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Professor Reflects on CT State College Merger

(Opinion)


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.


“The graduation

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.

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