President’s All College Update: October ’20

08 Oct 2020

Additive Manufacturing Center for Excellence

As previously reported, Vermont Tech was awarded a contract with the U.S. Army’s Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) office as part of its National Imperative for Industrial Skills for nearly $8M. This contract will establish the first advanced manufacturing education, research and development facility in Vermont. The first!

Some updates for you since our first announcement:

·     Procedural things are being ticked off the list, like completing the invoicing paperwork and the first two technical manager reviews of equipment purchasing.

·     Because the existing IT office in Morrill is vacating to expand the manufacturing labs, plans are underway to move IT to Judd’s bookstore location. The teams coordinating the moves of all our technology have met and we’re progressing nicely for the November/December move. IT will upgrade our servers for the new location, which is huge for our security and network stability!

·     Renovations to Morrill will require new HVAC for the entire building. Classrooms and labs throughout the building will have air conditioning and heating that is more modern!

This is not only great news for the manufacturing students, the School of Engineering and Computing and our partners at VMEC, it will have a positive effect on the college as a whole.

Legislative budget passed

During their special fall session, the Vermont State Legislature passed funding in support of the VSCS with $30M in base funding, $23.8M of emergency bridge funding, and $2.3M of CRF for workforce training. While we as an institution, and the VSCS as a whole, are working diligently to reimagine how we serve the higher educational needs of the state, it is beneficial to have the Legislature working as hard to provide better support to its public higher education institutions.

NECHE Visit Schedule

Our accreditors are visiting us virtually this year, which seems to have only slightly reduced the amount of effort and coordination involved in hosting the visiting team. I continue to be so grateful to Rosemary Distel for her work as the Steering Committee Chair and main point of contact for all things NECHE. Rosemary has distributed the schedule to everyone included in specific meetings so far, but you all need to SAVE THE DATE for the open forums!

Monday, October 26:

o   12:05-12:50PM – Open Forum for Faculty

o   2:10-3:00PM – Open Forum for Staff

o   4:30-5:30PM – Open Forum for Students 

Wednesday, October 28: 10:30-11:30AM

o   Exit Report – “listen-only” event, open to the entire college community

CEWD partnership w/ NCCFWA

The team in Continuing Education and Workforce Development is pleased to announce that they are partnering with Southern New Hampshire University to serve the North Country Consortium for Workforce Advancement (NCCFWA) in meeting their workforce development needs. Maureen Hebert has been meeting with NCCFWA and SNHU representatives over the course of months to hold information sessions with local businesses, create a needs assessment tool, business plan, and identify funding sources. The training hopes to address the workforce shortage of the North Country.

COVID-19 Response Team

Since the pandemic was named as such back in March, the college’s Incident Response Team has been meeting weekly to help coordinate efforts and communication. I also had charged Jason Enser with chairing a Re-Opening Committee, which also meets regularly on a bi-weekly basis. These meetings are recorded and minutes are taken. We have come to an appropriate juncture of renaming the Re-Opening Committee to the COVID-19 Response Team (we are, in fact, open) for ongoing management of the impacts and decisions required due to this pandemic. The IRT will return to its position of responding to “incidents” as needed, including any incidents of coronavirus infections, and any other incidents as defined by VSC Policy 612-1 (2018).

Bookstore Moving to Virtual Format

Ted Manazir, Director of Facilities, referred to the transition of our Randolph Center campus bookstore to a virtual format in his email about packages from FedEx and UPS now routing to the Facilities office. This outcome is a mutually agreeable solution between Follett and the college. The result includes the bookstore closing its physical doors on October 15, 2020 and Vermont Tech taking possession of the branded inventory. VTC swag and some convenience items will be for sale at the front desk of SHAPE. Thanks to Hilary Linehan and her staff for taking on this work for all those visiting parents wanting a Vermont Tech sweatshirt for their prospective student! We are also exploring how to make this storefront mobile for campus event in the future, when we can safely host hundreds of guests for an Open House or Try a Major Day again. The bookstore location will immediately be renovated for our IT team in Randolph Center so that we can expand the manufacturing facilities in their current space in Morrill Hall.

Development During COVID

You would assume that raising money would be challenging with historic unemployment rates and companies going out of business. It has been a challenge this year, but I am happy to report that supporters continue to invest in Vermont Tech through the efforts of our resource development director’s work. Curtis Ostler has secured over $270,000 in grants and gifts in the first quarter of the fiscal year:

·    In closing out their organization, the Vermont Municipal Highway Association granted $102,455 to Vermont Tech toward the Judith & SSGT Jamie Gray Memorial Scholarship. Curtis arranged with the principals to use $50,000 in a spend-down scholarship to attract new students and boost enrollment in the next two years in the Civil Engineering, Construction Management, and Renewable Energy programs.
·    The Davis Educational Foundation awarded VTC with a $25,000 Presidential Grant to use in supporting our transition to Alternative Academic Delivery.
·    The Vermont Community Foundation granted $145,000 to support five of our non-degree programs – Practical Nursing, Certificates in Computer Software Development & Web Development, and Plumbing & Electrical Apprenticeships through CEWD.

Maureen Hebert and Curtis worked closely with the McClure Foundation to be featured in the upcoming biennial Promising Jobs brochure (in conjunction with VDOL), this year with an insert for Best Bets in Career Training, featuring the same five programs.

Curtis continues to pursue grants and gifts from alumni and foundations to support all of our programs and with a special focus on the needs and challenges that this unusual year has presented. He is also working on the next issue of the Alumni Magazine, featuring Our Campuses this year, and continues to connect with Vermont Tech alumni.

Who’s New at VTC?

Please welcome your new colleagues with our inaugural issue of ‘Who’s New at VTC’ and wish them well:

Sean Dailey, Instructional Technology Specialist
Ann Chiarenzelli, Admissions Assistant and Residence Hall Director
Katherine Paterson, SBDC Program Operation Analyst. Our former Dean of Students, Jay Paterson’s lovely daughter, who just joined the team at VtSBDC. I’m happy that we have a Paterson among our ranks again!


As I walk around our campuses, I am grateful to see our community members wearing their masks. I know I wear mine to keep you safe and appreciate that you honor me with the same. Vermont is doing well, but it is only because of our diligence and adherence to the many (and sometimes tiresome, admittedly) rules. Masks, social distancing, and handwashing are the simple measures we can all do to invest in our collective safety.



P.S. Our former Dean of Students, Jay Paterson, has a lovely daughter, Kate Paterson, who just joined the team at VtSBDC. I’m happy that we have a Paterson among our ranks again! If you have any reason to email or call Kate, please welcome her to the community and wish her well.