Monthly Archives: April 2013
With all the projects underway at Goodwin College, it can be difficult to keep up to date on progress. On Monday, April 29, the College dedicated a day of employee development to bringing workers up to date on all the new buildings under construction or nearing completion throughout the River Campus.
Goodwin employees donned hard hats and safety classes as they got a first-hand look at some of the College’s new projects, including the Connecticut River Academy, Early Childhood Magnet School, and 403 Main Street. Chartered buses brought several hundred Goodwin employees around the College’s widening footprint, allowing them to see up-close the development of Goodwin’s campus, as well as locations for future expansion.
Goodwin College is undergoing an unprecedented growth spurt as it seeks to serve area high school students as well as a growing college population.
The tours were part of Community Day, an all-employee training day held three times each year.
What began on Friday with a few plots of soil, some seeds, and a little bit of elbow grease will soon bloom into vegetable gardens that will be a fixture of the Connecticut River Academy.
Students from all grades helped establish the first plots of the gardens, aided by staff from neighboring Goodwin College and the expertise of Summer of Solutions in Hartford.
The magnet high school is studying sustainable and local growing methods in an effort to grow vegetables, among other issues in its current “Food Justice” unit. In the process, the students are learning about the environment and gaining an appreciation of local and healthy food.
“It’s a great project to help us come together and be more like a family,” said 9th grader Tristan Pettengill, of Colchester.
The students worked with volunteers at different plots as they learned gardening techniques. At one station, Goodwin’s Sandy Pearce – who coordinates the hugely successful Goodwin Community Garden on Main Street in East Hartford – taught students how to use a wooden pallet to create an ideal vertical garden. Pettengill and fellow students Rachael Koelsch and Evelyn Hamilton listened intently as Pearce explained how to fasten porous fabric to the bottom of the pallet, then use the slats on top to create perfect horizontal rows ideal for growing vine vegetables.
At another station, Jennifer Roach of Summer of Solutions in Hartford supervised as students spread soil and manure in a garden box, preparing to plant a range of veggies that includes lettuce, peppers, eggplants, and carrots.
“They’ve been wonderful and really enthusiastic,” said Roach of the Connecticut River Academy students. “They’ve been willing to get dirty, which is super important when working in gardens.”
The garden boxes will soon find a home on the new roof of the permanent Connecticut River Academy building, which is under construction on the Goodwin College campus and is expected to open next school year. The gardens are just one of the many green features of the new school, which has a curriculum themed on environmental science and uses the Connecticut River as a learning resource.
The day was perfect for gardening, and in the late morning, Goodwin College Vice President of Economic and Strategic Development Todd Andrews officially dedicated the garden. Holding up a giant photo of what Riverside Drive looked like before Goodwin remediated the property, Andrews explained how the garden was being planted in an area that was once the site of millions of gallons of oil.
The College partnered with the State and other agencies to clean the site and make it suitable and safe for
new use, a project that has been heralded as a prime example of brownfield cleanup and redevelopment. Now, in place of the giant fuel tanks, Riverside Drive now boasts a major college and three magnet schools.
“The dedication of this garden is a testament to the transformation of this land,” Andrews said.
All the Best Ingredients
Elsewhere, Academy students busied themselves in the cafeteria, preparing dishes from ingredients that are easily accessible and nutritious. Phys. Ed and Health teacher Tom Kilgus – a former executive chef at a country club – supervised the effort and was pleased with what he tasted and saw.
“The students are doing fantastic,” Kilgus said. “They’re really working well as a team.”
Eleventh grader Jessica Cox and 10th grader Kevin Bianchi found themselves blending chickpeas, garlic, and tahini among other ingredients as they made hummus. The pair credit themselves as good cooks and were very much enjoying the day’s theme.
“I’m an aspiring chef and this is fun for me,” said Cox, tasting a spoonful of hummus.
Goodwin College’s Auditorium hosted the biggest event of the day, a presentation on “clean food” by author Terry Walters. She explained to the students that almost everything they ate, wore, or used on a daily basis originates in plants, everything from the fuels they put into their cars to the ingredients that fill their cereal bowls.
“Everything you need comes from a plant,” Walters said.
Walters is the author of cookbooks Clean Food and Clean Start and writes a popular blog about living and eating well. She regularly speaks to groups on themes of healthy food, as well as counseling individuals and groups and health. You can find her blog at www.terrywalters.net.
Visit our Flickr page to see more pictures of the garden planting and dedication, as well as other activities from throughout the day.
Goodwin Environmental Science students are encouraged to visit the Summer of Solutions website for a listing of opportunities for seasonal work as program leaders.
By Mark Scheinberg
President of Goodwin College
As a young institution in the heart of New England’s “Knowledge Corridor,” Goodwin College’s very existence naturally provokes some questions. What are we seeking to bring to the higher education landscape that is different from our fellow nonprofit independent colleges? Why get into the higher education space to begin with, when Connecticut already hosts some of the nation’s best colleges and universities?
While Connecticut has one of the country’s highest college completion rates — 43 percent of those over 25 hold an Associate degree or higher according to the U.S. Census Bureau — that leaves almost 6 in 10 state residents who have not achieved this ever-more-important credential.
Even more striking, in our neighboring community of Hartford, the college completion rate is less than half the state average, at just 19.3 percent. In East Hartford, 26 percent have completed college. We can do better than this, and Goodwin College is committed to serving those individuals — representing the majority of the region’s adult residents — who have not yet found a path to higher education from among the established options.
As a nonprofit institution, our first priority is to serve our students, providing them with the education, training, and skills that they will need to succeed in the workforce. Our program offerings are developed with the real world in mind. To us, a college education is not limited to the Liberal Arts, but to all disciplines where people of any background can learn to support themselves and their families in desirable careers.
Not everyone aspires for the “traditional” four-year liberal arts model. Some could benefit greatly from technical training at the secondary level, but sadly, many high schools have slashed the technical programs — areas like machining, wood shop, and drafting that can lead to careers for students.
Goodwin fills a niche for these “undiscovered students,” those who wish to continue their education and learn new skills in a supportive environment that helps them efficiently meet their education and career goals.
We help students find careers in jobs that are in demand. It is a mission that is part of our institutional DNA. If 80 percent of graduates from a given program are not working within 90 days of getting their certificates or diplomas, we examine those programs and decide what changes are necessary to improve.
One of our newest endeavors involves manufacturing, once a pillar of the local economy and still a driver in today’s job market. Our hometown of East Hartford was built in the proud New England manufacturing tradition, where workers used their hands as well as their heads to make a good living.
A new generation of workers is waiting outside the gate to take their places on idle shop floors, if only they were equipped with today’s technological knowhow. With the support of Congressman John Larson, Goodwin is pressing forward with new programs in manufacturing to provide high-quality training and credentials to these professionals.
While we will take every opportunity to trumpet the importance of job readiness, and we do not shy away from promoting our record as a leader in career-focused education, we also do not intend to diminish the value of the traditional liberal arts model — for those students for whom it is the best fit. Nor do we question the role of career training schools that are themselves teaching valuable, real-world skills to those who might not have thrived in other academic settings.
Instead, we are a keen student of both approaches, seeking to take some of the best aspects from the traditional model, as well as from vocational training model, and striving to graduate students who know how to think critically, communicate well, and perform the technical tasks that the jobs of today and tomorrow will require.
In our view, this approach is the key to reaching the 80 percent of Hartford residents (and 74 percent of East Hartford residents), who may find themselves at odds with the rapidly changing economy because they lack a collegiate credential.
An Appreciation of Student Workers
The students who work at Goodwin’s Hoffman Family Library do much more than just check out books.
One moment, student workers are helping to troubleshoot computer issues that another student might be having. The next, they are assisting students to get situated to take the Accuplacer test, a requirement for all incoming non-transfer students.
“The library wouldn’t work if we didn’t have the student workers here,” said Library Director Marilyn Nowlan.
This week, the Hoffman Family Library is honoring its student workers as part of a National Library Week celebration. Across the country, libraries are promoting their virtues and inviting people to see how libraries have become more than just places to check out a book or look up facts in an almanac. Led by the American Library Association, the week marks a good reason for a visit to the library or the Goodwin College Bookstore.
Tuesday has been reserved as a day to recognize the hard work of the eight students who work in Hoffman Family Library. When not taking their own classes, these students specialize in customer service and helping their classmates to understand the resources available to them.
Mark Cook, Arthur Harris, Desiree Hastings, Vaughn Martin, Leila Moshiri, Veronica Vioude, Holland Rajaniemi, and Pat Williams have all been honored for their contributions to the Library.
A Week of Special Events
The student worker recognition is hardly the only event that has taken place this week or is planned. On Monday, the Library opened a new citation booth, where students can get help properly formatting in MLA, APA, or other styles. Citing sources correctly is often one of the most difficult and tedious tasks associated with research, and the Library has the resources and patience to help students through the process.
Wednesday will be Library Snapshot Day, an initiative designed to show exactly how libraries work. It provides statistics, photos, stories, and more data to present to lawmakers on every level so the importance of libraries is not undervalued or underfunded.
On Thursday, the Hoffman Family Library will be conducting surveys to gauge what interests visitors, services desired, what the staff does well, and what the Library could do differently.
On Friday, the library will be handing out flip charts and inviting students and staff to submit requests for books, movies, and more that they would be interested in borrowing. Friday will also be the big reveal of the name for the Hoffman Family Library mascot, a stuffed lion that sits atop a shelf behind the service desk. Students have been casting votes to name the lion, and soon his identity will be revealed.
James Lacey Gets Serious About Composting
By Hannah Stacy
James Lacey, a former environmental studies student at Goodwin College who graduated in August of 2012, became interested in composting after the devastating storm that occurred in October 2011. Trees covered roads and destroyed roofs, cars, and telephone lines. After the State of Connecticut initiated a program of clearing trees, mountains of woodchips formed at processing facilities, sometimes several stories high. Smoke could be seen rising from these piles, especially when it rained.
Seeking to study the decomposition process up close, he bought several five gallon buckets. He began compositing fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds and sawdust on a smaller scale. “I was astonished and mesmerized by the heat produced in the buckets and the heat produced depended on the ratio of quantities in the buckets,” he said. “The heat generated in these little buckets convinced me to work this process on a larger scale.”
James approached Environmental Studies Director Bruce Morton, his advisor, to discuss his idea of composting. Bruce put James in contact with many others people such as Dan Larson, Goodwin Facilities Manager, who donated an indoor garage for James to mix all the materials, and Gino Pacito, owner of Shop Rite in East Hartford, who donated discarded fruits and vegetables. He also approached Don Moore, owner and operator of Don’s Sawmill in Bloomfield, Connecticut, who donated his saw dust.
His pilot composting project demonstrates the potential benefit of reducing or removing these items from the waste stream that enters landfills and to reduce methane emissions, therefore making the environment healthier. The resulting compost was made available for use in Goodwin’s community garden.
Composting on a smaller scale for households has potential benefits of lower waste-disposal costs. It is a convenient way to handle wastes and provides a free and excellent soil amendment that can be used to increase the health and productivity of plants. Rotting food produces a greenhouse gas called methane with 21 times the global warming potential than carbon dioxide emitted from vehicles, James said.
“American households throw away 55 billion dollars’ worth of food per year. The top two food wastes are fruits and vegetables that have gone past their ‘good until’ dates. In addition, supermarkets discard up to 300 pounds of fruits and vegetables every day of the week,” James said. “Composting is a way to help the environment and reuse food wastes to create nutrient rich soil.”
How Composting Works:
Composting is a process that uses natural or manmade microorganisms to convert leaves, paper, manure, and food wastes into a soil-like material called compost. The material to be composted falls into two categories called “browns” or carbon rich ingredients (leaves, straw, wood chips, mixed paper, shredded cardboard, bark or sawdust) and ”greens” or nitrogen rich ingredients (vegetables, fruits, grass clippings, manures, eggshells, or seaweed).
James composted the “brown” carbon rich saw dust and the “green” nitrogen rich food wastes such as fruits, vegetables and coffee grounds. “Much literature exists stating blending mixtures of carbon to nitrogen ratios (C:N ratio) in the range of 25:1 to 50:1 to obtain a desired compost product. This is for the serious composter.” He chose to combine these materials together in a ratio of 1 part carbon saw dust to 1.5 part green fruits, vegetables and coffee grounds.
In three days the pile heats up and goes through three temperature stages. In the first stage, psychrophilic bacteria produce heat in the range of 55oF (13oC) to 70oF (21oC). In the second stage, mesophilic bacteria produce heat in the range of 70oF (21oC) to 113oF (45oC). In the third stage, thermophilic bacteria produce heat in the range of 113oF (45oC) to 160oF (71oC). James used a 48” composting temperature probe to monitor the temperature, making sure it was between 131oF to 160oF. Anything above 160oF produces a situation where the heat starts to kill the “good” decomposing microbes that thrive in the 131oF to 160oF range. There is also a possibility that the composting pile will catch fire if the temperature is above 160oF.
Goodwin College and the American Eagle Federal Credit Union have long been good neighbors to each other. Now, many Goodwin students will benefit from the relationship between the two local institutions as a result of American Eagle’s generosity.
On Friday, April 5, the College dedicated a classroom to the Credit Union in recognition of a $25,000 gift to the Goodwin College Foundation. The gift is reserved for capital purchases, which will benefit students by providing resources that will enable learning.
“We’ve been a Main Street neighbor of Goodwin College dating back to 2005,” said Bill Dokas, American Eagle FCU President and CEO. “We’re excited about what Goodwin is doing to develop and revitalize commerce in the Town of East Hartford, while providing an institution that is helping so many young adults advance their educations and career opportunities. We’re pleased to be contributing to Goodwin’s vision and wish them continued success in the future.”
Additionally, the College announced that American Eagle will be funding an annual scholarship for a student enrolled in a Goodwin business program. Every year, a different student will receive a $1,000 scholarship, pursuing a degree in programs such as Business Administration or Organizational Studies.
Several business students attended the ribbon-cutting on Room 225, which now bears a plaque dedicating it to American Eagle Federal Credit Union.
“So many great things that happen in this town happen because of organizations like American Eagle,” said Goodwin President Mark Scheinberg. “We appreciate everything that you do.”
Scheinberg said that the businesses and people of East Hartford have changed since Goodwin established itself in the community. While the town may be in a state of transition, American Eagle has remained a constant.
In 2005, Goodwin’s main campus was on Burnside Avenue, with a satellite facility on Main Street. The College moved to its new home on Riverside Drive in 2009 and maintained its Main Street property. Later, the College purchased 403 Main St. from American Eagle FCU, creating more classroom space for Goodwin students.
Presently, 403 Main St. is undergoing a massive expansion and renovation, complete with a new exterior façade and thousands of feet in additional classroom space.
Full Circle: Goodwin Event Brings Chef, Restaurateur Back to Where it All Began
EAST HARTFORD—Goodwin College provided an appropriate setting on Wednesday for award-winning chef and restaurateur Billy Grant to share his tale of hard-earned success. After all, he first honed his craft a few miles down the road at local landmark Augie & Ray’s.
Grant, the owner of several well-reviewed restaurants throughout the Greater Hartford Region, was the keynote attraction to Goodwin for the second installment of the College’s Vital Voices in Entrepreneurship. The series welcomes local business leaders to come to campus and discuss their careers, successes, and times when they came up short.
“It’s humbling for me to come here and have people listen to my story,” said Grant, the owner of Restaurant Bricco and Grants Restaurant and Bar in West Hartford as well as Bricco Trattoria in Glastonbury. “I’m very lucky to do something that I love to do.”
Capital Workforce Partners sponsored the event, which brought hundreds of people to hear Grant speak. Fittingly, his own catering company provided the food and drink, with guests noshing on hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Among the guests were East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc, Goodwin students, staff, faculty, and alumni, and many people from the local business community.
Local media personality Rachel Lutzker, the popular traffic reporter for Fox 61, local Clear Channel radio affiliates, and evening host on The River 105.9, interviewed Grant during the keynote portion of the evening.
“We have rock stars with us tonight,” said Goodwin College President Mark Scheinberg.
Lutzker has long been a friend of Grant and is a huge fan of his restaurants. In fact, she and her eventual husband had their first date at Bricco in West Hartford, and returned to the restaurant to celebrate their engagement.
“I’ve never met somebody like Billy, who’s so successful yet so generous and nice,” Lutzker said, adding that Grant had not only an inspiring story, but also a commitment to the community and charity.
Grant’s restaurants have become part of the culinary fabric of the Greater Hartford region. Hartford Magazine has lauded Grant and his establishments with several of their “Best of” awards, and Grant has been named a Connecticut Restaurant Association Restaurateur of the Year. His restaurants have received top ratings, popular among the general public as well as the critics.
For Grant, the speaking engagement was a homecoming. His father formerly owned a branch of Augie and Ray’s, an establishment long associated with East Hartford. Grant’s first job was working at his father’s restaurant, manning the grill and deep fryer and occasionally running the cash register, which he admits made him nervous.
Goodwin College is now connected with Augie and Ray’s, which continues to be a favorite of local residents and the Pratt & Whitney lunch crowd. The restaurant is now home to the Mark Schein-burger, named after Goodwin’s president, and the restaurant regularly contributes to the Goodwin College Foundation.
Grant explained that his time working the lunch counter and working for his father’s business taught him important lessons about hard work.
“I walked away with an understanding of what it takes,” said Grant.
As Lutzker noted, Grant is deeply committed to the community and to charity. He is leading the upcoming Share Our Strength Hartford event on April 11, with Lutzker also taking part in the festivities. Share Our Strength is an organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger throughout the country, and Grant will be leading over 35 of Connecticut’s most prominent chefs to present attendees with a delicious way to give back to those less fortunate.
On March 26, Goodwin College President Mark Scheinberg was invited to be a panelist at a special event hosted by National Public Radio in Hartford. In its Small Business After Hours, the panelists focused on issues facing young people entering the working world, including the transition from student to employee, building necessary skills to achieve in a given career, and the critical thinking skills that are applicable to all aspects of life.
John Dankosky, News Director at NPR and host of the statewide program Where We Live, moderated the discussion before a large audience of 150 people, representing businesses and organizations from throughout the region. The discussion was later broadcast on the April 1 edition of Where We Live, with Scheinberg providing a unique perspective on Goodwin’s approach to education and how the College serves its students, their career ambitions, and the various professional paths available.
“You have to look at students holistically,” Scheinberg said during the panel. His contributions to the discussion also included breaking the norms and constructs existing in education, as well as how appreciating a student’s worth goes beyond the liberal arts education.
All the panelists spoke eloquently on issues related to workforce education, with Bob Rath, President of the Hartford-based Our Piece of the Pie, crediting Scheinberg specifically.
“The region is fortunate to have an educational entrepreneur like Mark who is focused on this,” said Rath, whose youth development agency is committed to helping young people succeed in education and the workforce.
The entire broadcast is available here. Scheinberg’s contribution to the discussion begins at about the 21:00 mark and continues throughout the hour-long broadcast. Goodwin appreciates the opportunity provided to the College to be part of the conversation.
Additionally, NPR business reporter Harriet Jones did a report on Goodwin’s new opportunities to help employees in manufacturing fields get certified through the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council. Jones story is available here, including the audio clip.
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Goodwin College is affordable for me. I started classes with little or no out-of-pocket expense. With a flexible schedule and a strong financial aid package, I can now take more classes in a semester reducing the amount of time it will take me to graduate.
Don’t wait! I highly recommend contacting our Goodwin College Admissions team to discuss options for your future.
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EAST HARTFORD – In recognition of a $25,000 pledge to the Goodwin College Foundation, the College has dedicated its busiest staircase to CohnReznick LLP.
On Thursday, March 21, Goodwin dedicated the staircase in the Main Lobby to the firm, which in addition to the generous gift, also performs the College’s annual audit. The pledge of $25,000 will help the Foundation to provide scholarship opportunities and other services to Goodwin College students.
“We’re better as a College and as an organization because of CohnReznick,” Goodwin President Mark E. Scheinberg said at the dedication.
CohnReznick is the 11th largest accounting tax and advisory firm in the United States with 25 offices nationwide. Goodwin works with the firm’s Glastonbury office, which conducts an annual audit of Goodwin’s finances.
In a short timeframe, Goodwin has seen tremendous expansion throughout the East Hartford community. In addition to purchasing property and redeveloping opportunities, the College has also dramatically increased its workforce and, as a result, the size of its payroll.
CohnReznick has done the annual audit over the last two years, according to Jerry Emlet, the College’s Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer.
“CohnReznick is one of the most honored firms in the world,” said Jerry Emlet, Goodwin’s Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer. “They are a great organization that understands us and has worked well with us during our growth. With a powerful array of network resources that includes one of the nation’s fastest growing firms, CohnReznick understands our drive to pursue new programs, markets and a cost efficient operation. We are extremely happy that CohnReznick is part of the Goodwin College family.”
Now, a plaque bearing the firm’s name adorns the busiest staircase at the College.
Goodwin administrators, staff, and students were joined by CohnReznick officials for a ribbon cutting for the staircase. The students involved were members of the College’s programs in Business Administration and Organizational Studies.
”It is exciting to see the cranes in the sky, another indication of the expansion and success of Goodwin College,” said Frank Sambor, CohnReznick Partner. “Goodwin College continues to identify the educational needs of today’s students, including those returning to finish their college degree and those that are changing careers. We are proud to be associated with Goodwin College and look forward to witnessing the College’s future growth.”