Gatepost Editorial: Our NEASC feedback

Next week, Framingham State will undergo an evaluation from the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

When an institution is accredited by NEASC, prospective students are ensured that the school meets specific standards outlined in the Standards for Accreditation and that these guidelines will be met in the future.

In light of the upcoming accreditation, we at The Gatepost would like to take the opportunity to address what we think are a couple of FSU’s most pressing issues.

In preparation for NEASC’s visit, Framingham State has prepared its own independent self-study in order to make sure it meets the commission’s Standards for Accreditation.

Most notably, data in the NEASC self-study document projects that in the academic year 2013-14, “51 percent of FSU students will have graduated in six years.”

Not only is that statistic obviously alarming, but so is the fact that all the University is doing in an attempt to decrease it is to provide more first-year programming.

We at The Gatepost don’t think students feeling a lack of inclusion at FSU is the main reason for the six-year graduation rate, but rather that students have to meet a certain amount of academic requirements before they graduate.

Unfortunately, courses students may need to take aren’t always offered at times that would allow them to meet requirements in four years. In other cases, students who have changed majors or minors will find that some of the courses they previously took no longer apply to their degree. These classes are known as “Fallthrough Courses” on DegreeWorks.

We think FSU should make more courses available that meet graduation requirements, allow for more of its courses to apply to general education requirements and more academic credits to be transferred so that students can graduate in four years. Poor class offerings and strict requirements are simply unacceptable – no student should be attending an undergraduate program for six years.

We at The Gatepost also think FSU should reconsider its current hiring model for assistant professors. Unfortunately, some of students’ most promising – and well-liked – teachers are let go after only two years of instruction.

While we appreciate the experience some of the long-term professors bring to their classes, we don’t think they always have the same insight – and often lack the new and fresh perspectives – newly-hired instructors can provide.

Rather than replacing successful assistant professors every two years, we think they should be allowed to continue teaching and serving as impressionable mentors to their students.

If FSU community members think there are others issues the University should be addressing, they should submit their feedback on matters related to the quality of the institution on framingham.edu no later than April 2.

We also encourage community members to submit their opinions about the quality of FSU to The Gatepost Op/Ed section.

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