The SCC recognizes the tireless efforts that have been made by Dr. Helen Frink and the Honors Program Advisory Council. The Honors curriculum proposals have undergone revisions based on feedback from various constituencies. Members of the SCC continue to recognize the educational opportunities an honors program has for students at Keene State College. We are also in favor of attracting talented students to our campus. However, if Keene State College is to embrace an Honors Program that offers students with an academically rich experience, it should be one that is viable and sustainable. After careful review of the thoughtful advisory opinions from departments, School Curriculum Committees and the Interdisciplinary Subcommittee, and the tally of votes, the resounding theme from these documents is resource concerns. Departments in the Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences are central to the delivery of courses in the Honors Program. The departments in Arts and Social Sciences were largely opposed to the program. In addition, Natural Sciences expressed concerns with the “availability of expert personnel capable of safely instructing students in lab courses” and the consistent availability of funding to supply laboratory-based Honors courses. The availability of tenure-track faculty to deliver Honors, Integrative Studies, and major courses was raised in the advisory opinions from the departments and School Curriculum Committees. These concerns and opposition raise uncertainty on the availability of Honors courses in these areas of the program. It is of great concern that there are “unknowns” as to what specific courses will be offered beyond fall 2009. The dearth of tenure-track faculty to deliver Honors courses is already visible in current offerings. At the present time, an adjunct faculty member (Dr. Charlie Kerwin) is teaching an INGEOL honors section. We are by no means questioning the qualifications of Dr. Kerwin; however, we are questioning the availability of full-time tenure-track faculty to consistently deliver Honors courses – a promise being made to Honors students. Members of the SCC recognize that there is general support for the concept of an Honors Program. The SCC also realizes that the level of acceptance of the current Honors proposals has increased somewhat; however, that acceptance seems to be one of “conditional acceptance.” For example, the Professional Studies School Curriculum Committee voted in favor of the proposal, but, at the same time, requested that the SCC address the resource issues. We are not in a position to do that. From a resource perspective – the availability of staffing, courses, and funding – there are too many uncertainties about the long-term sustainability of the program. We recognize that financial support for the Honors program has been identified through the William T. Morris Foundation; however, funding a program on “soft money” seems to raise it to another level of uncertainty. If the College is to provide “academically motivated students with intellectual stimulation and rich experiences”, the SCC does not feel confident at this time that the program is sustainable. The final vote of SCC voting members is: 1 yes, 6 no, 0 abstentions, 1 absent.
Senate Curriculum Committee
Keene State College
"SCC's Decision" (2009). Approved Curriculum Proposals. 233.