Soren Frantz / senior photographer

Matt Goselin

Equinox Staff

On Thursday, Feb. 7, an open forum was held in the Science Center to gain feedback for the current preliminary draft of the New England Commission of Higher Education [NECHE] self study that is being written.

In an email sent by the committee co-chairs Diane Duffy and Patrick Dolenc, the self study is described as follows: “The document must be no longer than 100 pages of narrative that tells the ‘story’ of Keene State College and asks that we make ‘projections’ for our future… The goal of the Self-Study process is to generate continuous improvement while being accurate, transparent and inclusive.”

The self study document happens every ten years to “basically give the college a grade on how we’re doing,” Duffy said.

Once the document is written, NECHE will send a site team that has read the document on campus to spend two and a half days talking to people and gathering more information so that they can relay recommendations back to NECHE.

Since the last survey written in 2010, NECHE told Keene State that there were four things that they were particularly interested in seeing in the 2020 self survey. According to Dolenc, 1) is how the nursing program is doing after getting off to a rough start. 2) They want to know what’s going on with strategic planning, specifically where is the institution headed in specific concrete ways and why? 3) How well is the college assessing the college wide learning outcomes created in 2015? 4)The last thing NECHE is interested in is student retention.

According to NECHE Campus Liaison Officer Kimberly Schmidl-Gagne, “Across the board in New England, NECHE is asking for more information about college’s financial statuses. They want more ‘weeds’ from everybody’s financials.”

Inside the 100 page self-survey are nine different standards that have to be met. During Thursday’s open forum, the group went over standards one, two, and seven.

Standard one includes the mission and purposes of the college. “The mission is a collective goal for what we strive for,” Duffy said. The mission is the centerpiece for all nine standards, with every standard following the mission and showing how each standard relates to the mission.

The second standard is evaluation and planning. The 2020 NECHE self study said,  “Keene State College’s planning and evaluation processes are tied to the college’s mission, values, and strategic planning priorities.”

The last standard discussed in the forum on Thursday was the seventh. This standard concerns institutional resources and it requires that the college takes account for all of its resources in three categories: Human resources, financial resources and information/physical/technological resources.

The 2020 NECHE self study is still in draft form and is still making improvements and corrections. The NECHE steering committee is looking for community feedback on the current draft. The current draft is up for all students, faculty, and staff to see and feedback can be given using their online feedback form or by attending one of the next open forum meetings. The next open forum meeting will be held Feb. 14 from 2-4 p.m in room 101 in the Science Center.

Matt Goselin can be contacted at

mgoselin@kscequinox.com