|THE KEENE STATE COLLEGE MAGAZINE FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS||VOLUME XXII NUMBER 3 FALL 2007|
It has become almost cliché on our campus to say that the 2006-07 academic year was "transformational." The thing is, it was! So, as we bring closure to one year and lay out plans for the next, I've taken this opportunity to reflect on my first year as the first provost at Keene State College.
Part of the attraction of the position was the campus's commitment to curricular change, to a new leadership model, and to a renewed commitment to academic excellence. I have not been disappointed. Challenged? Yes. Busy? Overwhelmingly so. But then, so has everyone around here. This has been an extraordinary year at the College, and I have been honored to be a part of it.
Last fall, we established a timetable for change that was clearly ambitious and, by many accounts, unrealistic. Yet, our community came together to put curriculum in place for our new four-credit program and the Integrative Studies program. While the faculty developed the curriculum, staff worked to build the infrastructure that will support our transformation. New administrative systems are in place. We've developed new ways to disseminate information. We have new tools for advising. We've adopted new policies and practices.
We've accomplished so much more: our first learning communities, an all-college honors program, new partnerships with our sister USNH institutions, implementation of new scheduling software, plans for e-portfolio. We have brought back our New Student Convocation for the first time in 16 years. We're reaching out to our alumni in new ways to integrate our graduates more effectively into our academic community.
What excites me the most about all of this change? The sense of community it has fostered on our campus. In Academic Affairs, our partnerships with Student Affairs and Finance and Planning are strong. Learning communities would not have happened without the leadership of Student Affairs. Our new residence halls are designed specifically to facilitate student learning, just like our new Media Arts Center.
Over the next year, we'll begin to see the full impact of these changes. we'll be looking at student learning and student engagement to make sure the new curriculum and infrastructure have positive benefits.
As I reflect on the past year, I think about how lucky I am to have been a part of a campus-wide commitment to sweeping positive change – a commitment rare in higher education. I think more about how lucky our students are to become part of a vibrant and forward-thinking community focused on their academic success – a goal that is embraced in every corner of Keene State College.
Mel Netzhammer, Keene State's new provost and vice president for academic affairs, negotiated his first year on the job at warp speed. Recent sightings indicate he is still on his feet, still smiling.