Vermont State Colleges Trustees approve consolidation, campuses to stay open

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Vermont State Colleges Trustees approve consolidation, campuses to stay open

Mon, 02/22/2021 - 4:56pm -- tim

Vermont Tech campus in Randolph Center. Courtesy photo.

Vermont Business Magazine Today, the Vermont State College System Board of Trustees voted to move forward with the proposal outlined by the state’s Select Committee on the Future of Public Higher Education in Vermont. The four campuses will remain open. CCV will remain a separate institution. There will be administrative cutbacks and there will be only two presidents going forward. The presidential search for the consolidated colleges will begin in June 2021 with the establishment of a search committee and the president of the new institution will be named effective January 1, 2022.

Following the Board of Trustees meeting, Board Chair Lynn Dickinson released the following statement:

“The Board of Trustees today voted to move the Vermont State Colleges system to an organizational structure for two complementary institutions with significant administrative consolidation. The proposal will unify the three residential colleges, Castleton University, Northern Vermont University, and Vermont Technical College, under a common accreditation in Academic Year 2023-2024 while maintaining the Community College of Vermont as a separate institution. Additionally, the system will streamline services across the institutions through significant administrative consolidation.

"In the proposed new structure, the President of each institution would report to the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees would oversee the Chancellor, the Presidents, and the two institutions.

"I want to be clear that the Board is committed to maintaining our current campus locations. In future years, the configuration of the campuses might look a little different as we work to update our physical footprint to help bring system costs down, but we are committed to doing so in a way that keeps our current campus locations open.

Chancellor Sophie Zdatny added, “the Vermont State Colleges System changes the lives of thousands of students each year by opening the door to higher-paying jobs and an improved quality of life for themselves, their families, and their communities. The proposal the Board endorsed today is founded on three key concepts: (1) Student success is our singular focus, (2) Education for life and a lifetime, and (3) Vermont is our community.

"As we move forward over the coming months and years, we will work hard to ensure our current students feel minimal impact in their programs and coursework. Ensuring a transparent and smooth transition to a unified system, continuing access to robust financial aid, and providing the best opportunities to our students are top priorities. Unification means that students of all ages and in different places in their education and careers will have greater access to a broader and deeper range of courses, faculty, extended activities, and alumni networks.

"We are taking lessons learned from the unification of Northern Vermont University and past administrative consolidations and will carefully consider any change that affects employees. We know that transition of any kind will be tough and will require hard work, but we are confident that we can navigate this together and emerge as a stronger and more resilient Vermont State Colleges System.

"In proposing this transformative change, we acknowledge and appreciate the many contributions made by our stakeholder communities and the diversity of perspectives that were provided to and considered by the Select Committee in preparing their report, as well as the extensive public feedback that has been submitted to the Board of Trustees. There are many decisions to be made by the Board in the months to come, including the name of the unified institution and how individual campus brands and traditions will be incorporated into the combined entity.

"Over the next several months and years, we will continue to work with the state to secure the additional funding for resources the VSCS needs to manage this transition and build a higher education system for the generations of today and the future.

"As there have been throughout this process, there will continue to be many opportunities for public input and for stakeholder voices to be heard as we navigate the transition. There is a dedicated a page on the system website where information about transformation is compiled. It may be found at www.vsc.edu/transformation.”

For the benefit of Vermont, the Vermont State Colleges System provides affordable, high quality, student-centered, and accessible education, fully integrating professional, liberal, and career study, consistent with student aspirations and regional and state needs. The Vermont State Colleges system includes Castleton University, the Community College of Vermont, Northern Vermont University, and Vermont Technical College. Learn more at www.vsc.edu.

Source: MONTPELIER, VT – Vermont State College System 2.22.2021