Eastern Grads Accepted into Doctor of Occupational Therapy Degree Programs

Kelsey Sullivan ’18 and Kaley Kennedy ‘18

 By Anne Pappalardo

Two recent Eastern Connecticut State University graduates, Kaley Kennedy ’18 of Enfield and Kelsey Sullivan ’18 of Wethersfield, were recently accepted into occupational therapy doctoral programs. Both Kennedy and Sullivan were Health Sciences majors.

The Health Sciences major prepares students to become health specialists through coursework and experiential learning such as internships, independent study and faculty-directed research.

To my knowledge, these are the first Eastern students to be accepted into a doctor of occupational therapy degree program,” said Health Sciences Professor Amy Bataille. The Health Sciences major includes three concentrations – public health, pre-nursing and pre-physical therapy. Kennedy and Sullivan are members of the first Health Sciences graduating class since the program was created in 2014. Kennedy’s concentration was pre-nursing, while Sullivan’s was public health.

Kennedy and Sullivan are also friends, having met early in their college experience through mutual acquaintances. Both were members of Phi Theta Delta, Eastern’s Health Sciences honor society. Sullivan was also a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national honor society for leadership. Sullivan started at Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions in Boston in June, while Kennedy will be initiating her studies this fall at Western New England University in Springfield, MA. 

When it came to Eastern as an undergraduate option, the choice was clear for both. “Eastern stood out for me and made the decision easy,” said Kennedy. “It offered much smaller class sizes compared to other schools, so I knew that would ensure a more direct learning style and increased student participation.” She was also attracted by the opportunity to play on the women’s soccer team and played on the team until her junior year.

Sullivan chose Eastern for a similar reason. “I wanted to go to Eastern because it offered small class sizes and good professor-to-student ratios. Because of this, I knew Eastern would give me the opportunity to build relationships with my professors. I also wanted to come to Eastern because of their well-known and exceptional education program.”

Sullivan originally started her academic career as a double major in Math and Secondary Education as she comes from a family of teachers. “However, after some soul-searching, I decided that I really had a passion for the medical field and helping people,” said Sullivan. ‘Through my research, occupational therapy popped up as a career option. I decided to pursue a Health Sciences degree and become an occupational therapist.” Sullivan also worked in Eastern’s Office of AccessAbility as well as a chiropractic office in her hometown. Both helped her gain insight into health-related fields.

As part of her Public Health concentration, Sullivan was required to complete an internship. She chose to complete the requirement by participating in a Global Field Course to Ghana led by Health Sciences Professors Yaw Nsiah and Rochelle Gimenez. Sullivan was moved and deeply impacted by her work in Ghana. “The trip has become a part of me,” said Sullivan. “It molded me, shaped me and inspired me to be the best version of myself, as well as inspire others to do the same.” 

Kennedy works in the special education department in the East Windsor public school system, where she observed an occupational therapist in both in- and out-patient settings, helping familiarize her with the field. She also works at Strong Foundations in Vernon to assist children diagnosed with autism, Asperger Syndrome, social communication disorder and other related disabilities, as well as language and cognitive delays. She attributes her experiences at both places as a major influence in her interest in occupational therapy.

Both students credit their parents as being major influences in their success. “My parents have always told me to reach for the stars and strive to do my best, but to also have fun while doing it,” Kennedy said. “They never stood in the way of my dreams, but rather pushed me even closer to fulfilling my goal.”

“My mom and dad have been a continual pillar of support since I was born a premature baby,” said Sullivan. “Without their dedication to support me in any way needed I would not be the woman I am today.”

“My favorite thing about occupational therapy is the fact that I get to provide help to people,” said Kennedy. “As an occupational therapist, I can help patients with rehabilitation or everyday life skills. My favorite thing about the Health Sciences major at Eastern is how it prepares students to further their education.”

“My favorite thing about occupational therapy is not only the opportunity to help change someone’s life by helping them adapt to the world around them, but the opportunity for them to change my life as well,” said Sullivan. “This career, like the major at Eastern, is constantly adapting to best serve its clients, professionals, staff and students.”  

After receiving her doctorate, Kennedy plans on gaining experience in the field and working in a public school system. Sullivan is interested in either inpatient or outpatient hospital-based pediatric occupational therapy, eventually becoming a certified neonatal therapist.

“We are very proud of our students and the fact that they are admitted into these strong, reputable programs,” said Bataille. “It is especially gratifying to see that our Health Sciences program is succeeding in giving students these opportunities and contributing to their tremendous success.  We look forward to hearing more about their exciting careers in the future.”

Eastern Named a 2018 College of Distinction

WILLIMANTIC, CT (06/18/2018) Eastern Connecticut State University has been recognized as a 2018-19 College of Distinction by the college-guide/ranking organization Colleges of Distinction.

The organization praised Eastern for its student-centered approaches and high-impact educational practices. High-impact practices of note include Eastern’s community-based learning programs, intensive writing courses, living-learning communities for residents, undergraduate research, internships and other hands-on learning experiences.

“We are absolutely thrilled to recognize Eastern Connecticut State University as a College of Distinction for its effective dedication to student success,” said Tyson Schritter, CEO for Colleges of Distinction. “Colleges of Distinction is so impressed with Eastern’s curriculum, which is enriched with the kind of high-impact educational practices that are most crucial for student development. Such innovative engagement is preparing the next generation of young adults to thrive after college.”

Colleges of Distinction’s selection process consists of a review of each institution’s freshman experience and retention efforts alongside its general education programs, alumni success, strategic plan, student satisfaction and more. Schools are accepted on the basis that they adhere to the Four Distinctions: Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Community and Successful Outcomes.

“Colleges of Distinction is far more than a ranking list of colleges and universities,” said Schritter. “We seek out the schools that are wholly focused on the student experience, constantly working to produce graduates who are prepared for a rapidly changing global society. Again recognized as a College of Distinction, Eastern Connecticut State University stands out in the way it strives to help its students to learn, grow and succeed.”

Top U.S. Mental Health Official Speaks at Eastern’s 128th Commencement

                                                                            Eastern Graduates 1,200 Students at XL Center

Written by Ed Osborn

Elinore McCance-Katz

Hartford, CT — Eastern Connecticut State University alumna Elinore McCance-Katz, assistant secretary for mental health and substance use in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), told the graduates and their families at Eastern Connecticut State University’s 128th Commencement exercises that the current opioid crisis facing the United States is “the nation’s greatest medical challenge since the AIDS epidemic of the 1990s. It is a tragedy of major proportions, and we need to work together to help those addicted get treatment and recover from this disease.”

Eastern’s annual graduation ceremony was held at the XL Center in Hartford on May 15, with more than 12,000 family members and friends cheering on their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, as 1,105 undergraduates and 85 graduate students received their diplomas.

McCance-Katz told the audience that Eastern had grown from a small college when she attended Eastern Connecticut State College in the 1970s to become “a comprehensive university that has flourished.”

The commencement speaker also received an honorary doctor of science degree from Eastern in a special hooding ceremony during the graduation exercises.  She graduated magna cum laude from Eastern in 1978 with a degree in biology. Following a sterling career in medicine, psychiatry, academic achievement and public administration, McCance-Katz’s DHHS appointment in August 2017 made her the first assistant secretary-level director of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

After earning her degree from Eastern, Dr. McCance-Katz went on to earn a Ph.D. at Yale University in Infectious Disease Epidemiology in 1984, and then received her M.D. from the University of Connecticut in 1987. 

After completing a residency in psychiatry, she held teaching positions at the Yale School of Medicine, Brown University, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of California in San Francisco, the University of Texas and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Prior to her HHS appointment, McCance-Katz was Chief Medical Officer of the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals from 2015 to 2017, and served as professor of psychiatry and human behavior and professor of behavioral and social sciences at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University.

Describing how her professional journey had taken her from treating AIDS patients in the 1990s to her current national leadership role in treating substance abuse and mental illness, McCance-Katz described federal and state efforts to develop new recovery services and support services.  “We will turn the tide on this epidemic,” she said, urging graduates to get involved as medical professionals, nurses, counselors and social workers.

 “Be adventurous. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Be an advocate for those who have not had the advantages you have had.  There is no greater satisfaction than helping others.”

Eastern President Elsa Núñez

Other speakers at the Commencement Exercises included Eastern President Elsa Núñez; Yvette Meléndez, vice-chairof the Board of Regents for Higher Education; and Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State College and Universities System. Additional members of the platform party included Justin Murphy ’98, president of the ECSU Foundation; Father Laurence LaPointe; and other Eastern officials.

Núñez told the graduates their liberal arts education at Eastern was highly prized by American employers.  “In five separate surveys conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities over the past decade, the vast majority of employers — over 90 percent! — say they are less interested in specialized job proficiencies, favoring instead analytical thinking, teamwork and communication skills — the wide-ranging academic and social competencies available through a liberal arts education.”

Núñez also urged the graduates to give back to their communities, saying, “I know that the majority of our seniors have found ways to donate their time and good will to making our community a better place to live.  Wherever you end up — in Connecticut or beyond — make sure you continue to give a portion of your time to make a difference in your community.” 

Lastly, Núñez encouraged the Eastern seniors to be active citizens as they participate in the American democratic system of self-governance. She quoted New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, who has written that disagreement is “the most vital ingredient of any decent society. It defines our individuality, gives us our freedom, enjoins our tolerance, enlarges our perspectives, makes our democracies real, and gives hope and courage to oppressed people everywhere.”

“So never abdicate your responsibilities as a citizen to someone else,” said Núñez. “Be willing to question the status quo.  And stand up for the values you believe in.”

More than 40 percent of the graduates were the first in their families to earn a bachelor’s degree. As Connecticut’s only public liberal arts university, Eastern draws students from 163 of the state’s 169 towns. Approximately 85 percent of graduates stay in Connecticut to launch their careers, contribute to their communities and raise their families.

Senior Class President Charlotte MacDonald presented the Senior Class Gift to President Nunez — an annual Class of 2018 scholarship — and thanked her classmates’ families, friends and faculty for supporting the senior class in its journey. Recalling the Eastern tradition where freshmen toss a penny into a fountain on campus as they make a wish — presumably to graduate in four years — MacDonald shared her own three wishes with her classmates. “My first wish is that you go confidently in the direction of your passions . . . the education you have received at Eastern has prepared you for this.  My second wish is for you not only to better yourself but others around you. Contribute to your community, offer things you no longer use to those in desperate need, volunteer your time . . . My last wish is that you find a path to happiness. . . your willingness to conquer challenges is what will separate you from the majority.”

Meléndez, former vice president of government and community alliances for Hartford Hospital, spoke on behalf of the Board of Regents for Higher Education, expressing gratitude to all who had supported Eastern’s graduates — parents, family, friends and especially Eastern’s faculty. “Their commitment to your success is what makes this university so special. Today is a significant milestone.  We hope today is merely a catalyst for a fulfilling life as each of you pursues your goals.”

Michele Bacholle, Distinguished Professor of the Year

 

Ojakian also offered remarks, commending Eastern President Núñez, her administrative team and “an exceptional faculty that guided you onyour journey to get to today.  The journey is now yours. It is your own path and your own truth that will motivate you . . .  Trust your instincts . . .  You have an obligation to leave this world a better place.  Take charge!”

This year’s graduation ceremonies again reflected Eastern’s Commencement traditions, ranging from the Governor’s Foot Guard Color Guard, to the plaintive sound of the bagpipes of the St. Patrick’s Pipe Band and the pre-event music of the Thread City Brass Quintet. University Senate President Maryanne Clifford presided over the commencement exercises; seniors Halie Poirier, Michael Beckstein and Hannah Bythrow sang “America the Beautiful”; Senior Nathan Cusson gave the invocation; and French Professor Michèle Bacholle was recognized as the 2018 Distinguished Professor Award recipient.

CREATE Conference Shows Breadth and Depth of Eastern Students

Written by Michael Rouleau

Displays of research and creativity filled the Student Center at Eastern Connecticut State University on April 13 for the annual CREATE conference. CREATE stands for “Celebrating Research Excellence and Artistic Talent at Eastern,” and is the University’s premier undergraduate conference of the academic year.

CREATE featured more than 200 students of all majors who led oral and poster presentations, panel discussions, music and dance performances, art and photography exhibitions, as well as documentary viewings and new-media demonstrations.

Students give a musical performance.
A student gives an oral presentation.
Conference patrons peruse the CREATE art gallery.
Students give a theatrical performance.

 

“This conference really cements our slogan that Eastern offers a ‘liberal arts education, practically applied,’” said Brian Oakley, conference co-chair and professor of environmental earth science. “It’s evident when you look around and see the breadth and depth of the work being done by our students.”

“There is no event on campus more important than CREATE,” affirmed Eastern President Elsa Nunez. “Some of the work on display represents three or four years of problem solving, testing and intellectual pursuit. This event is more than a source of pride; it’s a validation of our university’s mission.”

Midway through the conference, two students and two faculty members received awards for undergraduate research and faculty mentorship.

Julie Underhill ’18, who majors in labor relations and human resources management, and Tess Candler ’18, who double majors in political science and economics, received the undergraduate research awards. The faculty awards went to Underhill and Candler’s mentors, respectively: Business Administration Professor Niti Pandey and Political Science Professor Courtney Broscious.

Award recipients Julie Underhill (middle) and Niti Pandey (right) with Provost Dimitrios Pachis.
Award recipients Courtney Broscious (middle) and Tess Candler (right) with Provost Dimitrios Pachis.

 

“Without the professors we cannot celebrate the success of the students,” reminded Provost Dimitrios Pachis, “and without the students we cannot celebrate the success of the professors. This is how the world works, the yin and the yang. With this sort of partnership, we create the future.”

The CREATE conference advances Eastern’s strategic plan by reinforcing high-impact practices such as mentored research and creative projects; increasing the percentage of students who present scholarly work; raising awareness of the accomplishments of Eastern students; and contributing to the intellectual richness of the campus community.

Eastern to hold Ninth Annual Service Expo and Awards Ceremony

WILLIMANTIC, CT (04/11/2018) Eastern Connecticut State University will hold its annual Service Expo and Awards Ceremony on April 19 from 2-5 p.m. in the lobby of the Fine Arts Instructional Center. Sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), the event will showcase the numerous service projects being spearheaded by Eastern students in the Windham area.

Student volunteers will present posters describing their projects, which have occurred at more than 30 sites in the region. Guest judges from the community and Eastern faculty and staff will present awards for the best programs.

Awards will be given to the following individuals: Service Learning Award – Denise Matthews, professor of communication at Eastern; Community Program Award – Christy Calkins and Journey House Program at Natchaug Hospital; and Community Engagement Awards to Nancy Brennan, Interfaith Campus Ministry, Erin Corbett and student Makayla Mowel.

The expo will kick off with keynote speaker Erin Corbett of Second Chances, an education program within the Connecticut prison system. The event is open to the public. For more information, contact the CCE at (860) 465-0090.

Addressing Opioids on a Local Level: Eastern Promotes Community Coalition

Photo provided by Willimantic Chronicle: A panel discusses the Willimantic HOPE program, which allows dug users seeking help to go to the police department for transport to a local hospital or clinic for immediate entry into a recovery program.

Written by Jordan Corey

WILLIMANTIC, CT (03/06/2018) Eastern Connecticut State University held a seminar on Feb. 28 to encourage dialogue about what can be done to combat the American opioid crisis on a local level. Hosted by the Health Sciences Department, the event featured a panel of professionals who are working to address the issue.

The first speaker, Thomas St. Louis, is an epidemiologist with the Connecticut Department of Public Health. He discussed beneficial workplace approaches to the opioid epidemic. “I think the time of researching or trying to figure out whether or not this is a real problem is over.”

St. Louis called attention to the relationship between workplace injuries and opioid abuse, citing a number of factors that can enable addiction–different levels of access to healthcare, the severity of an injury and socioeconomic status.

He listed five principles for employers to utilize when handling opioids: identifying the problem early, giving instant support, being flexible, regularly reviewing the situation, and enlisting success in the employee. St. Louis stressed that the prevailing judgmental attitude toward addiction and the dynamics of workplace policies need to change. “We’re talking about a person with a disease.”

The next presenters were Willimantic police officers Matthew Solak and

Photo provided by Willimantic Chronicle: Matthew Solak, a Willimantic police officer, discusses the law-enforcement challenges of battling the opioid crisis.

Matthew Nixon, who covered some of the legal aspects of opioid use. Solak noted that the recent increase in synthetic opioids, in combination with changing drug trafficking methods, makes it difficult to confront this issue on a large scale.

Despite such expansion, he expressed that simply arresting substance users is not the solution. “Quite frankly,” he said, “We can’t arrest our way out of the problem … we can’t just keep locking people up.” Solak argued that a strategy focused on incarceration results in people stuck in the criminal justice system rather than receiving help.

Nixon, a certified drug-recognition expert, described the Drug Influence Evaluation test, a voluntary post-arrest test that determines what drug people are under the influence of.

He added that the Willimantic Police Department is taking initiatives to combat driving under the influence with programs such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, a nonprofit that strives to tighten policies on impaired driving, including being under the influence of opioids. “A DUI is a preventable problem,” Nixon said.

Dr. Tiwalola Kolawole, a psychiatrist at Backus Hospital focused on the perils of opioid addiction during her lecture, presenting statistics and hypothetical scenarios. An opioid that is of current concern is Fentanyl, which is 5,200 times more potent than heroin, said Kolawole. She then explained how opioids work–by making pain disappear. Frequent use then becomes addiction, as “the release of dopamine in the brain now becomes dependent on the use of the drug.”

She proposed that a better term for addiction is “substance use disorder,” to reinforce the idea that addiction is a medical condition. Negative effects that come from being dependent on opioids include a feeling of hopelessness, lack of appetite and poor sleep schedule.

Kolawole also touched on the barriers that come with getting assistance, from the public, the medical industry and family. “Stigma, stigma, stigma,” she said. “We all need to talk about this. The bottom line for today is that everybody needs to do something. It’s everybody’s problem.”

Having experienced addiction herself, Tracie Compositor, a case manager in Willimantic, serves as a support system for users, from a peer perspective as well as a professional one. She discussed the importance of building genuine connections and understanding that users come from different backgrounds.

“There’s no quick fix for treatment of addiction,” said Compositor, noting that individualized treatment is necessary to effective recovery. “It can be hard to maintain hope,” she continued, but her goal is to “hold that hope for someone until they’re strong enough to take it and run with it.”

Other speakers included Angie Bolduc, a practical nurse, Samantha Wilson, a clinical therapist and Kelvin Young, a holistic stress management instructor.

 

Eastern to Host Opioid Crisis Seminar and Panel

Written by Jordan Corey

WILLIMANTIC, CT (02/20/2018) On Feb. 28, the Health Sciences Department at Eastern Connecticut State University will host a seminar about the opioid epidemic in the United States, a medical crisis that also has local implications. The event will occur at 2 p.m. in the Betty R. Tipton Room of the Student Center. In an effort to build a solid coalition in the Windham region, the event aims to provide educational opportunities, invoke thoughtful conversations and create links between community members and professionals. The discussion panel – composed of physicians, law enforcement and public health professionals – will contemplate strategies that can be executed with local partners in order to combat the epidemic, followed by a Q&A session with attendees.
Written by Jordan Corey

Eastern Makes “College Consensus” List of Top Colleges in Connecticut

Written by Ed Osborn

WILLIMANTIC, CT (01/26/2018) College Consensus, a unique new college review aggregator, has recognized Eastern Connecticut State University in its ranking of “Best Colleges in Connecticut for 2017-18.” Eastern was ranked in the top 10 schools in Connecticut, and was one of only two public institutions chosen, the University of Connecticut being the other.

To identify the Best Colleges in Connecticut for 2017-18, College Consensus averaged the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems, including U.S. News and World Report among others, along with thousands of student review scores, to produce a unique rating for each school. Read about the organization’s methodology at https://www.collegeconsensus.com/about.

“Congratulations on making the list of Best Colleges in Connecticut for 2017-18,” said Carrie Sealey-Morris, managing editor of College Consensus. “Your inclusion in our ranking shows that your school has been recognized for excellence by both publishers on the outside and students and alumni on the inside.”

Part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System, Eastern began its life in 1889 as a public normal school. Today the University is recognized as one of top 25 public universities in the North Region by U.S. News & World Report, and has been named one of the nation’s Green Colleges eight years in a row by the Princeton Review.

Eastern is Connecticut’s public liberal arts college, with a student body of 5,300 students; more than 90 percent of Eastern’s students are from Connecticut. Eastern’s size gives its students an uncommon degree of individualized attention, aided by a 15:1 student/faculty ratio and a strong commitment to student success.

In addition to a strong liberal art foundation, Eastern has many opportunities for students to engage in practical, hands-on learning, ranging from internships to study abroad, community service and undergraduate research. For instance, Eastern has sent more student researchers to the competitive National Conference on Undergraduate Research in the past four years than all the other public universities in Connecticut combined. In 2018, 41 of the 44 students from Connecticut who will present their research at the conference in April are from Eastern.

With its history, Eastern is also one of Connecticut’s foremost educators of teachers, and its professional studies and continuing education programs have made it an important institution for Connecticut’s working adults.

To see Eastern’s College Consensus profile, visit https://www.collegeconsensus.com/school/eastern-connecticut-state-university.

Eastern Breaks Into List of Top 25 Public Regional Universities

Written by Ed Osborn

eastern_front_entranceFor the first time, Eastern Connecticut State University made the list of the top 25 regional public universities in the North in this year’s U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 edition of “Best Colleges.” Eastern was the highest ranked university among the four Connecticut state universities. The annual rankings were released on Sept. 12.

•Theatre students perform Cervantes' "Pedro, The Great Pretender," as the first production in the Proscenium Theatre of Eastern's new Fine Arts Instructional Center

• Theatre students perform Cervantes’ “Pedro, The Great Pretender,” as the first production in the Proscenium Theatre of Eastern’s new Fine Arts Instructional Center

Regional universities such as Eastern are ranked on the basis of 16 criteria that include peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, admissions selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving. The North Region includes colleges and universities from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

•Biology major Elizabeth DelBuono '17 is in the graduate program in Genetic Counseling at Sarah Lawrence College.

• Biology major Elizabeth DelBuono ’17 is in the graduate program in Genetic Counseling at Sarah Lawrence College.

“I am gratified to see Eastern ranked in the top 25 public institutions in the North in this year’s U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 Best Colleges report,” said Eastern President Elsa Nunez. “Our commitment to high standards, our focus on providing students with personal attention, and the introduction of new academic programs have resulted in our favorable ranking. Students and their families turn to the Best Colleges rankings to help decide where to attend college.  These newest rankings reaffirm that Eastern is providing a relevant and high quality education on our beautiful residential campus.”

This year’s U.S. News and World Report rankings included reviews of 1,389 schools nationwide and are available at www.usnews.com/colleges. They will also be published in the Best Colleges 2017 Guidebook, published by U.S. News & World Report and available on newsstands on Oct. 10.

For the past 33 years, the U.S. News and World Report rankings, which group colleges based on categories created by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, have grown to be the most comprehensive research tool for students and parents considering higher education opportunities.

Eastern Named a ‘Great College to Work For’ for Eighth Time

Written by Michael Rouleau

2013GCWF_4CsingularWILLIMANTIC, CT (07/17/2017) Eastern Connecticut State University has again been named a “Great College to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education, a top trade publication for colleges and universities. Released today by The Chronicle, the results are based on a survey of 232 colleges and universities. This is the eighth time Eastern has received “Great Colleges” distinction since it first began participating in the program in 2009.

Only 79 of the institutions that applied for the program achieved “Great College to Work For” recognition this year. Eastern was also named to the national Great Colleges “Honor Roll,” one of only 42 institutions named to this exclusive club. This is the third year in a row that Eastern has been named to the honor roll. Eastern was also the only public four-year university or college in New England to gain “Great Colleges” distinction.

The Chronicle’s Great Colleges to Work For survey is the largest and most comprehensive workplace study in higher education. Now in its 10th year, it recognizes the colleges that get top ratings from their employees on workforce practices and policies.

The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institutional audit that captured demographics and workplace policies, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators, and professional support staff. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution received recognition was employee feedback.

Eastern won honors in six survey categories this year: Collaborative Governance; Compensation and Benefits; Facilities, Workspaces, and Security; Confidence in Senior Leadership; Teaching Environment; and Tenure Clarity and Process.

“It is gratifying to know that our employees continue to value the positive working atmosphere we share on our campus,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “The ‘Great Colleges to Work For’ recognition is not only a symbol of the common purpose found among our faculty and staff, it represents the welcoming and supportive environment that our students experience every day.

“To know that Eastern has consistently received this honor – winning ‘Great Colleges’ recognition in each of the eight years we have participated – is an indication that our commitment to campus unity is an enduring value firmly embedded in our culture.”

“Ten years in, the ‘Great Colleges to Work For’ distinction is well-known by academic jobseekers as a sign that an institution’s employees are valued and given opportunities for growth even when they face financial constraints,” said Liz McMillen, editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. “Any college or university that’s on the list is showing that they emphasize one of their most valuable assets: their faculty and staff.”

To administer the survey and analyze the results, The Chronicle worked with ModernThink LLC, a strategic human capital consulting firm that has conducted numerous “Best Places to Work” programs, surveying hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide. “It’s easier to be a great workplace during good times, but it’s when times are tough that the commitment to workplace quality really gets tested,” said Richard K. Boyer, principal and managing partner of ModernThink LLC. “Those institutions that measure up during times of economic hardship reinforce their already strong cultures and put even more distance between them and their peer institutions for whom they compete for talent.”

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About Eastern Connecticut State University

Eastern Connecticut State University is the state of Connecticut’s public liberal arts university, serving more than 5,300 students annually at its Willimantic campus and satellite locations. In addition to attracting students from 163 of Connecticut’s 169 towns, Eastern also draws students from 23 other states and 20 other countries. A residential campus offering 39 majors and 64 minors, Eastern offers students a strong liberal art foundation grounded in an array of applied learning opportunities. Ranked the 26th top public university in the North Region by U.S. News and World Report in its 2017 Best College ratings, Eastern has also been awarded “Green Campus” status by the U.S. Green Building Council seven years in a row. For more information, visit www.easternct.edu.

About The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Chronicle of Higher Education is dedicated to serving the higher-education community with insights, understanding, and intellectual engagement. Academic leaders and professionals from around the world trust The Chronicle’s analysis and in-depth exploration to make informed decisions.

About ModernThink LLC

As a research and consulting leader in workplace issues, ModernThink has supported a wide variety of “Best Place to Work” initiatives. Through these programs, the firm has gained substantial survey and industry expertise, including specific insight into higher education. ModernThink knows what it takes to build a great place to work and shares that know-how with its clients. The ModernThink team of organizational development experts is dedicated to helping colleges follow through and capitalize on feedback from employees and benchmark data from peers to drive meaningful change at their institutions. Learn more at http://www.modernthink.com.

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