Housatonic Community College serves an eleven-town area in Southwestern Connecticut, centering on the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut's largest city. A member of the Connecticut Community College system, the College was founded in 1967. In 1997, the College moved to its present site in downtown Bridgeport. In fall 2008 the College opened its new building, Beacon Hall, and added approximately 174,000 gross square feet to the College facilities housing additional classrooms, student activity and development space, computer and language labs, offices, expanded continuing education facilities, and an enlarged bookstore. This project includes a state-of-the-art renovated Performing Arts Center in Lafayette Hall. The Housatonic Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden are part of the teaching mission of the College. With nearly 4000 works in the collection, and over 1700 displayed throughout the building, the Museum offers lectures, demonstrations, and changing exhibitions in the Burt Chernow Galleries. Housatonic is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the Board of Regents for Higher Education of the State of Connecticut.
In response to community and student needs, Housatonic offers Associate Degree programs in preparation for transfer to four-year institutions, as well as occupationally oriented Associate Degree and Certificate programs. Short-term, non-credit courses, seminars and workshops, as well as targeted student services, also help satisfy community and personal enrichment needs. These programs prepare students for employment, and advancement in business, industry, health services, fine arts, theater, digital media, early childhood education, natural sciences, computer arts and information systems, and human services. The College also assists local businesses and institutions to train and update the skills of their workers.
Housatonic is a student-centered institution and is a participant in the national initiative, Achieving the Dream. The College strives to provide high quality, accessible instructional and student services within an environment of mutual respect among faculty, staff, and students. These services are provided through an open-door admissions policy, at affordable cost, in a variety of settings, and through a variety of teaching methods and approaches.
Special support services responding to student and community need include disabilities support services, career and transfer counseling, academic support and tutoring, library facilities and instruction, English as a Second Language programming, and an array of student activities, including The Women's Center.
The student body has grown and continues to grow and reflect the diversity of the service region. Changes in student ages, educational goals, racial, ethnic, social, and economic diversity are responded to with flexibility and responsible adjustment in programs and services. Outreach to the local community is part of the mission of the College. Non-credit courses, seminars, cultural events, and forums are designed to respond to specific learning needs and to stimulate community dialogue. Non-credit offerings focus on the rapidly changing nature and requirements of the workplace, as well as needs for personal enrichment.