John Maduko, MD, Minnesota State Community and Technical College vice president, started his new position as the first permanent president of the newly formed Connecticut State Community College on June 3, the latest step toward the merger of the state’s 12 community college campuses. The plan began five years ago, and the newly merged system serving 32,000 is set to open July 1, 2023.

The state’s public college system reorganized after facing deficits because of decreased tuition revenue and increased costs. Since 2017, the Board of Regents has been pursuing two strategies to strengthen the community college system: consolidation of the 12 community colleges into one singly accredited institution; and consolidation of the Connecticut State College and University System’s administrative back-office functions into shared services used by community colleges, state universities and Charter Oak State College. 

The new structure increases focus on enrollment management, advising and retention.  Under the current system, colleges are not able to share student information from one to another. When students take classes at multiple colleges, as they often do to get the classes they need, they must transfer credits between schools. However, those transfer credits do not count toward the students’ GPA. Under the new structure, students will apply once; all the classes they take at any of the 12 campuses will apply to their GPA and be recorded on their Connecticut State Community College transcript for a degree program available across all campuses. 

When students are given extra, personalized support, they make better informed enrollment decisions and have higher rates of attendance, persistence, retention and timely graduation, research shows. The new CSCC system is adopting the Guided Pathways initiatives, a nationally recognized, research-based holistic advising program. In collaboration with faculty advisors, GP advisors help students explore their options, persist toward a career as well as a degree and meet the personal challenges that often derail or delay academic progress, according to the CT State college merger website.  

The new structure calls for Regional Presidents to help bring consistency across the campus and promote innovation at scale. To help manage CT State and coordinate processes across the 12 campuses, there will be regional positions overseeing enrollment management, workforce development, continuing education, grants, planning and research, information technology and marketing. The merger has been controversial, particularly among faculty who questioned whether it will achieve the promised savings and whether the newly merged system will be sufficiently staffed.