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Trustees approve new roles for regional campuses (Released: 7/21/98)

by Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu, Office of University Communications.

Storrs , Conn. -- The University of Connecticut Board of Trustees Monday approved role and scope statements for each of the University's five regional campuses.

The University has recommended offering a limited number of four-year degree programs at each of the campuses in Avery Point, Hartford, Stamford, Torrington and Waterbury.

"The initiative will enhance academic opportunities for students at each of the campuses," said President Philip E. Austin.

The proposal further defines the special niche identified for the Avery Point campus, which is positioning itself as a major player in the marine sciences, and the Stamford campus, poised to become a major center for information technologies.

The Avery Point campus is slated to begin offering a four-year degree in coastal studies, utilizing its location on the Long Island Sound and the University's expertise in marine sciences. The Stamford campus is focusing on business education, in response to the demand in Fairfield County. It already offers four-year programs in several other areas, and has established the Connecticut Information and Technology Institute, a collaboration with area businesses to provide education and training in information technology.

The proposal also would enable the Hartford, Torrington and Waterbury campuses to combine faculty resources to offer a limited number of four-year degree programs. The collaborative, named the Tri-Campus Initiative, would function as a single academic unit, with an integrated faculty of more than 60 professors and a student body of close to 2,000, under a single coordinator. Each campus would continue to have a full-time director.

The three campuses, which have traditionally offered students only two-year programs and have served as feeder programs for the main campus at Storrs, are currently operating below capacity. Market analysis has shown, however, that there is considerable demand for UConn degree programs offered locally, both for traditional students and for those returning to higher education.

"We know that there are increasing numbers of students who are area bound but still want access to a UConn degree," said Austin. "This proposal offers a coordinated range of programs to be available to meet the documented educational needs of students who for personal reasons or convenience cannot access services currently offered at other sites within the state."

The programs of the Tri-Campus emphasize humanities and social sciences, with selected science and technology offerings in response to identified student needs. Many of the majors are interrelated, with a focus on urban areas and public policy.

Under the proposal, the University would continue to offer all the necessary lower division core curriculum courses at each campus so that students could still transfer from a regional campus to Storrs.

The University also is working with the community-technical colleges so students can move more easily to the regional campuses.

The role and scope statements must now gain the approval of the state Board of Governors for Higher Education.