The Academic Plan

A Commitment to Academic Excellence and Student Achievement

The Keene State College Academic Plan (PDF)  — 2009-2014 (approved 10-6-09)

Executive Summary (PDF)

This academic plan outlines the multi-dimensional efforts of Keene State College and the Division of Academic Affairs to achieve academic excellence. It comes at a time in history when it will not be enough for educational institutions to be known for the physical attributes of their campus or community, or the measures of the many inputs that historically have equated with status in the educational pecking order. Our stakeholders—students, parent, community, system and legislators—are demanding evidence of real educational outcomes, which are captured best in one overarching College strategic goal—achieving academic excellence. The institutions that rise to this new challenge will succeed and prosper, while those that do not will languish. While the Division of Academic Affairs at Keene State College has primary responsibility for meeting this challenge, our success will depend on the creative energies and hard work of the entire College community.

This plan has been developed, as it must be, in the context of our College strategic goals. While there are five strategic goals in all, there is really only one goal—To significantly enhance and become recognized for the quality of our academic programs and the academic achievements of our students—and four goals that provide a roadmap for how to achieve the first overarching goal. This Academic Plan is not a long listing of specific, often relatively minor, action steps, responsible parties and timelines crafted with a check-list of success mind set. Nor is it a short list of two or three priorities that ignore or delay many which need urgent attention.

Instead, the Academic Plan, built on the foundation of the Keene State College Strategic Plan, is a call to action of the entire College community. In this plan we ask important questions, highlight important work in progress, and point out critical needs for innovation and continued improvement and refinement. One of the Fundamental Questions framed in regard to Strategic Goal 2: Communication and Community is “How do we reaffirm that the pursuit of academic excellence is the driving motivator for all units across the campus community?” That is the key question. As you read this document we hope you will be come to agree with the community of authors that we are in the midst of a transformation of the academic culture and reputation of the College. We are at a tipping point. Now is the time for all members of the College community to apply their energies and imagination to the work that ultimately achieves academic excellence.

When Keene State College does its work well, it draws the College and larger community into discussions like those characteristic of New England Town Hall meetings. Collaboration and open communication mark the conversations that have helped to move the College into its significant transformative moment. As we harness transitions that are now well underway, it will be best to continue to employ the practices of a collaborative community to create an even stronger College. As the Academic Plan delineates the details of the pursuit of academic excellence at this public liberal arts college, it defines our mission in the promotion of academic excellence as demonstrated by a commitment to diversity and multiculturalism and to opportunities that help students become responsible global citizens. We are convinced that the integrity of both process and principles will help us to achieve our goals.

We intend that this Academic Plan will capture in its 22 pages the richness and complexity of the challenges and the excitement of the opportunities facing every member of this college community. We hope that as members of our community develop new ideas for improving the College, this plan will become both an inspiration and a central framework for their thinking and for our dialogue. This is a living document, so let the dialog begin.

Highlights of the Plan:

Improve academic quality through ongoing curriculum development, implementation of new pedagogies, commitment to outcomes based learning, continued integration of technology, support for undergraduate research and creative work and a commitment to diversity and multiculturalism that will prepare students for a life and career rich in meaning.

Communicate mission and values and build community through leadership development, team building, and presentation of our work and achievements in local, regional and national venues with a goal of becoming a national exemplar.

Invest in faculty and staff by exploring the balance among faculty teaching, scholarship and service and providing what is necessary to advance these efforts; support teaching and learning through the Center for Engagement, Learning and Teaching and appropriate professional development opportunities; clearly define the role of professional and operating staff in the educational process and provide support and training to promote this role.

Promote learning that leads to engaged citizenship by supporting student learning using curricular and co-curricular activities that engage students in their own learning, increasing opportunities and support for national and international experiences, service learning and other experiential learning.

Promote access and affordability by attracting and retaining promising students, improving services to students with disabilities, partnering to identify and garner new resources and contributing to the economic development of our region and state through outreach and partnerships consistent with our mission and resources.

This list of highlights is intended to provide a sense of the challenges, opportunities and work in progress that are explored in greater detail in the body of the Academic Plan. The status of the various goals and regular updates can be found on the Academic Affairs web site.

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