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Annual Report 2016-17

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nunez.jpgThe 2016-17 academic year was a busy time at Eastern Connecticut State University as student and faculty scholars made important contributions to their academic disciplines, as well to as our local, state and regional communities.

Among a number of institutional awards was the announcement this past September that Eastern had broken into the list of the top 25 public regional universities in the North in the annual U.S. News and World Report rankings. The University was also named a Green College by the Princeton Review for the eighth consecutive year.

The standard of excellence found throughout the University extended to the athletic field. In addition to winning the Little East Conference's Presidents Cup for the third year in a row - given to the college whose athletes have the highest cumulative GPA - Eastern athletes won the Commissioner's Cup for having the best overall athletic performance across 19 varsity sports.

One of Eastern's calling cards is its focus on undergraduate research. We continue to offer undergraduate students opportunities to conduct faculty-sponsored research that is usually only available to graduate students at larger institutions. And our students excel in these research settings. Student researchers received National Science Foundation grants, NASA fellowships and other support to explore genetics, study the effects of space travel and conduct other valuable research. Eastern students also presented their research at national conferences - Eastern represented Connecticut for the fourth year in a row at the national Posters on the Hill conference, and the University sent more students to present at the annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Memphis, TN, than any other school in Connecticut.

Other signs of high achievement by Eastern students included a fourth-place finish by the Eastern chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals at their national conference, and a first-place showing by our kinesiology and physical education students in the first College Bowl competition sponsored by the Society of Health and Physical Educators. In addition, a recent Eastern graduate received a Fulbright Student grant, and a Health Sciences major received a scholarship through Harvard University. Eastern students extended their studies abroad, taking field courses in Ghana, West Africa, Hawaii, Italy, the Middle East and other locales. Eastern students were also active in the community, raising funds for cancer patients, conducting bone marrow drives for leukemia patients and serving in after-school programs in local schools.

Recent graduates are excelling in graduate programs across the country, including at such prestigious institutions as Yale University, Columbia University, Johns Hopkins, the University of Chicago, Sarah Lawrence College, Tufts, and George Washington University.

A number of Eastern faculty won national awards or were appointed to leadership positions in national academic organizations, including Biology Professor Liz Cowles, who was named president elect of the National Association of Biology Teachers, and Dean Carmen Cid, who was named an Ecological Society of America Fellow. English Professor Daniel Donaghy was named the first poet laureate of Windham County, and Professors William Salka and Anita Lee were awarded fellowships by the American Council on Education and Higher Education Resource Services respectively. The faculty also focused on enhancing our academic programs, with new majors or minors launched in criminology, bioinformatics, environmental health science and insurance.

These and other stories in this online Annual Report highlight the outstanding year experienced at Eastern Connecticut State University.


Elsa M. Núñez