Higher Ed Consolidation
Effective July 1, 2011, the Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR) became the governing body for Connecticut State University System (CSUS), the Community-Technical Colleges (CTC), and Charter Oak State College. The legislation required the former CSUS and CTC boards of trustees to remain in office from July 1, 2011, until December 31, 2011 in order to facilitate the transition of duties and responsibilities to the BOR.
The BOR consists of 15 voting members, nine appointed by the governor and four appointed by House and Senate leadership. The BOR members and their biographies can be found on the BOR’s website. The Commissioners of Education, Economic and Community Development, Labor and Public Health also serve on the Board as non-voting, ex-officio members. The legislation creating the BOR requires a Student Advisory Committee (SAC) — the Chair and Vice-Chair of the SAC serve as voting member of the BOR – and a Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC).
The new structure calls for a President of the BOR. Dr. Robert A. Kennedy was appointed as Interim President of the BOR on August 22, 2011, and was recommended for a full appointment by the BOR on January 19, 2012. On February 29, 2012, he was confirmed as President by the Connecticut State Senate. Dr. Kennedy served as the President of the University of Maine from April 2005 to June 2011. One of President Kennedy’s first actions in fall 2011 was to visit each of the seventeen campuses under his purview to learn from faculty, staff, and students.
The new structure of the BOR also calls for a Vice President for CTC and a Vice President for CSUS. Dr. David Levinson, who has been serving as the Interim Vice President for Community Colleges, as well as the President of Norwalk Community College, will continue to serve in both roles on a permanent basis. Dr. Louise Feroe served as Interim Vice President for CSUS until April 2012 when it was announced that Dr. Elsa Núñez would serve in that role. Dr. Núñez will remain as the President of ECSU while assuming additional responsibilities as Vice President for CSUS. According to the press release, “The Board of Regents will commence a search for an academic leader who will collaborate with both Drs. Levinson and Núñez and be the primary point person for academic issues concerning the community colleges, the state universities and Charter Oak State College.”
One of the reasons for the restructuring was savings. It was argued that if the upper administrations were consolidated, positions could be eliminated. Following the December 20, 2011 meeting of the BOR, twenty-four top administrative positions from the systems were eliminated; eight of these positions were from CSU and sixteen from CTC. Read more on this story from the Connecticut Mirror here. The savings are estimated to amount to $5 million.
At its December 20 meeting, the BOR unanimously approved a plan to maintain the distinct missions of its constituent units: CSU, the Community/Technical Colleges, and Charter Oak. The first stage of the plan approved by the BOR directs staff to “share a compilation of existing mission statements and a matrix of common issues raised across statements with the Councils of Presidents, the Student Advisory Committee and the Faculty Advisory Committee.” CSU, CTC, and Charter Oak were charged with drafting their own mission statement with a deadline of June 1, 2012. The second stage of the process involves the Board of Regents, Councils of Presidents, Student Advisory Committee and Faculty Advisory Committee meeting in September to seek consensus on the three mission statements with the goal of approving the mission statements by October 2012.
Watch the Higher Education Consolidation Committee Meeting (11/10/11) (Download software to watch video here)
Watch the Higher Education Consolidation Committee Meeting (9/14/11) (Download software to watch video here)
Watch the Higher Education Hearing on Reorganization; Over 150 Students, Faculty, and Staff from CSU attended in green t-shirts! (3/10/11) (Download software to watch video here)