Interim President of Board of Regents Emphasizes Economic Development

In a somewhat surprising development, Robert A. Kennedy, the retired president of the University of Maine, has been appointed as interim president of the new Board of Regents.  From the Mirror:

In Maine, some critics likened an emphasis on relevance to the job market as nudging universities toward the approach of trade schools. He was asked Monday what is the right balance for the state university system?

“The right answer is a balance that serves in a public institution the needs of the state, and different people differ on their defintion of what that correct balance is,” Kennedy said.

But he added that in Maine, the balance he struck was applauded by the governor and legislature.

Points for honesty about whose opinion he values most in higher education.

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CCSU-AAUP Class Action to Defend Higher Education

NEW BRITAIN, CT – Faculty across the nation have realized that they must take action in order to defend funding and policies that provide for quality public higher education. They believe that affordable public higher education guarantees that America will have a well-educated middle class in the future.

The CCSU-AAUP (Central Connecticut State University – American Association of University Professors) has joined this movement to take public action in defense of higher education. On April 29, the CCSU-AAUP will host a “Class Action to Save Higher Education” event on the Central Connecticut State University campus.

Organizers designed the event to make students, faculty, and staff aware of proposed changes in policies and funding that might have detrimental consequences to the state of public higher education in Connecticut. The CCSU-AAUP is concerned that changes like the proposed reorganization of higher education, funding cuts of 10% or more, and tuition increases may reduce access to higher education, increase class size, limit class availability, and increase the time it takes for students to graduate. (See more: and

Event organizers will ask students, faculty, and staff will to take action to defend public higher education in Connecticut. Students, faculty, and staff will be given the opportunity to send letters, make calls, or send emails to their state legislators and voice their support for public higher education. They will also be asked to write about the importance of public higher education in Connecticut on a paper leaf, which will be hung on a “tree of knowledge.”

The CCSU-AAUP has selected a white oak tree – Connecticut’s state tree – to serve as its “tree of knowledge.” At the end of the event, the leaves will be taken down from the tree and mailed to legislators. The CCSU-AAUP will donate the white oak tree to the university. The tree will be planted and serve as a reminder of the faculty’s commitment to high quality, affordable public higher education in Connecticut.

The nationwide campaign to defend public higher education began in California. On April 13, all 23 campuses in California held rallies, teach-ins, and other actions to call on university and state officials to use the university’s resources to help faculty and staff to provide quality education to students. Similar actions have taken place this month in Ohio, Vermont, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington, and New York. (See more at:

For more information, contact Jason Snyder, 860-832-3251 or Ellen Benson, 860-832-3794.

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Lesson Plans In Preparation for Class Action

Are you hesitant to speak with students about contentious issues such as the state budget, Connecticut politics, higher education reorganization, or problems in the CSU system?

To help you broach such issues with your students in a productive and intellectually honest manner, please consider using any portion of the materials below in your classroom. If you have assignments that accomplish the same goal, then please share them with us by commenting below.

The CCSU-AAUP invites you to use these materials to help our students understand what is going on and how they can have their voices heard. There will be a “Class Action” on Friday, April 29 on the CCSU campus. We invite faculty, staff, and students to participate. For information on how you can participate in the Class Action, contact Jason Snyder (

The Problem

Connecticut residents have lost money, their jobs, and their homes. They shouldn’t lose our great public universities. The CSU system is facing a potential 10% budget cut and reorganization, with the threat of increased student fees, higher tuition, fewer class offerings, loss of campus identity, increased faculty workload, and further erosion of tenure-track faculty positions.

The people of Connecticut, the students of the CSU system and their faculty and staff have all been blasted with the economic crisis and are being asked to shoulder an unfair share of the burden.

The Solution

We must insist on fairness during hard times. By standing together we can send a strong message to the state to do the right thing by keeping cuts and other measures away from the classroom. The CSU system can do better than devoting only 28% of the operating budget to instruction. We – faculty, students, and staff – are the voices of the CSU: If we don’t stand up for ourselves, no one else is going to.

We must also voice our concerns to our legislators. They need to hear from faculty, staff, and students about the need for public higher education as an investment in our state’s future. Find your legislators.

Below are some Lesson Plans, Discussion items, and Classroom Activities you might be able to adapt to your classroom or lab.

Sample assignment ideas:

  • WRITING: write an Op-Ed about the implications of budget cuts on students and their families; extra credit if it gets published somewhere.
  • SOCIAL RESEARCH METHODS – quantitative/surveys: design and conduct a survey about the ways in which budget cuts are affecting CSU students, faculty, staff, or other affected group. In designing the research, students should determine what type of survey design would be most effective and practical given the constraints of the assignment, include a sampling plan including the pros/cons of the chosen sampling method, and administer the survey.
  • FILM/MEDIA/JOURNALISM: film and edit a video or photo essay about the budget crisis and way the campus administration has handled it. Find ways to visually express some of the contradictory ways the university operates during this period of budget crisis.
  • BUSINESS/FINANCE/ACCOUNTING: Find and examine a copy of the CSU’s budget for the past five years. Examine how the CSU’s finances have changed over these years. How has the revenue stream been affected by the budget crisis? What choices have been made by administrators to deal with the budget crisis? What does the budget tell you and not tell you?
  • ETHNIC STUDIES: Decisions resulting from the budget crisis in Connecticut are affected by the demographics of the state and have a different effect on different communities of color. Examine and discuss these themes.
  • LABOR STUDIES/HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT: SEBAC and the state are in discussions about $2 billion in concessions that the governor is requesting from state employees. Find out what issues are most pressing and examine the implications of each sides’ demands for students.
  • BUSINESS/FINANCE/ACCOUNTING: Find and examine a copy of the CSU’s audited financial statements. Using what you have learned about public institutions, what conclusions do you draw about the financial health of the CSU system?
  • POLITICAL SCIENCE/PUBLIC POLICY: Find out which state legislators are most influential in determining how the state budget allocates funding to the public universities. Schedule a meeting with a senator or assembly person who represents your campus to discuss the budget proposal for the CSU. Write up your impressions of the meeting.
  • SOCIAL RESEARCH METHODS: qualitative/interviews: conduct an in-depth interview with someone from your campus community about one of the issues motivating the April 29 day of action. The interview might be with a student, a staff person, an organizer, or even an administrator. Assignment should include the list of interview questions. The assignment might include interviewing multiple individuals who could be expected to have different perspectives about the same topic (such as a student and a faculty member).
  • SOCIOLOGY/SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: Some say there is a growing national movement around public employee collective bargaining rights that started in Wisconsin. Is this a social movement? Why or why not?
  • POLITICAL SCIENCE/PUBLIC POLICY: In public discourse, public institutions and public goods are often framed as beneficial only or especially for the working class and the poor. Find examples (or counter-examples) of this is the mainstream media. Analyze the veracity (or lack of) of this position.
  • WOMEN/GENDER STUDIES: Analyze the various ways in which the state budget and political process that determines the budget is gendered. How is this expressed on campus?
  • SCIENCE: Analyze the jobs available to CSU graduates in the science field, how will the state’s future and student lives be impacted by budget cuts to science courses and curriculum?

Adapted from: Lesson Plan for CSU Professors. Found at:

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A report from recent BoT Meetings

From SCSU-AAUP president Mike Shea:

Dear colleagues—

I attended the Board of Trustee’s Executive Committee meeting at the System Office on June 14 at 2pm; a link to their agenda is [here <> ]. I also attended the BOT’s regular meeting that day at 3pm; a link to their agenda is [here <> ]. You can also link to a videocast of the 3pm meeting [here <> ].

Below are links to several news accounts of those meetings:,0,1524653.story

Finally, here are links to other news items relevant to these issues that have appeared since the BOT meeting:,0,3579135.story

I will continue to keep you informed of developments over the summer.

–Mike Shea

Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000149 EndHTML:0000003861 StartFragment:0000000199 EndFragment:0000003827 StartSelection:0000000199 EndSelection:0000003827 Dear colleagues—

I attended the Board of Trustee’s Executive Committee meeting at the System Office on June 14 at 2pm; a link to their agenda is [here <> ]. I also attended the BOT’s regular meeting that day at 3pm; a link to their agenda is [here <> ]. You can also link to a videocast of the 3pm meeting [here <> ].

Below are links to several news accounts of those meetings:,0,1524653.story

Finally, here are links to other news items relevant to these issues that have appeared since the BOT meeting:,0,3579135.story

I will continue to keep you informed of developments over the summer.

–Mike Shea

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ARP/Pension Actuarial Study

From CSU-AAUP president David Walsh:

An actuarial study was commissioned by the SEBAC higher education unions in order to provide support and evidence for future legislation that would allow participants in the Alternate Retirement Program (ARP) to transfer into the State Employees Retirement System (SERS). The study establishes a revenue neutral means for ARP participants to buy into SERS. As is clearly stated in the cover letter, currently there is no agreement that allows participants to transfer plans. You can find a copy of the cover letter and the actuarial study on the CSU-AAUP website at Please read the cover letter carefully before viewing the study.

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SEBAC Gubernatorial Forum

Flickr user smi23le / Creative Commons licensed

A Message from CSU-AAUP President David Walsh

Start protecting your salary and benefits by directly communicating with the candidates for Governor. SEBACis sponsoring a question and answer meeting for gubernatorial candidates, followed by two breakout sessions in which individual union members will have an opportunity to discuss interests unique to them and their state agencies. The forum will be held on Saturday, March 20 at Webster Hill Elementary School in West Hartford between 10-1, only minutes from the highway.  (Click here for directions.) Lunch will be provided and ample free parking is available. We must demonstrate strength and concern in the face of the budgetary and political crisis. Please plan to attend.

Please RSVP by contacting Ellen Benson in the CSU-AAUP office.

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SEBAC Files ARP-related Grievance

On Thursday, SEBAC filed a grievance in response to reports by state employees that they have been steered into the Alternate Retirement Plan (ARP). This is the first in a series of steps that the unions plan to take on behalf of state employees who are in ARP. The grievance is worded in such a way that if SEBAC is successful in winning the case, the remedy sought with respect to steering would include allowing individual employees who were directly or indirectly steered into the ARP to switch retirement plans with full credit for all service and appropriate adjustments to their ARP accounts. Members should be aware that the burden of proof will rest with the employee who must document the steering with hard evidence.

A copy of the grievance is available here.

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