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Planning for Higher Education Journal

Published
October 1, 2015

Systemness

A Case Study

This article traces the launch of a substantial reorganization of public higher education in Connecticut through the lens of “systemness”. The case study details the dynamics and challenges of implementing “Transform CSCU 2020” in a period of turbulence and change with a concluding focus on lessons learned.

From Volume 44 Number 1 | October–December 2015

Abstract: State institutions of higher education in Connecticut are experiencing a dramatic and unprecedented period of change: the consolidation of four universities and 13 community colleges into Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU) and the creation of a new administrative structure. This article charts the early stages of this process, presenting events as they unfolded during Governor Dannel Malloy’s first term beginning in January 2011, through his November 2014 reelection, until his state budget was passed in June 2015.

Advocates of systemness in higher education are challenged to balance the promise of centralized leadership and localized prerogative in designing and implementing policy. Systemness offers the promise of synergy and innovation within and across the system guided by common purpose and vision.

This article discusses five specific implementation processes and challenges: a systemwide credit transfer articulation program; Southern Connecticut State University’s early Transform CSCU 2020 initiatives; an ongoing effort throughout CSCU to develop a systemwide identity; the potential impact of budget constraints on systemness; and difficulties selecting and developing administrators and leaders.

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