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Resources for Community, State, & Region, 2009-10

CCSU serves as a tremendous resource to its neighbors, state, and region. With hundreds of offerings through conferences and lectures, publications, community engagement, fundraising, and volunteerism, CCSU faculty, staff, and students provide countless hours of expertise and support.

Sharing Knowledge and Ideas

CCSU hosted the first Connecticut Community Engagement Conference aimed at bringing together the state’s higher education institutions for sharing best practices in enhancing student engagement. The keynote lecture was given by Distinguished Professor of Political Science William Dyson, who also holds the William A. O'Neill Endowed Chair in Public Policy and Practical Politics. He focused on the widespread benefits of getting students involved in and informed about their communities. Following the presentation, breakout sessions covered numerous topics, including Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, AmeriCorps and Peace Corps. Professor of Physics and Earth Sciences Kristine Larsen, Professor of Biomolecular Science Kathy Martin-Troy, and Associate Professor of Biomolecular Science James Mulrooney shared their experiences with science-based community engagement. Associate Professor of Nursing Shelley Bochain, Associate Professor of Teacher Education Karen Riem, and Robert Travaglini, principal of the James A. Naylor School spoke about “Promoting Community Engagement through an Interdisciplinary Family Health Fair.” Riem and Travaglini also joined teachers and administrators from Naylor School to discuss the Naylor-CCSU Community School Partnership. Coordinator of the Intensive English Language Program Christie Ward, CCSU student Meghna Desai, and Reim reflected on the Barnard International Community Education Project which connected Central’s international students with adults and children from Hartford’s South End.

CCSU was one of 30 host universities across the country and the only one in Connecticut to host the Open Round of fourth annual North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad. Middle and high school students competed to solve linguistic problems. The event was funded by a community-engagement grant awarded to TESOL faculty members Assistant Professor of English Seunghun Lee and Associate Professors of English Leyla Zidani-Eroglu and Matthew Ciscel.

The Center for Public Policy & Social Research partnered with the Governor’s Office to sponsor a conference on regionalism. Office of Policy & Management Secretary Robert Genuario was the keynote speaker and breakout sessions focused on updating local services, regional planning, affordable housing, and emergency management.

The Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy hosted a daylong conference on the Children of Incarcerated Parents to increase awareness of the effects of incarcerated parents on children, families, and the community. Ann Adalist-Estrin, director of the National Resource Center on Children and Families Incarcerated, gave the keynote lecture; then a panel of policymakers, agency representatives, and community leaders led a town hall-style discussion.

Associate Professor of Technology and Engineering Education Michael Vincenti and 14 students from his Building Design and Construction class partnered with Farmington High School students and teachers to volunteer at the National Rebuilding Day held in Hartford. The city’s Mayor Eddie Perez commended the nearly 500 volunteers before they set off to assist low-income homeowners with property repairs and renovations.

CCSU partnered with Yale, University of Hartford and St. Francis Hospital to host a conference, on campus, “Why Drugs Matter: The Impact of Drug Policy on Connecticut’s Economy." The event promoted discussion among policymakers and stakeholders regarding the cost and effectiveness of current and potential drug policy in Connecticut. Presentations focused on the history of Connecticut’s drug policy, drug treatments, and the cost of criminalization. All Connecticut gubernatorial candidates were invited to the forum and given a chance to respond following the presentations.

CCSU showed its continued commitment to international education with a teacher workshop focused on  “Teaching About the Middle East." The seminar, organized by CCSU and the Univeristy of Hartford, hosted middle and high school teachers for a  series of lectures and discussions on issues pertaining to the Middle East.  Associate Professor of Political Science Ghassan El-Eid has been CCSU’s liaison to the initiative since the program began five years ago. The workshop’s overall goal, according to El-Eid, is to “enhance the knowledge of teachers and help them gain a deeper understanding of the vexing issues pertaining to the Middle East.” Professors of both universities gave talks on the sources of conflict and problems that impact the region.

Assistant Professor of Communication Jeffrey Teitler worked with Production in the Community, a pilot program targeting  Hartford High School students identified as at-risk of violent behavior and/or dropping out of school. The selected students attend classes at Central, where they have the opportunity to work with state-of-the art equipment and the latest software. Teitler taught 10 filmmaking sessions and a compilation of their work was shown at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford.

The CCSU Mathematics Department hosted 182 Connecticut middle school students from 14 school districts for an event known as CAMPY-on-Campus. The Connecticut Association of Mathematically Precocious Youth was founded for the purpose of helping meet the needs of the state’s brightest students. Similar activities are planned for both Southern and Eastern Connecticut State university campuses. CCSU faculty, classroom teachers, business professions and scientists volunteer their time to promote their passion for math. The camp included 10 workshops geared to inspiring middle school student interest in mathematics. Some of the topics were: How to Use Math to Become a Magician, The Wright Flight, and Getting Smarter by Connecting Math and Music.


Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics  

The School of Engineering and Technology supports a range of events and activities designed to inspire young students in pursuing advanced studies in the so-called STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The School hosted the state championship of the LEGO League. The competition involved teams of students that designed building and programming robots, in addition to giving five minute presentations to the judges.

The School also hosted the annual statewide FIRST Lego League Robotics Competition. The event is designed to inspire middle-school students to learn more about the STEM areas. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a non-profit organization, partners with the LEGO Company to create a three-month project. Assistant Professor of Technology and Engineering Education David Sianez heads the Young Engineers Program, a two-week summer program aimed at inspiring New Britain middle school students about engineering design.

High school juniors from New Britain, Hartford, Waterbury, and Bridgeport were selected to participate in the “Go for Aerospace” program organized by the School of Engineering and Technology and funded through NASA. The program reaches out to students who are highly skilled in math and science, but are undecided about their college plans and/or choice of major.

Approximately 100 seventh grade girls from New Britain, Newington, Meriden, Hartford, and Bloomfield participated in the second annual Girls and STEM Expo at CCSU. The event was a collaboration between the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund and the School of Engineering and Technology.


Workforce Development and Business Services

Despite the challenges of the recession CCSU’s Institute for Technology and Business Development (ITBD) had a successful year. At all levels, the ITBD has become a driver in economic development across Connecticut.

The Business Incubator Program maintained occupancy at 90%. Six new incubators were added, two graduated from the program, and one ceased operation. Three incubators actively engaged CCSU students.

The Training Center delivered $1 million in training programs to Connecticut companies for the third consecutive year. The Training Center continues to be the provider of choice for workforce development training. The outcomes from client surveys are positive; we are told we are meeting workforce needs. Success with the CL&P and UI Prime Programs in lean initiatives continues. New open enrollment programs have brought ITBD new clients as well.

The Community Business Development Center, which oversees the Connecticut Department of Transportation Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program, is serving 140 companies through the program.

The Conference Center was cash positive for the fifth consecutive year and occupancy was over 65%. ITBD remains the location choice for many in the business community when selecting a meeting site. There is excellent collaboration with ITBD centers in utilizing the facility to generate revenue. ITBD events generated five CCSU scholarships.  

Our centers have collaborated with the CCSU’s School of Business and Engineering and Technology and developed a new partnership with the School of Education and Professional Development’s programs in Nursing and in Marriage and Family Counseling.


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