Standard 6: Student Services
Student Services are provided from departments within three administrative divisions of the College: programs that relate to Standard Six include Financial Services, (Division of Finance and Planning); Academic and Career Counseling (Division of Academic Affairs) and the traditionally student focused offices found within the Division of Student Affairs. During 1998, the Division of Student Affairs re-defined its mission as: "Creating a healthy and supportive environment for student success." The statement continues: "Within the context of the College community, the offices of the Student Affairs Division strive to enhance student development by providing appropriate services, encouraging participation, ensuring student rights, and promoting student responsibility."
In recent years, we have devoted significant attention and resources to creating a healthy and supportive environment and promoting student responsibility. Alcohol abuse and other high-risk behaviors have become common among our student body, as is the case on many other campuses. The College's strong commitment to curbing alcohol abuse led to the creation of the Special Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs. This office has secured grants, conducted assessment, developed an alcohol education course, and established expectations for athletes and Greek members to take the basic alcohol education course. Results of the CORE survey help us track the interventions that seem to be most promising. Alcohol use and high-risk behaviors are now discussed with both parents and new students during summer orientation. The Student Handbook defines College policies on alcohol and drug abuse, details consequences of violating these policies, and informs students how and where to seek help on campus. In fall 2000, one-third of the entering class was pre-enrolled in an alcohol education course, and we anticipate positive results from this strategy.
Because of the nationally established relationship between alcohol abuse and Greek membership and due to a number of behavioral concerns, the College conducted an assessment of fraternities and sororities in 1995-1997. The assessment team included representation from several of these organizations, the Special Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs, and the Vice President for Student Affairs. The resulting document clarified expectations, stipulated consequences for violations, fortified the role of advisors to fraternities and sororities, and modified processes to make it easier for their parties to be held on campus where conditions could be more carefully controlled. While we cannot claim to have solved problems arising from high-risk behavior, we have established clear and fair procedures for managing it, and have demonstrated the value we place on encouraging students to conduct themselves responsibly.
During the past four years, the College has emphasized integrating student support initiatives from the Division of Finance and Planning, the Division of Academic Affairs, and the traditionally student focused offices found within the Division of Student Affairs, recognizing that students do not define their needs along divisional boundaries. KSC recognizes the value of sharing student services information, resources, and assessment outcomes across departments and divisions.
Student service programs are guided by four statements which emphasize the importance we place on collaboration and on having staff function as educators: the newly established College mission statement, "Our Plan," the statement on "Student Rights and Responsibilities," and the Student Affairs mission statement. The College's mission states that we value service to the community, and devote time and attention to mentoring students. "Our Plan" states, "the College integrates academic life and student life so that they mutually support the success of Keene State students." The statement on "Rights and Responsibilities," finalized in May 1998, emphasizes "achieving intellectual and personal growth." It outlines both the rights and responsibilities students should honor to maximize their college experience. The rights outlined in the document translate into student services and programs that the College is obligated to provide including:
The Division of Student Affairs includes eighty full-time staff, organized into eleven departments, each under the supervision of a director. To meet the non-academic needs of its students, the College provides services and programs as outlined below. Programs within the Division are expected to be developmentally based, effective, and designed to draw upon and enhance student involvement.
The Student Development Office, headed by an Associate Dean for Student Affairs, coordinates the leave and withdrawal process, manages the College judicial system, and has overseen services for students with disabilities. This office deals with all constituencies on campus, with a primary focus on student issues. As one of two Associate Deans reporting to the Vice President for Student Affairs, this Associate Dean assumes significant administrative responsibilities including membership on appropriate committees and a role on the Student Affairs "Resource Team" which provides direct assistance to the Vice President. The specific functions of the office and the Associate Dean run the full range of administrative and problem-solving tasks, chiefly assisting students directly, referring them to other appropriate offices, or working with them to navigate the complexities of the administrative and academic system.
Student Development Office functions relate to a number of the accreditation standards for student services. The office ensures that "appropriate services and facilities are readily accessible to students" and it assists them in the resolution of problems. The Associate Dean serves as the primary officer for Americans with Disabilities Act grievances and has facilitated the publication of grievance procedures in the Student Handbook and elsewhere. The Student Development Office also plays a significant role in maintaining student records and assuring their confidentiality as well as compliance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The office does not utilize specific assessment tools or questionnaires but relies on a qualitative assessment of its effectiveness, receiving immediate and direct feedback on nearly every situation encountered from all constituencies.
The Community Service Program provides comprehensive, broad-based community service opportunities to individual students, groups and classes through volunteer activities throughout the Monadnock area as well as other parts of the US. The program also coordinates the Student Volunteer Organization, Habitat for Humanity's campus chapter, and Alternative Spring Break. These programs encourage students to participate and explore issues of community concern and develop the confidence that they can make a difference both in academic and co-curricular volunteer activities. Last year the program worked with 1,600 volunteers who contributed 13,000 hours of volunteer service. The program has won numerous awards including: Make a Difference Day Award 1999 (One of four awarded in the state - only college to receive this); Habitat for Humanity International; recognized for having the 8th largest group of participants in Collegiate Challenge (1999); Northeast Fundraising Award (1998)); Wal-Mart Award for Citizenship (1999); NH Governor's Award for Excellence (1998). The program addresses the College's mission by demonstrating "a mature commitment to learning and …service to the community" and the Student Affairs mission statement by enhancing "student development … encouraging participation …[and] promoting student responsibility." Assessment strategies include reflection activities, pre and post evaluations, and evaluation meetings. Student participants' comments gathered from such activities and written surveys have been positive.
The Office of Residential Life and Dining Services provides an environment that supports students' academic and personal growth. Offering a wide variety of living accommodations within seven residential areas, the program is able to attend to the housing and dining needs of both traditional and non-traditional students. There are currently 1,960 residential spaces with an occupancy rate of 95%, and 2,398 students participating in the meal plan. A highly trained student and professional staff assists students as they work through academic, social and personal issues. All seven Residence Directors have a master's degree in student affairs and are supervised by two Associate Directors and one of the Associate Deans for Student Affairs. The staff provides programs designed to enhance and support classroom learning and also works with students to create a living environment characterized by mutual respect, tolerance and openness to diversity. The Residential Life Office places a high value on student involvement. For example, students hold over 90% of the jobs in the department, ranging from sixty-five Resident Assistants and sixty night attendants to conference workers, office assistants and maintenance mechanics. This work experience helps students pay their way through college, and provides mentors and role models.
The Office of Residential Life and Dining Services gathers comprehensive feedback every fall through our Community Development survey. Areas of operation that need further review are examined more frequently and in greater depth, enabling the program to avoid major problems and maintain a high satisfaction level amongst the residents. Examples of responsiveness to student feedback include changing the way hall activity fees are collected, modifying the meal plans to add "flex" options, putting cable and Internet access in all resident rooms, developing the RA College training program, and creating a computerized judicial network. A second survey is conducted during April that asks key questions of students who plan to return to residential living in the upcoming year. The results are used to guide planning and policy development.
The position of Special Interest Housing Coordinator supports over four hundred smoke-free spaces, about forty of them alcohol-free, and nearly seventy spaces in quiet study floors. Two living-learning programs are currently available. The program for education majors will house approximately 115 students in fall 2000. The newly named Ruth and Mac Keddy House at 331 Main Street houses thirty-six students who are interested in the environment. These two thematic living arrangements foster connections among students as they share with and learn from one another.
The Department of Campus Safety, with a budget of $600,000, works closely with Residential Life to promote a secure environment while respecting the rights and dignity of all persons utilizing the College's programs and facilities. It provides round the clock safety services including a security escort, security of persons and property, emergency response, disaster planning, education and training, consultation, leadership, policy enforcement, vehicular and pedestrian safety, and information documentation and dissemination. Its staff consists of twenty-three part- and full-time members and thirty-five student staff during the academic year.
The Office of Multicultural Programs (replaced in 1999-2000 by the Campus Commission on the Status of Diversity and Multiculturalism) addresses issues related to culture, class, ethnicity, age, gender, differing physical and learning disabilities, race, religion and sexual orientation, acting as a catalyst to explore these topics in a supportive learning environment. Responsible to the Vice Presidents for Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, the multicultural programs have tended to be primarily academic and intellectual in nature. To help broaden the scope of the programs, the office has recently worked closely with the Student Center programming staff, has granted money to student groups for events and activities, and has supported the establishment of the student-based Human Relations Club. During the six years of its existence, the reassigned time and budget available to the Multicultural Office were reduced somewhat, yet only last year did it expend nearly all of its budget. Staff and faculty involved applied a combination of energy and frugality to achieve what they did with dollars to spare. Assessment strategies used by this office include recording attendance at events and archiving its activities. In the past year, the person responsible for producing each main event returned an assessment form evaluating events and their effectiveness, admittedly from the subjective viewpoint of the producer. The newly structured Commission reports to the Vice Presidents for Academic Affairs and for Student Affairs, who have mandated that it effectively assess its activities.
Formation of the Elliot Center, combining Academic Advising and Career Services, Aspire, and the registrar was described in Standard Two. Academic Advising has been described in Standard Four. The newly combined Academic and Career Advising service is staffed by three full-time professional and technical staff, two full-time operating staff: one full-time ancillary staff (half hourly, half grant funded from Student Financial Services for part-time job development,) two half-time ancillary staff, and two half-time graduate students. In its Career Advising functions, the Elliot Center assists students in exploring internships, part-time, summer and postgraduate employment as well as graduate school opportunities, and maintains an up-to-date Career Resource Library. A wide range of current occupational information is available in both electronic and print formats. Along with paper-and-pencil assessment instruments, computerized career planning software provides individual assessment and up-to-date career information. In addition, students have access to job listings, employer directories, the New Hampshire College and University Council's Job Fair, and searchable databases of employment opportunities. Information about graduate and professional schools, the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and other exam bulletins are also available. Graduate students are advised through the Teacher Education and Graduate Studies Office.
During the 1999-2000 fiscal year, the $830,000 budget for the Elliot Center included the budgets from Academic Advising, Career Services, Cooperative Education, the registrar, the Instructional Innovation Center and grants. The Aspire and Upward Bound budgets will be under the same umbrella next year though they will still maintain separate budget lines. Priorities for the coming year are: marketing the Elliot Center to the greater campus, career development, and cross-training among the newly combined offices. Internal assessment of the Elliot Center consists mostly of activity counts-how many people show up with what sort of issues, and occasional focus groups. The external assessment is not strictly about the Elliot Center but also about how the College functions where the Elliot Center has an important role. Most of these are occasional, though some will become more regular-e.g. number of adds and drops (collected by course and department for the first time), add/drop survey, number of withdrawals, number of students using the forgiveness policy, and new starts. The general strategy has been to begin collecting data that directly bear on important policy issues that are under discussion.
Aspire is a federally funded equal opportunity TRIO program which supports low income, first generation college students and those with documented disabilities. These historically underrepresented students constitute approximately half of our undergraduates. Students receive a needs assessment with an Aspire staff member to identify appropriate services, which may include learning strategies workshops, individualized academic support, educational counseling, tutoring in academic courses, accommodations based upon a documented disability, and academic and career advisement. Aspire employs a variety of assessment mechanisms and reports yearly on progress toward accomplishing its stated outcomes: retention and graduation of students served. Contacts with participants are entered in the program database throughout each semester, and grouped by nature of contact. Measurable student outcomes (grade point average, retention and graduation statistics) are entered in the database at the end of each academic year.
The Student Financial Services Office organizes and coordinates all federal, state, private, and institutional financial aid programs, including loans, grants, scholarships, and work study programs. Its mission is "to ensure access to higher education . . . for those who might otherwise lack the financial resources." Approximately 85% of our students apply for financial aid and 79% are recipients. Beginning with the entering class of 1999, the merit program shifted away from large, athletic and/or talent awards to smaller awards ($1,000-$3,000) which reach a larger number of students. The selected recipients are those who, based on analysis from Institutional Research, meet the profile of students who are most likely to succeed and graduate from KSC. The Datatel student information system has accelerated the ability to process need-based aid, as we are able to download FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) applications from the Department of Education. We believe this improvement in processing speed is one of the most significant factors that has helped to boost our yield rate.
The Student Financial Services staff, including the Student Loan and Collections Office, consists of six PAT workers, three operating staff, and four to six work-study students. It processes over four thousand applications for student aid each year, and counsels students, parents and the community on financial aid programs and eligibility. The Office awards over $20 million in financial aid, of which nearly $3 million is institutional grant funds. Awards are based on criteria set by each program, and are generally based on financial need, academic merit/talent, or a combination of both need and merit. Financial need is determined by federal need analysis standards set by the US Department of Education. The office is audited yearly by USNH auditors for A133 compliance with Department of Education standards.
The two-day summer orientation program acquaints new students and their parents with College services and programs, and provides opportunities for inquiry and interaction among new students, their families and the College community. A faculty advisor facilitates course selection, and students receive their fall schedules by the time they leave their session. Summer orientation focuses on providing new students with a realistic portrayal of KSC and developing an eagerness to return here in the fall. It also creates a focused leadership opportunity for sixteen upper class students who serve as orientation leaders. Orientation addresses the Student Affairs mission of creating healthy and supportive environments by supporting new students and parents in the transition from high school to college. It addresses the College's mission by introducing incoming students to the campus environment and the methods with which they can interact with it. Assessment strategies include debriefing and evaluation discussions involving staff after each of the three sessions, as well as written evaluations from both students and parents providing direct feedback on the program.
The Counseling Center offers a full range of mental health services during the academic year. Short-term individual, couples, family and group counseling is provided by appointment; however, services are also available for walk-ins and for crisis intervention. Saturday and evening appointments are available as well as an after hours, on-call emergency service. All students, whether they live on or off campus or commute from a distance, have access to the Center's services. In keeping with the College mission statement to provide a healthy balance between mind and body, counselors employ a holistic, personal growth, developmental, and psycho-educational approach to counseling. The services address the ethical, emotional, spiritual, developmental, and societal issues affecting the students at Keene State College. The Center coordinates campus-wide programs to inform students about sexual assault and sexual harassment, from policy and procedures to prevention and risk reduction. A half-time member of the Counseling Center directs such programs. Counseling Center staff are professional mental health counselors with a masters level degree or higher. All counselors receive clinical supervision and stay current in the mental health field through workshops and conferences, professional journals, and specific mental health listserves. The Center also trains graduate interns in counseling psychology, thus providing additional support for an ever-increasing clientele. The Counseling Center works to educate the entire community about mental health and wellness issues. Such community education programs provide opportunities for students to integrate their personal and professional lives, while they serve their community.
The Center's records and contacts are confidential and counselors adhere to the APA and ACA ethical and legal guidelines of professional standards. The mission statement, training manual for graduate interns, counseling brochure, web page and Right to Privacy statement address the policy regarding confidentiality. Information release forms are available in the event of needed referral or consultation. Confidential information is kept on all counseling clients; the records are destroyed after seven years.
Evaluations are systematically collected from individual clients, group clients, classroom presentations, outreach programs, advisory board members and our "Stress Less Zone" wellness program. The Counseling Center Student Advisory Board provides input into the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the Counseling Center's program.
Health Services, supported solely by student fees, is an active walk-in service providing health care and education to all students (8,000-10,000 student visits per academic year). Staffed full-time by nurse practitioners and nurses, and part-time by a doctor and a health educator, it offers unlimited, uncharged health services visits for any student concerns, scheduled allergy injections, doctor visits, full out-patient gynecological services, counseling including psychological, dietary, wellness, and medical counseling, and referrals to outside resources. In addition, Health Services provides resources, support and referral services to any campus constituents involved with student issues. Collaboration with Cheshire Medical Center allows us to provide after-hours consultation and medical care for all KSC students. In addition, Health Services supports institutional wellness programming by working closely with the system health educator, collaborating with both state and local boards of health, and supporting other KSC constituents involved in wellness promotion. The student associates provide guidance and evaluation input. In addition, anonymous user evaluations are available for Health Services clients. Random student focus groups and surveys have been utilized as a tool in service assessment. In addition, every program provided outside of Health Services by the health educator includes an evaluation. The Wellness Promotion Council is a committee appointed by the president and charged with promoting campus wellness for all campus constituents-particularly faculty and staff. While the Council does not fall under the umbrella of Health Services, its membership does include a Health Services member along with representatives from faculty, staff and student constituent groups. Health Services has been held to providing care and services to students only, given the funding source (student fees.) Both of these health education resources can act collaboratively although their services target different audiences.
Several of the Student Affairs Division's programs aim to increase student involvement in College operations and governance. The Student Assembly legislates matters of policy and finance, giving students an opportunity to assume basic responsibility for co-curricular activities. The representatives to the Student Assembly are elected each spring from the freshmen, sophomore, junior, and senior classes. Non- traditional students (married students, students who have been away from school for a number of years, or students twenty-three or older) have five representatives as well. The leadership is then elected from the membership. The Director of the Student Union and the Vice President for Student Affairs support the Assembly through regular attendance at formal meetings and through individual, informal contacts. Assembly members serve on the following committees: Student Life, Finance, Public Relations, and Constitution. Representatives from the Assembly also serve on the Campus Residency Council, the Student Center Advisory Board and the following committees of the College Senate: Judiciary, College Wellness, Curriculum, and Academic Standards.
The Student Center Facilities and Operations program is responsible for the management and maintenance of the physical space and services located in the Lloyd P. Young Student Center which opened in 1995. The program ranges from the management of rooms and events through the scheduling process to the coordination with the cleaning and physical plant personnel and the supervision of student staff in support of the operations of this facility. The Student Center's central location, physical structure and programmatic offerings have created a positive dynamic between the College and greater Keene community. Assessment of the Operations and Facilities Program consists of observations and conversations with students and service providers. Assessment and advice also come from the Student Center Advisory Council, made up of members from student organizations housed in the Student Center. It offers feedback on policy and building use issues brought by the professional staff and suggests facility and service improvements.
The Student Center Student Employment Program employs students in programming and leadership, community service, administrative support and operations. These students meet the same expectations as in jobs they might be taking upon graduation, including an interview process, orientation and training, performance assessment, employee recognition, and ongoing staff development opportunities. Students perform most of the work of operating the Student Center and its programs and services. Student employment allows the Student Center to be open 115 hours a week instead of just forty hours and to benefit from our students' unique skills, such as graphic design and sound and light support. Moreover, student employment allows our professional staff to give students challenges and opportunities to fail and succeed and ultimately grow as individuals. Assessment of the Student Employment Program consists of feedback at staff meetings and individual employee performance as monitored by each area supervisor.
The Student Activities Program includes Student Leadership Development, Campus Clubs and Organizations, Greek Life, and the Night Owl Café. Each element encourages student learning and personal development. The goals for students include an integrated sense of identity; self-esteem, integrity and civic responsibility; opportunities for involvement, for applying knowledge to practical problems, for developing social skills; educationally purposeful activities; and collaboration with faculty and other offices. Features of this program include: 1) the Leadership Steering Committee, 2) the Student Involvement Transcript (a chronological, verified transcript of students' co-curricular involvement; 3) support for clubs and organizations and their advisors; 4) support for eleven Greek chapters and an IFC and Panhellenic Council; and 5) development of day and evening programming and a student staffing pattern which gives students practical experience and leadership in running a business. The assessment strategies in place include an annual club/organization self-evaluation reviewed by the advisor, an annual advisor self-evaluation, focus groups, and event evaluations.
The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics fields nine teams for women and seven teams for men, providing the opportunity for students to participate in a structured athletic environment. Each coach and participant is expected to exhibit the highest level of sportsmanship and fair play. To participate in intercollegiate competition, participants must be in good academic standing. All cash receipting transactions are channeled through the Bursar's office; cash and in-kind gift recording is deposited and acknowledged through the Advancement Office and the department undergoes an audit every three years performed by the University System. Every team completes a season-ending evaluation form, which rates team, individual and coach performance. These forms are reviewed and shared with the head coach to ascertain any common concerns that needed to be addressed. Senior exit interviews have been conducted in the past, but the size of the senior class has limited our ability to continue this process.
The Department of Recreational Sports, with a professional staff of one full-time and two part-time members, offers a broad-based program of sports and fitness activities for students, faculty, and staff of all ability levels and interests. The goals of the program are to enhance academic productivity, physical fitness, social and physical development, and commitment to the campus community while promoting healthy lifestyles and an increased sense of responsibility and personal accomplishment. The Recreational Sports program includes intramural sports, sports clubs, aerobic fitness classes, and informal recreation. The large work-study program that supports Recreational Sports enables students to work with professional staff and their peers to organize and implement one of the largest student based programs on campus. The work-study positions offer students the chance to develop leadership and communication skills, supervisory responsibilities practical experiences in teaching, decision-making and conflict management. The Recreational Sports program shares the indoor facilities of Spaulding Gymnasium and the outdoor Sumner Joyce grass fields with Intercollegiate Athletics, Physical Education, and outside groups. Limited indoor and outdoor facilities have resulted in a moratorium on adding new intramural sports activities and sports club teams.
Recreational Sports currently uses surveys and comment cards to assess program outcomes. At the end of the season, captains of the intramural sports teams complete a survey indicating what they liked and disliked about their intramural sport, commenting on policies, and making suggestions. In the aerobic fitness program, comment cards are always available for the participants to express their opinion about an individual class and/or instructor as well as the overall aerobic program. The program assistant for aerobics collects the comment cards and distributes them to individual instructors to inform them about what the participants like about their classes or any changes that would make them more enjoyable.Appraisal
Despite the establishment of new standards for Greek organizations, finalized in 1997, risky and disruptive behaviors continue. Within the past four years, one sorority has been disaffiliated from KSC and one fraternity voluntarily chose to disaffiliate. During 1999-2000, conflicts intensified between two Greek organizations culminating in fights and an act of arson. Allegations of alcohol misuse and sexual assaults have continued. Three Greek organizations received official reprimands at the end of spring semester 2000. Concerns about these occurrences resulted in a request for the president's cabinet to explore what alternatives should be pursued during 2000-2001.
The lack of visible racial diversity, a concern in the 1990 NEASC report, is an area where we must admit to making only slight progress. Voluntary self-disclosure identifies about one hundred students who are not "White." The diversity which does exist on campus in terms of age, social class, non-color ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and religion tends to become invisible. There is a strong sense among students that they are "all the same." We attract many students and families because KSC appears as a small, ethnically homogenous institution, safe from urban problems. One challenge is to make certain that students do not assume that they can escape experiencing or confronting diversity issues by studying here. Another challenge is to make certain that educators on this campus do not participate in the myth that they can't teach about stereotypes, oppression and discrimination unless and until the student population becomes more racially diversified.
In other areas Student Services has made substantial gains during the past decade, particularly in improved space with the opening of the new Student Center in 1995, and in technology with our new Datatel computer system. Through the use of technology and planning, for example with Admissions and Financial Services, we have fostered better cooperation among offices and better assessment of their functions. These improvements support a greater sense of community among students and between students, staff, administrators, and faculty. Locating the offices of student clubs, the Vice President for Student Affairs and the newly configured Commission on the Status of Diversity and Multiculturalism in the Student Center reinforced the importance of the institution's belief in student advocacy and involvement. However, staff in other student services, particularly Athletics and Recreational Sports, Residential Life, and Counseling and Health Services, feel that space remains inadequate.
In athletics the Division III philosophy stipulates "broad based programs for maximum participation," but high demand from on-campus and outside groups requesting time and space has forced us to place a moratorium on adding or expanding existing programs. Spaulding Gymnasium, KSC's only space for indoor sports, physical education classes, and recreational exercise, was built in 1968 when KSC enrolled only 1,652 students. Only minor repair and renovation has occurred since then. Today the College has over 4,600 students. Heaviest use occurs Monday through Thursday, when the building is open eighteen to twenty hours daily. Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation Programs vie for Spaulding gym space. The intramural program was created after the building was built and the approximately one thousand participants must also be accommodated within this same facility. Since 1969, the number of physical education majors has increased five-fold and the number of intercollegiate athletes has doubled. Currently, open recreation for the general student body hardly exists. The College has placed a moratorium on club sports due to a lack of time for scheduled space. Commonly requested programs such as floor hockey, indoor soccer and team handball are prohibited. Worst of all, however, is the fact that the current facilities provide very limited opportunity for individual recreation and fitness activity.
Residential spaces must increase to respond to the size of first-year classes projected to enter Keene State College in the next few years. Plans to increase housing capacity are being reintroduced after having been tabled in 1996 along with the new recreational facility. Particular emphasis must be placed on providing the type of living environments that will support and attract students over the next several decades. A survey of approximately nine hundred students indicated a strong preference for, and lack of, campus housing structures that provide independent and private or semi-private living spaces. We commit to housing all new students who pay a deposit by a certain deadline, although there are sometimes as many as one hundred new students who pay after the deadline and would like to be assured of campus housing. Although the majority of these late-paying students are housed by the time we open for fall semester, they endure substantial strain as they wait for the notification that assures them that they will be housed. Transfer students are given housing only after the new students who meet the deposit deadline are housed. In fall 1999, this meant that more than two hundred transfer students could not even be considered for housing. The yield rate for admitted transfer students is dropping and this appears to be related to the unavailability of housing on and off-campus. We must also renovate some of the older residential facilities that have begun to outlive their usefulness, both in terms of attractiveness and their physical plant capabilities.
The space for the Counseling Center and Health Services is inadequate in size and style. While confidentiality is achieved through process and organizational systems, privacy is compromised by the limited waiting areas and spaces designated for multiple purposes. Health Services worked with a consultant who helped to conduct a review through surveys, focus groups and interviews. It was determined that students had a growing interest in and need for proactive education and twenty-four-hour access to medical resources. The department has made arrangements with a local hospital for round-the-clock consultations and a greater emphasis has been placed on proactive education. These advances will position Health Services to have an even greater opportunity to perform outreach and proactive education for the entire campus community. The campus Wellness Promotion Council will continue to generate greater awareness about the definition and achievement of healthy-lifestyles.
Technology is an area where we have indeed realized substantial gains over the past decade. The implementation of Datatel has improved record keeping, information sharing, tracking, analysis and assessment. The residence halls have cable TV access and there is an active data port available for every residential student. Most student service offices have an actively maintained web page. A Student Involvement Transcript was developed, with the input of Communication students in a group interaction class, and is now available. Datatel will interface with this program so that, eventually, students and their advisors will be able to access their records at any point during their KSC experience. This Transcript will also be accessible to the Registrar's Office for distribution along with the academic transcript for employment or post-graduate applications.
Combining Career Services and Academic Advising into the Elliot Center created a single, one-stop academic resource center encompassing a resource center, individual offices, conference rooms, testing areas and a centralized front desk. The design has been enthusiastically received by the campus community. Unfortunately, the emphasis on improving advising and course selection has detracted from career services, previously provided on a "drop-in" model that used a strong print library of resources and a staff of counselors. A shift has already been initiated through a more effective distribution of resources and by encouraging visitors to the Elliot Center to access additional resources via electronic technology.
Work-study positions within student service departments are organized and supported as an effective means of exposing students to career options and professional standards. The departments of Recreational Sports, Residential Life and Student Activities employ a large number of students and they support these students through training, group meetings, detailed handbooks and evaluations. Students are urged to view their employment as more than "just a job" and often return to their supervisors when they need to decide about a major, make career choices or need letters of recommendation. The professional staff in Student Affairs recognizes and attempts to maximize the interplay between co-curricular development and academic success. This value is reflected in the growth of internships within student service offices that afford students a combined practical and academic experience. During the past three years, internship positions have been established within the offices of dispute resolution, student leadership, residential life, and alcohol education. The creation of Student Technology Support Services provides employment and practical experience for sixty student workers who assist other students in residence halls and academic labs across campus.
We place a high priority on the development of a campus community in which members exercise both rights and responsibilities. The recent creation of a "Rights and Responsibilities Statement" demonstrates our readiness to be specific about expectations and to hold members accountable for violations of basic standards. All two thousand campus residents participate in a process whereby they negotiate and define the norms they will enforce within their individual communities. Damage that occurs within the residence halls that cannot be charged to whoever is responsible is charged to the residents within that residential community. This is an effective way for the two thousand residents to exercise a degree of accountability for and responsibility to one another. To further underscore the importance of student responsibility and civility, the College has elected to inform parents of student violations that result in a sanction of "disciplinary probation" or higher. This decision was thoroughly debated to make certain it was consistent with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) guidelines and, just as importantly, consistent with the College's commitment to foster adulthood for all students.
We emphasize community from the time the academic year begins, when student, staff and faculty volunteers unload the cars of first-year students, through graduation when Greek members volunteer to watch overnight the six thousand chairs arranged on the public quad for the ceremony. The campus serves as a center, educationally, culturally and socially, for the Cheshire community, most particularly Keene. Local residents are not merely invited but encouraged to participate in the full scope of campus events and offerings. An example of the strength of the linkage between Keene and KSC is the fact that the mayor of Keene speaks to all new students and their parents at summer orientation.
As a first step in the process of assessing the needs for student services, the College reviews CIRP data on the incoming class to address the characteristics of its members. The 1998 Noel-Levitz consultancy demonstrated our need to develop longitudinal databases. Some Aspire Program students with learning disabilities choose to self-identify; however, we do not conduct diagnostic testing of incoming students. We have surveyed TRIO students about the impact of financial aid and residential life on academic success. Data from such surveys guides our efforts to place resources where they will have the most positive impact on student persistence and success. Individual student services review their own goals and evaluate their performance. We conduct many surveys of user and student satisfaction, for example at campus events and summer orientation, and we use the findings to improve our services and offerings. However, a systematic review of co-curricular programs ceased in the early nineties due to lack of clarity about which campus entities should be charged with conducting the review. Furthermore we do not regularly and systematically address how well student services meet the goals of the entire institution.Projection
The incoming Vice President for Student Affairs and President Yarosewick will meet with presidents of fraternities and sororities to develop a more aggressive strategy to further reduce the alcohol abuse and high-risk behavior which continues to be associated with fraternities and sororities. There is strong agreement among members from the committee that developed the assessment report on these issues in 1997 that further interventions should be developed as soon as possible.
The Commission on the Status of Diversity and Multiculturalism needs to continue the aggressive programming and professional development activities it has made available in the past five years. The Commission plays a role of increasing importance as the College seeks to not only attract a more diverse student population but also to more fully educate and activate our students about social justice issues. Multicultural Seminars will continue as will a program of matching mini-grants to support diversity and multicultural programs. The Commission is creating an assessment process to examine results of its curricular and co-curricular efforts and the members will monitor progress by conducting periodic focus groups and annual random sample surveys of students.
While the Aspire program currently meets minimum standards for serving students with disabilities, the College should strengthen planning practices and expand its resources to respond to these students. We need clearer guidelines on how to make our facilities fully accessible and we need to equip ourselves so that we can offer a comprehensive and coordinated response to students who arrive on campus with multiple disabilities or disabilities with which we have no experience. For 2000-2001 we are establishing a full-time Coordinator for Disability Services within the Aspire Program.
To further strengthen the program's already positive relationship with faculty, Aspire will move to the Division of Academic Affairs effective July 1, 2000. The staff will develop both a support program for adult learners and a more seamless data management system to reduce the number of staff hours required to evaluate student outcomes and create mandatory federal reports.Academic and Career Advising will increasingly distribute information via Datatel systems and the web. While the need for face-to-face advising will always exist, the development of effective on-line systems for everything from course selection to job search aids is expected to decrease staff demands in these traditional areas and increase students' use of these resources. Staff will then be more available to meet the demands of emerging tasks such as assisting faculty in their transition to accessing computer resources and student records for use in academic advising. A major activity for the Elliot Center over the next several years will be to create effective integrated systems for the delivery of the office's student support services. The campus's full array of student services can use the Elliot Center's success with integrating programs in order to achieve greater coordination and synergy.
Our support for first-year students will continue to be a high priority. Orientation II, a program to advise students entering their first semester, may be expanded as early as 2002. The First-Semester Advisor program will be replaced with advising procedures that place more emphasis on early contact between new students and their major department or the Elliot Center. The new approach of using summer orientation to pre-assign the majority of courses for new students' first semester has been very well received and will continue, pending assessment of the approach.
There is currently no formal system in place to support those students who are placed on academic probation. The First Year Council and the Elliot Center will collaborate to design a structure to respond to this population, which will likely include intrusive advising combined with frequent feedback on the students' progress. At present, Academic Advising and Career Services lack the number of full-time staff prescribed within national standards, which may complicate implementation of this intervention.
The campus needs to have facilities that better respond to students' needs for wellness, on-campus residential alternatives, and dining services. Improvements have been proposed for all three priorities. Improvements to the dining facility that will strengthen quality and delivery of food have been approved and will be completed in the summer of 2000. Future improvements to the dining facility must address the need for additional seating and kitchen space. The trustees have given preliminary approval for a new 136-person residence complex and a recreational facility.
The College's limited resources will continue to necessitate a cap on services for several departments that seek additional funding in order to upgrade existing positions or add new ones, such as coaching positions and Campus Safety officers. An external review of Campus Safety was completed in spring 2000 and may result in additional staffing requests or new substantiation for existing requests. All of these requests will be reviewed on an annual basis through the campus budget process which seeks to coordinate and prioritize campus requests for new or enhanced positions.
The newly appointed Vice President for Student Affairs will examine the organizational structures and staffing needs of Health Services and the Counseling Center. The Center's focus will continue to be expanded for first-year students, men's issues, short-term therapy/counseling, group counseling and critical incident stress debriefing.
While all the student service operations perform some degree of evaluation or assessment, the efforts need greater sophistication and coordination, improved analysis and an increased emphasis on sharing and implementing the findings. It is especially challenging-and therefore important, to define student development in measurable ways so that student outcomes are assessed rather than staff effort. Coordination between those offices that provide services to students is an important priority in order to maximize the capacity of the providers and to more fully meet the needs of our current and future student population.