Task Force: Vermont State Colleges

The State Colleges Transformation Committee launched a student advisory council in September because they feel that student input is essential to how they provide academic programs, student services, advising, athletics, residence life etc. The transformation team will also begin exploring different ways to design new programs, etc.

The academic operations team has reviewed the project timeline and identified some critical priorities like defining delivery modalities and launching a new library by summer 2022.

The purpose of the administrative operations team is to define the administrative services, processes, and systems to support the institution in their mission to serve future students, their communities, and the state in a way that builds the foundation for an inclusive and sustainable future for higher education in Vermont.

There are several other sub-teams:

  • Business planning and administration
  • Operations and processing
  • IT services
  • Facilities planning
  • Employee services
  • Procurement and purchasing

The branding identity team has been working with Vision Point Marketing to begin conducting the audience research that will inform the name and brand recommendation for the newly combined entity. Team held listening tours at VSC campuses, along with several workshops. The final name recommendation was presented to the board of trustees in September - Vermont State University - which, as explained, focuses on “the Vermont community” (making reference to the state) with the use of the word “university” instead of college to highlight a focus on a high-quality education and broad programming.

The report also mentioned that other teams are going well – they have all met at least once. Updates will be provided at a later date by the transition task force: the student experience team, athletics, registrar operations and student residence life teams.

There are a number of priorities gleaned from teachers, students and the public such as the following:

  1. Affordable education (including grants and scholarships)
  2. Access to wide variety of technical programs
  3. Access to career services/job placement
  4. Access to programming such as short or micro degrees
  5. Remote access to learning and other alternative learning styles
  6. Access to wide variety of courses
  7. Geographic access to campuses
  8. Extracurricular activities such as clubs and sports
  9. Unique on-campus residential experiences
  10. A strong alumni support system

Task force members realized they need to know what skills and knowledge are missing from VSC graduates:

  • Is more hands-on experience and more focus on communication skills are needed?
  • What are the reasons why students do not choose a VSC institution?
    • More affordable options?
    • Further from home/beyond Vermont?
    • Not rural?
    • Larger in size and with more breadth of programming?
    • More academically competitive.

Current recommendations from the task force include:

  1. Review data and develop a plan for shared operations and opportunities to expand program offerings in co-located spaces. For example, Lyndon classes the VTC campus or VTC classes at a CCV campus.
  2. Develop a single general education program core and make this available both in-person and online.
  3. Find a structure that allows all students, including those in rural parts of the state, to take courses online or at tele-locations.
  4. Engage an external consultant to review data and develop a proposal of most effective way to deliver residential experiences.
  5. Support an effort to transform the VSC from its exiting ‘federation of institutions” model to a true interconnected system.

Some affordability theme & ideas which have come forward to date:

  1. Community investment via greater collaboration with business, non-profits, public entities.
  2. Expand early college access and opportunities.
  3. Year-round programming.

We hope to see continued progress towards a unified, strong, and effective state college system that is responsive to the needs of our 21st century workforce and innovative in the way they deliver education to the next generation.

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