Fall 2020 Edition

Shirley A. Adams

Letter From The Provost

Shirley A. Adams, Ph.D.

The winter holidays and the new year are quickly approaching. Let's all hope that 2021 will be a kinder year in all aspects.

Thanks to our dedicated faculty and staff, Charter Oak weathered the challenges that were thrown at them during 2020. Our faculty eagerly said "yes" when we asked them to allow students extra time to catch up on their work because they were essential workers or were ill or lost power because of one of the many hurricanes or other storms that impacted parts of the country. I also want to thank the students for being flexible with our faculty. Some of them were impacted by these events as well which caused delays in getting assignments graded. 

We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and work with students, faculty, and staff through this next phase. Since our state and region is experiencing surges of COVID-19 surpassing what we've experienced over the past 9 months, our students in NUR 320 will be doing contact tracing to support the CT State Department of Public Health beginning with the Spring term.

We are pleased to let you know that the college fall enrollment was slightly above last year. This slight increase in enrollment was due to the new graduate programs in Health Care Administration and Health Informatics and returning undergraduate students. The staff is all working hard to ensure that the spring 2021 enrollment is up as well. If you haven't registered, I encourage you to do so right away.

Students have been asking for some new courses, especially one credit courses. We launched the COM 112 Art and Joy of Communication in the summer semester.  It was very well received. We have a few more one credit courses in the queue for summer and fall. As you think about registering for your next courses, take a look at some of the new courses that we are offering: MGT330 Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace, 3 credits (8 weeks) running Term 1, SOC 305 Ethics in Social Science, 3 credits (8 weeks), running Term 1, HIS 110 American Jewish History, 3 credits (8 weeks), running Term 1,  and HLT 121 Herbal Medicine, 3 credits (8 weeks), running Term 1.There is a description of those courses later in the newsletter.

The college is reviewing its criminal justice courses and public safety administration courses to ascertain how issues of diversity is addressed. This is a system-wide initiative, partially in response to the killings of minorities by police this past year. There is also a broader initiative examining diversity and equity in the admissions process. Although we have courses incorporating diversity, we will be taking a closer look at how diversity is addressed in other courses, such as American History, Survey of Literature, American Short Story. We will also be adding some new courses such as Native American history, Women in Science, Civil Rights Movement in American, and Jews in Contemporary Society.

As we enter the winter holidays and the beginning of 2021, take the time to be grateful for what you have; time to remember that we are the "United" States of America; and time for yourself to reenergize. Let's make 2021 a time of peace, healing, and unity.

New Programs

M.S. in Health Informatics Program

The M.S. Heath Informatics Program successfully kicked off Fall Term 2020!

Health Informatics (HI) connects people, technology, and data to better improve healthcare outcomes and safety by supporting operational, innovation and technological advancements. HI plays a central role in aggregating and analyzing information from a wide variety of sources from tests to demographic data and treatment responses. With the use of data analytics, informatics will help decision makers in health care and those leaders they advise at the local, state, and federal levels.

As both technology and the complexity of patients and population data expands, it will require professionals with HI skill set to manage it. The comprehensive Master of Health Informatics curriculum focuses on the interdisciplinary study of the design, development, adoption and application of information, data and technology driven innovations in healthcare.

M.S. in Health Care Administration Program 

Can you believe our M.S. Health Care Administration Program is approaching the one-year milestone? Congratulations graduate students and keep up the great work!!

Health professionals and organizations are constantly confronted with increasing costs, lower reimbursements, staffing issues, changing regulations, and implementation of new technologies. The comprehensive Master of Health Care Administration (HCA) curriculum focuses on leadership and strategic management trends, quality and performance improvement, leadership skills, community health planning and advocacy, organizational theory, finance, health law and research methods in health services administration.

The M.S. HCA Program is designed for students looking to advance or change their careers within or to the health care industry. The philosophy underlying the program's curriculum is to provide students the tools and knowledge needed in high quality healthcare management positions. The goal is to set the foundation for future healthcare executives and to expand the leadership skills of current leaders.

New Courses

To view the syllabus including course description, click on the link, then click on the course title from the dropdown: https://www.charteroak.edu/syllabus/

MGT 330 Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace, 3 credits (8 weeks) running for Spring '21, Term 1

Course Description: This course will provide students with a comprehensive source of information about diversity issues relevant to work, workers, and organizations. Emphasize how crucial an understanding of diversity issues is for individuals and organizations to succeed in today's society. Diversity is often discussed in regards to women and minorities, but includes everyone. Everyone needs to know about the history, the current status of certain groups, and what increasing diversity means for individuals and organizations. Emphasize that everyone has multiple group memberships, and although some combinations are more negative for people's outcomes, experiences, and opportunities, diversity remains relevant to everyone.

COM 112 The Art and Joy of Communication, 1 credit (5 weeks), running for Spring '21, Session 3

Course Description: This course is designed to focus on elevating all of your communication skills - writing, conversing, and corresponding - by stimulating the exploration of your creative mind-set. We will tap into your innovative, thoughtful, intelligent, and humorous potential. The real (maybe hidden) you: eloquently expressive, sublimely jubilant, sagely introspective, and outrageously fecund. My goals are to enrich and empower your communication abilities, enabling you to correspond and articulate fluently and expressively. With panache! To enjoy the art - and enormous fun - of communication.

COM 113 Creative Communication, 3 credits (8 weeks), running for Spring '21, Term 1

Course Description: This course is designed to enable students to perfect their communication skills: writing, corresponding, emailing, conversing, negotiating, and persuading. The course will stimulate the students' creative mind-set, helping them become more proficient at communicating in all aspects of their personal and professional life - at home, with friends, on the field of play, at the country club, in the boardroom - with analytical insight, humor, dignity, and alacrity. Students will learn and exercise the power of an expanded vocabulary (words matter!), kindness in conversation, laughter in discussion, team-building, and cooperation in negotiating. Members of the class will tap into their innovative, thoughtful, and intelligent potential: eloquently expressive, sublimely jubilant, outrageously fecund, and sagely introspective. The course will enrich and empower students' communication abilities, enabling them to correspond and articulate fluently and expressively. Students will learn to become adept storytellers.

SOC 305 Ethics in Social Science, 3 credits (8 weeks), running for Spring '21, Term 1

Course Description: This course will focus on how people create and sustain worldviews that determine their ethics. Students will investigate various classic theories and modern models of ethical practices and apply them to professional, research, government, non-profit, and private sectors. They will collaborate in debating the effectiveness of ethics in daily life and organizational behavior.

HIS 110 American Jewish History, 3 credits (8 weeks), running for Spring '21, Term 1

Course Description: This course will provide an overview of American Jewish History from 1654-2020. Students will examine the inaugural community and its origins in Western Europe, its integration into Colonial American life, subsequent immigrants and their part in US growth and expansion, the period of mass immigration by eastern European Jews, the interwar growth and establishment of Jewish institutions, the active role of the community in the establishment of the State of Israel, the US Civil Rights movement, and the movement for freedom of Jews in the Soviet Union. Finally, the course will examine significant trends in the American Jewish community from 1980-2020 and predictions for future growth.

HLT 121 Herbal Medicine, 3 credits (8 weeks), running for Spring '21, Term 1

Course Description: This course is an introduction to the art and science of herbal medicine and how it fits into our conventional healthcare system. An overview of global herbal traditions, CAM (complementary and alternative medicine,) the history of herbal medicine and the regulation of the herbal products industry will provide a framework for understanding this topic. A review of herbal chemistry, actions, pharmacy and safety, discussion of common ailments treatable by herbs as well as an in-depth survey of common herbal remedies will comprise the bulk of the course. Students will collaborate to create an online Materia Medica project. Students will also produce an infographic on DSHEA, to demonstrate an understanding of the laws regarding herbal product use in the USA. Two research papers, including an evaluation of an herbal supplement product are required. PowerPoint software is required.

PSA 3XX Pandemic Preparedness, 3 credits (5 weeks), running for Spring '21, Session 2

Course Description: This course focuses on a framework for understanding the history, current practice, and future directions of pandemic preparedness. The program's emphasis will be on three broad areas: 1) historical and current experiences, to include COVID-19, that provide insight into pandemic preparedness; 2) the goals and intersecting roles of critical agencies and organizations in pandemic preparedness; and 3) the identification of improvement areas and the associated action steps that can be taken to enhance pandemic preparedness. Students will research and document in a formal report the identified pandemic preparedness improvement areas, then delineate action steps to address them.

New Staff

Folake Olumide recently joined the Academics Department as the Academic Programs Associate. She will be in charge of setting up the bookstore, working with the Instructional Design Team, faculty with course developments, and collaborating with the Office of Accessibility Services with ADA compliance for textbooks. Folake is an internal candidate who has worked for COSC in the President's Office and most recently working for the Advising Dept. She also has experience working for CT DLC with answering phone calls from our students. She is currently working on completing a Master of Science degree in Marriage & Family Therapy.

Business Program

Undergraduate Business Programs

As many of you know, the BS in Human Resources Management and BS in Organizational Leadership programs were launched. This is a continuation of Charter Oak's efforts in moving many of our programs from concentrations to full majors. This also provides an opportunity for many of you.

If you are enrolled in the Bachelor of General Studies program with concentrations in Human Resources or Organizational Leadership, it may be worth your while to consider changing your concentration program to the corresponding new major. This typically makes sense for those students who are in the earlier stages of their program. Regardless of your status in your current program, contact you Advisor and have a discussion to determine if this change would be beneficial for you.

MS in Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership Program

One of the unique benefits of attending Charter Oak State College, is the ability of senior-level, undergraduate students to take graduate courses that count towards both your undergraduate degree requirements and a master's degree. Last year, three students availed themselves of this opportunity. All exceled in their graduate coursework, and even more significantly, all applied to and were accepted into the MS OE&L program.

There were several benefits gained by these students. The courses they took were applied against their master's degree course requirements. Financially this was a win for these students as they paid the undergraduate tuition rate for graduate courses. As a result, their total cost of completing their master's degree will be lower and they will complete their degree requirements in a shorter time.

Undergraduate students must be of senior status and have a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students of any undergraduate major can avail themselves of this opportunity. Speak with your Advisor and see how you can take advantage of this unique opportunity.

RN/ADN to BSN Program

It is hard to believe that the RN/ADN to BSN program started its second year in fall 2020! As nursing programs throughout the state and country continue to creatively address the practice-based learning needs in nursing education, online programs like Charter Oak continue to embrace even greater alternatives.

In August, the RN/ADN to BSN program concluded its self-study process for Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accreditation. In September, the college hosted a virtual CCNE accreditation site visit. CCNE site visitors met with the administration, faculty, staff, and students to review our curriculum and policies. Our team of visitors were impressed with our students and enjoyed the time they were able to spend with them. As the CCNE site visitors concluded the visit, they gave the college leadership team a very positive report. Similar to other accreditation bodies, there are still several additional steps that occur prior to a final award of accreditation by CCNE in late spring; however, we are very pleased with this positive outcome and look forward to the next steps.

As we look forward to the graduation of the first cohort of Bachelor of Science in Nursing students in May 2021, we are hopeful that they will be graduating from a CCNE accredited program!

Institutional Effectiveness

Charter Oak State College has a long history of listening to our students and revising processes and services to meet current needs. In order to help us continue this tradition, we ask current students and alumni to take a few moments to reply to confidential surveys. While the summary results are shared with the Administration and Staff, individual responses are not shared. Any personally identifiable information provided is removed prior to reporting and is only be visible to the research team.

If you have any questions about survey administration at Charter Oak State College, please contact Cris Dittrich, Research Associate for the office of Institutional Effectiveness at cdittrich@charteroak.edu.

Survey News

Course Evaluation Survey Annual 2019-2020 Report

Students' overall ratings of their courses and instructors were positive this past year. 85% of students rated the overall effectiveness of their instructor as "High" or "Very High," and 87% of students rated the overall effectiveness of their course as "High" or "Very High." 

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness would like to thank students for continuing to make the online course evaluation system a success. Course evaluation at our institution provides information for the individual faculty member to use for self-assessment; data to assist in making curricular and course content decisions; data to assist in improving the online delivery system; and a voice for student body members looking to develop and maintain effective faculty.

The insights that students provide play a significant role in helping Charter Oak continue to enhance its courses while preserving the things the school does best. We would like to remind students that the Office of Institutional Effectiveness will email links to the online course evaluation survey during the final weeks of instruction in each sub-term.

New Student Survey Summer 2020

Charter Oak State College is interested in the prospective student experience going through the admissions process and becoming a student. In the survey, students were asked to respond to questions regarding multiple office and online resources. Twenty-one questions covered experiences with the offices of admissions, financial aid, business, registrar, and academic counseling; eight questions covered online resources and blackboard.

The New Student Survey for Summer 2020 was sent out in September 2020 and was open for one month.  161 students were contacted for the survey, 24 students responded; the response rate was 15%. 84% of students reported that contacting the COSC offices are easy and 81% reported the information provided was useful. The survey revealed that email is the most frequently used form of contact between COSC students and staff.

Graduation Survey 2019-2020

Students are asked to complete a graduation survey at the time they complete the online registration form for graduation. There were 521 associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees awarded between September 1, 2019 and August 31, 2020. This year, we received 35 surveys from associate degree completers, 297 surveys from bachelor's degree completers, 14 surveys from master's degree completers, and 15 surveys from students who did not identify their degree. This yields a total of 361 surveys which is a 69% response rate.

When asked about the overall level of satisfaction with Charter Oak, 96% of students who earned their associate or bachelor's degree and 100% of students who earned their master's degree indicated being satisfied to very satisfied. The remaining students identified themselves as being neutral. 99% of respondents would recommend Charter Oak State College to others.

Through the graduation survey responses, we gather vital information from students who have had the full Charter Oak experience. This helps us to improve our programs and the student experience at our institution, including the availability of courses, programs, advising, and employment assistance. Alumni are encouraged to complete the graduation survey to help future students.

New Financial Aid Policy for the 21-22 Academic Year

Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement Requirement
Beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year, all student loan borrowers will be required to review how much they owe in federal student loans and to acknowledge the amount borrowed on a yearly basis. This acknowledgment, known as the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement Requirement Process, is mandated for all first-time federal student loan borrowers and those with existing federal student loans. It will be required for all Direct Loan borrowers who have accepted one of the following loans for the 2021-2022 school year:

  • Direct Subsidized Loan
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  • Direct PLUS Loan
The Office of Financial Aid will not be able to post anticipated aid, or disburse loan funds, to student billing accounts if the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement is not completed.

Note: The Annual Loan Acknowledgment Requirement does not fulfill entrance loan counseling or PLUS credit counseling (required for certain PLUS Loan borrowers). For a Direct PLUS loan made to a parent borrower, only the parent (not student) is required to complete the annual loan acknowledgment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement? 
A: The Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement is an online session that will allow students and parents to see how much they have borrowed, preview what their monthly payments might be, and explain concepts such as capitalization and the difference between federal and private loans.

Q: When does the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment become mandatory?
A: Starting with the 2021-2022 school year, borrowers of Federal Subsidized, Unsubsidized and PLUS loans will be required to complete the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement once each academic year before receiving disbursement of their loan.

Q: Can I complete the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement now?
A: Yes. The U.S. Department of Education has made the Annual Student loan acknowledgement available now, but it is not required until the 2021-2022 award year. 

Q: How will I complete the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement?
A: When a student is packaged with a Federal Direct Loan, the Office of Financial Aid will notify the student (or parent) of his or her requirement to complete the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement. The notification will include a link where the borrower will use their FSA ID and password to complete the acknowledgement. 

Q: How many times will I be required to complete the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement during the same award year?
A: Borrowers are only required to complete the acknowledgement once during the award year. 

Q: How long does it take to complete the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement?
A: For most borrowers the average time to complete the acknowledgement is ten minutes or less. 

Q: Do I have to complete the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment even though I have existing federal student loans?
A: Yes. Students with existing federal student loans must acknowledge that they understand their repayment obligation, including amount owed, loan limits, and servicer information. 

Q: What is a first-time borrower?
A: A first-time borrower is a person who has no current Direct Loan balance (subsidized or unsubsidized) with the U.S. Department of Education. 

Q: I'm a first- time borrower. Do I have to complete the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement?
A: Yes. First time-borrowers are required to acknowledge that they understand their responsibility to repay loan debt. 

Q: I'm a first-time borrower. Do I have to complete Entrance Loan Counseling too?
A: Yes.  The U.S. Department of Education requires first-time borrowers to complete Entrance Loan Counseling and the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment. There are no exceptions. 

Q: What happens if I do not complete the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement?
A: Borrowers who do not complete the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement will not be able to receive their federal Direct Loans (subsidized or unsubsidized), or Direct PLUS Loans.

  • For some students this may result in an owing balance to the College.
  • Students may not be eligible for book vouchers because they will not have enough financial aid funds credited to their student billing accounts to warrant the processing of a voucher.

Q: I am transferring to Charter Oak and already completed the 2021-2022 Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment at my former school, do I need to complete it again for Charter Oak?
A: No. Transfer students who have previously completed a 2021-2022 Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment will not need to complete a new acknowledgment. The Office of Financial Aid will validate that an acknowledgment is on file with the U.S. Department of Education. 

Q: I am a parent who has borrowed a Direct PLUS Loan for my eligible student.  Who completes the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement?
A: For a Direct PLUS loan made to a parent borrower, only the parent (not student) is required to complete the annual loan acknowledgment. 

2021-2022 FAFSA Filing Reminders

The 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available for students to complete now.  
Since state and institutional grant funding is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, it is important to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible.  This will ensure that students are receiving the maximum amount of need based grant aid that they are eligible for. 

As a reminder, Charter Oak has partnered with Inceptia to expedite the verification process for students and their families. If a FAFSA application is selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education, the student (and parent if applicable) will use Inceptia's verification online portal to complete the review of their FAFSA data. The process will begin when the student (or parent) receives an email from Inceptia's Verification Gateway.

The Office of Financial Aid highly encourages FAFSA applicants to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) if they are eligible to do so.  Using the IRS DRT is fast, easy, and accurate! It also streamlines the verification process for selected applicants because it eliminates the need to provide a 2019 IRS tax return or transcript to Inceptia.

To use the IRS DRT, the FAFSA applicant simply navigates to the appropriate student/parent "Financials" section of the FAFSA where there is an option to use the IRS DRT.

Office of Accessibility Services News

The Charter Oak State College Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) is pleased to announce the launch of Accommodate, a student and faculty web-based portal beginning Spring Term 1. Accommodate is a case management system for students registered with the Office of Accessibility Services, OAS staff and faculty.

Accommodate allows new students to apply for accommodations and academic adjustments, along with uploading supporting documentation in one easy step. Students already registered with the Office of Accessibility Services will be able to securely log in to access their accommodation letters. They may also request accommodations, alternate textbook formats and use the virtual calendar to schedule appointments with the OAS. Additionally, students will be able to access the Resource Library for study, organizational, and time management tips, as well as view announcements on the Home Page.
Faculty members will be able to use the Faculty Portal to access student letters and view all registered students in their courses. 

Update Testing News

DSST exam preparation materials
DSST Exam preparation materials from Prometric and Peterson's are available on the DSST website. Students can "test drive" exam question types on the internet platform on which the actual exam is administered with practice exams

How Do Students Take DSST Practice* Exam?

*IMPORTANT- "Live Tests" (not practice exams) will require a separate username & password.

Fee for CLEP exams:
Effective July 1, 2020, the new CLEP exam fee is now $89. The CLEP website and publications have been updated to reflect the change. Remember the CLEP fee and the administrative fee charged by the test center are always separate and required.

Free Preparation/ online CLEP courses for CLEP study:
Check out Modern States Education Alliance for free CLEP courses taught by professors at leading institutions. These will help you to prepare to take the credit-bearing CLEP exams.

Web Sites for CLEP & DANTES
Save time and money and get the latest information on these examinations at:
CLEP: http://www.clep.collegeboard.org
DSST/Prometric: http://www.getcollegecredit.com

COVID-19 Information
This is the space where we typically provide an upcoming schedule of the exams offered at the 85 Alumni Rd, Newington test center location. Currently, we are cautiously approaching the 2021 calendar year. Please check our test reservation site closer to the beginning of the year to find CLEP and DSST test dates for January. If dates are made available, please be assured that we are committed to opening safely. We will adhere to 6 ft social distancing. In addition, we will use temperature guns, plexiglass shields affixed to testing stations, and have an air purifier.  We will offer face masks, gloves, disinfecting wipes, and alcohol disinfectant bottles.

Book Voucher Process for Financial Aid Students

Charter Oak State College does not have a physical bookstore. However, financial aid students can order their textbooks and supplies from MBS Direct (Barnes & Noble College) via our book voucher process. Financial aid students must meet certain conditions in order to receive a book voucher and should refer to the Book Voucher Policy published in ACORN under the "Financial Aid" tab.

Recognizing that students who purchase their books and supplies have better academic outcomes, students are encouraged to complete their financial aid requirements before the start of classes. 

Below are some important guidelines related to the book voucher process:

  • Students are advised to check their Charter Oak email on a regular basis for timely information related to the processing of book vouchers.
  • Financial aid students must "opt-in" to accept the terms and conditions of their book voucher or "opt-out." Students only need to "opt-in" once during the academic year and do not have to initiate a new request during subsequent semesters.
  • A student must have excess financial aid funds credited to their student billing account for the Bursar's Office to authorize a book voucher.
  • Prior to purchasing books, we recommend that students review their required course materials to ensure that they are ordering correct textbooks.
  • Students are issued one book voucher per semester. Therefore, it is highly recommended that students register for their Term 1 and Term 2 classes at the same time.
  • It can take several days for the Bursar's Office to process a book voucher. Students will be notified by MBS Direct (Barnes & Noble College) through their Charter Oak email.

Book Voucher Process for Office of Early Childhood (OEC) Students

Charter Oak State College does not process book vouchers for OEC students. This is because funding for books comes directly from the Office of Early Childhood.

For all OEC book voucher inquiries, please contact MBS Strategic Accounts at (888) 886-3072 or at strategicaccounts@bncservices.com.

Alternatively, OEC students can contact their OEC counselor for book voucher assistance. 

Funds Available for Prior Learning Assessment!

Good News - The Charter Oak State College Foundation has approved funding for the 2020-21 Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Scholarship Program!  You can use PLA to get credit for what you already know, saving you time and money toward your degree completion. The scholarship will help you save even more money by providing funds for the assessment fees.  Review the information at www.charteroak.edu/cpl to learn more about getting credit for what you know, then consult with your Academic Counselor to make a PLA plan. The forms and manuals, including the PLA scholarship application, are posted in the PLA section of Student Self-Service on Acorn.

The Foundation recognizes the benefits students receive by using PLA to earn credit for what they already know and provides funding for the PLA scholarship to encourage its usage. Since the program began in 2014, nearly $40,000 has been awarded, providing 185 awards to Charter Oak students who earned 961 PLA college credits. Here's what some PLA scholarship recipients have said:

  • "What a great program to offer to students!" 
  • "I was relieved financially by utilizing the PLA scholarship." 
  • "I think every Charter Oak student should use PLA." 
  • "PLA is a great program!" 

  • "The PLA Scholarship is a great way to earn and pay for credits for knowledge you have." 
  • "My experience with the Charter Oak State College PLA Program can only be described as phenomenal - convenient, simple, fast and free!" 
  • "I would urge all students to speak with their advisors to access this very valuable option." 
  • "I could not be happier with my experience at Charter Oak and its PLA program." 

You can use the scholarship funds to help cover the costs for taking standardized examinations, requesting a credit evaluation of a professional license, certification, or credential that you've earned, or using the portfolio assessment process. We encourage you to consult with your Academic Counselor regarding PLA and the PLA scholarship and apply when you're ready to take advantage of this opportunity. The PLA scholarship application form, with program instructions, is available on the Acorn Student Portal, in the PLA section of Student Self-Service.

Early Childhood Education

This has undoubtedly been a year full of unique challenges for everyone as COVID-19 has impacted our lives both personally and professionally. While the virus has affected us all in different ways, we do share commonalities as early childhood educators that make me proud to be a part of this amazing field. These commonalities include our relentless drive to positively support young children and their families, to support our employers by adapting to changes in health and safety procedures due to necessary changes to licensing, and to continue to send the message within our communities that early childhood education, as a field, is here to support working parents, even during a pandemic. As I have watched both local and national news each night, I have been amazed at how little early childhood education has been mentioned. Elementary schools, high schools, and even higher education tends to make the news quite often. Yet, when it comes to mentioning the many sacrifices being made by early childhood professionals, we tend to hear little, if anything at all. 

As I reflect on what you tell me is your new reality due to COVID-19, I know that so many of you have transitioned to working remotely and figuring out how to teach preschoolers on a technological device. I know that others have put aside their own health and safety to return to centers to continue on-site work with children. Some of you have lost your jobs, yet remain in school in hope for that new opportunity to teach to come your way in the next few months. While dealing with all of this, many of you have had family members impacted by COVID-19, or your own children are remote learning so you are not just the teacher for other people's children, you need to teach your own children as well. These are just a few examples of the stressors you are experiencing. These are the reasons I care so much for your well-being. My hope is that you feel support when you attend school at Charter Oak State College and that you know how much we really do care.

The final months of 2020, bring hope that 2021 will be a year where we might eventually start to put the virus behind us and return to some sense of normalcy in our work with young children. Until that time does come, remember today that your work as an early childhood educator does matter to so many people. I could not feel more privileged to work with such AMAZING faculty and students. Thank you for all that you do for our field to make it what it is, and thank you for remaining steadfast in your own professional development by continuing to work towards either a certificate or degree with us.  

A few notes regarding Early Childhood Education: 

Our ECE ACORN page is up! Please log on to ACORN. Click on ‘programs', click on 'undergraduate' and then click on 'Early Childhood Education'. This is where you will be able to find information related to our early childhood, child studies and paraprofessional programs (as well as our certificate programs).
CT Shares- If you have not already registered for an account for CT Shares, please check it out and sign up soon for this amazing resource to all ECE professionals. It is sponsored by the Office of Early Childhood and managed by the CT Association for the Education of Young Children. ctSHARES | Marketing Home

That's all for now. Enjoy your holiday season and as always, thank you for all that you do to support young children!

Office of Development

To Our Resilient and Dedicated Students,
Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a super New Year! As we look to the future, I hope you can believe better days are ahead and the end is in sight. The end of 2020, the end of your journey for your degree (hopefully!), and the end of this world-wide pandemic!
Please see below follow the link for news from our Alumni Association; plus an update from the COSC Foundation.

Shea Lecture Series

The 2020 Shea Lecture is a three-part, free virtual series consisting of live engaging discussions on the topic of economic disparity within our state and country, along with the origins, barriers, limitations, and solutions.

Subject matter experts will provide insights on economic disparity, housing inequity, higher education, career / workforce planning, health care, food insecurity as well as societal impact. Q&A opportunities.

Shea Lecture (1) | Video Recording
Housing, economic and community development, financial, and the history of economic and racial disparity. New Britain Herald

Shea Lecture (2) | Video Recording
The Conversation Continued with Health Care & Education Inequities and Food Insecurities

Shea Lecture (3) Video Recording
Our experts come together to discuss solutions and develop a plan with actionable, achievable steps.

What Faculty Are Up To

Charter Oak’s very own, Joe Saitta, is leading the effort to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations to over 375,000 local residents in Virginia. Saitta, a 74 year old resident of Stafford County, Virginia, came out of retirement to take on the role of Incident Commander for the Rappahanock Area Health District. As Incident Commander, Saitta is responsible for all aspects of emergency response, including establishing objectives, planning strategies, and implementing tactics. This is nothing new for Saitta, who began working on large-scale vaccinations as far back as 2002, when he began developing the groundwork for flu-shot clinics as the Health District’s Bioterrorism Coordinator. Health officials hope to vaccinate a group of 35,000 local first-tier individuals in January; this group consists of health care, law enforcement, fire and rescue, education, and others responsible for making up the local government’s infrastructure. Saitta and his team remain hopeful that a vaccination will be distributed to the general public by Spring 2021.  

(Adapted from The Free Lance-Star newspaper 11.26.2020 article by Cathy Dyson) Read more here.

Professor Saitta teaches PSA 425, Counteracting Terrorism, and our new course PSA 3XX Pandemic Preparedness

Health Science and Technology

Congratulations to Dr. Brooke Palkie and Graduate Faculty, Brittney Dahlin, for their recent presentations at the MN HIMSS and Minnesota e-Health Initiative Conference on December 2, 2020.

Title: COVID-19: Emerging Trends in Social Determinants of Health

Description: The health industry is in the early stages of truly understanding how to adequately capture, assess and utilize SDOH data effectively. COVID-19 has propelled the importance of capturing and assessing such information as wider gaps in inequities have been identified in the early pandemic data. We can learn a lot from our federally qualified health centers and this presentation will shed light on how we as a broader health system can cast a wider safety net. A true collaboration can bridge the necessary programs to help reduce inequities in care. 

Presenter Bio: Dr. Brooke Palkie, Ed.D., is the Chair of the Health Science and Technology Department and Program Director for the M.S. Health Care Administration and M.S. Health Informatics Programs at Charter Oak State College. She has a teaching focus on classifications, vocabularies, clinical data standards, as well as assessing health quality and corporate compliance. Dr. Palkie has been an active leader in several grant funded educational-industry partnership research projects. 

Presenter Bio: Brittney Dahlin received both her Bachelor of Science degree in health information management and Master of Science degree in health informatics from the College of St. Scholastica. She is a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) and a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ). She has dedicated her career to supporting the health care safety net. She spent four years working in a community health center where she served as the lead for their quality improvement team as well as their medical clinic manager. She currently works for the Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers as their Chief Operating Officer and Director of Quality Improvement. In this role, she provides training and technical assistance to health center staff and serves as a liaison to key state and national organizations to ensure the health center voice is represented. 

Future Presentations

Tri-State: Maine (MeHIMA), Vermont (VTHIMA), New Hampshire (NHIMA) Health Information Management Associations
May 16-18 2021  
Ohio Health Information Management Association (OHIMA) 
February 23, 2021 
Florida Health Information Management Association (FHIMA)
July 20, 2021

Recent Publications

Dr. Krystyna Górniak-Kocikowska, Retired Professor of Philosophy, SCSU, and core faculty at Charter Oak, published a paper “The Roman Catholic Church in Poland after the Fall of Communism” in the September 2020 issue of Occasional Papers on Religion in Eastern Europe (Vol. 40, Issue 7), available online. The paper focuses on the impact and the legacy of Pope John Paul II on the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Polish population and on the Roman Catholic Church in Poland. The author divided the period after the fall of communism in Poland into three phases: 1. From 1989 (the fall of communism) to 2005 (death of John Paul II); 2. From 2005 to March 2020 (church closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic); 3. From March 2020, ongoing. About half of the paper is devoted to Phase 3, mainly to the exploration of ways the legacy of John Paul II could stimulate a productive contribution by Polish scholars to the emerging post-pandemics digital reality.