Northern Vermont University is now part of Vermont State University! Please visit for accurate information.

Important Spring Start Information and NVU Updates

A Message from President Elaine C. Collins

Dear NVU Students,

I hope you are doing well. It is hard to believe we are already halfway through January and getting close to our spring restart on February 1. So close in fact, that yesterday we welcomed some of our athletes back to our campuses! This past Wednesday, I held an NVU Student Town Hall with our Executive Team, so I wanted to share the same updates with the full student body.

Spring Semester Begins February 1

Thank you, again, for your compliance to health and safety protocols throughout the fall. I want to personally ask you to recommit to the NVU Health Pledge and our health and safety protocols. With numbers up nationwide, even in Vermont, I ask you and the entire NVU community to do even better this semester. Each of you is critically important to our success this spring. Wear your mask. Keep physically distanced as much as possible. Wash hands and surfaces. Be sure to read the email from Dean of Students Jonathan Davis with important information about your return to campus, including changes in quarantine requirements since last semester. As in the fall, COVID updates will be available at

Learning and Working Community Update

As we announced in November, NVU received a $3.5 million donation to NVU from the family of a 1978 Lyndon graduate. This will provide the seed funding to build the Learning and Working Community partnership between NVU and local businesses. To get this work underway, we have posted the Coordinator of Partner Engagement and Workforce Development position. I look forward to our Learning and Working Community work accelerating throughout the spring.


Seniors, I am sure many of you may have been thinking about whether we will be able to hold in-person May Commencement ceremonies. With the pandemic still in full force, and our need to follow state guidelines and ensure the safety of our community, we want to prepare our graduates and the NVU community for the likely possibility that the ceremonies will be virtual this year.

Whatever we do, we are committed to making this momentous day in your lives as special as possible. We will stay in touch as we begin the semester and follow up with decisions as soon as we know more.

Update on VSCS, the Select Committee, and the NCHEMS Report

As I reported last semester, the Vermont Legislature created the Select Committee on the Future of Public Higher Education in Vermont to recommend substantial changes to strengthen and transform the Vermont State Colleges System (VSCS). As part of that work, the committee brought in NCHEMS (National Center for Higher Education Management Systems) to present the best path forward for the VSCS. NCHEMS has presented their recommendations report to the Select Committee and the VSCS Board of Trustees is now seeking input on the recommendations.

At the heart of NCHEMS recommendations is a commitment to access to higher education throughout the state of Vermont and a solid and lasting presence for Northern Vermont University in the northern tier. This is our hoped for outcome. It ensures access to quality higher education in our region.

There is a commitment to the liberal arts. NVU’s vision for a Learning and Working Community, though not named as such, is woven throughout. NCHEMS recognized that unification did result in significant cost savings for the system.

As I reported in November, what is also recommended is a consolidation of NVU, Castleton University, and Vermont Technical College under one accreditation as one university.

We support the recommendations, though they do continue to evolve.

Yesterday evening, you received a message from Chancellor Sophie Zdatny announcing that the VSCS Board of Trustees is seeking public input. You will find her email below my signature.

In closing, I look forward to classes beginning on February 1. Enjoy the rest of your break. And remember, #MaskUpNVU.


bcc: NVU Faculty and Staff

A Message from Chancellor Sophie Zdatny on January 15, 2021

VSCS Board Seeks Your Input on Transformation Proposal

Dear Vermont State Colleges Community,

As we look to the start of the spring semester, I’m excited to share an update with you on the ongoing transformation of the Vermont State Colleges System. As I shared in my December update, the state’s Select Committee on the Future of Public Higher Education in Vermont released their initial report on December 4, 2020, outlining proposed transformative steps for the VSCS.

Using the Select Committee’s initial report as a guide, the Vermont State Colleges System will continue working on developing a recommendation for a transformed organization, governance, educational, and operational model that is fiscally sustainable and fulfills its mission of delivering an affordable, accessible, high quality, student-centered, workforce-relevant education for Vermonters in measured stages to be completed within five years.

The Board of Trustees of the Vermont State Colleges System seeks public comment on the transformation proposal outlined in the Select Committee’s Initial Report.

There are two upcoming opportunities for public input, in addition to the public comment opportunity available at each Board meeting. Written comment on the proposal may be submitted using this form. Comments received by February 17, 2021 will be shared with the Board of Trustees at their meeting on February 22, 2021.

On February 17, 2021 from 6:00-7:30pm, the Board of Trustees will also hear verbal public comment on the proposal. Members of the public may sign up at this link to speak at the February 17th listening session. The listening session will be livestreamed at

Additionally, the Vermont State Colleges System has a dedicated page on the system website to which transformation-related documents are posted. You can find it at

The Board would like to hear your thoughts on the Select Committee’s recommendations on transformation of the VSCS. Please take advantage of this opportunity to provide your valuable perspective as they consider the transformation opportunities moving forward.

I will continue to keep you updated in the coming months as decisions are made by the state and the Board of Trustees.

With kind regards,

Sophie Zdatny
Sophie Zdatny, Chancellor
Vermont State Colleges
Office of the Chancellor
P.O. Box 7, Montpelier, VT 05601
(802) 224-3013 (direct)