The legislature’s Higher Education Committee pursued a goal this year of removing barriers to attaining a college degree in a reasonable amount of time. In their view, too many students were languishing in remedial courses where many not only used up their financial resources, but also grew discouraged and quit. Further, too many other students were dismayed to find their credits did not transfer from one state college to another, again requiring additional courses, time, and money.
Here’s a summary of the key legislation which passed that will affect community colleges and 4C’s members. Click on the title for a link to the full bill:
Remedial Education:
Distressed by statistics that indicate students in higher education remedial programs are not staying in school to earn college degrees, the Legislature’s Higher Education Committee sought to try a new approach.
The Legislature passed a bill that will require the Community Colleges (CTC) and State Universities (CSUS) to develop a one-semester intensive college readiness program and to embed remedial support in entry-level English and math courses. The bill generally prohibits other forms of remedial education at the college level beginning by the 2014 fall semester.
The bill requires that college readiness be assessed in high school at the 8th and 10th grade levels so that students have time to get up to speed before applying to college.
The bill also requires that high schools and colleges work together to align their curricula so that successful completion of high school math and English meet common core state standards for college readiness.
Common Core Curriculum:
The CSUS and the CTC have until July 1, 2013 to develop a general education core of courses of at least 30 academic credits. A student who earns academic credits from the core will be able to transfer those credits to any other CSUS or CTC institution and have them count towards that college’s core requirements. The goal is efficient and easy transfer between Board of Regents (BOR) institutions that is seamless.

Faculty Advisory Committee:
This bill expands the size of the Faculty Advisory Committee to the Board of Regents for Higher Education from 7 members to 10. Each system (CTC, CSUS, and Charter Oak State College) will add a slot for an administrative employee that provides direct student services. The other seven members must be teaching faculty.
The bill specifies that committee members are to be elected in an open system-wide vote by each BOR institution’s faculty/professional staff governance body by October 1, 2013.

Adjuncts May Waive Retirement Benefits:
Newly-hired community college adjuncts will be able to waive participation in a state employee retirement plan within 60 days of beginning employment. The waiver remains irrevocable if the faculty member remains part-time within any of the public higher education systems, but does not apply if the faculty member becomes a full-time employee. Adjuncts at the Connecticut State Universities and the University of Connecticut already had the right to waive retirement benefits.

May 15th, 2012

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