work has begun on the aspects that will make the building tick,  such as electricity and wireless internet.

“Now we are moving inside the building, we are getting ready to put the sheet rock on, starting on the electrical, all the data, and the heating and cooling,” said Grupp.

All of the rooms are well designed, with the majority of the offices and classrooms containing windows to let in some natural light. The second floor is going to be history,  the third floor is going to be sociology and political science,  and the fourth floor is going to be geography and anthropology.

The building is designed with students in mind featuring a number of lounge areas and student-friendly features. Grupp says the first student lounge located on the first floor.

“There’s going to be four TVs here. We’re going to have comfortable chairs here,” said Grupp. ” You’re going to have a place to hang out, its all wireless.”

In addition to lounges, students will also enjoy the benefits of larger, more spacious classrooms.

“It’s like two thirds that size,” Grupp said pointing to DiLoreto, comparing the old history classrooms to the ones in the new academic building.

The new academic building doesn’t host any massive lecture halls, the largest of the rooms have a capacity of 50 people, Grupp said.

The new building will satisfy requirements to receive a silver certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED, according to Grupp. To meet this requirement, the building must earn at least 50 points. Points are awarded for meeting requirements in categories like Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources and Indoor Environmental Quality.

To meet these specifications, the building has features like shower rooms and bike racks so students and faculty could bike to class, then shower afterwards. Additionally, there is also a lactation room on the first floor.

Grupp also mentioned the next project that will begin when this project is completed.

“When this project is done, the next project is what they call Willard DiLoreto In-Fill, and that will be renovating Willard and DiLoreto,” said Grupp.

That project will connect Willard and DiLoreto, as well as updating the interiors of both buildings.

 

 

Higher Ed Deal Aims to Preserve University Missions

By Matt Clyburn

A deal to reorganize the governance of Connecticut’s higher education institutions was reached yesterday after a week of discussions between the Office of Policy and Management and Higher Education Chairperson Roberta B. Willis.

The agreement contains many elements proposed by Governor Dannel Malloy during his budget announcements in February, including the creation of a single Board of Regents overseeing the four Connecticut state universities, twelve community colleges and Charter Oak State College.

The agreement also calls for the creation of an advisory commission reporting to the Board of Regents. The commission would design and implement a strategic plan for the state’s higher education system, including the University of Connecticut.

A press release from Malloy’s office stressed that state universities, community colleges and Charter Oak would remain separate entities with distinct missions. Each of the three groups will have a “lead individual” serving on the Board of Regents, presumably to advocate for policy and governance policies while a member of the body.

“I’m pleased that we were able to tie up loose ends and formalize this proposal on behalf of our state’s students who choose to attend our community colleges, regional universities and Charter Oak,” said Mark Ojakian, deputy secretary of the Office of Policy and Management in a statement. “In the end, it’s the students who win. By flattening our administrations costs and overhead, we can direct more money to our student and classroom instruction.”

“This proposal will help make these schools more functional to those who attend them,” Ojakian said.

Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Laura Tordenti spoke to the SGA senate about the agreement at their meeting last week, saying that the plan will be in place by July 1.

“I think that Central will continue to thrive with the reorganization,” Tordenti said.

In the statement from the governor’s office, Rep. Willis of the Higher Education Committee said that she was originally concerned about the individual institutions’ missions.

“They serve a critical and defined need in our communities, one that must be maintained even as we seek efficiencies and savings,” Willis said.

“The commitment to a strategic plan is important,” Willis added. “The Advisory Commission will have an ongoing and permanent role, needed for us to be able to adjust to changing needs in Connecticut and responsive to student needs and workforce development needs in the state that our higher education system can address.”

Back in February, Malloy called for an annual report from the Board of Regents that identifies retention and graduation rates, resource allocation figures, cost-benefit analyses and an “affordability index” tied to Connecticut’s average family household income. The report is expected to include information related to enrollment and completion figures sorted by program of study, credit transferability across institutions and employment outcome data provided by the Department of Labor.

Rep. Willis said that more specifics need to be worked out, but that the plan is based on a need for change and improvement.

“In the end, we can improve student learning, help close the achievement gap, prepare student for 21st century jobs our state will need to move us forward, and make higher education more efficient and effective.

If passed out of the General Assembly, the plan would take effect in tandem with implementation of the state budget for Fiscal Year 2012.

[Updated May 2]

Professors’ Union Mobilizes to Oppose Cost-Cutting Measures

By Matt Clyburn

Leaders of the CSU American Association of University Professors have spent a great deal of time and resources this semester coordinating mobilization efforts and public information campaigns.

They are doing so in the face of austerity measures proposed by Governor Dannel Malloy.

Now, a bill that would substantially reorganize the state’s higher education system will travel to the Appropriations Committee after a favorable report from the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee.

The bill seeks to implement pieces of Malloy’s plan to create a Board of Regents overseeing the CSUS, 12 community colleges, Charter Oak State College, and the Department of Higher Education.

The most current form of the bill includes amendments originally proposed by leaders and members of the AAUP. Among them is a requirement for two voting students and various alumni to sit on the proposed Board of Regents.  The change follows concerns that each institution’s mission may not be wholly understood by a gubernatorial appointee.

“Our voice on this issue has mattered,” said the CSU-AAUP in a statement. “However, despite some positive changes, [we remain] opposed to the proposed reorganization.”

The AAUP has focused much of its efforts on union members. They are hoping that they will take up the union’s banner and influence state legislators to make new policies more education-friendly. Each communication sent to AAUP members has encouraged the recipient to contact state legislators in an attempt to influence the legislation that may arrive on the governor’s desk in the coming months.

Citing a lack of sufficient involvement from “appropriate stakeholders,” Vijay Nair, president of the CSU-AAUP, said that the reorganization may undercut the identities of each college or university during testimony at the state capitol last month.

The CSU-AAUP also believes that performance-based funding for higher education does not always work as intended. “The present proposal puts the cart before the horse,” the statement said. This statement, which was sent to members on April 13, stressed the need for a strategic plan for higher education “in order to address the emerging demands of the twenty-first century.”

However, the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee had already added a strategic plan requirement to the legislation. On March 17 reported favorably on a bill that outlines the creation thereof.

The bill contains some of the recommendations made by CCSU professor and AAUP representative Dr. Susan A. Holt of the Psychology Department. In a written testimony presented on March 10, Holt recommended greater representation from students, faculty, and administration in the strategic planning process. She asked the committee to consider preserving institutional identities at system schools.

“The central goal of any plan is to improve student education,” Holt said. “Any reorganization that threatens the integrity of the education offered at present should be rejected.”

A statement from the CSU-AAUP said that they can only support a plan that reduces upper management costs, does not include outcome or performance-based funding, “guarantees continued dedication” to institution’s respective missions and provides more funding for teaching and student services.

Republican Rep. Lawrence F. Cafero, Jr. generally supports Malloy’s plans. In a statement before committee last month, Cafero said that any attempt to consolidate government services is a good one.

“Each year, the budgets of every constituent unit of the [CSUS] and the community-technical college system have increased,” Cafero said. “Now more than ever, it is critical to review what has caused these increases and whether savings in governance and administrative efficiencies could be put towards our budget deficit.”

The AAUP has voiced their collective opinion on other state funding issues as well.

In a message to members on April 3, the CSU-AAUP’s communication and research assistant evoked a message of the civil rights era in a call to action.

“Honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy,” the message said in all capital letters. “Just a day following the anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, the Appropriations Committee is holding a hearing on bills proposing to restrict collective bargaining rights, break state and municipal contracts, [and] freeze all state and municipal wages.”

The bill, brought to committee by Republican State Rep. Craig A. Miner from Litchfield, would freeze wages of all non-exempt state employees until Connecticut’s unemployment rate drops below recession level for at least six months.

The umbrella AAUP organization sent a message to members on April 11. It contained a statement from the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition expressing distaste for policies that fail to raise taxes on the wealthy.

“[The] notion of ‘shared sacrifice’ makes sense,” the message said, “but true shared sacrifice means a budget which does not ask so little from the very rich and the biggest corporations, and so much from struggling middle class families.”

The CSU-AAUP made news in February for transporting system students to the State Capitol for a public hearing on the higher education and budget bills. Students were provided bussing, t-shirts and food free of charge.

The AAUP negotiates wages and working conditions for all full and part-time faculty, counselors, librarians, and coaches at the Connecticut State Universities. The organization also advocates for issues in higher education in the United States and maintains a ‘Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure.’

The AAUP has more than 48,000 members, 300 local campus chapters, and approximately 30 state organizations.

CSUS Board Approves 2.5 Percent Tuition Increase

Adds Extra 2.5 Percent Increase for Students Using Credit Cards

By Matt Clyburn

The Connecticut State University System Board of Trustees approved a 2.5 percent increase in tuition and fees for more than 36,000 students last Thursday, along with a new credit card transaction fee that will impose an additional 2.5 percent for student using a card to pay their bill.

The credit card transaction fee was a last-minute addition to the board’s proposed changes and aligns to similar fees charged at other local institutions of higher education, including UConn.

According to the Hartford Courant, officials estimated that nearly 40 percent of CSUS students use credit cards for payment, in whole or in part.

Students also have the option to enroll in the CENTRAL Payment Plan for a $35 fee, which allows payers to divide the cost of attendance into five equal monthly payments.

It is unclear whether students using credit card-branded debit cards would be charged the fee, but students may use an ‘e-check’ to have payment drawn electronically from any bank account. CCSU students may also use a personal check, money order, cashier’s check or a Blue Chip debit account to make payment of tuition and fees.

A press release from the CSUS said that the increase is the smallest since 2000, but follows a vote by the board in September 2010 that indicated tuition would be frozen for next year.

“It is important that CSUS maintain the accessibility and affordability of its universities to the greatest extent possible,” said Angelo Messina, chairman of the Finance and Administration Committee, in September. “Our students and potential students are among those that are most affected by the prolonged economic downturn.”

Tuition and fees will increase by an average of $198 for in-state undergraduate commuters and $446 for in-state undergraduates that living on campus, according to a press release from the system.  Exact rates will vary based on university, course schedule and additional program requirements.

Another change approved by the board Thursday will add a lab fee for nursing students to provide required materials during non-lecture course sessions.

Board Vice Chairman Richard J. Balducci echoed Governor Dannel Malloy’s recent call for shared sacrifice and said that cost-cutting measures are being implemented across the system to keep the tuition increase at 2.5 percent.

The governor asked Connecticut public universities and colleges earlier this year not to raise tuition by more than the level of inflation. Since the request, state officials have pegged the rate of inflation at 2.5 percent and the University of Connecticut trustees voted a tuition increase at precisely that rate just a few weeks ago.

The system-wide tuition increase last year was 6.3 percent for in-state undergraduate commuters and 5.6 percent for in-state undergraduate campus residents.

“Currently, the cost of tuition and fees falls about midway compared with public universities in the Northeast, and is the lowest when compared with 11 competitor universities in the region which CSUS students had considered attending,” the CSUS statement said.

Miller Talks Tuition Hike, Reminds Senate CCSU Is Still Cheapest in State

By Kassondra Granata

A day before the Connecticut State University System Board of Trustees passed a 2.5 percent tuition increase for all four CSUS schools, President Jack Miller spoke to the CCSU Student Government Association about the hike, making sure the senate understood that CCSU is still one of the least expensive schools in the region.

“At Central we are the least expensive four-year institution in the state,” said Miller. “Our tuition and fees and our overall cost are the least.”

Miller stressed the fact that CCSU will remain the least expensive state school despite the cut.

“For a commuting student here it’s $500 less than for a commuting student at Eastern,” said Miller. “If you are living on campus compared to Southern, it will be $600 less, with Western $700 less, Eastern $700 less and UConn $2500 less.”

President Jack Miller shows just how small the tuition hike is. Photo: Kenny Barto.

The 2.5 percent increase that proposed by the CSUS Finance and Administration Committee of the Board of Trustees at all four State universities is the smallest one-year increase since 2000.

“If you are a commuter you’ll either be $50 less, $200 less or $500 less depending upon whether you are talking about Western, Southern or Eastern,” Miller said.

Miller hopes that the senate will send his input along to fellow students that might have questions concerning the tuition increase topic.

“You’ll get questions from people,” Miller said. “I’d like you to be able to have the information to give to these students.”

Miller encouraged the senate that regardless of the tuition increase, CCSU will still remain to be a great institution.

“While 2.5 percent is an increase and I think in these times it’s tough to justify any increase because everyone’s struggling,” Miller said. “I think that holding it down to 2.5 percent and making sure we still remain to be the best value in terms of access is an important thing for everyone to remember.”

Editorial: Proposed Tuition Hike Shouldn’t Come As Surprise

With the news coming last week that there will most certainly be a tuition hike for the 2011-12 school year, members of the CSUS Board of Trustees should be ashamed of themselves.

Last September, members of the Finance and Administration Committee recommended a tuition freeze to ease the financial burden on students in a withering economy. Though circumstances have changed in Hartford, both with a new governor and a reinvigorated legislature, they most certainly have not for our student peers here in New Britain.

The Board of Trustees must act as a figurehead of the university system it represents, not a doddering collection of suits bending to the slightest of political winds. We hoped that this group of individuals would represent our interests at the state level rather than engage in the games that brought us to our present circumstances. We were foolish and wrong, they failed us.

The proposed hike begs the question: is anyone really surprised? Given the circumstances, no one should be.

There’s a sense of urgency surrounding the state’s budget situation and what needs to be done to make ends meet. How is the school going to afford to pay its teachers? How will the school pay for the tools and technology needed to run a 21st century university? These are reasonable questions that allude to a debate worth having.

But if you were naive enough to believe that CSUS tuition rates would stay the same, you are hopefully in the minority. Any time that a state institution tells you that they will freeze prices but still leave the option open to raise the rates, it’s can be assumed they were just saying so to keep people happy and quiet.

Happy and quiet indeed; despite 11 straight years of tuition increases, our peers have remained silent. Meanwhile, these colleagues substitute a slow and incremental financial death for a swift and striking one.

Members of the board justify our present circumstance by highlighting the fact that CCSU is still among the least expensive universities in the northeast. But these officials know that the average public university student spends much more time in residence than their private university counterparts. So which will it be, exorbitant tuition for four years or marginally increasing tuition for six?

We expect higher participation in public policymaking from our fellow students and a greater degree of advocacy from our representatives within the Board of Trustees, but we haven’t seen it. Until we do, we’re going to see CSUS leadership parade around their false tuition freeze publicity to raise student body morale.

It’s apparent to this staff that the people who are being affected by these decisions will be the last to help prevent a future gaffe like this from happening again.