Transformation efforts proceed along multiple fronts

Ed. Note: This is the latest transformation update from Vermont State Colleges System Chancellor Sophie Zdatny. It has been edited for concision.

Visit to NECHE

On April 21, Chief Academic Officer Yasmine Ziesler, Chief Financial and Operating Officer Sharron Scott, Interim-President of Castleton Thomas Mauhs-Pugh, Board Chair Lynn Dickinson, and I attended a meeting of the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

We presented and responded to questions related to our substantive change request seeking approval for the launch of Vermont State University as an accredited institution on July1, 2023, and for Dr. Grewal to serve as the President of the three current, separately accredited institutions for the 2022-2023 academic year. NECHE is the regional accreditation body recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education to review and accredit institutions to ensure they provide quality higher education. Accreditation is critically important because it allows institutions to award and distribute federal financial aid.

On Friday, NECHE’s president called to confirm that the substantive change proposal for Vermont State University was approved, as well as Castleton’s ten-year accreditation review. We will be required to submit a couple of reports during AY 2022-2023 to ensure that we are meeting the transformation milestones set forth in the proposal and NECHE will send a visiting team in Fall 2023 to see how things are going.

A copy of the substantive change proposal is available on the Transformation website and we will post the Commission’s follow-up letterwhen we receive it.

Thank you to everyone for helping us reach this stage – we are excited to continue our Transformation efforts!

Faculty endorse new academic structure

On April 20 another exciting milestone occurred when the Faculty Assembly at Vermont Tech became the fourth and final Faculty Assembly to endorse the proposed academic organizational model for Vermont State University.

The development of this model started with a proposal from faculty on the Labor Task Force, which the Chief Academic Officers led by Provost Nolan Atkins then used to create a draft structure.

The draft was made with guiding principles in mind, such as creating cross-campus departments and schools that fostered collaboration and sharedresponsibility for program delivery, innovation, and providing expanded opportunities for students.

After receiving extensive feedback and a faculty survey conducted by the Faculty Federation, a proposed structure was submitted for a vote by the Faculty Assemblies.

The organizational model that was developed and endorsed envisions five schools with a graduate division.

The five schools are Nursing, Movement, and Healthcare; Education, Psychology, and Social Sciences; Business and Professional Studies; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math; and Arts and Communication.

Thank you so much to the faculty across each of the campuses and the Faculty Federation for their work helping to come up with a model that aligns with the new University’s mission to prepare “all students for meaningful work and responsible citizenship by fostering their intellectual, personal, and creative growth in an accessible, caring, and inclusive community.”

Brand launch on the way

Starting next week, the new brand will be “teased” with social media messaging and imagery ahead of a formal launch scheduled for Tuesday, May 17. Brand launch parties will be scheduled for the campuses for the start of the fall 2022 semester.

On the move

After much searching and deliberating, the decision has been made for the Chancellor’s Office to remain at 575 Stone Cutters Way but to occupy a significantly smaller footprint. We will be relinquishing the conference rooms and other VSC space on the ground floor, as well as the “Chancellor’s end” of the second floor.

Moving forward, the Chancellor’s Office will occupy one half of the second floor, which is approximately one-third of the existing space.

This turned out to be the most economically feasible and least costly option. Thank you to Jen Porrier, Kathy Armstrong, Dick Ethier, Mike Stevens, Michael Martel, Jed Hock, Tom Maguire, and Sharron Scott for their participation on this project.

The deadline for clearing out offices is May 20th. Those employees who regularly work in the office will have a dedicated space. Those who work occasionally in the office will share space with someone else and will coordinate schedules so as not to overlap.

There will be space available for those who need to use the office on a rare occasion, including visitors from the campuses, as well as conference space for small groups to meet. We will be setting up an automated process for reserving office space and conference space.