Summer 2020 Newsletter

Shirley A. Adams

Letter From The Provost

Shirley A. Adams, Ph.D.

It is hard to believe that the stores are already filled with back-to-school items.  It seems like summer just began.  At the same time, this has been a strange summer and one can only wonder what the return to school will be like in the fall.

The Spring term was quite chaotic with the pandemic impacting our students, faculty, and staff.  Fortunately, most of that chaos has quieted down for summer.  I want to take a moment to thank our faculty for graciously working with our students to help them successfully manage their course work, while managing long hours at work, home-schooling their children, or facing unemployment as their place of employment closed the doors.  Many of our faculty were facing those same dilemmas.

I am thankful everyday that we are an online college; therefore, we do not have to deal with the issues of bringing students safely back on campus.  Our only hybrid program is our Alternate Route to Teacher Certification and that program has been moved totally online.  However, like all colleges, we are still faced with the problem of handling internships and practicums, since many facilities that would normally take our students have closed their doors or are not taking in many students for health and safety reasons.

We were concerned about summer enrollment.  We did not know how it would be impacted by the pandemic.  I am happy to report that our summer enrollment is higher than last summer.  So far, our enrollment looks strong for the fall.

This fall we are launching our new Health Informatics Master’s Program.  This will make our third graduate program.  The others are Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership and Health Care Administration.  These programs build upon our undergraduate programs in Business Administration, Organizational Leadership, Health Care Administration, and Health Information Management.

As you are all probably aware, we canceled our on ground graduation and moved it to a virtual graduation.  It is going to be held on August 27, at 3:00 p.m. EDT.  If you are free that afternoon, take the time to celebrate with our graduates.  Although we aren’t going to be able to shake their hands, see their smiling faces, and hear the loud cheers from their families, the faculty and staff will be cheering them on virtually.

Enjoy the rest of the summer.

RN To BSN Program

As our country celebrates heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic, our nurses have strongly emerged as public health advocates and educators in addition to their ever-important role at the bedside. In addition to caring for those acutely ill from the virus, nurses continue to care on the front line as they attend births, assist in urgent surgeries, staff our emergency departments, and address essential health care needs throughout our communities that haven't gone away. The role of the nurse has expanded as they fill the void of family members unable to be with their loved ones during times of great pain, sadness, and loss.

The College joins me in saluting these heroes for all they do every day. We are proud of our RN/ADN to BSN students who have stood strong and resilient as they grow and continue to learn during these unprecedented times. We are thankful for our talented and esteemed faculty who facilitate student learning. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with more and more nurses who continue to enroll at a steady pace.

The Charter Oak State College RN/ADN to BSN program is proud to be undergoing a review for accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) scheduled for September. CCNE will receive related, written third-party comments until September 7, 2020. All comments are to be directed to

Prior Learning Assessment! Get Credit for What You Know!

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) can help you save time and money by reducing the cost of your education and the time to earn your degree. You can use PLA to apply for credit instead of taking courses. Review the information at to learn more about getting credit for what you already know, then work with your academic counselor to make a PLA plan.

The Charter Oak State College Foundation recognizes the benefits students receive by using the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) programs to earn credit for what they already know. Students save money and earn credit through PLA, but the fees are typically not covered by traditional financial aid. Therefore, the College created the PLA Scholarship to help students with those fees and the Foundation has generously continued to fund and support this effort. You can use the scholarship funds to help cover the costs for taking standardized examinations, requesting credit for credentials, or using the portfolio assessment process.

We encourage you to discuss PLA and the PLA Scholarship with your Academic Counselor and apply when you're ready to take advantage of this opportunity. The PLA Scholarship Application form, with instructions, is available on the Acorn Student Portal, in the PLA section of Student Self-Service; you will need to log in to access that section.

M.S. in Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership Program

It’s All About the Do!

Leadership, in large measure, is about influencing a passion and drive for action in yourself and others. Unfortunately, many organizations are influenced by weak and ineffective leadership focused on talk, not action, where organizations limp along, and just merely exist. If you are looking for a master's degree to help catapult your leadership career trajectory, you need to find a program that focuses not only on theory, but rather, focuses on action or what I like to call "the do."

Every aspect of the M.S. in Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership Program is directed toward your learning and most importantly, using the knowledge and practical skill sets you need to become an effective leader in your organization. Every assignment, project, discussion board question, and interaction you have with your instructors and classmates are real-world focused.  In fact, many assignments will allow you to assess yourself or your current organization and make recommendations for improved performance. We encourage you, from your very first class, to apply what you learn immediately. Why wait until you finish a program before you use what you learn?

The M.S. in Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership Program develops leaders who can create organizations that constantly change, adapt to, and compete in highly competitive environments. We develop leaders with a passion and drive for action, not just talk. We develop leaders who are willing and able to lead from the front. There are 1.4 – 2.1 million management and executive positions that are expected to open over the next eight years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Are you ready to take advantage of these opportunities?

Early Childhood Education News

So here we are in summer and already I am starting to think about the Fall semester. Before I get to that, I want to congratulate our many recent graduates. If you are now a Charter Oak "alum," I want to tell you how inspired I am to have seen your hard work and dedication to your own learning. It has been a pleasure to serve as your academic advisor. Though you may no longer be enrolled in our program, you will always be part of our history. Please do consider staying involved!!!

Some of the things you can do to stay involved are to join our alumni association (, maintain your presence on our Facebook group page, and reach out to me to share your news of promotions at work or other life events. You can also refer new students to us and even consider becoming an Alumni Ambassador. In doing so, you could let me know if you would be willing to share your experiences at Charter Oak with new applicants to our program. Whether you choose to remain involved or not, I want you to know that I personally welcome your continued presence in our program. The best part of my work has been in developing relationships with students, and while I say good-bye to some of you, I can only hope that this is just the beginning of more conversations to come about the important work you will continue to do in early childhood education.

As we say farewell to our new graduates, I'd like to welcome so many new students to our program. I look forward to working with each of you. To our returning students, I enjoy every moment of working with you. I hope you will join me in welcoming our new students!

As we move forward towards fall, it’s time now to register for courses and to make sure you accept or decline your financial aid awards. Also, if you are a recipient of Office of Early Childhood (OEC) scholarship funding, please apply for your scholarships now.  We are fortunate that the fund has been opened early for fall scholarship requests to be processed.  As many of you know, I have hosted two Zoom calls over the past few weeks to explain how to apply for OEC scholarships.  If you work in an OEC licensed or funded program here in Connecticut, you should consider using the scholarship fund.  If I can be of assistance in helping you to understand it, please let me know.

My big news to share is our recent approval of the Associate in Science in Paraprofessional Studies. We have so many paraprofessionals enrolled in our program, and now we have a major that is dedicated to supporting paraprofessionals in obtaining skills to support the classroom teacher in public schools. If you know of any paraprofessionals that may be interested, please pass this information along to them. I can't wait to grow our student enrollment in this new program!

In closing, please always remember that our goal is 100% student satisfaction. As I say to many of you... we are all in this together. Just like you, I am an early childhood professional... and with you, we share a deep commitment to providing the highest quality of care and education to all young children.

Thank you, sincerely, for choosing to study with us. Your success here at Charter Oak State College is important to all of us on the Charter Oak team.

Have a wonderful summer!

Maureen Hogan, Ph.D.
Director, Early Childhood/Child Studies Majors 

New M.S. in Health Informatics Graduate Program - Fall 2020

Charter Oak State College is excited to announce the start of the M.S. Health Informatics (HI) Graduate Program in Fall 2020! The comprehensive Master of Science in Health Informatics curriculum focuses on the interdisciplinary study of the design, development, adoption and application of information, data and technology driven innovations in healthcare. Our goal is to create Health Informatics leaders in the health data and applied informatics fields.

Program Director: Dr. Brooke Palkie, Ed.D., R.H.I.A.

Program Faculty:

Chris Johnson, M.B.A. – Health Care Informatics and Technology
Srinivas Kolli, M.S. – IT Project Management, Health Care Analytics, System Design and Software Development
Tina Reynoso, M.A., R.H.I.A., C.P.P.M. – Advanced Vocabularies and Classification Systems
Megan Pruente, M.P.H., R.H.I.A. – Clinical Database Management
Kelsey Jendrzey, M.S.H.A., C.C.R.C. – Research Methods
Brittney Dahlin, M.S., H.I., R.H.I.A. – Health Care Information Security Systems
Joe Gradecki, M.S. – Advanced Data Analytics

Register online:


Brooke Palkie, Ed.D., R.H.I.A., Program Director for our M.S. Health Care Administration and M.S. Health Informatics Programs, will speak on the topic of Social Determinants of Health at the 2021 Tri-State Health Information Management (HIM) Conference on May 16-18, 2021, at Church Landing at Mill Falls Resort, Meredith, New Hampshire. Click here to register

She also presented a webinar on the above-mentioned topic on April 24 for the Western Pennsylvania Health Information Management Association (WPHIMA) and on June 10 for the Rhode Island Health Information Management Association (RIHIMA).



"Always Learning" Webinar Series Debuts

Charter Oak's Corporate Outreach Department has created a new way to keep in contact with our corporate partners, their employees, our community, students, alumni, faculty, and staff.  In May, the first in our new webinar series "Always Learning" debuted with psychology faculty Dr. Dana Wilkie presenting a three-part series on how to stay positive during COVID-19. "Titled "Stay Home, Stay Positive," Dr. Wilkie presented information from her field of Positive Psychology on the science of staying positive and ways people can maintain and even increase their positive outlook during challenging times.

Dr. Wilkie's series was extremely well received and we had record attendance for each session. These webinars were marketed to thousands, via emails and social media, and allowed the College to maintain contact with corporate partners during this time of virtual work. As an added benefit, these allow Charter Oak to feature our distinguished faculty's expertise. Thank you, Dr. Wilkie!

Future webinars will look at change management, coaching and mentoring remotely, and social determinants of health, to name just a few.  If any faculty would like to volunteer to present one or more of these webinars, and have an idea for a timely topic, please contact Nancy Taylor, Assistant Director, Corporate Outreach, at

Survey News

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 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

Updated information from the Course Evaluation Survey

All students registered in a credit course two weeks prior to the close of that course received a request to take a course evaluation survey.  There were 3,956 survey notifications that went out for 372 credit bearing courses in the Spring 2020 semester. Notifications went out for 15 graduate courses with 156 student registrations and 357 undergraduate courses with 3,800 registrations.  Students’ overall ratings of their courses and instructors were positive this past Spring term – 85% of students rated the overall effectiveness of their instructor as “High” or “Very High,” and 88% of students rated the overall effectiveness of their course as “High” or “Very High.”  When asked to consider the content and instruction of the course as a whole, 91% of students identified being satisfied.

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness would like to thank students for continuing to make the online course evaluation system a success.  The purpose of course evaluation at our institution is to provide: 1) information for the individual faculty member to use in assessing his/her instruction, 2) data that may assist in making curricular and course content decisions, 3) data that will assist in improving the online delivery system, and 4) the student body with a voice in developing and maintaining an effective faculty and curriculum.

The insights that students provided played a significant role this past year in helping Charter Oak continue to enhance its courses while preserving the things that 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 week of instruction in each sub-term.

Updated information from the New Student Survey

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

The New Student Survey was sent out in May and June of 2020 and was open for one month. A total of 349 students were contacted for the survey and 43 students responded for a response rate of 12%. When asked if taking "Charter Oak 101: the free online Student Orientation Course in Blackboard" was helpful, 100% of respondents said "yes." When asked what their overall level of satisfaction with the process of becoming a Charter Oak student was, 95% of students responded in the affirmative, 5% were neutral.

When asked if it was easy to contact COSC offices by phone or email, 90% of students who attempted to contact the COSC offices agreed (7% of responses were neutral). When asked if useful information was provided by COSC offices, 85% of students who contacted COSC offices agreed (10% of responses were neutral). These two inquiries related to the Financial Aid Office, Business Office, Registrar's Office, and the Admissions and Academic Counselors separately. Email is the most frequently used form of contact between COSC students and staff.