Avery Point’s location, bordered on three sides by water, fits well with the campus’ marine and maritime mission. This mission includes fulfilling UConn’s responsibilities as a Sea Grant institution. Avery Point contributes to the understanding – and solution – of problems relating to the intersection of oceans and people, both through the expertise of the faculty and the education of its students who will help ensure sustainable uses of marine resources and coastal regions and cities.
From the Mission Statement of the CT Department of Higher Ed Role & Scope, “The Avery Point campus will place special emphasis on marine and maritime-oriented undergraduate and graduate curricula, as well as programs responsive to the needs of its significant corporate and industrial constituencies and its unique regional economic and cultural characteristics.” Five core areas to fulfilling this role and scope are:
- Liberal Arts Undergraduate Programming
- Marine and Maritime Undergraduate Programs
- Graduate and Professional Programs
- Research Activities
- Community Outreach Activities
The Avery Point Campus was formerly the summer estate of Morton Plant, a railroad, steamship and hotel magnate. The Branford House was completed in 1904. The Plant estate was turned over to the State of Connecticut in the 1930’s. During World War II, it was leased to the Coast Guard as a training center. During that period, the Coast Guard built the present cinder block buildings. In 1967, the estate was converted to the Southeastern Campus of the University of Connecticut, later renamed the University of Connecticut at Avery Point.
The Avery Point Campus is situated on 72 acres of land, containing 28 buildings totaling 471,849 square feet. The buildings can be grouped into three eras:
- The historic buildings associated with the Morton Plant estate – the Mansion, Caretaker’s House (the current police station), Barn and Horse Stable (the current physical plant buildings), and the Boathouse.
- The Coast Guard Training Center Buildings constructed in the 1940’s – the current Library, Academic Building, Student Union, Community and Professional Building, Gym, and former USCG Research and Development Center building.
- The modern Marine Science and Project Oceanology buildings constructed in 2000. A new $9 million Student Center was completed in 2013.
The stunning location of the Avery Point campus provides opportunities for the public as well as the campus community to enjoy the Alexy von Schlippe Art Gallery and the Sculpture path brick walkway, as well as spectacular views of Long Island Sound.
27 in Marine Sciences, 16 in Humanities, Math, and Social Sciences, 45-50 Adjunct Faculty
- Three Fulbright Scholars
- One Ford Fellow
- Four UConn Humanities Institute Fellows
The University of Connecticut at Avery Point is home to vibrant undergraduate programs, an active student body, and dedicated faculty whose excellence in teaching and research is recognized regionally, nationally, and internationally. The ocean-focused majors are Marine Sciences and Maritime Studies, which enable students to understand the relationships between people and the sea from the perspectives of the natural sciences (Marine Sciences), the social sciences (Marine Sciences and Maritime Studies) and the humanities (Maritime Studies). As at all regional campuses, the Bachelor of General Studies can be completed at Avery Point. Academic programs take advantage of the campus location by getting students involved with regional institutions and issues through undergraduate research, internships and service learning. The campus engages in outreach activities that connect the Avery Point community to the region in ways that draw upon campus strengths and contribute significantly to local and regional communities.
The campus provides students with the opportunity to begin almost all of UConn’s more than 100 majors. Students can also choose to remain at Avery Point to complete their undergraduate degrees in English, General Studies, Maritime Studies, and Marine Sciences. All Avery Point four-year majors have common features. All are interdisciplinary, liberal arts programs of study that encourage students to integrate learning across the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. All involve students in a high degree of experiential learning, including hands-on activities, internships, and undergraduate research. All include, or allow students to choose to include, academic focus on the environment and on globalization.
Avery Point’s ocean-focused majors, Marine Sciences and Maritime Studies, contribute uniquely to the University; together they form the undergraduate curricular manifestation of the University’s Sea Grant responsibilities. These programs are regionally, even nationally distinctive. Out of state students who are New England residents qualify for a tuition break by an agreement through the New England Board of Higher Education that recognizes the uniqueness of these programs of study.
Minors headquartered at Avery Point include Marine Biology, Maritime Archaeology, and Oceanography. Minors that can be completed at Avery Point draw on the strength of Avery Point faculty and programs; these include American Studies, Anthropology, English, History, Marine Biology, Native American and Indigenous Studies, and Oceanography. Other minors can be started at Avery Point and finished at Storrs.
Incoming Freshmen by County: New London: 58.6%, New Haven: 14.1%, Windham: 7.9%, Middlesex: 7.2%,
Fairfield: 5.5%, Tolland: 2.4%, Litchfield: 1.7%, Hartford: 1.7%
Graduate & Professional Programs
In addition, Avery Point offers the following graduate and professional programs: Oceanography (both M.S. and Ph.D.), Masters in Engineering (MEng) Program, Certicate Entry into Nursing (CEIN/BS)and the Teacher Certification Program for College Graduates (TCPCG).
Avery Point Community
In addition to undergraduate and graduate programming, the campus is home to an excellent department, the Department of Marine Sciences, and the associated Marine Sciences and Technology Center, as well as the Connecticut Sea Grant; the Northeast Underwater Research Technology and Education Center; the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaption (CIRCA); the UConn Technology Incubation Program; and Project Oceanology.
Department of Marine Sciences
The Department of Marine Sciences offers both undergraduate (B.S.) and graduate degrees (M.S. and Ph.D.) degree programs that are characterized by an interdisciplinary foundation, high faculty-to-student ratio, and individualized plans of study and research. UConn Avery Point offers the intimacy and support of a small campus, coupled with the resources of a top-notch public university and internationally renowned scientists. The Marine Sciences faculty, staff, and students carry out cutting-edge research in coastal oceanography using cross-disciplinary approaches. The Department of Marine Sciences had 75 active research grants during FY11 valued in excess of $20 million.
Marine Sciences and Technology Center
The mission of the Marine Sciences and Technology Center (MSTC) is to support and facilitate the discovery and understanding of the coastal marine environment and the development of new tools and technologies. The MSTC is a UConn academic support center that provides expertise and infrastructure to pro-actively support UConn’s marine research, education and outreach enterprise. The MSTC carries out a wide range of support functions for UConn marine researchers and provides access to extensive research infrastructure, including multi-user equipment, specialized research facilities, electronics and mechanical shops, research vessels (including the R/V Connecticut and Weicker) and small boats, scientific diving operations, and seawater facilities.
Connecticut Sea Grant
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Sea Grant College Program is a unique partnership between the nation’s universities and its primary ocean agency, NOAA. The University of Connecticut is our State’s Sea Grant College. Connecticut Sea Grant collaborates with maritime industries and coastal communities to identify needs, and to fund research, outreach, and educational activities that have special relevance to Connecticut and Long Island Sound. Their mission is to work toward achieving healthy coastal and marine ecosystems and consequent public benefits by supporting integrated locally and nationally relevant research, outreach, and education programs in partnership with stakeholders.
Northeast Underwater Research Technology and Education Center
As its name implies, the mission of the Northeast Underwater Research Technology and Education Center (NURTEC) focuses on three key strategic elements: underwater research, technology, and education. The overarching goal of NURTEC is to maintain and enhance its undersea capacity, built by over two decades of NOAA and UConn investment, to address a wide range of research topics to better understand, sustain and conserve coastal ecosystems. A primary focus is Connecticut’s coastal ecosystems on Long Island Sound. In addition, the Center will continue to maintain and develop new partnerships in a broader geographic arena to address research and management challenges in the ocean, coasts and Great Lakes down to 1000 meters.
UConn Technology Incubation Program
Avery Point continues to partner with UConn Technology Incubation Program (TIP) in contributing to regional economic development in Southeastern Connecticut by hosting on campus several science-technology incubator companies. The campus supports TIP by providing office and lab space, which TIP aims to fill with companies that will have connections to the marine mission and orientation of the campus. In June 2012, TIP completed its long planned expansion at Avery Point. The program now offers five state of the art wet labs in the Community and Professional Building and dry lab and office space at its Marine Sciences Building.
Project O is a marine science and environmental education organization operated by a non-profit association of schools, colleges and other educational organizations. Project O offers customized science field trips for school groups (fourth grade and up, including the university level) during the school year. These field study excursions feature hands-on, minds-on marine science that supplement classroom curriculum. In addition, Project O offers scout programs, summer enrichment overnight and day camps, lighthouse expeditions, oceanographic research cruises and seal watches. In addition to Project O’s building with research laboratories, classrooms, a computer lab, a 56-bunk hostel and cafeteria, Project O has two research vessels and a fleet of small boats. Approximately 25,000 people join Project O programs over the course of a year.
Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation
The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) is a partnership between the University of Connecticut and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). The mission of CIRCA is to foster the resilience and sustainability of vulnerable communities along Connecticut’s coast and inland waterways to the growing impacts of climate change on the natural, built, and human environment. To achieve this mission the Institute pairs the world-class research and outreach capabilities of UConn with the extensive practical experience of DEEP.