Charter Oak State College

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Charter Oak State College
Charter Oak State College
Former names
Charter Oak College
Motto Degrees Without Boundaries
Type Public
Established 1973
President Ed Klonoski
Provost Dr. Shirley Adams
Students 2,278 [1]
Location New Britain, Connecticut, USA
Affiliations New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Connecticut Board for Regents for Higher Education

Charter Oak State College (COSC) is a public liberal arts college in New Britain, Connecticut. The college was founded in 1973 by the Connecticut Legislature and offers associate, baccalaureate, and master's degrees. The college is located across Paul Manafort Drive from Central Connecticut State University and is named for Connecticut's famous Charter Oak.

Charter Oak State College is one of 17 higher learning institutions that comprise Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (ConnSCU).[2] It is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and functions under the degree-granting authority of the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education. Previously, the Board for State Academic Awards (BSAA), established in 1973, granted degrees through Charter Oak State College. In 2012, the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education replaced the BSAA as Charter Oak State College's governing body.[3]

Charter Oak has awarded over 11,000 degrees since its founding in 1973.[4]

Role and scope[edit]

Charter Oak State College can award the Associate degree (in both Arts and Science), the Bachelor of Arts degree, the Bachelor of Science degree, and, since 2015, the Master of Science degree. The bachelor's degree programs include several majors, as well as a General Studies degree with a wide selection of concentrations. Many Charter Oak State College alumni continue their education in graduate school.[5]

Charter Oak State College assists its students through a variety of academic support services including program planning, testing, and evaluation. The college also delivers online courses, serves as a testing center and provides credit registry services, as well as information regarding other educational opportunities. The college identifies qualified faculty from regionally accredited colleges and universities and other experts to assess academic achievement in areas not measured by standardized tests and to serve as mentors for programs such as online courses, contract learning, and practica. In recruiting these faculty and experts, the college actively seeks to identify educators who value the impact of broad and diverse experience acquired by students.

Charter Oak offers credit for military training, testing (i.e., CLEP and DSST (standardized test)), prior learning (assessment and portfolio required), credit previously evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE), and for learning acquired through some licensing and certification programs (a credential evaluation is required).

Charter Oak State College also assists other Connecticut colleges or universities seeking to provide their students with alternate ways to validate college-level learning, develops partnerships with the corporate and non-profit community to meet the state’s workforce needs and through its Connecticut Credit Assessment Program and special assessments evaluates and formally recognizes non-collegiate learning regardless of how or where such learning is acquired.

Charter Oak State College conducts institutional research and assessment to monitor and evaluate the progress and success of its students, graduates, and programs. The college uses the results of these assessments to evaluate its effectiveness and to make changes that respond to student, institutional, and societal needs.

Credit-residency requirements[edit]

Charter Oak offers transfer credit for course work completed successfully at other accredited institutions without the substantial credit-residency requirements imposed by other institutions. Most academic institutions require that a matriculated student complete an average of 30 credit hours through its institution (even if general education, liberal arts, or major requirements have already been fulfilled) in order to meet graduation requirements. Charter Oak State College limits their credit-residency requirement to 6 credits; a Cornerstone course and a Senior Capstone[6][7] course are required for graduation. This can substantially reduce the amount of time it takes for a transfer student, who may have already accumulated a substantial amount of credit from other institutions, to complete their degree.

On the other hand, there is a significant amount of controversy regarding the 3-credit residency cornerstone requirement and its necessity. Many students, alumni, and noted faculty, such as Carrie A. Picardi, a board advisor, and Frank J. Monaco, Charter Oak Course Developer, have argued that the cornerstone course is "fluff work," unnecessary, and a method for the college to generate money through arbitrary and deliberate means. Provost of the College, Dr. Shirley Adams, has stated that the cornerstone course was instituted as some faculty believed incoming students did not know how to think critically, cite papers properly, or write properly which would lead to academic issues in coursework taken at Charter Oak State College.[8] However, a typical two semester English writing course typically covers in greater depth everything the cornerstone course does.

Critics argue that the college deliberately elongates the time students need to graduate to at least two semesters. This is because the cornerstone course is an approximately $1,333 mandatory course that is required of all students whose stated goal is to purportedly "provide a plan for the student's degree." It also means that the student is charged an additional semester's worth of student activity fees, technology fees, and other college imposed fees. It is not a writing intensive course, nor do the overwhelming majority of accredited colleges have this requirement, which generally provide this information free of charge to their students.

Charter Oak State College's main competitors, Excelsior College, and Thomas Edison State College, do not have this cornerstone requirement, and each has only a capstone requirement. Furthermore, in the case of Thomas Edison State College, the capstone course is not mandatory and can be taken through a placement exam, thereby saving the students thousands of dollars. Considering that majority of students interested in these programs intend to complete their degrees by "testing out" through DSST, UExcel, and TECEP exams, this may be a favorable option for many. As of April 14, 2015, discussions between the provost, college, faculty, and students in discontinuing or testing out of the cornerstone requirement have been frozen.

Programs of Study[edit]

Charter Oak State College offers Master's, Bachelor's and associate degree programs, as well as certificate and credential programs. Charter Oak divides bachelor's degree programs of study into majors and concentrations. At Charter Oak, both majors and concentrations are used to specify a student's primary field of study. Majors and concentrations may also require the same number of credit hours for completion. For example, Charter Oak's Cyber Security major requires 36 credits.[9] However, Charter Oak's Political Science concentration and most other concentrations also require 36 credits. In this way, a concentration is similar to a major, but it allows the student to work with the credits he/she may already have where appropriate to create a degree plan that meets his/her career and personal goals.[10] This enables the student to personalize his/her degree based on his/her specific career goal.

Master's Degree Program[edit]

  • Master of Science in Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership

Bachelor's Degree Majors[edit]

  • Business Administration
  • Cyber Security
  • Health Care Administration
  • Health Information Management
  • Psychology
  • General Studies, with Concentrations in:
    • American Studies
    • Child and Youth Development
    • Child Studies
    • Criminal Justice
    • Human Resources
    • Information Systems Studies
    • Organizational Leadership
    • Paralegal Studies
    • Political Science
    • Public Administration
    • Public Safety Administration
    • Sociology

Charter Oak State College also offers additional General Studies degree Concentrations that can be completed by combining Charter Oak's online courses and other sources of credit, such as credit transferred from regionally accredited institutions or testing.

Student demographics[edit]

Charter Oak State College's adult students include the military, civilian federal and state employees, working adults pursuing first or second degrees, and students taking additional coursework in preparation for graduate school. Charter Oak State College's students are 65% female, 35% male and range in age from 17 to 72, with an average age of 39. 69% of Charter Oak's students are Connecticut residents.[1]

College president[edit]

Edward (Ed) Klonoski was appointed President of Charter Oak State College on February 15, 2008.

Throughout Klonoski's professional career, he has always been involved in the fields of education and technology, focusing his energies on the successful integration of those two worlds. From 1997 to 1999 Klonoski was the Director of Information Technology for Charter Oak, focusing on building systems, training technology staff and representing the college on state technology planning groups. Before his appointment at Charter Oak, Klonoski was the president of the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (1998–2008), building the organization, creating multiple course delivery infrastructures, and structuring the financial foundation to pilot a virtual high school for Connecticut. Before his work at Charter Oak, Klonoski was the Director of the Advanced Educational Computing Project and Coordinator of Information and Instructional Technology Training at the University of Hartford. Also at the University of Hartford, Klonoski was an assistant professor of Rhetoric, Language & Culture, and he was an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut, teaching literature and writing.

Klonoski has made numerous presentations throughout the country on emerging technologies, elearning, collaborative partnerships and the integration of technology and learning. In addition, he sits on a number of boards in Connecticut.

Klonoski is a graduate of the University of Connecticut where he received his Bachelor’s in English and of the University of Hartford where he received a master's in the same subject.


The mission of the Charter Oak’s Alumni Association is to provide professional and social opportunities to former students of the college, to support graduates in their further education and in their careers, to advance the reputation of the College, and to support its educational services and goals. Membership is open to all individuals who have received a degree from the College. 53% of Charter Oak's alumni reside in Connecticut.

Notable alumni include former professional football player Marvin Jones, Oklahoma State Representative Jason Murphey, Rhode Island State Representative Larry Valencia, and Connecticut television news anchor Al Terzi.


Charter Oak’s Alumni Association actively contributes to the D’Amato Award, a graduate study scholarship given to a Charter Oak alumna or alumnus pursuing graduate studies on an annual basis.

In 2005 the Alumni Board created an undergraduate scholarship, which is given annually to a currently matriculated student of Charter Oak State College.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°41′17″N 72°46′07″W / 41.688147°N 72.768695°W / 41.688147; -72.768695