QUESTIONS FOR NOMINEES TO THE BOARD OF REGENTS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION
By: Marybeth Sullivan, Associate Analyst
BOARD OF REGENTS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION (CGS § 10a-1a)
The Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR) makes policies and rules for governing the Connecticut State University System (CSUS), the community-technical college system (CTC), and Charter Oak State College and prepares a consolidated budget request for these constituent units, collectively known as the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU). For each institution in its jurisdiction, the board appoints and removes a chief executive, sets tuition and fees, and develops a mission statement, among other responsibilities. It also appoints the president of the Board of Regents for Higher Education. The commissioners of economic and community development, education, labor, and public health, as well as the chairperson and vice-chairperson of BOR's Faculty Advisory Committee are ex-officio, non-voting members of the board.
1. Before 2011, CSUS, CTC, and Charter Oak State College were governed by separate boards, whereas now they are all governed by BOR. What efficiencies or improvements have resulted from this merger? Have any unintended consequences emerged in the years since the merger that merit correction? Please explain.
2. How has BOR maintained the distinct missions of the state universities, community-technical colleges, and Charter Oak State College?
3. In 2014, the General Assembly authorized $103.5 million in new bonding to support BOR's Transform CSCU 2020 program. What specific initiatives does Transform 2020 aim to undertake? How has BOR used the state's investment to further the Transform 2020 initiatives?
4. BOR faculty and students have expressed concern about their level of involvement in Transform 2020's development. What are your views about the appropriate level of faculty and student involvement in planning Transform 2020?
5. In April 2014, BOR hired the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) for $1.97 million to provide planning and consulting services for the Transform 2020 program. How have BCG's services benefited the Transform 2020 program?
6. What role does Charter Oak State College, Connecticut's online public college, play in the state's higher education system? What role do you see it playing in the future?
7. In 2012, BOR approved a transfer and articulation plan to streamline student transfer requirements among BOR institutions. The plan's timeline targeted completion for 2014. Has the plan been fully implemented, or will BOR need to extend the timeline?
8. Demographic projections predict that the number of Connecticut high school graduates will decrease over the next ten years due to a declining school-age population. How will BOR address this projected enrollment challenge?
9. In 2014, the General Assembly appropriated $6 million for the Go Back to Get Ahead Program (reduced to $4.8 million by budget rescissions), which allows certain students who left college before earning a degree to enroll at a BOR institution and take up to three free courses. How has BOR marketed this campaign to attract students? How will BOR measure the success of Go Back to Get Ahead?
10. BOR has experienced turnover in senior executive positions throughout its existence. For example, in October 2012, both the BOR president and executive vice president resigned. In November 2014, the BOR provost resigned less than a year after he was hired. How have these events affected BOR's ability to govern the institutions it oversees? What steps has BOR taken to address these leadership changes?
11. The legislature required BOR to submit a study comparing its administrative salaries and administrator to faculty and student ratios to those of peer public institutions by January 2014 (PA 13-143). Do you know when BOR plans to submit this report? How do you believe CSCU administrator salaries and administrator to faculty and student ratios compare with those of peer institutions?
12. In 2014, the legislature increased the tiers of remedial support that state universities and community colleges must offer to make students college-ready (PA 14-217, § 209). It required, rather than permitted, institutions to offer a third program tier, intensive semester-long support, in addition to the existing requirements of (1) embedded support and (2) a transitional college readiness program. What are your thoughts on these requirements? Describe the BOR institutions' progress in implementing them.
13. Last year, the General Assembly passed a law that, among other things, requires all Connecticut colleges and universities to (a) establish a campus resource team to recommend protocols for providing support services to student and employee victims of sexual assault and (b) enter into partnerships with community-based agencies that offer sexual assault and domestic violence counseling (PA 14-11). What progress have BOR institutions made in implementing these requirements?