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VSCS BOT Passes Transformation Plan for System

A Message from President Elaine C. Collins:

Dear NVU Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Earlier today, the Vermont State Colleges System (VSCS) Board of Trustees voted to support the proposal put forth by the Select Committee on the Future of Higher Education in Vermont to transform the VSCS.

As we have stated previously, this is the best path forward for Northern Vermont University and the other VSCS institutions. The main takeaways of the recommendations are:

  • The consolidation of Castleton University, Northern Vermont University, and Vermont Technical College under one accreditation.
  • A commitment to the NVU campuses in the northern tier of Vermont.

I know it may be daunting to consider going through another unification process, but remember you are the experts. You have the know how and the grit to get this done. As I stated in an earlier email to you, NVU is here to help lead the way with the expertise and knowledge we have gained. Each of you holds a piece of that knowledge and you will be integral as we work toward a unified institution in academic year 2023-2024.

I look forward to helping build a higher education system that will better serve the students of today and the generations of the future.

To learn more about the transformation vision, process, and timeline, visit This location will be a clearinghouse for information, much like the microsite NVU maintained during its own unification. Below my signature, you will find the email sent earlier today from VSCS Chancellor Sophie Zdatny to the full VSCS community.

As we begin this process, I will be holding department and student meetings so we can talk with one another about NVU’s bright future as a lasting and critical part of a new Vermont university.

I look forward to working with you to create a transformed VSCS that will serve our students and the people of Vermont. Please join me in keeping the students at the front and center of our work. Thank you for your continued dedication to Northern Vermont University.




Dear Vermont State Colleges Community,

As you know, the Vermont State Colleges System Board of Trustees has been carefully considering the proposal put forward by the state’s Select Committee on the Future of Public Higher Education in Vermont.

The key recommendations regarding the future of the VSCS include unifying the three residential colleges (Castleton University, Northern Vermont University, and Vermont Technical College) while maintaining the Community College of Vermont as a separate institution, that the system pursue administrative consolidation, and that the state significantly increase its financial support of the system.

Today, the Board of Trustees voted to move forward with this proposal

I want to stress that the Select Committee strongly recommends that we maintain our current campus locations and maintain access to the VSCS in the communities we serve. This position is reflected in the proposal approved today.

As we look at the physical makeup of each individual campus, we may have the opportunity to expand learning and working communities, and we may alter how we deliver courses and trainings. And, in the future, the configuration of the campuses might look a little different as we work to change our physical footprint to help bring system costs down. We are committed to doing so in a way that keeps our current campus locations open.

Over the next several months, we will continue to work with the state to secure the additional funding for resources the VSCS needs to manage this transition and build a higher education system for the generations of today and the future. Over the next year and a half, we will also be working to consolidate administrative services into one system. Additionally, we will be working with our accreditors to unify Castleton University, Northern Vermont University, and Vermont Technical College into one institution of higher learning. 

I want you to know that in all of this work, students and their successes are our key focus. We are committed to delivering the education Vermont and Vermonters need, while preserving the high-touch, personalized approach and close-knit campus communities that the VSCS is known for.

You may be wondering what a common accreditation means for the VSCS. It means that students of all ages and in different places in their education and careers will have greater access to a broader and deeper range of courses, faculty, and extended activities. It means our graduates will gain an even larger alumni network to tap into for inspiration and career success.

As we move toward a common accreditation with the goal of unification for Academic Year 2023-2024, we will work hard to ensure our current students feel minimal impact in their programs and coursework. Additionally, we will work to ensure a transparent and smooth transition to a unified system, continued access to robust financial aid, and the best opportunities we can provide.

Administrative consolidation means we will continue our work to streamline services across the institutions. These changes will allow us to realize cost savings, improve services for students and employees, strengthen departments, and provide universal, workable solutions to common problems.

Although functions may be centralized operationally in the future, it does not mean they will be physically centralized in the Chancellor’s Office. Instead, functions may be centralized on an individual campus that has particular expertise in a specific area, or where such expertise can be created, or they may work across campuses. We are taking lessons learned from the NVU unification and will carefully consider any change that affects employees. We know that transition of any kind will be tough and will require hard work, but we are confident that we can navigate this together and emerge as a stronger and more resilient Vermont State Colleges System.

As there have been throughout this process, there will continue to be many opportunities for your input and for your voices to be heard as we navigate this transition. We hope you will continue to reach out with your questions and concerns.

The Vermont State Colleges System has dedicated a page on the system website to compile the transformation documents, which may be found at

I will keep you updated 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)