Friday, January 13, 2012

Thoughts on 2012 and beyond

Let me begin by wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year.  I am taking advantage of some quiet time to share my thoughts about 2012 with you.  As President, it is part of my job to keep an eye out for trends that will affect the College in both positive and negative ways, and adjust our course to address those trends. The break between Christmas and New Year is a good time for such contemplation.

We are always striving to increase the number of areas of study we offer our students, and continually focus on building programs in sectors of the job market that are growing.  Health care is one such area and, after performing a careful scan of potential online programs, we chose Health Information Management (HIM) as the program in which we would invest. I am happy to report that this decision has been met with great enthusiasm in the health care industry.

The development of our HIM degree is moving quickly.  We have identified and contracted with a subject matter expert who has developed the curriculum and program learning outcomes for the degree.  These will be in alignment with the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) Examination and licensure that graduates of the program will achieve.  We have identified qualified faculty from across the country to begin working with our Instructional Design team to build the 12 specialized courses that this program will require.  Our Provost and Dean are preparing the documentation we must present to our Board of Regents and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges to gain approval for our new program.  And we have set the second term of fall 2012 (October) as our planned launch date.  So this important new program is moving forward according to schedule.

But I am continually wondering what to expect from the larger landscape.  Will the economy improve?  Will our adult students continue to see our offerings as important to upgrading their workplace skill sets?  How will we all respond to the economic challenges facing our country? 

Here is what I think.  In Connecticut, we have a Governor who is aggressively addressing the state’s economic challenges.  Working with our General Assembly and the state’s workforce, he has produced a balanced budget through a combination of new taxes, spending cuts, and union givebacks.  None of this has been easy, but he has persisted.  His plans included re-organizing our sector of higher education into a Board of Regents, and that entity is beginning its work.  So at the state level, we are working hard to put our economic house in order.

And I see similar efforts, all a little different in terms of their emphasis on cuts, revenues, and pension adjustments, in the surrounding states.  In effect, throughout our country, we have 50 laboratories experimenting with approaches to doing more with less.  Unfortunately, on the national front, our Congress has not yet begun its work.  It is my hope, as the various states begin to see positive results from their hard work, our federal representatives will adopt approaches that mirror the best thinking from those efforts.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section of this post. How has the economy affected your life? What are your thoughts on the responsiveness of state and federal government to the economic downturn?  Please let me know what you think.

I will keep you posted as the year progresses, and I wish all the best to you and yours from the team at Charter Oak.


  1. I'm pleased to see that under your leadership, Charter Oak State College continues to grow and serve more and more students!

    As for the prospect of a change of tone in Washington, I believe there is zero chance of this until at least 2013, and even then I don't expect a clean enough sweep to clear out the way business is currently done there.