Introduction to Western
INTRODUCTION TO WESTERN
Western Connecticut State University, founded in 1903, is located in Danbury, a major city in Fairfield County at the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains, 65 miles north of Manhattan and 50 miles west of Hartford.
Western’s rural 364-acre Westside campus complements its 34-acre, 15-building Midtown campus in the heart of downtown Danbury. Constant planning, evaluation and improvement of programs and curriculum sharpen Western’s “edge of excellence” and keep it responsive to the progressive community it serves.
The university works with and is supported by a forward-looking, innovative business community, and it collaborates with several local, state and regional community agencies and educational institutions.
Western Connecticut State University serves as an accessible, responsive and creative intellectual resource for the people and institutions of Connecticut. The university strives to meet the educational needs of a diverse student body through instruction, scholarship and public service. Western aspires to be a public university of choice for programs of excellence in the liberal arts and the professions by providing full-time and part-time students with the necessary background to be successful in their chosen careers and to be productive members of society.
It accomplishes this by emphasizing:
- A strong liberal arts foundation
- Strong skills in communication, problem solving and critical thinking
- Opportunities for experiential, cooperative and internship experiences
- A strong background in information technologies
- Interdisciplinary programs
- A strong sense of commitment to public service
- A personalized learning environment
Fulfilling the Mission Principles
Western’s fundamental responsibility is to empower students to attain the highest standards of academic achievement, professional and civic service, personal development and ethical conduct. The university fulfills its primary role in facilitating learning by providing a faculty of active scholars with a lasting interest in enhancing instruction, as well as a curriculum that is dynamic and enriched by advanced instructional technologies.
Preparing students for enlightened and productive participation in a global society is an obligation best fulfilled by developing superior academic programs and learning experiences. Western seeks to establish the vital connection of teaching and scholarship with the community by strengthening partnerships with the people and institutions of Connecticut. Western’s abiding commitment is to promote a rich and diverse cultural environment that allows freedom of expression within a spirit of civility and mutual respect.
The university is committed to maintain quality and pursue continuous improvement in all that it offers. Western seeks to preserve integrity in the process of teaching and learning, and respect for the dignity and rights of each member of the university community.
The Division of Academic Affairs at Western comprises four academic units: the Ancell School of Business, the Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Professional Studies, and the School of Visual and Performing Arts. All programs — undergraduate and graduate — are offered through one of the four units. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is the chief academic administrator responsible for all aspects of the academic mission. The Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs coordinates external programs.
The Office of Student Affairs offers a variety of programs and services to meet students’ interests and needs. These include AccessAbility Services, athletics, campus ministry, campus police, career development, counseling, drug and alcohol abuse prevention, health service, housing and residence life, judicial affairs, pre-collegiate programs, recreation, intramurals and club sports, and student life. Through its various offices, the division helps students to become aware of their opportunities, optimize their performance, enrich their college experience, and ensure protection of their rights and responsibilities. The Office of Finance and Administration is responsible for university business, campus facilities and safety. The Office of Institutional Advancement is concerned with alumni and community relations.
Educational Records and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Western Connecticut State University accords all the rights under the law to students. No one outside the university shall have access to, nor will the university disclose any information from, a student’s educational records without his/her written consent except to personnel within the university, to officials of other institutions in which the student seeks to enroll, to persons or organizations providing students financial aid, to accreditation groups, to persons in compliance with a judicial order, to persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons, or to parents of a student who is officially documented as their dependent for income tax purposes.
All these exceptions are permitted under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
The university will maintain a record of all requests for and disclosure of information from a student’s educational records. The record will indicate the name of the party making the request, any additional party to whom it may be redisclosed, and the legitimate interest the party had in requesting or obtaining the information. The record may be reviewed by the eligible student.
Within the Western Connecticut State University community, only those university officials acting in the student’s educational interest are allowed access to education records.
A university official is any person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research or support-staff position; any person appointed to the Board of Regents for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities or any person employed by or under contract to the university or the State of Connecticut to perform a special task, such as an attorney or auditor.
A university official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is: performing a task that is specified in his/her position description or by contract agreement; performing a task related to a student’s education; performing a task relating to the discipline of a student; or providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student’s family, such as health care, counseling, job placement or financial aid.
The university may disclose directory information without a student’s prior written consent. The university designates the following as directory information: student’s name; certain university-assigned identifiers (Western ID number); address; telephone number; photo ID; date of birth; major field of study; degree sought; student level (freshman, sophomore, etc.); dates of attendance; full-time or part-time enrollment status; expected date of completion; the previous educational agency or institution attended; degrees and awards received; class rosters; and participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of athletic team members, and other similar information including performance statistics, photographic likenesses and video of athletic team members. Students may withhold directory information by notifying the Office of the Dean of Students in writing. Such a request would be honored until such time students requested in writing that their directory information again be made public.
The law provides students the right to inspect and review information contained in their education records, to challenge the contents of their education records and to have a hearing on the matter. The Vice President for Student Affairs or designee at Western Connecticut State University has been designated to coordinate the inspection and review procedures for student educational records, which include admissions, personal, academic, financial, disciplinary, cooperative education and placement records.
Students wishing to review their educational records must make requests to the Registrar, listing the item of interest. Only records covered by the act will be made available within 45 days of the request. Students may have copies made of their records with certain exceptions (e.g., a copy of an academic record for which a financial “hold” exists, or a transcript of an original or source document which exists elsewhere).
Educational records do not include records of instructional, administrative and educational personnel, which are the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any individual except a temporary substitute; records of a law enforcement unit; student health records; employment records; or alumni records. Health records, however, may be reviewed by the physician of the student’s choosing.
Students may not inspect or review the following as outlined by the act: financial information submitted by their parents: confidential letters and recommendations associated with admissions, employment or job placement, or honors to which they have waived their rights of inspection and review; or education records containing information about more than one student. In this last case, the university will permit access only to that part of the record which pertains to the inquiring student.
The university is not required to permit students to inspect or review confidential letters and recommendations placed in their files prior to January 1, 1975, provided these letters were collected under established policies of confidentiality and were used only for the purpose for which they were collected.
Students who believe that their educational records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading or is otherwise in violation of their privacy or other rights may discuss their problems informally with the Office of Student Affairs.
In the event a student’s request either to have access to a record or to amend information in a file has been denied, the student may ask for a formal hearing. The student must submit a written request for the hearing to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The hearing panel will consist of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and the academic dean of his/her school. Decisions of the hearing panel are final.
Any alteration to the student’s record will be in accordance with the decision of the hearing panel and will become a permanent part of that record. The student has a right to add a statement to a challenged record if the panel’s decision is not to amend the record in accordance with the student’s request.
Students who believe that the adjudications of their challenges were unfair or not in keeping with the provisions of the act may request, in writing, assistance from the Vice President for Student Affairs to aid them in filing complaints with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202.
The Alumni Association of Western Connecticut State University, founded in 1919, promotes the general welfare of the university. The board of directors comprises 16 directors and five officers who meet regularly to discuss and plan future activities of the association.
Contributing members receive a membership card, borrowing privileges at both the Ruth A. Haas and Robert Young Libraries, use of computers in the Haas Library, and special discounts at local and nationwide businesses. All alumni receive The Cupola magazine, Alumni E-Newsletter, insurance and credit card discount offers, career services through the Career Development Center, alumni locator service, and invitations to special alumni receptions and events, including Homecoming.
Scholarships are awarded each year by the Alumni Association to students who meet academic requirements and show evidence of extracurricular involvement in the university and the community.
The Alumni Association keeps alumni connected to their alma mater. As a graduate of Danbury Normal School, Danbury State Teachers College, Danbury State College, Western Connecticut State College or Western Connecticut State University, alumni are part of campus history and the future of the university.