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CSU professors to Regents alarm at downgrade

CSU professors to Regents alarm at downgrade

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Published by Patricia Dillon
Long-simmering resentment on the part of a group of distinguished professors at the four Connecticut State Universities toward the University of Connecticut has boiled over in a letter to state officials blasting what they say is the latest example of inequity -- a proposal by the governor to increase funding to UConn.

All 12 "CSU Professors" -- the highest designation faculty at Central, Eastern, Southern and Western Connecticut state universities can receive -- co-signed a three-page letter Thursday in which they complain that CSU faculty is paid 30 percent less than professors at UConn, while being required to teach twice as many classes.
March 7
Long-simmering resentment on the part of a group of distinguished professors at the four Connecticut State Universities toward the University of Connecticut has boiled over in a letter to state officials blasting what they say is the latest example of inequity -- a proposal by the governor to increase funding to UConn.

All 12 "CSU Professors" -- the highest designation faculty at Central, Eastern, Southern and Western Connecticut state universities can receive -- co-signed a three-page letter Thursday in which they complain that CSU faculty is paid 30 percent less than professors at UConn, while being required to teach twice as many classes.
March 7

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Published by: Patricia Dillon on Mar 08, 2013
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March 7, 2013Philip E. Austin, Interim President, ConnSCUBoard of Regents Lewis J. Robinson, Chairperson, ConnSCU Board of RegentsMembers of the Board of Regents:Richard J. Balducci, Naomi K. Cohen,Lawrence DeNardis, Nicholas M. Donofrio,Matt Fleury,Gary F. Holloway,Craig Lappen,Yvette Meléndez,René Lerer,Michael E. Pollard,Zac ZeitlinDavid Levinson, Vice President for Community CollegesElsa Núñez, Vice President for State UniversitiesFaculty Advisory Committee to the Board of RegentsJack Miller, President, Central Connecticut State UniversityCarl R. Lovitt, Provost, Central Connecticut State UniversityRhona Free, Provost, Eastern Connecticut State UniversityMary A. Papazian, President, Southern Connecticut State UniversityMarianne Kennedy, Interim Provost, Southern Connecticut State UniversityJames W. Schmotter, President, Western Connecticut State UniversityJane McBride Gates, Provost, Western Connecticut State UniversitySenator Beth Bye, Joint Committee on Higher Education & Employment Advancement RepresentativeRoberta Willis, Joint Committee on Higher Education & Employment AdvancementVijay Nair, President, CSU American Association of University ProfessorsFaculty Members, CCSU, ECSU, SCSU, WCSUJacqueline Rabe Thomas, CT Mirror Dear Colleagues, Regents, and Other Supporters of the State Universities,We write to you out of concern as designees of the title CSU Professor*. There are dangerous signsthat in the new ConnSCU consolidation of our campuses with the community colleges, we are beingdowngraded from teaching and research universities to solely teaching universities.We were named as CSU Professors in large part to promote research on the CSU campuses. Yetresearch is not mentioned at all in the ConnSCU mission statement. The entirety of the missionstatement is:"Connecticut State Colleges and Universities provide affordable, innovative and rigorous programsin a setting that permits an ever increasing number of students to achieve their personal and career goals as well as contribute to the economic growth of the state of Connecticut."Compare that with the University of Connecticut's mission statement:
 
 "The University of Connecticut is dedicated to excellence demonstrated through national andinternational recognition. As Connecticut's public research university, through freedom of academicinquiry and expression, we create and disseminate knowledge by means of scholarly and creativeachievements, graduate and professional education, and outreach. Through our focus on teachingand learning, the University helps every student grow intellectually and become a contributingmember of the state, national, and world communities. Through research, teaching, service, andoutreach, we embrace diversity and cultivate leadership, integrity, and engaged citizenship in our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. As our state's flagship public university, and as a land and seagrant institution, we promote the health and well-being of Connecticut's citizens." No university in the United States can claim quality status without a research mission. Yetthe ConnSCU reorganization appears to be premised on a sharp division of labor of the state's publicuniversities in which only the University of Connecticut will be allowed to claim research as centralto its mission.Each year the old CSU Board of Trustees had us serve as a jury to select the winner of a system-wide award for outstanding research accomplishments. The ConnSCU Board of Trustees haseliminated that award. In its place will be an award for the merged community college and four-year faculties. The implication is that our research is of no more importance than that of the communitycolleges, which don't have explicit research missions.Connecticut has long suffered from a two-tier higher education system for its public four-year universities with the University of Connecticut as the self-described flagship research universityclaiming disproportionate resources. Its faculty receive 30% higher salaries on average and teachhalf as many classes. And now UConn's budget is being expanded while that of ConnSCU is beingreduced.But it is a myth that the University of Connecticut is the state's exclusive producer of publicuniversity faculty research. The CSU collective bargaining agreement and promotion and tenurestandards have significant expectations for research and creative activity. CSU faculty through their research show students how to think critically, apply the concepts of their disciplines to solve real-world problems, bring positive attention and prestige to their institutions and the state, and attractfunding from federal and private funding sources. The rigor of CSU academic programs grows outof research activities. CSU also has graduate and professional programs -- that's why its campusesare classified as universities rather than colleges. Graduate students have to produce originalresearch. But if their faculty mentors aren't able to provide good models for this, then they aren'tserving their students very well.Connecticut should follow the lead of states such as Michigan, Iowa, Oregon, and Oklahoma thathave two public research universities. Now is the time to be upgrading rather than downgrading thestatus of its "other" public university.As we said, we are deeply troubled by the lacuna in the ConnSCU mission statement regarding theimportance of research. We believe that this absence gives a false impression of the vital role andexpectation for research that actually takes place at our state universities. It contradicts our longunderstanding of who we are as state universities and degrades vital educational activities thatroutinely take place on our campuses. We ask to hear back from you in a timely manner as to how

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