On Friday, Feb. 8, President Melinda Treadwell gave a presentation on the state of the college to the Keene State College community. Treadwell covered a variety of topics and issues pertaining to how the College will be operating not only this semester, but in upcoming fiscal years.
One issue discussed within the presentation was the importance of creating a sense of community for students within Keene. Treadwell is working alongside city officials to facilitate ways to make students feel more invited and included in their city. Along with this, the issue of discrimination against marginalized groups in Keene was also something Treadwell stressed.
“When they [marginalized students] left our campus, they were victimized on the streets of Keene in individual instances or group instances,” Treadwell said. “As a public liberal arts institution, we need to stand up and respect diversity in all its forms. The world is changing around us and we need to be ready to confront our own bias that is sometimes hidden.”
Treadwell also addressed that many of these instances of discrimination reportedly occur at the Walmart in Keene. She is working with the Keene Police Department and campus safety to try and resolve the problem.
The College’s six learning outcomes and their importance were discussed. The six college-wide learning outcomes include critical thinking, creative inquiry, intercultural competence, civic engagement, commitment to well-being and sustainability. There is concern that these outcomes are not always being met and that more importance should be placed on them.
“These define Keene State. This is what we say we value,” Treadwell said. “How can we point to our students and say they develop experiences that fill these learning outcomes during their time here?”
It was also stressed that while KSC will be making progressive changes in coming years, the institution will not be changing holistically. ‘Honoring our identity’ was an important point made, but that areas of the school that are not thriving or could be improved will see those changes. This may include investing in interdisciplinary faculty positions, investing in market research to know what students are interested in and working with community colleges to help make education more accessible.
A large problem KSC is facing at the moment is student retention. The school is currently at a ten-year low at retaining students from first year to graduation, with retention rates in the low seventies.
Other topics covered included the success of the Steinway initiative and the 100 percent employment rate of KSC’s music students upon graduation, admission being up by 21 percent and working on updating faculty and staff job descriptions. Renovating Monadnock Hall in the future to create a business hub for KSC was also discussed. Treadwell is hopeful that KSC will be able to work with other USNH institutions to collaborate effectively, without creating redundant programs that result in the colleges competing for students. Treadwell also explored the idea of doing annual or biannual reviews of how programs are doing and how they are meeting demands.
These state of the college presentations will be given monthly in the Redfern’s main theatre. There is also a Q&A session after Treadwell’s presentation. Anyone is welcome to attend.
Rachel Vitello can be contacted at