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Trustees OK Engineering,
Technology Programs
September 20, 1999

Two new programs were approved by the Board of Trustees last Tuesday, including a master of engineering degree and a master of arts degree in instructional media and technology to be offered in Hartford.

The new engineering degree will be offered both at Storrs and at selected industrial sites that meet the needs of corporations with a critical mass of professional engineers, said Fred J. Maryanski, interim chancellor.

"Via this degree program, the school of engineering is being responsive to the significant need of Connecticut's industries for a continuing graduate education program available to their engineering workforces," he said.

The program will require 28 graduate credit hours and a capstone project, and will fill a gap in the state for engineers, who have said that they like to subscribe to video or broadcast courses, but rather seek training where instructors are available to them and interaction plentiful, Maryanski said. The program will be self-supporting, he added.

The trustees also approved a master's degree in instructional media and technology to be offered by the Neag School of Education at locations in Hartford, including public schools and at the State Armory.

"To meet the growing need for 'just in time' advanced training that minimizes time away from the workplace, this program will enable remote locations to tap the expertise of the Storrs campus faculty," Maryanski said. The program will provide on-site professional development for teachers and prepare teachers for the telecommunicatio ns and technology infrastructure changes taking place in Connecticut schools, he added.

Both programs are subject to the approval of the state Department of Higher Education.

In other business, President Philip E. Austin announced that he is realigning the administrative structure to strengthen financial planning. The position of vice president for finance and administration held by Wilbur Jones, who is retiring on January 1, will be renamed vice president for financial planning and management, and will have oversight of the budgets of both the University and the Health Center. The change means that Dale Dreyfuss, vice chancellor for business and

administration, and Larry Wilder, senior vice chancellor for health affairs administration and chief financial officer, will report to Lori Aronson, associate vice president for institutional advancement, who will assume the new position on January 2.

The changes, which require a by-laws change to be voted on in November, charge the vice president for financial planning and management with overseeing capital and operating budget development, monitoring and reporting on the budget, managing the University's bond financing of capital projects, and oversee the execution of major financial agreements.

The changes will "clarify the financial reporting structure within the organization, strengthen my capacity to assure the institution's fiscal stability and foster a closer linkage of Health Center and other University fiscal operations," Austin said.

Also at the meeting, in various administrative reports, the trustees were told that:

  • Plans for a 125-room hotel to be located near South Campus are progressing well. The hotel could be open by the spring or summer of 2001.

  • Plans for apartment-style housing near Alumni Drive are being developed quickly to respond to student need. The proposal, to include two phases of 500 beds each, is to build 1,100-square-foot apartment units, each with four single bedrooms, a living/dining room, and a kitchen to accommodate upper class students. The proposal calls for a partnership with a private builder in order to construct the units by next fall, said Vicky Triponey, vice chancellor for student affairs. She noted that University officials met last week with area residents in order to take concerns of neighbors into consideration early in the process of developing the plan. Ben Carroll, of the Undergraduate Student Government, told the trustees the USG passed a resolution on September 14 supporting the proposal.

  • Residence halls are at 107 percent occupancy for undergraduates and 82 percent for graduate students. Triponey said all residence halls will be renovated. Eventually the University hopes to have 7,500 to 8,000 beds in residence halls, 1,000 to 2,000 beds in apartment community partnerships and 300 to 400 in Greek housing, with the remainder of students living off campus.

  • The search for a new chancellor has resulted in 70 active applications, 15 of which were worthy of serious consideration, Austin said. In the next month, the search committee, headed by Ronald Taylor, vice provost for multicultural affairs will be seeking to name three to five unranked finalists. Austin hopes to have a new chancellor in place by the spring semester.

  • Y2K replacements have been made on servers on campus, work stations have been replaced and Paul Kobulnicky, vice chancellor for information services, said he is "very confident the major systems have been tested and made compliant." Kobulnicky said he is less confident that other systems that are "not mission critical" are completed, but said they will be by June of 2000.

  • UConn students are being hired at salaries well above the national average, and employers have indicated on surveys conducted by the Department of Career Services that they are satisfied with their campus recruiting visits.

  • 94 percent of new students at Storrs attended orientation, and 96 percent of new students who went through orientation reported full schedules. Capacity planning for majors (to handle the influx of new students over the past two years) is currently underway, said Susan Steele, vice provost for undergraduate education and instruction.

  • Areas for technology transfer for the University are medical biotechnology, marine biotechnology and aquaculture, photonics, materials sciences and biomaterials, imaging technology, agricultural biotechnology, environmental technology and biotechnology manufacturing , said Les Cutler, chancellor and provost for health affairs.

  • The University projects having 75 invention disclosures next year, compared with 45 this year. Six licenses were negotiated last year, and 15 are projected for both this year and next year.

Karen A. Grava