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A Strategic Plan for Keene State College, 2005-09

PDF format   A Strategic Plan for Keene State College, 2007-11 (Working Draft)

A Vision of Excellence . . .

Keene State College is New Hampshire's public liberal arts college, a distinction we embrace and celebrate. Since its founding in 1909, this institution has grown, matured, and undertaken new challenges in its evolution from normal school to teachers college to an institution serving the diverse needs of this state and region. Now, another transformation must occur - the dynamic progression to a new level of academic excellence, and the pursuit of the great promise this institution holds. It is our responsibility, together as a community, to lift Keene State to prominence as a seat of learning, an outstanding center of the liberal arts and sciences, and an institution that prepares its students for lives and work rich with meaning.

This transformation will be grounded in the College's commitment to providing predominately undergraduate programs in a residential campus environment; the curricula and pedagogy of liberal education; and our high quality and accessible academic programs in arts, humanities, sciences, teacher education, and other professional studies.

. . . and a Plan to Achieve It

Our strategic plan will assure college-wide consensus on priorities that we all will seek to reach so that Keene State College may attain its vision of excellence.

In fall 2005, President Helen Giles-Gee engaged the campus in discussions of College priorities. These conversations were held in every administrative division and with the faculty, student leaders, and concerned alumni. Each of these constituencies was asked to consider three questions: What do you believe to be the five most important priorities for Keene State College? What do you believe to be the most important core values of the College community? And, what should the College look like in 2009 - the one-hundredth anniversary of the founding of Keene Normal School?

Five strategic goals and five core values emerged from these discussions. Clearly evident is that members of the Keene State College community share a commitment to the transformation of its academic programs and the quality of academic life on campus. This consensus reflects a strong sense of community and a commitment to the work of teaching and learning across disciplines and schools, a commitment shared by faculty, staff, and students. It also reflects the spirit and purpose articulated in Our Plan, the strategic road map that grew out of the campus-wide Speak Out in the 1990s.

Our vision is clear

Keene State College will become a center of academic excellence - an academic community where people feel respected and valued. The College will offer strong curricula and co-curricula that excite, challenge, and engage the campus community in the issues of Keene State, the community, and the world.

Our goals are ambitious

In order of priority, they are:

  1. To significantly enhance and become recognized for the quality of our academic programs and the academic achievements of our faculty and students.
    Three very important curricular initiatives, the move to a four-credit curriculum, the new general education program, and the service-learning initiative, will support this goal; the faculty is already fully engaged in these efforts.
  2. To clearly and continuously communicate our mission and values in all that we undertake, and to foster a strong sense of community on campus in pursuit of academic excellence.
    Recent campus discussions on priorities and values have demonstrated the College's commitment to strategic initiatives that support Keene State College's mission and reflect its values.
  3. To invest in faculty and staff so they can provide leadership for the College's transformation.
    People will always be the College's most important resource, and professional development opportunities are critical if the College is to be successful. Current efforts to create a human resources master plan will support this strategic goal.
  4. To actively engage our students in a learning process that is grounded in service, citizenship, and ethical awareness.
    Active learning is the pedagogy of liberal education, and service is a core value of this institution. The College's service-learning initiative is already building the connections between the curriculum and the community.
  5. To provide high-quality academic programs that are affordable and accessible to a wide range of learners.
    The "public" in "public liberal arts" remains central to all discussions of Keene State's future. Founded to serve the citizens of New Hampshire, KSC offers access to higher education to many who could otherwise never consider such a step. The College remains committed to meeting the financial need of all qualified New Hampshire students who apply on time.

Our core values are strong
  • Excellence in teaching, learning, and scholarship.
  • Service to the community and civic engagement that support active learning and the common good.
  • A strong sense of community on campus.
  • Diversity on our campus and in our curricula.
  • Civility and respect for diverse viewpoints and contributions to campus life.

A map to achievement

Our plan must be clear, realistic, and embraced by College constituencies. It will not be an outline of empty words and hollow promises. In a collaborative process during the 2005 fall semester, the campus community identified principles to guide our planning process to assure that it is continuous, inclusive, transparent, supportive of shared governance, and linked directly to the budget. Within a clearly defined process, these principles will strengthen our College by involving all of us in developing the plan.

By the end of the 2005-06 academic year, Keene State College will have developed a process to review its strategic plan within a biennial timeframe compatible with the College's budget cycle. The plan will live visibly on our website, in Presidential communications, and in working sessions representing all members of the KSC community. We will publicly note both our progress and any strategies that require revision.

Over time, we will celebrate as a College community that has collectively taken the bold and deliberate steps necessary to achieve our vision of academic and civic excellence.

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