New vision for college
Housatonic has a new president and expansion project

Home Town Publications , May 31, 2007
TOM GIORDANO, Correspondent

There is no mistaking the vision Anita Gliniecki has in her new role as president of Housatonic Community College: Focus on the academic success of the Bridgeport-based institution's students.

Gliniecki recently was named to the post by the Connecticut Community Colleges board of trustees, succeeding Janis M. Hadley, who retired last September. Gliniecki had been named acting president when Hadley retired.

"My vision for the college is the college's vision, and that is totally focused on our students' success," Gliniecki said.

By student success, Gliniecki means that not only will HCC students successfully complete their education at the community college, but also that the credits they earn will transfer to a four-year college with full credit.

To that end, Gliniecki said she got in touch with all the primary learning institutions, both in-state and nationally, to ensure that HCC students' credits will be accepted at the four-year colleges and universities and apply to their baccalaureate degrees.

Most of HCC's students transfer to colleges and universities in Connecticut, said Gliniecki. She cited two examples of how she makes certain that HCC students' credits will be fully accepted:

"We have an agreement with the University of Connecticut's Stamford and Waterbury campuses that the courses our business students take will transfer and apply to their degree programs," she said.

"We also have a pre-engineering agreement with Fairfield University (FU) by which our students take the courses over two years with us, and another two years at FU for full credit," she said.

Campus expansion

Besides student achievement, Gliniecki will have her hands full preparing for an expected surge in a student population increase resulting from a $51 million expansion project.

The expansion into the former Sears building, which once anchored a defunct shopping mall, is expected to double the size of the community college. Housatonic recently held a symbolic groundbreaking ceremony, attended by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who was joined by Mayor John M. Fabrizi and Gliniecki.

"We really are standing on a campus that is in the midst of a big boom," Rell said at the ceremony, before citing statistics about HCC's growth since it moved to its current location from a former factory on the city's East Side.

She said HCC has seen a 67 percent increase in enrollment, a 40 percent increase in the number of academic degrees and certificates awarded, and generates millions of dollars annually for local economy.

The expansion, expected to be completed next summer, will contain new facilities that will house the Humanities, Business, and Behavioral and Social Sciences departments.

Gliniecki said, jokingly, that the lack of space at the college's existing building - renovated from the former Hi-Ho Mall at State Street and Lafayette Boulevard- "forces faculty, staff and students to be polite. One rule we practice every day is 'keep your elbows in.'"

With the expansion, the college's average 4,700-students-per-semester should increase to about 5,500 students, according to Gliniecki.

Program improvements

The college president said hers would be a data-driven administration. She said she's excited about a new math program at the college and is planning to maintain data to see if it works.

Gliniecki said she wants to expand the Middle College Pilot Program, which gives Bassick and Harding high school seniors college-level courses in math and English. She also wants to take seminars to the high schools so students will know how to prepare for college and apply for financial aid.

It would be available "whether or not they come to Housatonic, although we want them to come here," she said.

Gliniecki's salary as president was set at $137,500 under a one-year renewable contract. The community college board of trustees, at whose pleasure she serves, will review her contract annually.

Gliniecki joined Housatonic in 2003 as dean of academic services and was named acting president in August last year when her predecessor announced her retirement.

Before joining HCC, Gliniecki served as a vice president of St. Clair Community College in Port Huron, Mich. She has been an adjunct lecturer at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, as well as an assistant professor and faculty chairman at Northern Michigan University.

She has been involved in professional activities, including her current service as co-chairman of Action Plan Development for Leadership Strategy for the Bridgeport public school system's strategic plan, and honorary chairman for the Connecticut State Employees Campaign.

Housatonic Community College employs about 435 people, with 271 faculty members and 164 support staff.