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Chief Justice Rogers and Judge Kahn to Speak at Eastern

Written by Michael Rouleau

Willimantic, Conn. - Two high-level Connecticut court officials will speak at Eastern Connecticut State University on March 26 for Eastern's University Hour series. At 3 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre, Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers and Superior Court Judge Maria Kahn will speak with the Eastern community about justice and the judicial system in today's world. 

Born and raised in Angola, Africa, Kahn was appointed a Superior Court Judge in 2006 and currently is assigned to hear criminal matters in the Fairfield Judicial District Courthouse. She moved to the United States at 10 years of age, is fluent in three languages and serves on a number state and national Bars. 

Rogers, a Connecticut native, was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court in 2007--the second woman ever to reach this designation in Connecticut. She was also appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the State Justice Institute's Board of Directors. In addition to serving on a number of prestigious Bars and committees, Rogers is also an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law.

"The event is open to the public and will be organized in a question-and-answer format," said Starsheemar Byrum, coordinator of the Women's Center. "Arrive early at the Student Center Theatre to ensure a good seat."

"Eastern in 4," Eastern's Revamped Academic Plan

Written by Michael Rouleau

Willimantic, Conn. - As part of Eastern Connecticut State University's 2013-18 Strategic Plan, "Eastern in 4" is now a requirement for current students and incoming freshmen. The goal of "Eastern in 4" is to lay out a tight and comprehensive plan--including academic and career goals--that will lead students to their bachelor's degrees in four years.

"Eastern in 4" has existed as an informal objective for several years now, but recent data supporting the need for college-career planning has caused the University to revamp and mandate the program. "There are so many options and requirements in a college setting," said Alison Garewski, a professional advisor with the Advising Center. "Students unknowingly taking courses they don't need--costing them more money and prolonging their time in college--is an issue nationwide."

With nearly 1,000 freshman at Eastern this year, approximately 650 have completed their academic plans. Though the plans are designed in group sessions of five to 20 students, each four-year plan is individualized according to a student's degree requirements and preferences--taking into consideration which liberal arts courses to take, internships and study abroad opportunities.

"Every semester when registering for classes I use my four-year plan to aid in my selection," said Christina Harmon, a sophomore majoring in psychology. "'Eastern in 4' was a great way for me to learn what classes I need to take and how to stay on track in order to graduate on time."

While "Eastern in 4" is available to all students and majors, it is especially useful to transfer students, continuing education students and those switching majors. "This program is ideal at Eastern because we're a liberal arts school," said Chris Drewry, a professional advisor with the Advising Center. "Students are required and encouraged to take courses outside of their major, so having this direction is really helpful."

"Before making my 'Eastern in 4' plan, I had no idea if I could fit a double major's worth of classes into my schedule," said Thomas Hacker, a freshman with a double major. "Now I have a roadmap to double major in music and communication in four years."

Middletown, Eastern Police Team Up again to "Tip-A-Cop"

Written by Jordan Sakal

Willimantic, Conn. - The Middletown Police Department and Eastern Connecticut State University's Campus Police Department will team up again on March 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Amici's Italian Grill on 280 Main St., in Middletown to support Special Olympics Connecticut. This is the second time that the Eastern police department has worked with Middletown police on this project.
Middletown and Eastern Connecticut State University police officers will be taking orders and serving customers for lunch and dinner alongside Amici Italian Grill staff to support the Special Olympics.

Tip-A-Cop will donate 100 percent of the tips made to benefit the athletes and partners of Special Olympics Connecticut.  The Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

For more information contact Thomas Madera at or call (860)465-0007.

CLIP Hosts Free Training for Law Enforcement Officers

Written by Akaya McElveen

CLIP LEO Training.jpg
Willimantic, Conn. - The Community Life Improvement Project (CLIP), a collaborative between Eastern Connecticut State University and the Windham community to prevent student alcohol abuse, hosted a free training conducted by the Connecticut State Police and the Northeast Communities Against Substance Abuse (NECASA) in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room in the J. Eugene Smith Library on Dec. 5. The training focused on new trends in alcohol and drug use related to college students and youth, and was made possible by the CLIP grant. The training was led by Connecticut State Police Sergeant Christopher Bartolotta.

Departments and agencies represented at the training were: CCSU Police, Cheshire Police, Colchester Police, Coventry Police, Mansfield Resident Troopers, Dept. of Consumer Protection, ECSU Police, Fairfield Police, Greenwich Police, Groton Town Police, Manchester Police, Middletown Police, Milford Police, Mitchell College, Newtown Police, Plainfield Police, Putnam Police, Quinnipiac University, SCSU, State Environmental Conservation Police, University of Hartford, WCSU Police & Westport Police.

 Coalition members of CLIP include Eastern faculty members, staff and students as well as local officers, liquor license holders and residents. Together, these members help curb underage and high-risk student drinking.
 Highlighted in the training was the importance of preventing and identifying home labs for illicit drugs. Bartolotta introduced the law enforcement officers to home labs such as mushroom labs, LSD labs, urine labs and indoor marijuana grows. The training concentrated on ways to identify such labs. Bartolotta also examined the occurrence of cross contamination when handling certain illicit drugs.

The training also provided the law enforcement agencies in attendance an overview of The Drug Endangered Children Program, which is set to promoted throughout the country in August 2014. The mission of the program is to break the cycle of abuse and neglect by empowering practitioners who work to transform the lives of children and families living in drug environments. The program began through the efforts of two women. Sue Webber Brown, a District Attorney Investigator in California, recognized the connection between child abuse cases and illicit drugs. "Sometimes it takes a tragedy to see that something needs to be done," stated Bartolotta in referencing Kathey James, who was sentenced to life in prison after the drug lab in her mobile home caught fire and exploded, killing her three small children. The Drug and Endangered Child comprises of representatives from district attorney offices, children's services and law enforcement.

Eastern Police to host Open Rec Night

Written by Jordan Sakal

Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University's Police Department is hosting an event in the Sports Center of Eastern Connecticut State University to give students a fun and relaxing evening as the semester ends. The 18th annual C.O.P.S. Open Rec Night and will take place on Friday, Dec. 6, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. It is a non-alcoholic alternative event hosted by the Eastern Police Department in conjunction with the Student Government Association and Eastern's Office of Student Affairs and Housing.

Last year, 750 students attended and went through a mountain of food. This year will have a DJ providing music, a masseuse and the staff from Friendly's Ice Cream dishing up ice cream for the students. There will be tables of board games, arts and crafts tables, basketball and volleyball in the gym, plus racquetball. There will also be plenty of prizes every hour provided by SGA, area businesses and professional sports teams.

Tip-a-Cop Turns Huge Profit for Special Olympics

Written by Jordan Sakal

Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University's Police Department hosted an event on November 9, 2013 at Nita's Restaurant in Willimatic, CT. The goal of the event was to raise money for the Special Olympics of Connecticut and the results did not disappoint. 

The event raised $1,112.90 for Special Olympics CT and it could not have been possible without the drive and dedication both of the Eastern Police and the surrounding community who came together to support such a worthy cause. Lieutenant Tom Madera said, "Thank you for making a difference in the lives of those with intellectual disabilities, this success could not have been possible without your support." The next event will be held Saturday December 6th, 2013, it's the annual Penguin Plunge event at Coventry Lake. Anyone out there who is brave enough to jump into the cold water can contact Officer Dave DeNunzio or visit

Board of Regents President Gray Visits Eastern's Campus

Written by Dwight Bachman

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Willimantic, Conn -- Eastern President Elsa Núñez, along with more than 100 students, faculty and staff, greeted Connecticut State Universities and Colleges (ConnSCU) Board of Regents President  Gregory Gray to campus on Sept. 18. The new president of Connecticut's Board of Regents for Higher Educatonis in the midst of touring the 17 schools that make up the state's public higher education system. Gray took over as president on July . He oversees the Board of Regents, which governs 12 community colleges, four state universities, and Charter Oak College,  the state's on-line institution.

Nunez praised Gray for his vision; his goal of restoring integrity to the system and for finding opportunities for more collaboration between community colleges and the four-year universities.

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Gray, noting that Eastern students were already fortunate to have a beautiful, physical setting, said, "Pristine is all around you here. Knowing that you were so dedicated to having such a beautiful campus tells me this same dedication must be taking place in the classroom as well."  He said his primary goal is to improve the learning environment on campuses, "making it go from very good to great."

Gray said he believes that by working together with faculty members who have a deep-rooted passion for excellence, ConnSCU will become a world-class system of higher education. To achieve this long-range goal, Gray wants to (1) restore trust and integrity to the system; (2) make the system more efficient and productive; (3) develop a plan to benefit current and future students.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we have to get it right. I want to develop a plan that will positively impact student 25 years from now." He said online education courses; a unified calendar for all system colleges and universities; and seamless transfer of credits will better serve students. "Saving money is important, but that is not the primary goal. We want to provide access and focus on what we should focus on a student's purpose for being here, which is to learn.  We then, want tell the world about it."

Gray said he wants board meetings to focus on student presentations about their achievements, and to see more scholarship celebrated on campus through academic fairs showcasing faculty books and student-published articles. He believes his plan will identify areas of efficiency, producing a more clearly-defined niche for each university.

During a question and answer period, Gray told students who want to be assured their voices are heard to "speak up, but get your facts straight. I assure you I will do all I can to support the integration of teaching, learning and service to our students. I say let's improve the overall efficiency of the system; improve the learning environment; give the governor and the legislature a good plan; and get it funded."


Eastern Named Among 2013-14 Public Colleges of Distinction

Written by Dwight Bachman

Willimantic, Conn: Eastern Connecticut State University has been included in the latest edition of the "Public Colleges of Distinction" guidebook.  Eastern is the only public college from Connecticut listed in the guidebook.  The guide says the colleges and universities listed excel in four distinctions --Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Communities and Successful Outcomes.

"Engaged students" learn the skills they need to succeed in life -- the ability to think flexibly and address problems hands-on -- not just being able to memorize facts and follow orders. Instead, Eastern students learn to communicate, think critically, and solve problems as they explore the world through study abroad, internships, community service projects and undergraduate research.

"Great teaching" occurs in an atmosphere where feedback and encouragement are the norm. Faculty interaction is crucial to learning. "Colleges of distinction" encourage an atmosphere of exciting thought and action, led by professors who care about helping students learn to think for themselves. Academic innovation goes hand-in-hand with personalized learning.

"Vibrant communities" are campus communities that offer activities and events that help students learn even after the books are closed, creating social opportunities for students to develop friendships, and providing students a wide range of intellectually, thought-provoking speakers, seminars, unique films and artistic events.

"Successful outcomes" describes schools that produce students who can think, write, speak and reason, get a job, and most importantly, are also good citizens who can work together with diverse groups of people.
Colleges of Distinction are considered "hidden gems" of higher education, according to the panel of academicians, guidance counselors and parents that made the selection, officials said.  

The guidebook describes a College of Distinction as being:
• nationally recognized by education professionals and honored for the excellence of its programs;
• strongly focused on teaching undergraduates, where students are taught by real professors, not by graduate students or teaching assistants, in vibrant classrooms where the faculty keep their students challenged and interested;
• home to a wide variety of innovative learning experiences, from study abroad and scientific research to service learning and internships;
• an active campus with many opportunities for personal development. Whatever their passion, students find plenty of encouragement to help them pursue it; and
• highly valued by graduate schools and employers for its outstanding preparation.

The Public Colleges of Distinction are currently featured on the newly redesigned Colleges of Distinction website and will be featured in the Public Colleges of Distinction eGuidebook available this fall.

Eastern Named a "2013 Great College to Work For"

Written by Christopher J. Herman


Willimantic, Conn. - For the fifth year in a row, Eastern Connecticut State University has been named as one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to a new survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The results, released yesterday in The Chronicle's sixth annual report on The Academic Workplace, are based on a survey of more than 45,000 employees at 300 colleges and universities.
        In all, only 97 institutions achieved "Great College to Work For" recognition for specific best practices and policies. Eastern won honors in three categories this year: "Collaborative Governance;" "Compensation and Benefits;" "Facilities, Workspaces and Security."
Eastern was one of only three Connecticut institutions to make the list and the only public university among the three; Quinnipiac University and Middlesex Community College were the other two.

"We are honored to be included in 'Great Colleges to Work For'," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Receiving this national recognition once again from the Chronicle of Higher Education is very gratifying, especially given our high ranking in three important areas of campus operations. The spirit of collaboration that exists on our campus is a strength that helps us better serve our students and the state of Connecticut." 
     The Chronicle is one of the nation's most important sources of news about colleges and universities. The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institutional audit that captured demographics and workplace policies from each institution, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators and professional support staff. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution receives recognition is employee feedback.    

To administer the survey and analyze the results, The Chronicle worked with ModernThinkLLC, a strategic human capital consulting firm that has conducted numerous "Best Places to Work" programs, surveying hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide. Great Colleges to Work For is one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country.

For more information and to view all the results of the survey, visit The Chronicle's web site at Meet 2013's Great Colleges to Work For.

Eastern Police Offer Bike Classes for Officers

Written by Dwight Bachman

Willimantic, Conn. -- Police officers from Derby, Milford, Norwich, University of Vermont and the Connecticut State Police have converged on the campus of Eastern Connecticut State University to learn how to effectively ride a bike while on patrol. Eastern police officers Jim Salvatore and Jene Comstock are also participating in the class.

Lt. Thomas Madera, operations commander for Eastern's Police Department, is the lead instructor for the class. Police officers will be taught how to maneuver through tight spaces; climb curbs and stairs; how to ride in traffic; learn proper use of gears; and effectively use their brakes. They will also learn defensive tactics and how to balance at slow speeds.

"Riding a bicycle may seem easy," said Madera. "After all, most everyone has ridden a bike before. And we've all fallen off many times. Police officers whose primary duty is to ensure public safety have a heightened sense of duty and responsibility to hone the skill of bike riding, as they often find themselves in crisis situations. The bike also enables officers to more easily engage in community policing -- interacting more closely with individuals; gaining their trust; and letting them know we are their friends and caretakers, there to ensure public comfort and safety as much as possible."

The bike class runs this week from May 20-24. Classes will also be taught to officers from other police departments  on June 10-14 and July 15-19. For more information about the bicycle classes, contact Madera at or (860)-465-5310 or (860) 465-0007.

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