Professor Reflects on CT State College Merger
By Benjamin Vaquez
The upcoming merger of NCC and other Connecticut colleges is something that has
been met with a mixed reception. On April 11, I conducted an interview with NCC professor John Shields on his thoughts and feelings on the merger.
John Shields has taught at NCC for 24 years to 25 years after this semester ends. He
is a film and media studies professor, who is caring and upfront with his students about
everything. He often pokes fun at both his students and the world they live in. Below is our
conversation about both how the school merger would affect the way he teaches classes and the way that he felt about the merger overall.
At first, we tackled the proposition of how this merger would affect the students and
faculty. Professor Shields listed the possibility of two major changes. The first is the new
graduation requirements, at least for new students starting in August.
requirements are no longer just the graduation requirements for just NCC, but the
graduation requirements for the communications departments in all 12 community colleges
will be the same. And that will present a problem because one of the courses required for
graduation we don’t even offer at this school” He went on to say that NCC would likely offer
that course, Intro to Communications, going forward.
The other change is that four of Professor Shield's film courses were lost as part of
the merger. “So I had to maneuver what it is some film studies courses were going to be
titled. So for instance, I have a course called Communication Arts 256 that I’ve taught for
the past 25 years. It’s called Focus On The Director. That course will no longer exist after
July 1. That course will be turned into something called Topics in Film: Focus on the
Director" he said. This means that the content of the course will need to change to better match the content in the other colleges.
Next, we discussed Shields's personal take on the merger. Unfortunately, his
overall opinion was not a positive one. He argues, “I don’t understand why it’s happening. I
think it reduces each community college's autonomy, ability to do their own thing with
curriculum. And also with whatever it is that particular department thinks is best for that
particular department and that particular area. I don’t understand why it’s occurring
and I’m finding it to be worrisome for the future," he said.
Something professor Shields has told both of his classes to do is to print out your Ellucian Degree Works page in order to save trouble when the merger happens, as well as to look at what the merger is specifically changing at NCC. Anyone that is going to be affected by the merger when it happens should follow
Professor Shield's advice.
Benjamin Vasquez is a writer for the Voice.
Voice Editor Joanna Giano edited the article.