Big or small, area colleges embrace changes for 2012-13 academic year
Area colleges and universities are gearing up for fall with an array of enhancements ranging from new courses, buildings and schools to a satellite campus in Italy and a brand new campus in downtown New Haven.
The most far-reaching changes are at Gateway Community College, where the vision and determination of its president, Dorsey L. Kendrick, is made manifest in the August 29 grand opening of a 360,000-square-foot campus at 20 Church Street.
Occupying two city blocks, the campus houses 90 classrooms, a library, a culinary arts center and a small business center. It is the first state-funded LEED gold-certified public building, with green roof gardens and water heated by solar thermal panels among its energy-saving measures.
Emblazoned on a “president’s learning wall” are inspirational quotations from Kendrick’s speeches over the last dozen years.
Shortly before moving to her new office, Kendrick spoke about growing excitement among faculty and staff.
“You can see the enthusiasm on people’s faces,” she said. “It feels like the college has finally arrived as a community college that reflects what other community colleges in the state reflect. Although all are not in the same place in terms of infrastructure, most have gone through some form of renovation or addition, and are in decent shape.
“For the first time, our college students are coming into a state-of-the-art facility that says, ‘We value you’ and ‘You can compete with other students.’”
Gateway spokesperson Evelyn Gard says the new campus increases school enrollment capacity by 50 percent, and more than 7,500 students will be attending in fall 2012.
Kendrick says completion of the downtown campus makes her feel “self-actualized,” a term coined by psychologist Abraham Maslow to characterize “the full use and exploitation of talents, capacities and potentialities.”
“I’ve finally worked so hard to have something happen for my community,” she says, “and all of a sudden the reality all of that hard work has paid off.”
Kendrick is not resting on her laurels. She’s in discussions with New Haven officials to launch a vocational technical school linked to Gateway.
“Many students graduating from high school are going nowhere, and don’t have the skills that allow them to pursue technical work,” Kendrick explains. “I’m working with the city to get something going by 2013.”
At Southern Connecticut State University, the old student center has been transformed into a new business school. A decade in the making, the $6.5 million renovation got rolling after the remaining $3.5 million was approved in early 2011, at the first state bond commission meeting after Dannel P. Malloy, a project booster, became governor, explains School of Business Dean Ellen D. Durnin.
The refurbished 23,000-square-foot space has three classrooms and meeting and conference space.
The ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for September 21.
“The good news is we’re so much better than where we were,” Durnin says. “The challenging part is by the day we moved we filled in the space, and still need more classrooms.”
Durnin is working on the second phase of the project, which involves securing $4.5 million through government and other funding sources to renovate an additional 25,000 square feet in the rear of the building.
This fall, SCSU business students will get a boost from a recent $90,000 grant from Northeast Utilities for a Student Success Center to increase internship opportunities.
Around two-thirds of SCSU business students work in jobs unrelated to their studies, according to Durnin, who is encouraging area companies to offer them paid internships.
“We really want to be engaged with the business community, and want them come here if they need assistance for something or a place to meet,” she says. “I’d like to be their go-to business school.”
Two new schools are in development at Quinnipiac University.
A new medical school, the state’s third, is under construction, and the first class of 60 students is slated to enroll in fall 2013.
“Our emphasis is going to be on primary care, because of the great need in Connecticut and across the nation,” said Bruce Koeppen, MD, dean of the newly minted Frank H. Netter School of Medicine.
The 145,000-square-foot school will include offices, 16 exam rooms, a human anatomy facility, a clinical skills-assessment facility, two simulation operating rooms, a library, a lounge space with a yoga studio and a fitness center.
Koeppen believes first-generation college students and those “who have been in a non-medicine career but have decided medicine is their calling” will be among applicants for the program.
Since he was hired in September 2010, Koeppen has been busy hiring faculty and staff, developing curriculum and operating policies and procedures and working with architects to design the space.
“It’s the most fun I’ve had in my career,” he says.
In addition, this fall marks the debut of a new Quinnipiac engineering school, offering majors in civil, mechanical, industrial and computer software.
“This was seen as another strategic initiative for the university,” explains Scott Hamilton, professor and chairman of the Department of Engineering. “After a multidisciplinary group studied the need for engineering, looked at the interests of high school students, job forecasting and the demographics of students we attract, they determined engineering was a desirable thing.
“Part of what makes it possible to start right away is engineering relies on science and math and a bunch of courses we’re already teaching, which gives us time to hire faculty and develop courses,” he adds.
Hamilton hired two faculty members for the fall 2012 semester and plans to hire ten more next year.
He also has employed some innovative marketing techniques to recruit students.
At a November 2011 school open house, Hamilton displayed models of a Ferris wheel, bridge and roller coasters on a table that had “more toys than anyone else.
“Engineers like to solve problems,” he says. “There’s very little we interact with that engineering has not touched.”
Hamilton also sent an e-mail touting the program to existing QU students with an undeclared major. As of mid-July, 25 students had signed up for engineering.
“There are eight women, which is unheard of,” he says. “We’re going to get them designing things right away, so they don’t get discouraged. Engineering should be a very hands-on, learn-by-doing discipline, and we’re going to do that from day one."
At Yale University’s West Campus in Orange and West Haven, an office building soon will be retrofitted for the relocated School of Nursing.
“We have been on a very aggressive timetable so we can be in in August of 2013,” says School of Nursing Dean Margaret Grey. That will be in time to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the school, which is the oldest university-based school of nursing in the United States.
Around 340 graduate students, 55 faulty and 60 staff will move to a 70,000-square-foot space that is nearly 10,000 square feet larger than the nursing school’s current location at 100 Church Street.
“What we don’t have now is the right configuration of classrooms, which need to be more flexible, and the technology to meet the needs of the future,” Grey explains.
The nursing school will be Yale’s first school to relocate to the West Campus, which already has research and technology centers and art conservation programs.
Grey says that Yale University President Richard C. Levin began discussing a possible move with her more than a year ago.
“It was clear fundraising for us for a new building was less important than fundraising for financial aid in today’s environment,” Grey says. “It was not a simple decision for the faculty. Everything question we raised got a pretty good answer. In the end it was the best decision for the school.”
The University of New Haven is offering several new programs this fall, including a master’s program in emergency management, an online master’s degree in criminal justice and the school’s first international satellite campus in Prato, Italy.
The online criminal justice program enables the university to “take a program we’re well known for out to people who can’t get here,” says Marsha Ham, associate vice president and dean of the College of Lifelong & eLearning. “They can get a quality educational opportunity without ever having to come to campus.”
The degree requires 36 credits of coursework plus a capstone experience, and students can earn certificates in criminal justice management, forensic computer investigation and victim advocacy and services management.
Approximately 35 students will attend the university’s new Tuscany campus beginning this fall. Their ranks will swell to about 60 students each semester, starting in spring 2013, according to Jennie Brown, coordinator for international & experiential learning.
The campus has several classrooms, a student lounge and faculty and administrative offices.
“Part of the goal is to have a site that is operated by the University of New Haven so that we can offer an opportunity to many students from different majors to participate in study abroad,” Brown says. Other goals include giving students a cross-cultural experience [all students must take an Italian language course] set in a provincial Italian capital, and fostering closer ties between students and UNH faculty members.
Criminal justice will be the focus for fall 2012 students at the Italian satellite campus, Brown explains. “In spring it will be a different area, probably out of the College of Arts and Sciences.”
As the fall 2012 semester looms, Albertus Magnus College continues to expand its presence in Connecticut by forging partnerships with two-year schools and setting up satellite locations.
On July 10, Three Rivers Community College became the sixth Albertus satellite site for undergraduate and graduate accelerated degree courses.
Other satellite venues are in New Haven, East Hartford, Shelton, Enfield and Bristol.
In Bristol, for example, AMC offers three master’s programs and three adult undergraduate programs, including an MBA, a master’s in management and organizational leadership, a master’s in education and a bachelor’s degree in business management with a health-care concentration. Classes are held at Bristol Eastern High School.
An “articulation agreement” between Three Rivers Community College and Albertus enables students to transfer credits from the associate of arts or associate of science degree programs at Three Rivers to Albertus’ bachelor degree programs in its Traditional Day College and Division of Evening Undergraduate and Graduate Programs.
Albertus also has articulation agreements with Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport and Gateway Community College in New Haven.
“We offer a very, very unique delivery system,” explains Irene Rios, AMC’s dean for adult undergraduate and graduate programs. “We are able to bring programs to where they meet the needs” of students.
“We have been working with two-year schools for several years to develop articulation agreements, and it has been a successful venture for us and our mission,” Kovacs adds. “We are the pioneers in delivering our four-year program on-site at two-year schools.”
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Hartford launches two graduate programs this fall, a 30-credit Environment, Health and Safety Management program for a Master of Science degree in Management and a 30-credit Secure Information and Communication Systems program for a Master of Science in Computer Science.
“Rensselaer in general has been very active in the environment area for the last 20 years,” says Acting Dean David L. Rainey, who cites a “very successful” environmental management program the school offered in the 1990s. “Now, we’re putting it back on the priority list.”
The new Environment, Health and Safety program has courses ranging from laws and regulations to emergency planning and response.
Courses for the computer science program include cryptography and network security, as well as secure systems development.
NEW HAVEN — Albertus Magnus College, which offers undergraduate and graduate programs at its main campus in New Haven and satellite locations statewide, last month signed an agreement with Three Rivers Community College to ensure that Three Rivers graduates can transfer their credits to AMC to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Three Rivers thus becomes the sixth Albertus satellite school location (joining New Haven, East Hartford, Shelton, Enfield and most recently Bristol) to teach undergraduate and graduate accelerated degree courses. Classes will take place at Three Rivers C.C. in Norwich.
HAMDEN — The Connecticut Board of Education has granted Quinnipiac University licenses for programs in civil, mechanical, industrial and software engineering leading to BS degrees and enabling the university to launch its engineering program in the School of Business & Engineering.
“We can now officially market, recruit and teach courses in our four engineering disciplines,” said Scott Hamilton, chair of engineering. An outside reviewer met with Hamilton and other administrators to examine each of the programs, its plan and how it will be supported. The first engineering classes will begin this August.
Individual engineering classes will not exceed 20 students, Hamilton said, allowing for intimate learning environments. “They will know their professor and their professor will know them,” Hamilton said.