Month: January 2015

UConn Early College Experience Events

4th annual UConn Avery Point Cardboard Boat Race
2014-2015 ECE student events are in full swing. On October 2, 2014, the ECE Marines Sciences and Maritime Studies students participated in the 4th annual UConn Avery Point Cardboard Boat Race. What an exciting time! Participating were Montville High School, Waterford High School, South Windsor High School, Manchester High School, Science and Technology Magnet High School of Southeastern Connecticut and University High School of Science and Engineering. Montville High School won first place in the UConn ECE division and went on to the Avery Point college division, where they again, took first place.
UConn Water Pollution Control Facility & Water Reclamation Facility Tour
George Wine’s UConn ECE class from Glastonbury High School came to the UConn Storrs campus to tour the UConn Water Pollution Control Facility & Water Reclamation Facility led by Supervisor Todd Matthewson.
2014 UConn ECE French Immersion Day and Quiz Bowl Competition
Students from Portland High School, Glastonbury High School, Edwin O. Smith High School, Southington High School, Wheeler High School, Woodstock Academy, Cheshire High School and Coventry High School participated in the 2014 UConn ECE French Immersion Day and Quiz Bowl Competition. First place went to Woodstock Academy, second place went to Southington High School and third place was Portland High School. Congratulations!
Boat Race 2015 Boat Race 2015 Boat Race 2015 Boat Race 2015French Quiz Bowl 2015 French Quiz Bowl 2015 French Quiz Bowl 2015
Water Pollution Facility Water Pollution Facility

Online Registration Improvements on the Way for 2015-2016

Although there were challenges in our migration to the Compass Online Enrollment System, we are happy to report that over 9,800 students were able to successfully register for UConn Early College Experience courses this year. This is a direct result of the persistence of our partner high schools working diligently with students and parents, as well as the dedication of our staff and student workers in the ECE office.
Thanks to all of your feedback, we have numerous improvements in the works. Some of the improvements that will be in place for the 2015-2016 registration cycle include:
  • The elimination of browser and cache issues which prevented students from successfully submitting their applications.
  • A much less complicated NetID activation process.
  • A more intuitive navigation of the online application.
  • A clearer indication of the application being successfully submitted.
  • Better technical support from the start of the process.
  • A much more condensed application and enrollment process.
  • An easy way for Site Representatives to access up-to-date application and enrollment status information.
We are looking forward to unveiling all of these improvements at our 2015 Site Representative Conference on February 23rd. We hope you will be as excited about them as we are.


2014 New England Poet-of-the-Year Award
NEATE’s Poet-of-the-Year Competition is open to all teachers of English/ language arts who are members of NEATE or one of its state affiliates. Based on a selection of five unpublished poems, finalists are chosen by a panel of judges and are invited to read their poetry at a reception in their honor at the annual NEATE Fall Conference in October 2014 in Mansfield, Massachusetts when the Poet-of-the-Year were announced. The poems of the finalists will be published and distributed at the reception. This year’s winner is Theresa Vara-Dannen of University High School of Science and Engineering in Hartford, Connecticut. Her first book of poetry, Profligate with Love, was published by Antrim House Press in 2006; she has just completed a second collection entitled, Through Sea, Salt and Time
2014 National Council of Teachers of English High School Teacher of Excellence Award
The 2014 National Council of Teachers of English High School Teacher of Excellence Award recognizes and celebrates high school teachers who are nominated by their state affiliate. Nominees must provide recommendations from three constituencies: supervisors, students and parents. The New England Association of Teachers of English award was presented to Theresa Vara-Dannen of University High School of Science and Engineering in Hartford, Connecticut at the Secondary Luncheon on Saturday, November 22 at the NCTE Conference in Washington, DC. For further information, please see:
Theresa Vara-Dannen

UConn Early College Experience Credit Transfer Database

By Melanie Ochoa & Magdalena Narozniak

UConn Early College Experience is happy to announce the release of the Credit Transfer Database, a resource tool now accessible to all students, parents and affiliates intended to demystify the misconceptions surrounding credit transfer. Students taking University of Connecticut courses through UConn Early College Experience do not need to attend UConn to use their earned credit. Credits are widely accepted throughout the nation and normally transfer along the lines of transfer credit. Yet, there are many institutions that do not accept concurrent enrollment credit or any transfer credit – that’s why getting information early in the college application process is crucial.
The Credit Transfer Database is designed to be a guide when identifying potential credit transfer opportunities and problems. Including over 980 accredited institutions in the United States, the database provides credit transfer policies specific to concurrent enrollment and rates the likelihood of successful credit transfer from courses offered at the University of Connecticut through UConn Early College Experience to institutions elsewhere in the country. The general information found in the policies allows students to explore options for transferring credits. The policies can contain a range of information from required grades for transferability to potential meetings with an advisor and submission of official transcripts.
The transfer credit policies are rated on a zero-to- five star scale with five and four stars indicating a high likelihood that credits will transfer successfully. Some policies ranking five stars will be so detailed
that precise course credits will be listed if accepted. Institutions with one, two, and three stars may
require some extra effort on the part of the student to get the credit transferred, like submitting a course syllabus for evaluation. Institutions with zero stars will not accept concurrent enrollment credit. Even if an institution will not accept credit, students should be reminded that they also benefited from the
experience and by taking college courses while still in high school, they appear more competitive in the
application process. Under no circumstance does the UConn Early College Experience Credit Transfer
Database guarantee acceptance of transfer credit as it
is only meant to be a guide.
The database is an outcome of the 2013 Concurrent Enrollment Credit Transfer Study, performed at the University of Connecticut and supported by a NACEP Small Research Grant. The study was conducted in three parts: a survey of U.S. admissions officers and registrars, an in-depth Alumni survey and extensive data mining of publically available transfer policies. Based on those results and the results of annual Alumni surveys, we can say with confidence that UConn credit earned through UConn Early College Experience transfers at a rate of about 87%. Not only were the institutions in the database chosen based on where our alumni are attending but, top universities and colleges from popular ranking sources were also included.
The UConn Early College Experience Credit Transfer Database can be found at research/. Want to see a transfer credit policy of an institution not found in the database? Let us know by contacting us at


by Gillian B. Thorne
2014 was an alphabet soup kind of year for UConn ECE! We were notified in April of our successful
reaccreditation in NACEP (National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships). Many of our instructors in the high schools helped up with our application by submitting required documentation we requested. UConn ECE will not face reaccreditation again until 2021. Our experience did, however, leave us with several important program improvement goals. Two primary goals that affect our partner high schools are (1) collection and archiving of UConn course syllabi, and (2) promoting clearer grading
standards coming from UConn departments for the courses that we offer.
In addition to providing important support for managing a standards-based concurrent enrollment program, NACEP organizes professional development and networking opportunities at the annual conference. The 2014 conference was held in the Windy City in late October. We were told we were lucky to have great weather, as Chicago does not always remain temperate at that time of year! Five of our UConn ECE staff members attended the conference. Each of us contributed to the conference as one or more of the following: session presenter, panel moderator, or session host. We all returned having made new professional contacts, and having learned and shared valuable information and ideas relating to concurrent enrollment.
During 2014, several of our staff members have been involved inorganizing and supporting the establishment of the first regional chapter of NACEP, which includes the six New England states, and is aptly called NEACEP (New England Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships). While concurrent enrollment and NACEP have taken root and blossomed in most areas of the country, New England has been a latecomer to the table. UConn ECE has long promoted and encouraged NACEP standards and standards-based concurrent enrollment throughout New England by offering conferences and professional development opportunities. It is wonderful to see the development of NEACEP as a supportive professional development organization for concurrent enrollment.
The regional accreditation body for New England high schools and colleges, NEASC, also chose 2014 to establish standards for concurrent enrollment programs, although referred to as “dual” enrollment in the actual document. As has happened in other areas of the country at either the state or regional level, NEASC’s standards closely align with NACEP standards. UConn ECE welcomes the development of the NEASC standards; we believe that this is an important additional support for standards-based concurrent enrollment throughout New England and specifically in Connecticut.
Many of our partner high schools also have programs with a Connecticut community college structured similarly to concurrent enrollment, usually under College Career Pathways. UConn ECE’s Director Jill Thorne is a member of the Board of Regents’ Early College Steering Committee in Connecticut, and has been a part of the effort helping the community colleges to bring their programs in line with both NACEP and NEASC standards. Since this topic is likely to be of great interest to our partner high schools, UConn ECE plans to address this the day of our annual Site Representative Conference, in a companion session in the afternoon showcasing both the academic rigor of standards-based concurrent enrollment programs, and discussing how Connecticut’s concurrent enrollment programs’ staffs plan to collaborate at the high school level to help coordinate opportunities for students.
We look forward to seeing many of you at the conference, February 23rd. Together we will help you navigate the Alphabet Soup Sea!
Photo of Gillian Thorne Jess and Magda at NACEP

The Biggest Branch: UConn ECE Celebrates 60 years

By Brian Boecherer
In 1954, University Provost Al Waugh was out of control. That is, it seems, no one wanted to control him as he started the University on its academic development plan of the age. Provost Waugh was known
for many celestial things; building the first planetarium in Connecticut (1954), his foundational texts
on sundials, and his creation of UConn Early College Experience.
In December of that year, Provost Waugh convened a special committee of University leadership and three high school principals to express his distress over how less-motivated students get the lion share of time from good teachers. In high school, he believed, it created a space for academically talented students to waste their time and lose their motivation. For this reason he wanted to build a relationship with local high schools to establish UConn courses at the high school to fight what would eventually be known as “senioritis”. The program was called  The Cooperative Program for Superior Students. By September 1955 seven schools were able to get instructors certified and for the first time in the United
States, 108 students were taking university courses on the high school campus.
Over the years, the program developed and grew; expanding course offerings and increasing the number
of high school partners. Two decades later, under the leadership of Biology Professor Albert Kind, the
program had 77 high schools and 2,300 students. In an interview with The University of Connecticut Chronicle,one University administrator described the Co-op program as “the biggest branch” of the regional campuses. Not only was Co-op building its reputation in Connecticut, but also other universities contacted UConn for guidance to develop their own concurrent enrollment programs. Indeed, we occasionally tease Syracuse University of a letter in our archive where they honor our program with
kid-brother-esque admiration; soliciting our advice.
After the leadership of Professor Kind in the 1980s, the Co-op program started to decline under several changes in leadership, most of whom were part-time directors. Incredibly in the mid-1990s there were even conversations of ending the program because it was too costly to manage.
In 1999 Michael Menard, Ph.D. was the new face of the program and the engine for recovery. For the first time in its history a $5 per course fee was charged to students which led to improved professional development and site visits. This period was really the rebirth of deep faculty engagement and our collaboration in founding NACEP.
Over the last decade, the program developed dramatically under Jill Thorne, Ph.D. first with all new (and increased) staff, a dramatic name change to UConn Early College Experience, as well as a serious engagement with NACEP. In this period expectations were elevated, professional development was expanded and improved, academic rigor more accurately recorded, and the program invested in research to understand the program as a vital tool for student success [see article of transfer credit database Page 4]. Indeed, we are a national model for concurrent enrollment and are peers with other elite universities
like Syracuse University, Indiana University, and the University of Washington. While the program has certainly grown and developed over the last 60 years, the core of the program has stayed the same. UConn ECE is dedicated to deep academic partnerships that provide access to and preparation for higher education at the high schools. We value our relationship with the departments and the high schools, and look forward to continued strength as we work together for student success.Professor Al Waugh