Welcome to 2009. I hope that despite the economic challenges, you and your family are managing.
Here at the College we have been working to ready ourselves for Connecticut’s financial challenges
so that we are available to assist our students with their career preparations. We recognize that for
adult students difficult economic circumstances mean increased pressure to complete those degrees. The College is carefully adjusting its strategic plan to ensure that we have the online courses and student services required for our growing population. We believe that this economy and impending baby boomer retirements make educating the existing workforce a clear priority for both government and industry, and that is what I have been reminding both legislators and corporations.
On a positive note, our annual fund raising effort for the Charter Oak State College Foundation began in November, and we are seeing a wonderful response from those who have already benefited from their Charter Oak degrees.
Even in an economic downturn, our alums and friends of the College are digging deep so that we will have adequate resources for those students who need financial assistance. The generosity of our alumni clearly reflects the value they place on their Charter Oak degrees, and we deeply appreciate that support.
Even as we adjust ourselves to the economic downturn, we continue planning for the steps we believe we need to take to keep the College moving forward. We plan, during the next session of the Connecticut General Assembly, to ask the legislature to amend the existing statute that created Charter Oak so that we can offer a master’s degree. For years, we have heard our alumni ask why they cannot
continue their education by pursuing a master’s with Charter Oak, and we are determined to develop an online master’s program as soon as we can. The Foundation has promised to support this effort, so we are working diligently to prepare for this major step.
And finally, we are beginning to think about ways to add more “learning objects” to our online courses. These are interactive mini-applications that empower learners to explore concepts while the technology tracks their progress and offers them choices and second chances. Another word for the learning objects is “simulations” (think of software like SimCity™), and they are an exciting new frontier in distance education. Our mission is to provide adult learners efficient paths to degree completion, and we see simulations as another powerful means through which adults can master the concepts that lie at the heart of any academic program.
I write this at the threshold of the holiday season, and I hope that you had a restorative holiday. Let me know if there is anything that I can do for you.