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June 2009 Archives

Eastern to Host Summer Institute for Future Teachers

Written by Dwight Bachman

SIFT 2008 - 2.JPG

      Terrell Green, SIFT instructor and Glastonbury teacher, counsels SIFT 2008 student Amanda DiTomaso from South Windsor High School during SIFT training.

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       Last year, Alyssa Clarino, future teacher from North Branford High School, front, along with an unidentified future teacher, rear, worked with students as part of the SIFT Program.

Willimantic, CT --  About 30 high school juniors and seniors from more than 20 Connecticut school districts will receive an inside look at what it takes to become a teacher as they participate in the 13th Annual Summer Institute for Future Teachers program at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, July 7-31.

Eastern and the Capital Region Education Council (CREC) created the program, which aims to increase the number of students who consider teaching as a career; emphasizes the growing role technology plays in teaching and learning; and expands efforts to recruit teachers from the diverse communities in Connecticut, said David Stoloff, professor of education and director of the University's Center for Educational Excellence.  Stoloff and education faculty members Leah Barbuto and Hannah Sellers, as well as Kathy Randall, CREC's interdistrict grants coordinator, serve as the leadership team for the program.  Faculty members also include Terrell Green, a Glastonbury elementary school teacher, and Ramona Nishball, a Windham Tech teacher.

During the program, students are immersed in coursework and field trips; work with pre-school and elementary schoolchildren; integrate educational theory with practical experience; and study and live within the rich multicultural environment of Connecticut classrooms.

Students are expected to prepare and present lesson plans; create positive learning environments which celebrate cultural diversity; give detailed reports defending their choices for classroom layout; maintain journals reflecting on their teaching observations and experiences; and develop websites and electronic portfolios.  

Successful participants will receive three undergraduate credits for a course entitled "Teaching in the 21st Century."  A special theme this year will be teaching about the cultures found in Connecticut's classrooms.  SIFT will have an open house for parents and community members on July 22 and will showcase student projects and accomplishments on July 31.

For more information about the SIFT program, contact David Stoloff at (860) 465-5501 or




Eastern to Host Laurel Girls State

Written by Allison Kelly


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High school juniors from across the state enjoying a workshop during Girls State at Eastern last year.


            Willimantic, CT - Eastern Connecticut State University again will host more than 180 Connecticut high school juniors for the Laurel Girls State program from June 27-July 2. 

Sponsored by the American Legion and the Legion's Auxiliary, Laurel Girls State prepares young ladies for careers in government through citizenship and democracy.  Some of the guest speakers will include Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who will speak on June 29.  On June 30, Assistant Comptroller Martha Carlson is scheduled to speak and Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz is scheduled to speak on July 1. Several state representatives and legislators will also attend. 

            "We are delighted to host Girls State for the third year in a row," said Victoria Lorenzen, program facilitator in the Office of Professional Development in Eastern's School of Continuing Education.  "We are developing a wonderful collaboration, working with professionals such as Sue Larson, chair and director of Laurel Girls State, We hope to develop the same type of long-term relationship that we have with Boys State, which  returned to campus this year for the 22nd year in a row." 

The Girls State program has provided students with hands-on citizenship experience and government participation for more than 60 years. Program officials focus on patriotism by involving students in all aspects of government and by enhancing pride in one's country. Students elect officials on a local, county or state level who then carry out the duties of their offices. Students will also write bills and enact legislation. Girls State officials hope the experience will result in lifelong participation in government.



Eastern to Host 26th Annual STEP/CAP Program

Written by Dwight Bachman

                                                               STEP-CAP 1.JPGMaureen McDonnell, assistant professor of English, discusses critical importance of writing durng STEP/CAP last year.       

Willimantic, CT - On June 30, more than 60 students hoping to enroll in Eastern Connecticut State University in the fall will arrive on campus to begin the 26th year of the Summer Transition at Eastern Program/Contract Admission Program (STEP/CAP).

            Through Aug. 7, students from Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, New London, Norwich, Waterbury, Willimantic and out of state will attend intensive credit-bearing courses in math and writing as well as rigorous workshops in social sciences, library research methods, public speaking, study skills and critical thinking. Those who are successful will be admitted as freshmen for Eastern's fall semester.

            Organized around the theme of "Taking Charge of Your Life," the students come to campus having read Toni Morrison's classic novel, "Sula," as their classes will examine race, ethnic origin, cultural differences and identity in America. Once on campus, students will also be asked to read "Bodega Dreams," by Ernesto Quinonez, as part of their summer workshop experience.

            "For more than a quarter of a century, this program has made a difference," said Margaret Hebert, acting director of Eastern's Tutoring Center, which administers the program. "We ask the students to be motivated, disciplined and ready to work hard to make the changes needed to start and then complete the transition from high school to college."

            Successful STEP/CAP students have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, insurance executives, personnel managers and much more remarkable achievements for young people labeled in high school as incapable of college-level work.

            Once students settle into Eastern and begin their classes, they will take a field trip to Boston, where they are scheduled to enjoy citywide trolley tours and visit historic spots such as the Freedom Trail.  


Boys State 2009 at Eastern

Written by Allison Kelly

  Boys State Workshop 2008.jpgLast year, high school juniors from across Connecticut participated in workshops designed to teach them how state and municipal governments operate.


Willimantic, CT--Eastern Connecticut State University will host nearly 300 Connecticut high school juniors, as well as state legislators, lawyers, police officers and government officials during the 68th American Legion Boys State, being held June 21-26. This will be the 22nd year in a row that Boys State has been held at Eastern.

            Student delegates will arrive on campus June 21.  Boys State officially begins with formal opening ceremonies at 7:30 p.m., with the keynote address delivered by Connecticut Supreme Court Justice C. Ian McLachlan.  David Greenleaf, chairman of the American Legion's Boys State Commission, and American Legion Department Commander Harvey Dagett will also speak.

            The weeklong program is formatted to educate students on how state and municipal governments operate.  Participants will set up and run mock town, city, county and state elections.  Students will engage in role-playing to show how towns are represented, mayors lobby, and representatives and senators debate and enact legislation.

Greenleaf praised Eastern for hosting Boys State over the years.  "Eastern makes the summer program a very positive experience for young people who cannot help but return to their communities with a desire to make a positive contribution," said Greenleaf. 

"Eastern Connecticut State University is proud of our longstanding relationship with Boys State, which provides a model of exemplary programming highlighting good citizenship," said Shelly Gimenez, dean of the School of Continuing Education.  "We are delighted to be part of an initiative that grooms future leaders on a local, state and national level. Once again we look forward to hosting Boys State on our campus."

A number of state legislators and senators also have been invited to speak throughout the week. This year's guests include Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz who is scheduled to speak at 9:15 a.m. on June 22.  Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal will speak at 1 p.m. on June 22.  On June 23, Boys State participants will hear from Rep. Ted Graziani (D-57th District) and Windham District Judge Dennis O'Brien. On June 24, Chester Superior Court Judge Susan Peck and Paul Murray, deputy chief state's attorney, will speak.


Eastern Wins CASE Fundraising Award

Written by Dwight Bachman


scholarship recipients.JPGWillimantic, CT --  The Office of Institutional Advancement at Eastern Connecticut State University has been named recipient of the 2009 CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education) WealthEngine Award for Educational Fundraising.  The award honors superior fundraising programs across the country and is a component of CASE's Circle of Excellence program, which honors exemplary advancement programs and activities. Eastern was selected to receive an Overall Improvement Award based on the judges' analysis of three years of fundraising data submitted to the council's annual survey.

            "Your institution has not only demonstrated the highest levels of professionalism and best practice in its fundraising efforts," wrote CASE President John Lippincott in a letter to Eastern President Elsa Núñez, "it has contributed to the betterment of educational advancement worldwide."

"It is very gratifying for the University to receive this award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education," said Eastern's President Elsa Núñez. "We are the smallest of the state universities in Connecticut. When you also consider that our CASE district includes Yale, Harvard, Williams, Wesleyan, the University of Connecticut, and many other fine private and public institutions, the work performed by our Office of Institutional Advancement to receive this award is even more significant.  It is also an indication of the continued loyalty and generosity of our alumni and other donors."

"This award acknowledges the increased financial support that we have received in recent years from our alumni, friends and faculty, who have reacted positively to Eastern's evolving liberal arts mission," said Kenneth DeLisa, vice president for institutional advancement.  "Donors have responded to the University's exemplary academic programs, beautiful residential campus, and faculty and student success stories by generously sharing their resources on behalf of Eastern and our students.

"This past spring, even with difficult economic conditions, we were able to award more than $190,000 in scholarships to more than 220 deserving students with unmet needs," DeLisa continued. "It makes me proud to oversee Eastern's fundraising efforts when I see donors supporting our students with such unselfish philanthropy. We also have been able to raise the awareness of Eastern as the state's public liberal arts university due to the efforts of the Development, Alumni and University Relations departments, which have worked seamlessly to develop and deliver this message on a consistent basis to all constituents."

DeLisa cited ECSU Foundation, Inc., financial records that show the foundation's assets have increased by 75 percent over the past three fiscal years to more than $14 million. In addition, the University's Annual Fund has increased by 57 percent from FY2006 to FY 2009 to $2.3 million. One strategy in particular that has been highly successful, according to DeLisa, is the creation of endowed scholarships in the name of longtime Eastern faculty members, including recent retirees Mike Gable and Steve Kenton. Above is a picture of 223 recipients of 2009 ECSU Foundation, Inc. Competitive Scholarships totalling $190,000.


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