Friday, May 25, 2012

The New Connecticut ConnSCU System of Higher Education

The Community College system in Connecticut is now under significant change at the state level.  Since Jan. 1, 2012 we have been merged with the University System under a new entity known as ConnSCU (following the example of Minnesota's system, MNSCU.  We will now begin a process, mandated by the legislature, and under the actions of the new Board of Regents, to develop a set of common core standards for general education, to put in place a guaranteed system of transfer and articulation between two and four year institutions in our new State system.  

In the midst of this, disciplines such as anthropology may not fare well, as the new standards put the focus on "outcomes" irrespective of the disciplines within which they might have traditionally been expected to show up.  One program example has already come to my attention based on such principles and standards, in which there were no general education requirements (or suggested electives) to be taken as classes in sociology or anthropology!  I was told that these are "second tier" courses, and they would be taken after the associate degree level, at the four year instituion.  

I will be watching (and participating in) this process very carefully as it makes me more than nervous to think that anthropology (and sociology) may have a diminished place at the associate degree level.  It also challenges me to think about how to become more publicly articulate at the institutional level around the intrinsic value of our discipline for the "core" of general education.

See: Eastern Connecticut State University's Liberal Arts Core as a recent example of an insitution's work, prior to the ConnSCU merger, to develop this outcomes/core approach. 

See: Southern Connecticut State University's up-coming workshop to address this process as it also leads to articulation between high schools and higher education.


Anonymous said...

In Minnesota, the 2-year system mandated several years ago that all program degrees be brought to sixty credits, ostensibly to reduce costs for students. For many programs, this resulted in a loss of four or more elective credits. Since the remaining 60 credits were often entirely taken up by program requirements, courses in the liberal arts experienced a noticeable reduction in head count.


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