Last week there was a survey sent around to Keene State College students via email. The purpose for the survey was “to obtain useful feedback from KSC students regarding their experiences with and their thoughts about the current Integrative Studies Program (ISP),” according to the introduction of the survey. The ISP Review Task Force was looking for students’ opinions on the program and also what students think they could do to improve the program.
I took the survey right away. I was completely honest in speaking how I felt about the program. The survey’s first couple questions dealt with in what year was the student taking the survey and then how many ISP credits the student had taken. If the student had answered any number over 0 for how many ISP courses taken, they were then asked to evaluate how effective the ISP courses they had taken were. The main focus for these questions were the ITW and IQL courses because those are the ones students usually take first.
My ITW and IQL courses were both very effective. In my ITW, Encountering Adulthood, I learned not only how to write a 10 page paper, but also learned how to think and write critically. I learned a lot about myself and others and recommend it for anyone who needs an ITW. My IQL, Baseball Through the Years, was also effective as it incorporated my love for baseball and the analysis of statistics. These courses were effective for me as I will be able to use what I obtained from these courses for the rest of my life.
After finding out how effective ISP courses are the survey then asked if students understand the program itself. With the program there are many requirements. As a first-year it may be hard to understand and my guess is that is what the task force is evaluating; what students, if any, are having trouble grasping the requirements of the program.
With the program students must take courses in different areas: ITW, IQL, Humanities (IH), Fine and Performing Arts (IA), Natural Science (IN), Social Science (IS), and Interdisciplinary (II). ITW and IQL are classes that students only have to take one course in each. Students must take two IH courses, one IA course, and then an additional IA or IH. For the program students also need two courses each in an IN and IS discipline. If the student thinks they are done, not quite. The last requirement is that they must complete two upper-level courses. They can take courses in any of the areas, however it must be a 300- or 400-level.
Those are the requirements that each student must have in order to graduate from Keene State. Those requirements account for 48 credits. Once you declare a major there are also requirements for that major. I am a double major. Because I am an education major I must double major in another area. ISP courses are credits that the task force is hoping will help students in their future. What I wrote in my survey was that I felt the requirements other than ITW and IQL were unnecessary. As a student I am paying to go to college. I know what I want to do with my future, and I know what classes I have to take in order to better myself. Both my ITW course and my IQL have helped me greatly, as for the other areas (IH, IA, IN, IS, and II), I think the course load is too much.
As a double major, I don’t really have room for error in my scheduling if I want to graduate in four years. Trying to plan not only my education courses and my other major requirements, I have to also take into account the ISP courses. I planned my schedule out with my advisor my freshman year and so far it looks as though I will graduate on time. Another question the survey asked was whether there was someone who helped you understand the program. For me it was a little of both; I understood it and brought my schedule to my advisor and she looked it over.
I hope other students took this survey and responded regarding how they feel about the Integrative Studies Program. I basically said that if a student is unsure about what they want to do as a major, taking courses like ISPs are beneficial because they are taking classes in all areas. However, as someone who knows what I want to do I think the ISP courses are unnecessary.
Ellissa Coburn can be contacted at