From the President

June, 2012

President Sara Jayne Steen


As you read the pieces in this issue, the core of PSU’s educational mission shines through. Plymouth State’s commitment to student success, visible in each of this issue’s features, reveals itself in many forms.

As an institution, PSU focuses on both workforce preparation and workforce needs. The nursing program, featured here as the cover story for good reason, addresses both. Designed to help meet the growing need for nurses, particularly in New Hampshire, the program is designed flexibly. It not only serves traditional students just starting college and aiming for a nursing degree but it also offers a fully online RN-to-BSN completion track. The Coos County Early Childhood Development Initiative reflects another important institutional commitment, to New Hampshire’s North Country, and one that is partially devoted to professional development and preparation for early childhood teachers. With economists believing that an investment in early childhood development is critical to improving workforce quality in the long term, the initiative is another example of PSU’s dedication to the workforce.

Today’s student experience is often enhanced by opportunities that differ from those even recent alumni remember, opportunities that can also increase employment options or prepare students for further study. As you read about Sam Wisel, you can see how. With a major tailored to his interest in nonprofit management and experiences beyond the classroom that have shaped his direction, this new graduate is emblematic of how students are earning meaningful degrees and arming themselves with experiences that set them apart even before they set foot in the workplace beyond college. The National Science Foundation-funded research in Iceland is another example, with students able to engage in hands-on field experience and gain an understanding of the entire scientific process, creating a competitive edge with regard to research experience. And what better way to prepare students than having them learn from faculty like Stephen Gorin (Social Work), featured here in the Faculty Forum, who is a leading figure in his field and involved with national conversations about critical issues.

The wonderful story of collaboration and problem-solving that was part of a public mural course developed through a partnership with the Northern Forest Heritage Park illustrates how beneficial today’s learning can be, not just for students, but for partners and communities as well. It is no wonder that the student team who created the Berlin murals has been recognized among New Hampshire’s top “Young Preservationists” and by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance with a 2012 Preservation Achievement Award for outstanding education and advocacy. In many ways, this is the epitome of student success: learning well through experience and being recognized for the value of the outcome. But for PSU, too, this is success, to deliver an experience like no other for students, and one that has immeasurable value as students prepare for the world beyond college.

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