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  June 7, 2004

Menard Named Director Of Torrington Campus

Ask Michael Menard '91 M.A. about UConn's Torrington campus and the word "exciting" keeps cropping up.

Menard, who has served as the University's executive program director for educational outreach since 2002, takes over as director of the Torrington regional campus July 30. He says the University's smallest campus is poised for new programs and increased involvement in the greater Torrington region.

"There are a lot of things happening there that I think are exciting," says Menard, noting that Torrington will be the primary location for the Tri-Campus American Studies Program when it is approved. "It's a time when the campus can move to becoming a destination for scholarship. I want Torrington to be known as the campus to attend because you are interested in American Studies."

The campus's proximity to a pair of historic buildings gives it a significant "19th-century presence," he says. It is adjacent to the property where the birthplace of author Harriet Beecher Stowe soon will be restored by the Beecher House Society. And the birthplace of abolitionist John Brown is also located nearby.

"We expect the Torrington campus will grow in the future, specifically emphasizing the Tri-Campus mission by having programs in business, American studies, and psychology in the next few years," says Fred Maryanski, interim provost, noting that 21st Century UConn includes plans for expansion of space in Torrington. "Michael brings a great deal of energy and knowledge of Connecticut higher education to the position."

As head of educational outreach, Menard has served as liaison to the five regional campuses and directed the University's High School Cooperative Program, a program that enables high school students to earn college credits. He also was responsible for articulation initiatives with the state's 12 community colleges.

A doctoral candidate in English at UConn, he is currently completing his dissertation, and has taught at both the Waterbury and Storrs campuses.

Menard has already begun meeting with faculty and staff of the Torrington campus, as well as with members of the community.

"There are superbly talented people in Torrington," he says. "I think I've been successful previously in building coalitions and pulling everyone together to help determine how to make programs better. I hope to do the same here."

One of the initiatives he hopes to see in the fall is a writers' conference, which will be coordinated with the Litchfield County Writers Project based at the Torrington campus that has attracted some of the nation's leading writers to the campus.

Menard also looks forward to working more directly with students in his new position: "It's a wonderful opportunity as campus director to meet with students."