RANDOLPH — The state network of five public colleges will keep its name even though one of the schools has become a university, the board of trustees of Vermont State Colleges decided Thursday.
The move to change the name was pondered after Castleton State College became a university in July to attract more out-of-state and foreign students and added five graduate programs in the past five years.
Some state colleges and universities are doing the same as they face declining enrollment, reduced public funding or both.
In Vermont there was some thought that a systemwide name change could give VSC a chance to reintroduce itself to Vermonters who weren't aware of what it offers, said Chancellor Jeb Spaulding.
"We're anxious to ensure that all Vermont families and students are aware of the quality and breadth of the academic and experiential opportunities available to Vermont State Colleges," he said.
The board's long-range planning committee looked at several name possibilities — Vermont Higher Education System, Vermont State Higher Education System and Vermont State College and University System — and distributed them to faculty, staff and students.
Over half the hundreds of faculty and staff responses said the present name can incorporate a university and will work just as well for branding and marketing VSC as a more cohesive institution, said Jerry Diamond, chairman of the committee.
The student responses came to the same conclusion, he said: There was no reason to change the name. And none of the suggested names from respondents grabbed the committee.
"The conclusion was, we couldn't really find a name that added anything more than we currently have so it wasn't worth the effort, and the confusion, the complexity, and time and so forth to make that change," Spaulding said.
The committee did decide to make some changes to VSC's mission and vision statement, which the board approved on Thursday.