Month: June 2020

Spring 2020 Professional Development News

By Stefanie Malinoski


During the Spring 2020 semester we elected to cancel sixteen of our discipline-specific professional development workshops.We chose to cancel these events as we understand everyone’s distance teaching and learning environments are different and did not want to cause any undue stress on our UConn ECE Program partners during an already uncertain time.


Our solution for these missed Spring 2020 events is to grant over 300 workshop attendance waivers to Instructors who were in need of attendinga spring workshop in order to maintain their certification with UConn ECE. These waivers are usually only issued occasionally to Instructors due to extenuating circumstances under the condition the instructor attends the next discipline specific workshop opportunity. This year, the Spring 2020 workshop attendance waivers will be different as they will be granted for a two-year term allowing 300+ instructors’ certification to remain in good standing. This two-year waiver should help alleviate our 2020-2021 events from being over capacity, and overall, it will allow Instructors more time to plan to attend a UConn ECE workshop to continue to maintain their certification.



We are currently working to schedule our Fall workshops and events in hopes that we will all be able to meet in person once the Fall semester begins. Should we not be able to gather in person there will be alternate plans set up to host professional development workshops at a distance in conjunction with each discipline specific UConn ECE Faculty Coordinator. More details will be shared with the UConn ECE community this fall should this occur. In the meantime, we encourage you to check out our professional development events from the past which are posted on our UConn ECE PD Blog on the UConn Early College Experience website. The blog showcases the many scholarly and exciting events we’ve been able to offer to certified UConn ECE Instructors and includes pictures and detailed information about each event.


Although the Spring semester did not go as planned, Faculty Coordinators have been reaching out to Instructors regularly and the community has been staying in close contact about program matters. Look for more information about our 2020-2021 events to be shared soon. UConn ECE Program Staff and many of our Faculty Coordinators have been taking advantage of the tools and training resources provided through UConn’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL). We are hoping our Fall semester events will be in-person events, but we know if we must transition to virtual professional development events that we are well prepared to do so. We look forward to seeing everyone again soon either in person or virtually.

"I’d just like to give a thought felt thanks to my amazing Master’s School Drawing ECE Students for making the transition from the classroom to online learning as painless as it could possibly be."

— James DeCesare, The Master’s School

Registration 2020-2021

By Todd Blodgett


As colleges, universities, and K-12 education moved to distance learning due to school closures, UConn proved to be no different. With the conclusion of the 2019-2020 academic year, UConn Early College Experience (ECE) moves into the new registration year. Our program has made some adjustments to our application in order to better accommodate students who are applying while physically away from their high schools.


1. Students do not need to obtain a Site Representative or school counselor signature on their consent form. High schools will confirm student enrollment in the Fall.


2. There will be no additional $25 administrative fee for students who cannot apply before June 30th and need to apply in the Fall.


While the Spring 2020 semester was not what our students expected, we are excited to get everyone back in classrooms and engaging in our UConn ECE courses soon. Please continue to monitor your e-mail, our website (ece.uconn. edu), and our social media platforms for registration news. Students should continue to engage with their school counselors about taking UConn courses through Early College Experience.


Have a great Summer and we look forward to collaborating with you this Fall as we begin a new academic year!

Erin Blanchette Transitions to Another Office

By Brian A. Boecherer


The office is experiencing another transition – Erin Blanchette – our long-time colleague has transitioned to another job at the University in the accounting division. We are sad to see Erin go, and her departure has left a noticeable hole in the office. We are, however, so happy for her, as this is clearly a good progression and a new exciting adventure for her. Erin joined the office in 2006 and has filled many positions over the years. Some may remember her as the registration coordinator and also assistant to the previous director. In more recent times Erin has led our financial area – modernizing student billing, collections, and developing a billing customer service presence for the office. Erin is also responsible for deepening our relationship with the Avery Point Campus and working with the leadership on that campus to host a UConn ECE Cardboard Boat Race in conjunction with Avery Point’s boat race. Erin created the UConn ECE store and has been a big part of our student outreach and UConn ECE marketing and branding. Not only has Erin accomplished much, she has created relationships that will last. Erin has been an important team builder in the office, instigating office lunches, holiday parties, birthday parties, and being one of the “special ingredients” that have made the office fun and familial. Erin leaves a lasting mark on the program and with whom she has worked. Thank you, Erin, for all that you have done to support the program and the people who make the program.

Overcoming Adversity: UConn ECE Strong

By UConn ECE Program Office Staff


A committee of four reviewed and selected the cover for the Spring 2020 edition of the UConn ECE Magazine from student submissions responding to a call to show adaption to distance learning that embodies “Overcoming Adversity – UConn ECE Strong.” The winning photo includes the caption “Distance makes the heart grow fonder” and captures one of the many signs that the community displays in their front yards thanking essentials workers.


The committee recognizes the essential work that teachers continue to do from a distance during such unprecedented times and have had to adjust their lesson plans and schedules to meet the needs of their students. We have also included two runner up photos, one depicting the abstract passing of time during such a surreal experience and the other capturing what school at home looks like for a student.

2020 UConn ECE Professional Recognition Awards Moves from Ceremony to Show





By Carissa Rutkauskas


UConn ECE faculty, staff, and award winners look forward to the annual Professional Recognition Awards Ceremony each year. They enjoy an elegant sit-down dinner, serenaded by a trio of UConn jazz ensemble students, celebrating a successful academic year by recognizing outstanding instruction and administration for the UConn Early College Experience Program. This year it would have been on Tuesday, April 28 in the Gallery of the Jorgenson Center for the Preforming Arts. Things did not quite go that way.


As high schools began closing in early March, first for 2 week, then for longer, the University told college students not to return to campus from Spring Break; faculty and staff began working remotely; and the opportunity to honor those nominated by their students and colleagues was not going to happen in person. So, we embraced technology and the good nature of the award recipients and went online. The prerecorded 2020 UConn ECE Professional Recognition Awards Show premiered on Monday, May 4 with a private screening on the UConn ECE YouTube channel. Friends, relatives, students, and colleagues were able to watch and interact with the 25-minute production. Eleven award recipients, 7 staff members, and 1 faculty member had submitted video footage that was then edited together by Austin Gao, Digital Media and design student, to create a memorable evening for all.





Congratulations to the 2020 winners:

Award Name School Discipline
Thomas E. Recchio Faculty Coordinator Award for Academic Leadership Scott Campbell UConn English
Principal Award for Program Support & Advocacy Thomas Moore Wethersfield High School Principal
Site Representative Award for Excellence in Program Administration Alicia Melillo Cromwell High School School Counselor
Instructor Award for Excellence in Course Instruction Eric Bosley Plainville High School European History
Angela Brower RHAM High School Latin
Libbi Intemann Trumbull High School Philosophy
Geoffrey Kern Edwin O. Smith High School Statistics
James DeCesare The Master’s School Drawing
Sarah Tibbetts Daniel Hand High School Chemistry
“Rookie of the Year” Award for Excellence in First-Year Course Instruction Carla Toney Newington High School Italian and French
Jan Pikul Award for Continued Excellence in Instruction William Schultz Enfield High School Chemistry

UConn ECE Recognizes Excellence and Awards Six Student Scholarships


By Carissa Rutkaukas


Each year UConn Early College Experience (ECE) gets to know some of its seniors through a glimpse of their work and provides a $500 scholarship in honor of their accolades. This year, three committees of four considered over 100 applications for only five awards. Those that did not meet the posted requirements were eliminated early, but that did not make the decisions any easier. Many of those that remained showed creativity, ingenuity, uniqueness, and a contribution to the greater good. The applicant pool was so strong this year, we ended up awarding a sixth award! UConn ECE is proud to recognize the following Students.


Excellence in the Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences demonstrate academic achievement and a potential for future academic and professional accomplishments in a field focusing on the Arts, Humanities, and/or Social Sciences Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics demonstrate academic achievement and a potential for future academic and professional accomplishments in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and/or Mathematics Excellence in Civic and Community Engagement demonstrates ambition and self-drive evidenced by outstanding achievement in both school and their community…already making a positive difference in their town or neighborhood and inspiring others to do the same.




Afroja Akter


Ellanora Lerner


Varsha Rathore


Cynthia Chen


Emil Perdue

Alexis Eaton



Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences Scholarship


Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences Scholarship


STEM Scholarship


STEM Scholarship


Civic and Community Engagement Scholarship


Civic and Community Engagement Scholarship



Waterbury Career Academy High School


Fishers Island School


South Windsor High School


Greenwich High School


Greenwich High School


Lyman Hall High School

Behind the Scenes at Pre-College Summer: A chat with our Graduate Assistants

Nicole Hyman and Nella Quasnitschka


In 2014, a group of staff from the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) came together to offer
high school students the opportunity to live and learn at UConn’s first Pre-College Summer (PCS) program.
That summer, there were about 50 high school students who participated, each one enrolled in one of the
seven courses offered by UConn faculty. Since then, PCS has grown to bring about 400 participants to campus
each summer and has expanded to run four one-week sessions with over 30 courses for students to choose


With that growth came the need for more staff.  In July of 2014, Erin Donohue, a master’s student in the
Human Development and Family Studies Department, was hired as residential staff, and became the first PCS
Graduate Assistant (GA) the following year. We are extremely blessed to still have Erin working for the
program today.  Erin’s valuable contributions led us to explore a partnership with UConn’s Higher Education
and Student Affairs (HESA) program as a GA site for graduate students enrolled in the HESA program. Our first
HESA GA, Joe Fisher, joined us in July 2017, followed by Cody Olson in July 2018, and Nicole Hyman in July


We set high expectations for our GAs who are tasked with hiring, training, and supervising summer residential
staff, programming exploratory workshops, and developing policies.  Our GAs work closely with University
faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as high school counselors, students, and parents.
We have seen them work through their graduate programs with determination and dedication and have found
it is so rewarding to see them succeed.  In the past year, Joe graduated (May 2019), Erin successfully defended
her dissertation (April 2020), and Cody is graduating this May 2020.
PCS would not be the program it is today without our Graduate Assistants. As a way to celebrate and
recognize our recent graduates, we have given them the spotlight to share about their contributions and
experiences during their time with us by answering a few questions.


1. What is your most memorable moment as a PCS GA?


Erin Donohue: The most memorable moments for me as a PCS GA are the 4 weeks each year when students
attend the program. Although those weeks are usually stressful behind the scenes, seeing the positive impact
that the program has on students and their transformation from the first to last day of their stay in the
program is truly rewarding.


Joe Fisher: The office feel. During my time as a GA, we moved offices, though the close-knit family feel of our
team remained the same. Talking over cubicles, or stopping in often to sit down on someone's 'friend' chair,
my best memories come from small brainstorming sessions with the PCS team that led to such great ideas and


Cody Olson: Presenting at the 2019 NAASS conference on the new hiring process I developed and receiving so
much support from my coworkers and praise from the audience is something I'll never forget. It proved to me
that I belong in this field and showed me how much my supervisors and friends care about me and my career.


2. What is one thing you will take away from your experience?


Erin Donohue: It's really hard to pick just one thing! I've learned so much from working with the PCS team
over the years. I think what I will take away from this experience is that teamwork and the sharing of ideas can
really make a vision a reality because each person brings their own unique perspectives and experiences to
the table; and everyone's ideas are important. I think this is a valuable take-away moving forward in any

"Seeing the positive impact that the program has on students and their transformation from the first to last day of their stay in the program is truly rewarding."

— Erin Donohue

Joe Fisher: Certainly something that I have taken away, and that has assisted me so much in my professional
career, is the self-motivation and need for creativity that Nella and Melanie, my supervisors, instilled in me. As
a fast moving program, there was not always time to plan and coordinate a change, so there was always a
need for someone who needed to be a self-starter and motivated to get the job done.
Cody Olson: I am walking away from this assistantship feeling incredibly confident in my abilities as a higher
education practitioner. Nella once told me that her goal for the GAs in her office is for them to feel as though
they can run the program themselves by the time their two years are done. I feel like I could run not only PCS,
but really any program and this has me excited for the next chapter of my professional life.


3. What accomplishment with PCS are you most proud of?


Erin Donohue: I'm most proud of the growth of the program over the years and the effort it has taken to get
us where we are now.  I've been with PCS since 2014 when we were only a 2-week program with about 50
students, so to be a part of the cumulative efforts to grow and expand the program to a 4-week program with
hundreds of students is something to be proud of.

“When I think about PCS, I usually think about my summer staff. Building a team that created long-lasting bonds and genuinely enjoyed their experience was incredible. I’d like to think that in some ways I changed the culture of our program and that this culture shift will benefit the program for years to come.”

— Cody Olson

Joe Fisher: I think I am most proud of being able to rethink and recreate our residential team positions,
including creating the newest role, the Residential Counselor for Student Welfare. The position is a unique
hybrid between a counselor and confidant. There was a direct need for students to have an outlet in our
residential program, and this position allowed for students to be heard, seen, and supported to be successful
in completing our residential program.


Cody Olson: When I think about PCS, I usually think about my summer staff. Building a team that created long-
lasting bonds and genuinely enjoyed their experience was incredible. I'd like to think that in some ways I
changed the culture of our program and that this culture shift will benefit the program for years to come.


Nicole has been another great addition to the PCS family with her expertise in access and working with FirstGeneration College students.  We are looking forward to another year with her on our team and all the
possibilities that brings.  We are also excited to welcome our newest HESA GA, Deanna Gallegos, to the PCS
team this fall. Deanna is a 2019 graduate of the University of California-Davis and will be with us for the next

two years.


We don’t know where we’d be without our GAs.  Erin, Joe, Cody, Nicole, and soon-to-be Deanna have all, and
will, shape PCS in unique ways that highlight their own interests and strengths. Thank you for all your hard
work and dedication to the program.

Rutkauskas and Grant Presentation Accepted at NEACEP Conference

By Carissa Rutkauskas and Kathrine Grant

The 2020 New England Association of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NEACEP) was to be held at the University of Rhode Island on May 29, with the theme of Barriers & Breakthroughs in Early College Programming; however the event was postponed due to COVID-19. Carissa Rutkauskas and Kathrine Grant’s presentation, CE in NE: History, Facts, and Stats to Communicate a Stronger, More Unified Future will have to wait until it is safe for people to once again travel, gather in groups, and appreciate the freedoms associated with a pre-pandemic lifestyle. While we will not be presenting at NEACEP this spring, we would like to share a glimpse of what we have been working on here.

The presentation is an overview of the challenges and barriers created by a lack of centralized, key programmatic features across the field and within specific programs—including marketing, data, and theory behind Concurrent Enrollment (CE)—and offers suggestions of for a centralized ideological strategy, organizing, professionalization, and strategic marketing as part of the solution.

Centralized ideological strategy. CE programs vary vastly by region, state, and even within states. A sample of differentiating variables include, but are not limited to: program name and terminology used, who teaches, where courses are taught, cost of program, matriculation status of the students, and programs hosted by two-year technical versus four-year institutions of higher education (IHE). The University of Connecticut’s original concurrent enrollment program, the High School Co-operative Program for Superior Students, was established in 1955 and laid the groundwork for its continuously operating program. In 1997, the National Association of Concurrent Enrollment Programs (NACEP) became the first, and to date, the only national accreditation body of its type. They, and organizations such as the College in High School Alliance, the Education Commission of the States, and independent researchers, have helped create a strong framework and standards for the idea of high school students taking college courses.
Essential to this agenda is an agreed upon, standard terminology. The U.S. Department of Education defines dual enrollment (DE) as students enroll in postsecondary coursework while also enrolled in high school.* NACEP defines CE as the subset of dual enrollment courses taught by college-approved high schools. Yet, not all programs or states employ the same language to describe the same process of accelerating secondary learning: a concurrent program in one state may be considered a dual enrollment in another. These seemingly straightforward definitions, unfortunately, have not established a precedent on name standardization at the state-level; the issue of naming and terminology is and are further exasperated with the use of dual credit and names and definitions unique to states and individual programs.

Equally essential is determining what CE is not. Standardized tests, such as the College Level Exam Placement (CLEP), Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) can be categorized as Prior Learning Assessments (PLAs), where credit is earned outside the classroom, or based off a single assessment, usually in the form of an exam. These and other PLAs are often mistakenly categorized with CE credit, for political, economic, or reasons of unfamiliarity with the differences. Clearly defining and communicating what CE is, including the parameters of instruction, location, and testing, is paramount to its continued success.

Organizing. NACEP, NEACEP (and other state NACEP chapters) have done amazing work in creating a more centralized and unified approach, but states without a strong statewide CE policy or legislation are often left fragmented. In Connecticut, for example, the brief amount of the State legislation on CE is vague at best and does not assign a name to high school students enrolled in college courses (regardless of where they are taking their course—at their high school or on their a college campus). Even as the home of the first concurrent enrollment program in the country, our State guidance is not well-defined, diminishes the strength of CE programs.

Of the 36 degree-granting undergraduate IHEs in the State, nearly all offer some type of college credit program or opportunity for high school students – whether it be CE, DE, PLAs, or another model. Unfortunately there is currently no accurate database or combination of internet search terms that would produce a complete list of these courses. To find all of the programs in Connecticut, you would have to combine a series of search terms—and you still might miss a program or two. States such as Utah and Vermont have comprehensive statewide policies in place and assign a specific and clear name to their programs. The lack of common language between and among states not only further obscures the prospect of comprehensive research or the likelihood students being able to maximize earning college credit while in high school—it also provides utter confusion. For example, Utah uses the term concurrent enrollment and Vermont’s choice is dual enrollment in state policy for programs in which a secondary school student can take a postsecondary course at the high school or IHE with IHE oversight. At UConn ECE, we would define this as a concurrent enrollment program—even though our program is only for students who take postsecondary courses at their high school.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) also does not completely accurately represent these type of programs. Although UConn ECE is the oldest and one of the largest programs in the country of its type, its CE impact is often overlooked. UConn ECE students are not matriculating college students, but rather non-degree students. This means they have the option of transferring their credits to a degree-seeking instruction (non-matriculated means that just because they are a part of UConn ECE and are taking UConn courses, they are not pursuing a degree at the University). UConn ECE is one of the nation’s largest programs, serving approximately 13,500 students annually, but these figures are often captured only at the institutional level and are missing from NCES databases or at the state level. Without organizing, and the consistency in language that comes with, the impact of programs like UConn ECE—from providing access to higher education to the many financial benefits for students—can be completely overlooked.

Professionalization. The sharing and dissemination of specialized knowledge and information in relation to CE programs through professional organizations not only safeguards and refines best practices but provides an opportunity for mutual enrichment and advancement. Organizations like NACEP and NEACEP do just this: from conferences to reaccreditation, they help to ensure quality in programs and continual improvement within the field. These organizations not only help maintain a sense of norms and offer a centralized ideological strategy through their research, advocacy, engagement, and community and comradery through networking and volunteering—they also often are involved in accreditation based on a shared set of standards.

Also key to communicating and challenging new studies, theories, and practices is a peer reviewed academic journal. The CE discipline is fortunate to have a small, but growing, number of organizations and researchers sharing this common purpose; but, the volume and support of research in CE is much less established from than other areas. Those involved with community colleges, for example, can be a member of the American Association of Community Colleges, as well as dozens of niche councils, alliances, and associations, with focus on topics such a specific demographic or geography. Institutional accreditation, at least in California, is conducted at the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), while institutions in the rest of the county fall under the auspices of regional accreditations who also serve 4-year institutions. Research is collected in publications that are independent and unbiased from the accreditor in peer-reviewed journals such as Community College Review and Community College Journal of Research and Practice.

To consider the impact of just one organization, take the discipline of English: English Language Arts educators across the pre-k-20 continuum can be a part of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), which is an overarching organization that supports the advancement of the field. This organization hosts an annual convention with specific strands for members with diverse interests. It also houses several academic journals (such as English Journal and College Composition and Communication), advocates for the field at local and national levels, and supports these efforts with coordinated research. NCTE also supports state affiliates, which mirror the national organization, and offers assemblies and groups that allow for specification and continued learning within a certain domain. These many, but unified, aspects of NCTE work in conjunction with one another to provide a coordinated, rich, and diverse engagement and learning network that moves the discipline forward.
CE is making strides in the area of a scholarly periodical with the much anticipated Concurrent Enrollment Review, a partnership among Syracuse University’s Project Advance, Boise State University Concurrent Enrollment Program, and UConn ECE (for more information, see The Last Great Frontier). The goal of this journal is to provide a specific coordinating body to solicit, distribute, warehouse, and support continued research into concurrent enrollment; this effort helps to enhance the continual process of legitimizing and professionalizing the field. CE has a national organization and national conferences. There are regional organizations to support the specific needs of areas within the country. Programs and organizing bodies have made coordinated efforts to advocate for the field, both inside and outside of the political arena. But these efforts do not reflect the full capacity of the field to provide professional development and enrichment opportunities for programs, create and distribute research on the impacts of CE, or advocate for programs and the experiences they provide for students.

Strategic marketing. Organizations like the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate’s Diploma Programme (IB) are common household terms, but how many of you were aware of AP tests before you or your student went to high school? And how many were aware of concurrent enrollment opportunities? We would wager that it is a lot less of you in the second group. AP and IB have centralized and strategized their marketing campaigns—across the years and different educational contexts—to move their programs forward. Students know about AP tests (and about SATs and ACTs) and how important they are for secondary and postsecondary opportunities—yet, the impact of concurrent enrollment (which we would argue is greater since it provides an experience more analogous to post-secondary study as compared to a singular test) is so significantly less known.

To return to the many programs in Connecticut that use many names to communicate CE (or DE…or dual credit), the majority of marketing is either done from an IHE program to a high school, or solely the burden of an overworked high school staff. UConn ECE has made efforts to extend this marketing to younger students (such as through our partnership with the Connecticut Parent/ Teachers Association [CT PTA]) to provide students with more, and earlier, information about their secondary academic options. However, these efforts are local to our program and are not aligned with other programs within the state or with regional or national bodies. Two programs through the State of Connecticut’s Community College system, College Career Pathways (CCP), a national program funded through the Carl B. Perkins Career and Technical Improvement Act of 2006, and High School Partnerships Programs (HSPP), are somewhat more organized in presenting these options to students and families. Fortunately, some states with more developed policy do mandate early marketing coordinating these efforts. Centralized marketing, especially on the national level, would provide programs with a structure to continually extend the opportunities they provide to students and help to ensure that more students are aware—and able—to take advantage of CE opportunities.

In closing, coordinating marketing, organizing, and creating and participating in professional organization and activities across state and national levels can help establish a centralized ideological strategy that would help to extend and deepen the mission of concurrent enrollment. A programmatic unity would benefit individuals programs, it makes the experiences provided by concurrent enrollment more accessible and richer for the students and schools we serve. Enhancing, deepening, and extending learning for students is not just CE’s laudable pursuit: it is imperative work to prepare students for a complex, multifaceted, and ever-changing future. Sharing this in a unified and coordinated manner only extends our work.

UConn ECE News Brief

By Brian A. Boecherer


Remote Learning


On March 12th Governor Ned Lamont announced the closing of all schools in Connecticut until March 16th.  He later extended closures to April 30th and eventually for the entire school year.

UConn ECE sent a survey to all 208 partner schools to understand how high schools pivoted to remote learning.  By the first week of April, all schools were teaching online.

From the survey, 70% of partner schools are using a Google platform/Google tools to engage with students, while 21% of partner high schools are also using Zoom while also using Google tools.

At the time of the survey the most prominent concerns from the high schools were:  managing labs, managing exams, and finding additional creative resources to keep classes going. 




The UConn ECE Withdraw/Audit deadline was extended to the end of the academic year, allowing students to submit the Withdrawal Form at the end of their class.  This decision parallels the University’s Pass/Fail policy.

Pass/Fail was introduced to the UConn ECE community from an email from the Provost to all teaching faculty.  Pass/Fail has never been an option for UConn ECE students, and after much deliberation, it was not extended to UConn ECE students during our current crisis.  

UConn ECE worked with the Connecticut Department of Education and the Connecticut Association of School Superintendents to introduce






the option of a Pass/Fail fourth quarter at the high schools to make allowances for the pivot to remote learning.  

Final exam policies were made clear to UConn ECE Instructors by the beginning of May.  While finals continued, individualized plans were created for schools as necessary.  




The UConn ECE Community pulled together during this unprecedented time to find solutions to issues.  UConn ECE departmental listservs were well-utilized to make announcements, share best practices, and support each other in real ways.

High schools continued nurturing their communities as well.  One stellar example, Wethersfield High School, engages with their students by offering a weekly morning announcements, highlighting life, teaching, and learning at a distance.

UConn ECE created a digital Professional Recognition Awards Show to replace their annual Professional Recognition Award Ceremony.  It was live broadcast on May 4th through YouTube Premiere.




Registration for 2020-2021 opened on April 30th.  Students have the next two months to apply to the program.  This year, due to an






inability to access printers, high school signatures are not required. 

Students will enroll in courses from August 11th to September 30th. Students who did not apply in the spring can apply in the fall without a late fee.   


Summer Plans


Pre-College Summer was forced to cancel their summer plans of hosting 500 students for their residential program.  The PCS team will use this time to retool and implement strategic planning for the coming years.  

UConn ECE New Instructor Orientation, which is usually in June, was postponed to August 21st.  This orientation will be hosted through HuskyCT and will utilize an online format.  It will be a combination of live and asynchronous video.  More details are to come. 

Similarly, UConn ECE is making arrangements for moving all professional development workshops online for the Fall semester in preparations for the possibility that we will not be able to meet in person.

NACEP has put a pause on accreditation applications for 2020. UConn ECE was prepared to submit its application on July 1st however due to COVID, the organization has decided to put a hold on applications for a year. UConn ECE is a founding member of NACEP and was first accredited in 2007.  Since our first accreditation, UConn ECE has quadrupled in terms of courses offered to the high schools and has quintupled in terms of student enrollment. 

The Last Great Frontier in Concurrent Enrollment

By Brian A. Boecherer


For the last twelve years UConn Early College Experience (UConn ECE) has been pushing at the border of the last great frontier of concurrent enrollment – research. Not just best practices, but the production of theory and knowledge on concurrent enrollment. How does this innovative and sustainable model of education support student and instructor success? How does concurrent enrollment support student retention in higher education? How do we affect teaching and learning in low-income, urban, and rural areas? The questions are endless.


Concurrent enrollment has come of age; it is offered in every state and is even starting to move outside the United States. It is time to move the national agenda forward again. To this end, UConn ECE, Syracuse University, and Boise State University are collaborating to create a peer-reviewed journal on concurrent enrollment entitled the Concurrent Enrollment Review (CER).  This first peer-reviewed academic journal on concurrent enrollment, which is three years in the making, will offer educational professionals, researchers, and policymakers insights into this interdisciplinary model of education.


Preceding the CER is a UConn legacy of research in this area.  UConn ECE’s research agenda was first started in 2006 by Brian Boecherer, one year after he was hired as assistant director. At that time the office had mountains of data that it previously never had the capacity to comb through and analyze.  It took two years to construct accurate student enrollment records, credit counts, and read through the archives from 1955, when the program was established. During that period Brian traveled to every partner high school, along with many new schools, every academic year and had learned what the high schools needed to better support the program. By 2008 he became the first Director of Research and Development for the office.


Armed with historic data and qualitative assessments from countless site visits and student course evaluations, an ambitious agenda was set. Brian became an active presenter on the national scene with over 25 research presentations at national conferences and a smattering of keynote addresses.  He published in the first university press publication on concurrent enrollment (Syracuse University, 2016), and won a grant with his colleague Magdalena Narozniak to study concurrent enrollment transfer credit.  This publication specifically focused on how credits earned through UConn ECE transfer to other universities. It is still the largest study on the topic to date and resulted in the program’s nationally recognized Credit Transfer Database.


In January 2018 Carissa Rutkauskas joined the office to take the program’s data to the next level by translating program research into something more digestible to the public.  Carissa’s contributions to the research team has dramatically increased the high schools’ ability to access data, understand it, and present it to their communities. Carissa brought the Credit Transfer Database into the 21st Century along with important high school materials and data portals for the high schools. Carissa has become an active researcher in this area – in addition to overhauling of the program’s student course evaluations and the alumni one-year and four-year follow-up surveys, she is writing an article with colleague Kathrine Grant on the history and origins of concurrent enrollment. 


Over the last four years, UConn crossed the border into this last great frontier to instill more intentional ways. First, UConn ECE sponsored a research grant competition for UConn professors interested in concurrent enrollment that would lead to research, national presentations, and peer-reviewed publications. Associate Professor Scott Campbell (English) and Assistant Professor Michele Back (Education) both won grants to advance their research in this area. Dr. Campbell and many of his UConn ECE instructors were accepted to present their research at the 2019 National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention on the central role of concurrent enrollment in first-year composition.  Dr. Back produced a white paper with her colleague Joseph Dean on how concurrent enrollment effectively increases the recruitment and retention of high school instructors in critical need subject areas.  They are planning on developing their research into a future peer-reviewed publication. 


Photograph by: Mathew Henion (Last Great Frontier - Maine)

Since 2017 Brian has been presenting with colleagues from Syracuse University and Boise State University on the need to develop an academic journal that would attract researchers from all disciplines with an interest in concurrent enrollment. After two successful national presentations, we are moving forward with the Concurrent Enrollment Review.  The call for paper will be announced at the NACEP conference in St. Louis. Missouri in Fall 2020.  Brian Boecherer was named the Editor-and-Chief and Syracuse’s Dr. Melanie Nappa-Carroll (Assistant Director, Syracuse University Project Advance) was named the managing editor. Dr. Scott Warren, Associate Dean for Research Excellence at Syracuse University, has heralded the CER as a necessary publication in this emerging academic field. His endorsement comes with the full support of the Syracuse Library.


The CER has two distinct parts.  First, the CER will serve as a research bibliography, a clearing house, that collects the articles and abstracts of all previously published peer-reviewed articles and dissertations on concurrent enrollment. The CER has already hired a library scientist to start cataloging articles. After the initial cataloging, the Syracuse Library Artificial Intelligence (AI) system will scan all published peer-reviewed journal articles to further develop the CER bibliography clearing house. This clearinghouse will support researchers like Scott, Michele, Carissa, and so many others to develop their literature reviews and new veins of research. The second part of the CER is the journal itself, which will publish new peer-reviewed articles on concurrent enrollment. As the field is diverse, the journal’s editorial board will also be diverse and support the promotion and tenure of all professionals in this space. The founding board members have also decided to make the journal open-source, so information is available to all, regardless of location and background. 


UConn ECE sees this as the next step in its legacy of leadership and innovation.  UConn ECE was not only the first university to start offering concurrent enrollment in the nation; in 2000, UConn ECE was a founding member of the National Association of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP).  Following, UConn ECE helped create the New England Association of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships. The CER is the next step in the program’s legacy of leadership and innovation and does the program proud to also be a founding member of the first academic journal on concurrent enrollment.