All of us here chose Keene State for a reason. Maybe it was for a certain program, athletics, or maybe even proximity to home.
Whatever the reason may be, we were all brought here together for a reason.
College is a tricky time because we are told we need to figure out what we want to do for the rest of our lives, even if we’re not entirely sure what that is.
Some of us, though, are lucky enough to find majors we feel at home in.
The Equinox recently reported that the Nursing Program has been awaiting approval from the New Hampshire Board of Nursing (BON) since 2011.
The article stated that the program will remain on probation until February of 2017.
What’s the issue here? The article goes on to state, “According to New Hampshire National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX) Reports, in 2013 Keene State College had 77.78 percent of graduates pass the first time. In 2014, only 48.28 percent of graduates passed the state exam the first time. [KSC Director of Nursing Thomas] Connelly said this past spring the percentages increased to 63 percent, and that the goal is to reach the state and national average of 85 percent.”
If the national average is 85 percent, why aren’t we there yet?
This is not the only major on campus that has been facing issues when it comes to meeting the standards.
Education is also a big one. Elementary Education majors recently received an e-mail informing them that they would be released from their student teaching placements on April first, to attend a mandatory Praxis II preparation day.
The e-mail stated, “We want to note that your Praxis II scores do NOT tell us what terrific students you have been nor what excellent teachers you will be. We know that you have received an outstanding education, with caring supervision, careful mentoring and well-planned development of your foundational knowledge.”
Clearly KSC education majors have struggled to pass this test. Again, we want to ask the question why?
The answer could be any variety of things, none of which we are entirely sure.
We can only ask questions.
Why are so many education majors failing these major exams? Is something wrong with the exam itself?
Are they underprepared?
Is it a shortage of education professors?
Are there cut-backs involved?
Perhaps one answer could be the size of the student body. Next year, residential halls Randall, Monadnock, Owls Nest 6 and Owls 7 will all be closing down with the opening of Keene State’s new living, learning community.
Traditionally, KSC admits a large first-year class, which is normally a good thing financially speaking.
But a growing concern has been whether the college is able to maintain enough resources for a student body of this size.
With fewer students comes smaller class sizes, a better professor-to-student ratio, more accessibility to student resources and overall better behavior campus-wide.
This could certainly be playing a role in why some students appear to be struggling within their majors.
As Keene State College students, The Equinox takes pride in our education, and we want the academic reputation at this school to remain a strong one.
When news comes up about future educators and future nurses having difficulty getting through their majors, we want to ask why and get the conversation started.
In fact, we would like to keep this conversation going until the answers satisfy the investment we make in our education.
Nursing and education majors are not alone in their struggle.
The notion that students in many majors across the board often feel unprepared upon graduation is relevant to many. The college certainly offers resources to help us, could the issue be with the student?
Again, these are questions we don’t necessarily have answers to, but are seeking to find.
Of course each individual student has a different experience during their time at this school.
Some take advantage of all the opportunities that come their way while others might need more guidance or might not have the same kind of motivation.
The matter of the fact is that all students, regardless of their major, should feel a sense of confidence in their ability to succeed in their field.
The college needs to constantly seek more ways to better prepare its students.
By the same token, students need to make the most out of their education and strive to be the best students they can possibly become. With a combined effort, it is possible for us to see changes in our school and its success rate.