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Chancellor's Column

The regional campuses have a major role to play in the University's transformation. Each regional campus has a specific mission and purpose that reflects and serves the local community.

A university is an entity and a place of many diverse parts - intellectually, socially, physically, purposefully, and geographically. Each part, though distinct, strengthens the whole. From and through each, we become one: for that is what - literally, from the Latin - we are, a "university."

Fred Maryanski
Fred Maryanski

Into this educational technicolor coat, one finds woven many campuses: the main campus at Storrs, the Law School and School of Social Work in Hartford, the Health Center in Farmington, and the discrete regional campuses at Avery Point, Hartford, Stamford, Torrington, and Waterbury.

The regional campuses play a major role in the successful implementatio n of the University's strategic plan. Further developing and enhancing them and their educational programs is - along with undergraduate education, multiculturalism, outreach, research, program and service assessment, and resource allocation - an important component of that plan.

We are building at the University of Connecticut a great university for Connecticut's future. To attract the best - in students, faculty, staff, and support - we must be the best. We are well on our way, and the regional campuses are playing a major role in the University's transformation. From its regional campuses, each with its own mission and character - and I would include Storrs in this context - the University derives its unified strength and purpose.

Each of these campuses reflects not only the community in which it is located and which it serves - from the more bustling Stamford, Hartford, and Waterbury to the less urban pace of Storrs, Avery Point, and Torrington - but also the students who come to learn and receive an education. Students attending the regional campuses are a diverse group and any discussion of the regionals must highlight and underline this diversity.

These campuses are charged with providing local access to the state's flagship, public land-grant research university's degree programs and services for highly motivated, intelligent, traditional, and non-traditional students who, because of life obligations or financial situation, are area-bound.

Specifically, regional campus students are drawn from among traditional college-aged students seeking the undergraduate degree in a regionally convenient location, returning adults seeking to complete a bachelor's degree, including the very popular Bachelor of General Studies, and practicing professionals pursuing a graduate degree and/or continuing education on a part-time basis.

The regional campuses, therefore, enable the University not only to be more accessible to those who wish to study here and to expand their horizons, knowledge and understanding, but also enrich the educational experience of all in the University.

The regional campuses serve as listening posts for the University throughout the state, allowing for engagement with broad societal issues as well as addressing problems and providing solutions for those who live and work and do business in Connecticut.

Herein resides the political relationship and significance of each regional campus; each serves both its own academic and programmatic constituency and specific and potent political constituencies.

The University has an international, national, and regional mission with a particular commitment to responding to the needs of the state of Connecticut, its citizenry, and its students. The role and scope statements developed for each of the regionals were designed to be consistent with the needs of students and business leaders in each regional area and also with the offerings of other higher education institutions in each geographic region. Implementing the role and scope statements has been aided by market research studies that have been used in developing plans and programs for each campus.

The role and scope statements have been approved by the state Department of Higher Education. In so doing, the department has approved new bachelor's programs in coastal studies and maritime studies at Avery Point, bachelor's in business and master's degree programs at Stamford, and urban studies at the Tri-Campus - which will be established under a reorganization of the Hartford, Torrington, and Waterbury campuses into a single administrative unit.

Further, there is agreement between the Department of Higher Education and the University on proposed thematic centers of excellence, as a basis for future program expansion: marine-oriented undergraduate and graduate programs at Avery Point; undergraduate and graduate business and information technology programs, such as the Connecticut Information Technology Institute at Stamford; and undergraduate and graduate programs in urban issues and public policy at the Tri-Campus.

Of greatest import in effecting change at the regional campuses in recent years has been the offering of a four-year degree at those campuses, and the acceptance by the Board of Trustees of a policy under which regional campus faculty, when tenured, are now granted tenure throughout the University.

The opportunities for growth are many. More and better use of various technologies will allow better interaction between and among campuses. Some department meetings are already conducted via telenetworks and e-mail has certainly improved communication and joint goal-setting.

Regional campus programs, along with all others within the University, provide significant opportunities to build upon already identified academic strengths; to take advantage of synergies with specific UConn 2000 construction projects and improve facilities, with the understanding that such work is a precursor to improvements in programs and student services; to respond to current and anticipated high-demand areas; and to pursue specific partnerships among academic units, other institutions, and business and industry.

Through the enhancement of the regional campuses, the University of Connecticut and all those who support it have exhibited their collective wisdom in preparing to face challenges in the classical sense of Virgil in the Aeneid, that a wise person is always "in utrumque paratus" - prepared for whatever alternative.