Student enrollment is a major issue that Keene State College is facing, and Interim President of KSC Dr. Melinda Treadwell recently answered questions regarding the issue, as well as many more.
At an event called “Mingling with Melinda” on Wednesday, Nov. 15, Treadwell said herself and others are currently working on strategies with other faculty members on how to not only maintain the students who are already here, but also bring in more students in future years. Treadwell said next year’s class of incoming first year students will be smaller than the current class of seniors that will graduate in May, but it will not decrease the opportunity cost. “The smaller entering class could help us close the gap between revenue and expenses,” Treadwell said.
One point that Treadwell emphasized was just because the enrollment number goes down does not mean the tuition has to rise by a significant amount. “We want to look at the total cost and make sure we are affordable. There will be no more than a 2.5 percent increase in tuition next year. We want to make students feel like they can afford to stay, and by raising tuition too high, then we will alienate many students.”
Treadwell said she hopes to begin having conversations surrounding strategies to bring transfer students to KSC. Treadwell said she is hoping to change the process so it recognizes an associate’s degree and helps transfer students graduate on time. One community Treadwell said she hopes KSC will be able to connect with is Nashua Community College (NCC).
Food services on campus was another topic Treadwell spoke about when asked about food-related issues, such as no sizzlers on Fridays, Lloyd’s Marketplace having different hours than they previously did and some food items no longer being available. Treadwell said she is hoping to continue discussing specifics regarding food service-related strategies. “We are trying to do price reductions, but one thing we are not willing to do is lower the quality of our food. The dining is one thing that defines us.”
As a KSC graduate herself, Treadwell also received several questions about her own time here at the college. Treadwell said one thing she remembers the most about her time at KSC was how the faculty helped her to open up intellectually. Treadwell said that is one of the reasons she returned to KSC when she was offered the opportunity to come back as interim president. “KSC is in my blood. It always has been for me since I was 18. The staff and faculty have always been there for me. What brings me back to KSC is my passion for the school at a time while we are having budget problems.”
Senior Nick Iannetti attended the event and said having her as our president will improve KSC. “Having her is a great step forward. I think she will be a great asset to KSC.”
Treadwell said there are several ways she is trying to reach out to the community to hear any concerns or suggestions they may have. Treadwell began hosting a new radio show on WKNH, which is KSC’s radio station. Treadwell also said she encourages students to feel free to come up to her if they see her around campus and talk to her about anything.
Student Body Vice President Sarah Dugas said before the event, she worried students would not ask questions. However, she said she was happy with both the number of students who asked questions and the number who attended, which was about 50 people.
Student Body President Kenadee Cadieux said she feels as though it is important to have Treadwell answer students’ questions. “The purpose of this event was to give student government and President Treadwell the opportunity to address the student body in a more open way.
The hope was to allow students to ask any questions that they may have and get them some answers,” said Cadieux. Student Government has an Events Committee that plans events and we felt as though it would be important to have Treadwell address the student body.”
Dugas said having the conversation in the Mabel Brown Room of the L.P. Young Student Center in front of about 50 people made it so she was on grounds of a student level.
“It is important for students to understand decisions that she makes and why. We hope that we get the chance to do it once a semester as a check-in. Both students and faculty should have an open forum for plans and decisions. Communication is key and she understands that,” Dugas said.
Colby Dudal can be contacted at email@example.com