The Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR) today appointed Terrence Cheng to serve as president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system. Cheng, who currently serves as campus director of the University of Connecticut (UConn) Stamford campus, where he also serves as a faculty member in the English department, will assume a role that oversees 17 higher education institutions – including 12 community colleges, four state universities, and Charter Oak State College – and serves more than 72,000 students.
“Connecticut is fortunate to have a system of colleges and universities that gives all residents of the state the opportunity to pursue their passions and get a world class education,” Cheng said. “From the advanced manufacturing technology centers that help make Connecticut a leader in defense and aerospace, to the full spectrum of health care programs that help prepare leaders and practitioners to handle the next pandemic, to the strong liberal arts foundations that open students’ minds and challenge them to think differently, our public colleges and universities have it all. I look forward to working closely with CSCU’s amazing faculty and staff to support the students we serve. I want to thank the Board of Regents for entrusting me with this critically important position.”
Cheng has served in his position at UConn since 2016. Previously, he has held academic and administrative leadership and faculty roles at Brooklyn College and Lehman College, both of which are part of the City University of New York.
“From helping to build a workforce to compete and thrive in the 21st century, to training the next generation of health care leaders, to educating a well-informed citizenry, the 17 CSCU institutions are critical to Connecticut’s future,” said Governor Ned Lamont. “Terrence Cheng has the unique combination of skills and expertise necessary to build off CSCU’s successes while undertaking the critically important efforts to improve student success and equity measures. I am confident that he will be successful in his new role, and I look forward to working with him to benefit Connecticut’s students.”
“Terrence Cheng is an accomplished educator, academic, and leader,” said BOR Chair Matt Fleury. “His achievements and reputation demonstrate his ability to energize people and institutions, and his dynamism and bold vision resonated strongly with the students and community representatives who rely on the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities and the faculty and staff who provide the services they value so much.”
“I am thrilled to welcome Terrence Cheng to the CSCU family,” said CSCU Interim President Dr. Jane Gates, who will be returning to her position as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. “I have been highly impressed by his understanding of the unique set of challenges our students and their families face, and his progressive vision for addressing these issues head on. I am confident that President Cheng has the skills necessary to be a highly successful leader.”
“Terrence has been at the forefront of several transformative programs in academics and entrepreneurship at UConn, and has built strong relationships both inside and outside of the University,” UConn President Thomas C. Katsouleas said. “Although he’ll be greatly missed at UConn, we are thrilled for him and congratulate the CSCU system for its selection of such an outstanding new leader.”
The BOR conducted a national search for the system president, which was co-chaired by Fleury and Regent Elease Wright. A search advisory committee, consisting of more than 40 students, faculty, professional staff, administrators, foundation leaders, union representatives, and external partners, was involved in interviewing candidates and putting forward recommendations.
“The Board of Regents’ search committee and the search advisory committee put a tremendous amount of work into this process,” said Wright. “We were fortunate to have a field of immensely talented candidates, and we are confident that Terrence has the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to be a successful CSCU president.”
“Terrence Cheng is a transformational, dynamic, and engaged leader who understands the challenges that students face in trying to balance education, work, and family,” said Dr. Daniel W. Barrett, professor and chair of the department of psychology at Western Connecticut State University and faculty chair for the search advisory committee. “It was important to the faculty that our next President has significant experience as a college professor and in running a university, as well as knowledge of pedagogical practices. President Cheng fits the bill.”
“President Cheng is an excellent, qualified selection,” said Valerie Cooper, associate director of finance and administration at Middlesex Community College and staff chair for the search advisory committee. “His credentials demonstrate his inclusiveness that the staff will appreciate. I am confident that with his diverse background he is prepared to champion the challenges of the CSCU system.”
“It was a privilege to serve on the CSCU presidential search advisory committee, and I am thrilled that Terrence Cheng has been chosen to lead our statewide system at this pivotal moment,” said Juanita James, president of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. “I believe he will be a transformative leader ensuring success for his students, faculty and staff, as well as a wonderful, collaborative partner with the business and philanthropic communities.”
Cheng received his BA in English from Binghamton University and his MFA in fiction from the University of Miami. He is the author of two novels: Sons of Heaven (2002), and Deep in the Mountains (2007), as well as numerous published short stories and essays. He received a 2005 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He will begin his new role on July 2, and he will earn $360,000 annually.