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Accord reached on regional campuses
March 8, 1999
State higher education leaders have reached agreement on an expanded array of undergraduate and graduate programs to be offered by the University of Connecticut's regional campuses in Groton and Stamford, and by UConn's proposed Tri-Campus consisting of the Hartford, Waterbury and Torrington sites.
The agreement, forged at a March 2 meeting attended by officials from UConn, the Connecticut State University, the Community-Technical Colleges, Charter Oak State College and the Conference of Independent Colleges, now goes for approval to the state Board of Governors for Higher Education.
"We're very pleased to have an agreement with our colleagues in higher education," said President Philip E. Austin. "This is a great day for our regional campuses, as it will allow them to reach full potential."
The agreement designates a focus, or "center of excellence" for each regional campus and identifies the programs to be offered within each: marine sciences at Avery Point, business and information technology at Stamford, and urban and public policy at the Tri-Campus. The plan also specifies that the campuses will be non-residential, and outlined a new process for program expansion for all public and independent colleges in the state.
These features respond to questions raised by the Board of Governors in January when it approved an overall mission for UConn - including the ability of the regional campuses to offer selected undergraduate and graduate degrees - but turned back separate role and scope statements for the regional campuses because of concerns about resources and duplication.
"We are committed to the Tri-Campus venture, which contemplates a more efficient administrative structure and, where sensible academically, non-duplication of course offerings on the Torrington, Waterbury and Hartford campuses," said Austin.
In the new agreement, UConn has withdrawn Phases II and III of its original plans for further program expansion, and will submit new role and scope statements for its regional campuses to the Board of Governors.
Austin said the revised agreement will give the University the opportunity to be more responsive to demand and available resources.
Higher Education Commissioner Andrew G. De Rocco said, "We are delighted that all of Connecticut higher education has reached consensus on this important issue. For all partners to agree fully on focused programs, and on a new collaborative way to serve the educational needs of each of Connecticut's regions, is quite an accomplishment. All should be applauded for resolving this issue in an open and cooperative manner."
State Rep. Kosta Diamantis (D-79th), chair of the Higher Education Subcommittee of the General Assembly's Appropriations Committee, stated he was particularly delighted that the plan resolves concerns raised about resources and duplication. "This is a prudent plan because it assures that new programs will respond directly to justified needs and will not duplicate current offerings. It also shows that Connecticut higher education can work together well in serving state citizens."
The Board of Governors is expected to act on the agreement at its meeting in Hartford on March 17.