Open forum being held for students to use their voice

Some big changes might be heading towards Keene State College, and if so, it will definitely affect students.

These potential changes will be made in regard to the academic system at KSC. The college’s current system has three schools, one of Arts and Humanities, another of Sciences and Social Sciences and one for the Professional and Graduate studies, with over 40 academic programs within all three schools.

A committee has been looking at ways to make Keene State as effective as possible for students to prosper and learn. They are tasked with coming up with potentially three different academic models for the college and its students to adapt to.

Crae messer / managing executive editor

Crae messer / managing executive editor

Because this concerns students, an open forum for their input will be held on Friday, Feb. 10, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Atrium Conference Room of the student center. All students are welcome to attend to ask questions and give suggestions.

Professor Greg Knouff is the head of the committee. In an e-mail, he stated that this forum is important for students to attend so that the committee can have a better grasp of what it is they should be leaning toward as possible models. “This is an important opportunity for students to articulate their concerns with how the academic structure of the college facilitates their educations. It is important for students to tell us what they value about their education, ISP classes [and] majors. If there are elements of the current structure that they value, this would be the ideal forum to make this clear as we consider possible changes,” he stated.

Others on campus were asked for input as well, including each academic department and faculty members on campus. Knouff stated that while every perspective on campus is important, the student one will be taken with high value. “We will discuss and analyze student input and look for patterns in the students’ perspectives. We will use this feedback in the formulation of any new models and integrate it into our report meeting of the committee’s charge of evaluating the current structure of academic affairs,” he stated.

Dean of the Mason Library and committee member Celia Rabinowitz stated in an e-mail she hopes students will come to the forum and speak up since she believes students should be included in the conversation on what the future of their college looks like.

“Some students might not think that what schools we have, or whether we have any, or how many deans we have are things which really affect them, but changes in organization can lead to new opportunities for other kinds of changes and so I would encourage students to learn about how the college and their own particular programs are organized and about the conversations we are having about ways the organizational structure could change,” she stated.

She stated whatever possible changes do occur, it could absolutely have an impact on students. “Even though changing the structure of the schools might leave all the departments the same, there might be new ways that faculty in departments could work together, or it might be easier for some faculty or departments to work together.

Changing the way the deans work could open up their time so that they can put more energy into looking for funding for projects or making connections with the community and those things could present new opportunities for students,” she stated.

She continued, “We might also be able to streamline some work that is done, which might reduce the workload on some staff or some faculty and that might give them more time to work with students.  We are still talking about possibilities, so it’s a little hard to be specific.”

KSC sophomore Cece Miceli said she agrees with the committee’s position on getting a student perspective. “Whatever happens will of course affect students,” she said, “and I personally wouldn’t be able to support something I didn’t think had my voice in it.”

Miceli said for herself, she likes the idea of a more interdisciplinary approach in regards to academics. “You can’t pigeonhole someone in and say, ‘Well you’re an art major, so you can’t be interested in politics,’” she said.  She said that’s why as a transfer student from taking online classes at the Southern New Hampshire University, she enjoys KSC’s educational outlook.

“I’m taking a women’s and gender studies course, as well as an ethics one and there’s a lot of overlap, and I really like that because it makes things interesting,” she said. Miceli said education is what one makes of it for themselves. She said, “You have to try to acquire as much knowledge about yourself as you can and your education should be an opening to that self-awareness.”

Dorothy England can be contacted at dengland@kscequinox.com 

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