Housatonic Community College


Housatonic Community College Reviews

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    What I learned about higher education, unions, tenure, and longevitiy in a struggling economy.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Director in Bridgeport, CT
    Current Employee - Director in Bridgeport, CT

    I have been working at Housatonic Community College full-time (more than 5 years)


    Security and benefits abound at this state community college. The question is for how long? The unions agreed to a raise freeze to save jobs which shows the good will projected by state employees for the betterment of all. Health benefits are excellent. As a state employee, there's absolutely no reason not to get regular check ups to stay healthy. Also, the state 401 K matching funds are some of the best in the country. Longevity pays in this state. The longer you stay, the more money you make and because of the unions, state employees' jobs are protected as long as the money holds out. With a failing economy, the governor has asked for the unions to agree to a wage freeze until 2013. There was tremendous pressure to comply. To show he meant business, when there was a delay in the decision to forego the wage freeze, numerous employees were sent lay-off notices. The agreement was swiftly passed without incident to protect jobs.


    The state is on the cusp of merging education in what has been termed the P-20 council which aligns all sectors of education from elementary education through bacheloriate degrees into one large system. Once there were three sectors, public education, community colleges and the state university system. Now, there is one Board of Regents. Senior administrative positions were eliminated, but more cuts are needed according to the governor. The next wave of change involves the elimination of remedial coursework. It is unclear what will happen to the faculty who teach these courses not to mention how the educational community is going to deal with the masses of under prepared students. The mission of the community college from it's inception was to provide "access" to higher education with the goal of providing the support needed to gain the skills needed for successful degree completion. The trouble was the focus turned to enrollment and not to success and graduation. Colleges have gotten fat off the backs of those who tried and falied at the college experience. This is an unfortunate scenerio that repeats itself throughout the country. If we don't get a grip on it soon, we will see the collapse of our educational system as more of our educated workforce retires. We simply don't have enough young in the educational pipeline to support our economy. Simply put, we're in trouble.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It's not all about enrollment. People matter. Our students matter. Our community matters. We don't need cake. We don't need group "Thank you's" as each semester begins and ends. We need to know we are valued. This happens with investment in people and their inherent value. Currently we are "bleeding" students. Fifty percent of our freshmen class is lost by the end of the first year. Only 10 percent of our entering freshmen persist to graduation. Why is this okay? Untill we are willing to acknowlege we have a retention problem we will continue to assuage the symptom with empty numbers. It was never just about butts in the seats, but it has evolved into a numbers game. Remember, these are people we are talking about. We are not statistics. We are people and people matter.

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