Board of Governors for Higher Education
At a Glance
Statutory authority – CGS Section 10a-6
Central office - 61 Woodland Street,
Hartford, CT 06105-2326
Average number of full-time employees - 45
Recurring operating expenses (General Fund) – Total System: $577.5 million;
Board of Governors - $45.3 million
Organizational structure - Office of the Commissioner; three Offices for Academic Affairs, Finance and Administration, and Programs and Services.
The Board of Governors’ statutory mission, shared by the Department of Higher Education, is to: maintain standards of quality, ensuring a position of national leadership for Connecticut higher education institutions; assure the fullest possible use of available resources in public and independent colleges and universities; foster flexibility in the policies and institutions of higher education, enabling the system to respond to changes in the economy, society, technology and student interests; apply the resources of higher education to the problems of society; provide learning and training opportunities related to the state’s economic, cultural and educational development; protect academic freedom; and ensure educational opportunity for all qualified persons, regardless of age, sex, ethnic background or social, physical or economic conditions.
The Board of Governors for Higher Education is the state coordinating and planning agency for Connecticut's 45 colleges and universities. The board is responsible primarily for policy-making for the state’s public higher education institutions: the University of Connecticut, Connecticut State University, the 12 community colleges and the Board for State Academic Awards (Charter Oak State College). The board also considers the state's 27 independent colleges and universities in policy development.
The board has 11 members, seven of whom are appointed by the Governor and four who are named by the highest-ranked members of the General Assembly who are not members of the Governor's political party. As of July 2003, members are Harry H. Penner, Jr., Guilford, chair; Frank W. Ridley, Meriden, vice-chair; William A. Bevacqua, Trumbull; Dorothea E. Brennan, Fairfield; Leonard S. Cohen, West Hartford; Joan R. Kemler, West Hartford; Robert D. Lane, Killingworth; Dorothy B. Leib, New London; Alice V. Meyer, Easton; Albert Vertefeuille, Lebanon; and Patricia McCann Vissepó, New Haven. The board, which meets monthly except for July and August, has an advisory committee of 22 college representatives.
The Board of Governors’ statutory duties include review of public college operating and capital budget requests and expenditures, licensure and accreditation of academic programs and institutions (public and independent), coordination of programs and services throughout the system, establishment of systemwide policies and guidelines, review and approval of institutional missions and evaluation of institutional effectiveness.
Under the direction of the Commissioner of Higher Education, the Department of Higher Education carries out board policies and serves as its administrative arm. The department conducts licensure and accreditation reviews; prepares systemwide operating and capital budget requests; administers student financial assistance, alternate teacher certification and minority recruitment programs; maintains statewide databases for budgeting and policy studies; prepares legislative proposals; monitors student attendance patterns; and oversees Connecticut’s private occupational schools.
Federal responsibilities include serving as the State Approval Agency for programs enrolling veterans, and as the state’s lead agency for Americorps, the national service program. The department also administers the higher education portion of the federal Improving Teacher Quality State Grants Program.
Students, teachers and taxpayers are the chief beneficiaries of the agency’s work to assure access, quality and efficiency throughout the system. Legislators, federal and state policy-makers, colleges, business and community organizations also profit from the agency’s unique role as a provider of objective and systemwide coordination and information.
All of the agency’s work is designed to meet the needs of its various constituencies since anticipating and responding to emerging trends is inherent to coordination and planning.
Helping to address the state’s teacher shortage, the department continued its summer and weekend Alternate Route to Certification (ARC) programs in Bloomfield, North Haven and Bridgeport for 244 teacher candidates in art, bilingual education, English, history/social studies, mathematics, music, science and world languages.
ARC’s weekend program offers technology education and family and consumer science as well. Some 125 persons are expected to enroll in this Middletown-based program. The combined 2002-03 summer and weekend ARC programs produced 423 new teachers.
ARC has launched a new professional development program for its graduates, including coaching and mentoring, monthly seminars and a new content session to orient students to the benefits of professional development and lifelong learning. New technology initiatives, such as an online faculty and student support center, supplement this effort.
The department administered the Minority Teacher Incentive program which provided grants to 87 students and loan reimbursement stipends to 62 minority students who are now teaching in Connecticut. It also managed a federal grant program to increase the number of special education teachers in the state.
Continued growth in college costs and concern over reductions in state student financial aid compelled the Board of Governors to reiterate its call for stronger approval authority over proposed tuition increases which exceed the Consumer Price Index. Reductions in the state’s three major state student financial aid program resulted in 2,766 fewer students receiving help, a ten percent reduction from last year to just 18,702 this year.
To broaden early awareness about college, the department conducted workshops for urban middle school youngsters supported by federal Gear Up funds. Working with the Conference of Independent Colleges, the department held sessions to inform guidance counselors about www.ctmentor.org, a comprehensive website which students can use to apply online for admission and financial aid, take virtual campus tours and match their high school course selection with college requirements.
Providing free and objective information about learning opportunities is the mission of the department's Education and Employment Information Center (EEIC), which steered 17,455 persons toward new careers and training through its toll-free hotline (800/842-0229), workshops, college and career fairs and publications. Log sheets documenting individual requests, correspondence from the public and workshop evaluations reveal high customer satisfaction with the EEIC.
This year, the department’s Baden-Württemberg Exchange achieved a 40 percent increase in the number of Connecticut students attending college in Germany.
The department continued its research and analytical work, issuing reports on enrollment, degrees conferred, freshman retention and system trends. Three new reports addressed public teacher and administrator supply and demand, and trends in Connecticut high school students attending in-state colleges.
The department works with other organizations such as the Connecticut State Library to administer iCONN, Connecticut’s Digital Library; the state Departments of Education and Labor; the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission; and the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.
Much of the Department’s work focuses on preserving student access and protecting the state’s significant investment in its public colleges. Much activity centered on the department’s participation in Phase I of a national project, Changing Direction, sponsored by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and funded by the Lumina Foundation for Education, to improve state policy-making on tuition, state student financial aid and state appropriations. The Board’s new Tuition Policy Review Committee explored changes to state tuition and fee policy. In so doing, the department raised public awareness about impending rises in student costs and gained legislative support to establish a new student financial aid database, contingent upon available funds.
The department, working with its Performance Measures Task Force, streamlined its annual accountability report. The new report includes ten common core measures reported by each institution and fewer institution-specific measures. The report, required each year by the General Assembly, was published in February.
A large portion of the department’s work involved managing budget reductions, employee lay-offs and early retirement plans. In inflation-adjusted dollars, support for the higher education system has eroded nearly seven percent since 1990. As of June 30, the fiscal 2003 budget was unsettled.
The board’s Minority Advancement Program (MAP) continued to expand student diversity. In fall 2002, the number of minority undergraduates enrolled in state-supported colleges exceeded minority representation in Connecticut’s general population for the fifth consecutive year. These colleges enrolled 21,176 minority students, or 23.1 percent of their total student body. The proportion of degrees awarded to minority undergraduates in the public sector grew to 16.9 percent in 2001-2002.
MAP provided college preparatory counseling to nearly 2,000 high school students. Summer bridge programs, which ease the transition from high school to college, served another 400. With federal GEAR UP dollars, the department conducted early awareness activities for more than 9,000 low-income youngsters and awarded nearly $1 million in federal scholarships to 265 needy youngsters.
In the area of academic planning and evaluation, the Board of Governors, based on the department's review, reaccredited five Connecticut colleges and universities, and accredited one new institution. One out-of-state institution gained approval to continue offering programs in Connecticut. In addition, the board licensed 76 academic degree programs: seven certificate programs, 11 associate programs, 25 bachelor’s programs, 31 master’s programs and two doctoral programs. Of these, 23 programs were at public colleges and 53 were at the independents. Many are offered through distance learning.
The board accredited 30 programs, enabling them to graduate students and award degrees for the first time. Responding to state economic needs, the board approved 15 programs in business; nine in health-related fields; 12 in engineering, computer science, and the natural and physical sciences; and nine in education and teacher preparation of which one is a new doctoral program in instructional leadership.
To ease student transfer, the department streamlined the transfer process for nursing students between public and independent colleges, and between the community colleges and the University of Connecticut. The latter transfer agreement will serve as a model for similar arrangements in other critical workforce fields.
Overseeing private occupational schools, the department approved 11 new schools, re-approved 21 existing schools and addressed 27 formal complaints.
As the State Approving Agency for veterans' benefits, the department processed 110 applications from institutions enrolling veterans, conducted 60 training and supervisory visits to schools and colleges and made bi-monthly presentations to newly-separated service persons regarding their educational benefits, and held a workshop for campus personnel on certifying their veterans for benefits.
The Connecticut Commission on National and Community Service, supported by the department, provided nearly $2.7 million to support 400 AmeriCorps members in Connecticut. In return, AmeriCorps members receive an education award of up to $4,725. To date, more than 2,900 Connecticut residents have qualified for education awards totaling more than $11 million. In April, the Commission awarded its annual Higher Education Community Service Awards to nine college students, professors and staff.
Working with school and college representatives, the department awarded $438,528 in Teacher Quality Partnership Grants, the successor to the federal Eisenhower Professional Development Grant Program, to nine teacher professional development projects spanning core disciplines. The projects rest on partnerships of schools of education, colleges of arts and sciences and high-need school districts to strengthen the teacher quality and raise student achievement.
The Department of Higher Education is required by state statute to monitor and report on statewide enrollment and graduation trends.
Overall, a record 169,748 students attended Connecticut public and independent colleges and universities in fall 2002 for an annual gain of 3.1 percent. Enrollment at public institutions reached 107,789 up 4.2 percent. Independent college enrollment rose 1.2 percent to 61,959. The 2002 record surpasses the previous peak enrollment of 169,132 set in 1989.
The latest graduation statistics show that Connecticut colleges and universities awarded 30,498 degrees and certificates in 2002-2003, up 2.7 percent from the previous year. The five most popular disciplines were business, education, health professions, social sciences and the liberal arts.