November 2008

November 10th, 2008 by Noelle

Monthly Report to the Faculty
Provost Julie Bernier
November 5, 2008

At the November 5th faculty meeting I’d like to take a few moments to address some of the questions that are being asked regarding curricular revision. A brief overview is provided below.

The questions being asked center around two main themes. Why are we doing this? and specifically, Will it mean that we will have lots of large lecture sections with hundreds of students?

Why are we doing this? Over the last 5‐6 years, a series of faculty‐led initiatives, reports, and recommendations have all called for action toward improvement of the curriculum, removal of barriers, improving time to degree, and addressing faculty teaching workload. Briefly they are:

  • Concerns about curriculum voiced by Academic Advisors, Department Chairs, Curriculum Committee, Gen Ed taskforce, Gen Ed Committee, Advising Committee, Office of Undergraduate Studies, and the Degree Auditor,) about:
    • Students not graduating in 4 years (or 5 years) and the cost implications to the students when it takes an additional year or two to earn “a 4‐year degree”
      • Only 27 % of PSU students graduate in 4 years. (FYI‐ PSU’s graduation rates are 27%, 47%, 57% in 4, 5, and 6 years)
      • Students who graduate from PSU earned an avg. of 128.16 credits (possibly due to curricular complexity). Twenty‐eight percent graduated with more than 128 credits indicating the possibility of an additional semester.
    • Cost of attendance is high and the impact of one additional year to earn a “4 year degree” is great.
      • Students who graduated in 4 years with loans, had avg. $32,000 in debt (combined student and parent loan).
      • less than half of the students who graduate from PSU do so in 4 years ‐ the other half will take 5 or 6 years.
      • Over the course of repayment, a 5th year in school will cost the student $17,893 more than a student who completes in 4 years (includes principal + interest).
    • The number of students who leave PSU in good standing
    • Unnecessary barriers, unnecessary pre‐requisites, large, unwieldy programs, too many programs, too prescriptive, not enough electives, difficult to transfer into, curriculum is complex for advisors and students, low enrolled programs
    • Some initiatives to address these have included:
      • Elements of our current Gen Ed program
      • Curriculum Committee requirement of 15 cr free electives
      • Creation of the College of Univ. Studies
      • Curriculum Committee changing degree requirement to 120 credits
  • Concern voiced by students, faculty, and advisors last fall during pre‐registration about lack of availability of Gen Ed (specifically Directions ) courses.
    • Subsequent study and analysis shared with Chairs and Gen Ed Committee regarding department contributions to general education. Increased overload and reliance on adjunct faculty
  • FY08 4‐credit discussion and conversation about workload and conclusion that we will “go through curricular revision one way or another”
  • Faculty Welfare survey FY08
    • # 1 concern‐ Faculty Workload
      • Growth of graduate programs and the need to re‐integrate graduate programs into the work of the academic departments and in‐load teaching of graduate classes
  • • In 2003, NEASC charged us with the following:
    • The institution has a commodious offering of majors (and options), some of which have low enrollments and have had few degrees awarded during the past decade. Simplify the undergraduate curriculum to feature programs central to the mission of the institution, paying particular attention to programs with excessive credit requirements. Eliminate under-enrolled programs, where appropriate, so as to fund new programs and initiatives.
    • Investigate and take appropriate action regarding workload issues, e.g., four-course preparations and heavy committee work by individual faculty members.
    • Graduate programs should be an integral part of institutional planning and resource allocation processes.

All of these conversations have called for curricular revision. We are acting on these recommendations.

Will it mean that we will have lots and lots of large lecture sections over 100 students?

No‐ We currently offer 4 sections with over 70 students. Offering sections with hundreds of students is not who we are at PSU. We pride ourselves in NOT having these types of large sections. Even if it we did want to grow in this direction, we do not have the facilities to accomplish large scale sections. We do, however, need to be as efficient as possible in offering our curriculum by bringing our average class size to approximately 25 students/class. Below is a distribution demonstrating our current class sizes for this fall. There are 995 regular classes (i.e. practica, internships, student teaching etc. have been removed and double numbered classes have been combined). The blue bars show the number of classes of each size (0‐5, 6‐10, etc.). For example there are 216 classes with 16‐20 students enrolled.

  • Of 995 classes:
    • • 1/3 of classes have fewer than 15 students
    • • Over ½ (54%) have fewer than 20 students
    • • 6% have greater than 35 students
    • • 2.7% have greater than 40 students

step 1
We can positively impact cost of education and reduce teaching workload by reducing the number of classes with fewer than 20 students and increasing the number of classes with 25 ‐40 (as proposed in red below). This would mean a significant reduction in teaching workload. We could do this without significantly increasing large lecture classes. As an example, if we shifted average class size by about 5 as shown below, we could offer 190 fewer sections per semester (one less course per faculty member) effectively creating a 3/3 load. It would mean we would offer 805 classes instead of 995.

  • Of 805 regular classes:
    • • 30% would have fewer than 20 students
    • • Nearly half (46%) would have fewer than 25 students
    • • 6% would have greater than 40 students

You can see we are not talking about adding large lecture sections of hundreds of students. Instead we are talking about small shifts in class size that would greatly impact our ability to offer the curriculum (both majors and Gen Ed) and positively impact teaching workload.

step 2

The curricular revision process has the following goals:

  • Provide quality programs that promote student success, retention, and completion in four years
  • Offer programs that are based on the student outcomes
  • Reduce programs to 120 credits
  • Use resources wisely to reduce faculty teaching load
  • Evaluate low enrolled programs for substantial revision or possible elimination
  • Reduce reliance on low enrolled courses
  • Remove unnecessary pre‐requisites and other barriers
  • Maintain or reduce the size of the major providing more free electives

Curricular revision truly can lead to more effective and less costly programs AND to a positive impact on faculty teaching workload.

I look forward to discussing this with you further on Wednesday.

New From Academic Affairs
Departments and Faculty


  • Catherine Amidon has been chosen as a grant reviewer for the Institute of Museum and Library Studies.
  • Congratulations to Chehalis Hegner for curating a very successful photo exhibition!
  • The Art Department is particularly proud of the work of their alum, Geri Zaki formerly Geri Palil – 1988 BA in Painting). To quote the Atlanta Style and Design Summer ‘07 article, “Art From the Heart” by Sarah G. Zimmerman: “ It’s all part of a project devised by 5 women – Lisa Gleim‐Jones, Geri Zaki, Leah Hopkins Henry, Fran Milner, and Pat Aube Gray – all Atlanta area portrait artists. They joined together in 2005 and founded the Atlanta Fine Arts League (AFL) as a catalyst for “Art From the Heart,” a program in which local artists paint portraits of Georgia soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and donate them to surviving family members.” The group has since reached out to the families of over 100 Georgia soldiers. These portraits were displayed at the National Museum of Patriotism from Sept. 8 – Nov. 11th, 2007. To help continue this project, local businesses have donated canvasses, frames, giclee reproductions for families wanting more than one portrait, boxes for shipping and handling, and UPS has donated shipping. Information about this project can be viewed at www.AtlantaFineArtsLeague .org.
  • The Drerup Gallery has expanded the website to include links to Beyond Brown Paper (that virtual exhibition is now averaging 5,000 hits a day, sometimes soaring to 50,000 a day). The Gallery is commissioning three additional free down‐loadable brochures for the Brown Paper on‐line and the traveling exhibition. The first (grant‐funded) tour venue is St Kieran’s Art Center in Berlin, which allows for outreach to the community celebrated in the photo collection. Three additional educational brochures will be added to the website later this year.

Atmospheric Science and Chemistry

  • Anil Waghe and Marguerite Crowell and two chemistry undergraduates visited the local middle school children as part of National Chemistry Week. Hands‐on activities and demonstrations focused around this year’s theme which was “Sports and Chemistry.”


  • Trent Boggess was invited to speak in Budapest and to attend an International Conference on the “Model T” hosted by the Banki Donat School of Mechanical Engineering (formerly known as Royal Technical Institute). He presented a paper, “Designers of the Model T” and spoke of Joe Galamb and Charles Balough (designers of the Model T) who studied engineering at the Royal Technical Institute. The photo below shows Gyorgy Gyurecz (right, from Budapest Tech) who coauthored the paper with Boggess‐ Model T Transmission, “A Ford T‐modell boygomuves sebessegvaltoja. ” Also pictured, the Dean of the School of Engineering (pictured left).leftright
  • Warren Mason, Business and Communication Studies, was recently re‐elected to the James Jones Society’s Board of Directors for another three‐year term at their annual meeting in St. Louis, Missouri. The James Jones Society is a nonprofit international organization that financially supports beginning writers in the U.S. with financial assistance and fellowships to honor the memory of America’s foremost WW II military writer, James Jones.
  • Yvette Lazdowski attended the World Conference of the Model T in July where she presented: “The Accounting Archives Challenge Two Popular Ford Legends.” This paper was subsequently published in a book entitled “The Model T Reconsidered: Proceedings of the World Conference of the Model T”. Yvette also attended the national meeting of the American Accounting Association held in August where she presented two papers: “ ERP Implementation Success Through IT/End‐User Collaboration” and “Unqualified Opinion: A Study of Arthur Andersen and Enron’s History and Controversial Accounting Methods.”

Center for Rural Partnerships

PSU Coös Outreach: The CRP is pleased to announce that the following grants have been awarded to fund six PSU faculty projects that will include important work and provide opportunities for faculty members and students to make connections with a variety of partners, communities, and individuals within the region. Additional RFPs will occur and all PSU faculty are encouraged to apply. The current funded projects are:

  1. Hanover Chamber Orchestra Performance and Outreach Activities at White Mountains Regional School District
    PI: Dr. Daniel Perkins, PSU; Coös County Partners: Arts Alliance of Northern NH, and White Mountains Regional School District
  2. Student Teachers Supporting Mathematics in Coös County Schools
    PI: Dr. Brian Beaudrie, PSU; Coös County Partner: Matt Treamer, Co‐Director, North Country Educational Services
  3. WMCC/PSU Information Technology Major 2 + 2 Plan
    PIs: Dr. Peter Drexel, Dr. Christian Roberson, PSU; Coös County Partner: Jeff Schall, Information Technology Department, White Mountains Community College
  4. North Country Cultural Heritage Preservation Project
    PIs: Dr. Whitney Howarth, Dr. Patrick May, PSU; Coös County Partners: James Wagner – Northern Forest Heritage Park, and David Morrissette – Berlin High School
  5. Tour the Exhibition Beyond Brown Paper to the Northern Forest Heritage Park and St. Kieran’s Arts Center in Berlin
    PI: Dr. Catherine Amidon, PSU; Coös County Partners: Joan Chamberlain – St. Kieran Arts Center, Jim Wagner – Northern Forest Heritage Park
  6. Case Study: Marketing of a Coös County Lodging Property
    PI: Dr. Mark Okrant, PSU; Coös County Partner: Sharon White, Trailside Lodge

Events: In support of the PSU mission as a regional comprehensive university, CRP seeks to “bring the region” to PSU, enriching student and faculty experiences and interactions, and helping the regional constituency to feel at home on our campus.

  • Beyond Brown Paper at PSU: Eleven residents of the Androscoggin Valley provided an engaging and unique panel discussion at the Karl Drerup Gallery to kick off the opening of this mini‐version of the extensive interactive online exhibit.
  • Ways of the Woods at PSU: As an adjunct to the NESTVAL event, this “museum on wheels” traveled from the Northern Forest Center to the PSU campus. PSU students conducted pre‐ and post‐event surveys of willing visitors as part of a larger project to evaluate and enhance the re‐design of this unusual and important cultural resource.
  • Grafton Country Transportation Summit at PSU: A wide array of state and local government offices, NGO agencies, and invested individuals attended this first‐ever regional public transportation accessibility event. The goals of summit organizers are to unite regional communities, private companies, and governmental agencies to share resources and knowledge; to work together to identify challenges and questions; and to craft a comprehensive and responsive plan, building upon current strengths and assets.
  • Another way in which the CRP assists regional partners is to supply project facilitation, structural support, and research collaboration opportunities – aimed at enhancing both quality of life and economic/environmental/human sustainability throughout the region we serve.
  • White Mountain National Forest Transportation Survey: PSU students, in collaboration with the White Mountain National Forest and the Appalachian Mountain Club, conducted a survey along the Kankamagus Highway this summer. The goal was to gather various kinds of information about people visiting the forest, including: where they live, what they come to the forest to do, and how interested they might be in a public transportation system within the White Mountain National Forest. The results are encouraging. It seems that many visitors were enthusiastic about the idea (e.g., hikers, who were particularly excited about the prospect of being able to hike from one portion of the park to another, with access to transportation at both ends, etc.).
  • Graduate Fellow, Jesse McEntee at the 12th Annual Conference of the Food Security Coalition: Mr. McEntee presented his project, Re‐Localization of Rural Food Networks: Assessing Need, Access Barriers, and Opportunities in Philadelphia. This evidence‐based project studies target counties in NH and VT with regard to issues of food security, and access to healthy food in particular.

Staff: The CRP is growing! Welcome:

  • Dr. Ben Amsden, Partnerships and Grants Coordinator: A rural sociologist with expertise in: community and economic development; place attachment; the sustainability of natural resource‐based recreation and tourism; and volunteer stewardship, Ben is a wonderful and exciting fit for the CRP! In addition to providing outreach, project development, and project management assistance for PSU faculty and CRP partners, he teaches courses in rural sociology, outdoor recreation, and the rural cultural environment.
  • Alice Richmond, Administrative Assistant: A consistent theme throughout Alice’s personal and professional background is a passionate and persistent interest in issues pertaining to social justice, sustainability, rural economic concerns, and environmental stewardship. These interests combine with solid professional experience to make her a strong assistant to the CRP team.

College of Graduate Studies

  • In August, the College of Graduate Studies hosted the Lakes Region Data Institute. Nearly 200 educators participated in the event that featured Dr. Victoria Bernhardt, director of the Education for the Future Initiative.
  • Cheryl Baker and Dennise Maslakowski presented at the NHReads event in August.
  • On September 26, Dennise Maslakowski presented ”Your Brain on Reading” to professional development groups in Hooksett, NH. Also in September, Dennise co‐presented with Linda Stinson to 110 educators at “Dining and Discourse” in Concord on “Cognitive Strategies and Reading.” On October 21, Dennise participated on the panel for Leadership Lakes Region, a subgroup of Leadership New Hampshire.
  • Leo Sandy has been invited to be the keynote speaker at the Annual Peace Conference at SUNY Plattsburg in September 2009.
  • Larry Spencer was appointed by Governor Lynch to the River’s Management Advisory Council (RMAC). The Governor’s Council approved his appointment at their September 3rd meeting in Manchester. He will represent the interests of the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Commissions on the RMAC. The RMAC is a statutory council associated with the River’s Management and Protection Program. The segment of the Pemigewasset River passing through Plymouth is in that program. On September 28, Larry led a walk on the Rattlesnake Mountain trail in Rumney. During the walk, he talked about landscape processes affecting Rattlesnake Mountain. The walk was part of the Nor’easter‐EMS event held at Tenney Mountain and at the climbing rocks in Rumney. He is also a guest editor for the Northeastern Naturalist on an article dealing with marine mollusks in Frenchman’s Bay, Maine. As guest editor, he is responsible for finding reviewers of the article and for directing the process from review to publication.
  • The Milken Family Foundation Awards for Education Excellence presented the 2008 NH Award to Carol Young‐Podmore. Carol serves as Co‐Coordinator of the Arts in Education summer institute and is a fully trained Integrated Instructional Model (IIM) Educator and leader in IIM professional development. She teaches third grade at Gilford Elementary School. Carol is studying for her CAGS degree in Educational Leadership at PSU.

Counselor Education and School Psychology

  • Leo Sandy gave a workshop in October on “Parent Involvement and Parent Education” at The North Country Professional Development Day at the White Mountains Regional High School in Whitefield, NH.


  • Marcel Lebrun’s new book, “Books, Blackboards and Bullets: School Violence in America,” was released nationwide on October 22nd. Also in October, Marcel presented a workshop for SAU 36 White Mountain District on “Facilitating the Development of District Wide Intensive Procedures and Protocols.” In addition, Marcel was the Keynote speaker for a conference: “Hidden Dangers: Helping Educators with Student Depression and Violence,” presented to the National Association of School Psychologists in Portsmouth.
  • Royce Robertson attended and participated in various roundtables during the European Institute for eLearning’s ePortfolio Digital Identity Forum 2008 in October in Maastricht, Netherlands.
  • Pat Cantor was elected the Chair of the New Hampshire Child Care Advisory Council for 2008‐2010. She serves as the University System of New Hampshire representative to the Council.

Environmental Science & Policy

  • The ES&P Department has received funding from Campus Compact for their “Engaged Department Initiative

Health and Human Performance

  • Mardie Burckes‐Miller, Health Education (HHP) and senior Health Education major, Jenna Mixon, presented “The Spark in Eating Disorders Outreach: Student Power” at the National Eating Disorders Association National Conference in Texas in late September. Mardie also presented “The Slippery Slope of Teaching about Eating Disorders and Obesity: The Silent Disease” and had an exhibit about the Eating Disorders Institute Program (EDI) at the Northeast Regional Family Consumer Science Conference in October. She also presented “Moderating the Message on Obesity and Obesity Prevention: Eating Disorders and Excessive Exercise” and had an EDI exhibit at the North Country Health Initiative Summit on Obesity prevention in Whitefield, NH. Health Education students in the Planning Health Promotion Programs class implemented two Mini‐Wellness Fairs in October, one for Primex at their Annual Wellness Retreat at the Mt. View Grand Resort in Whitefield, NH., and one for the PSU campus in October.


  • Tom Boucher, together with Drs. Meserve and Cleland, had their paper, “A Meta‐analysis Examining Clinical Test Utility for Assessing Superior Labral Anterior Posterior Lesions,” to be published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine.
  • In September Brian Beaudrie, John Donovan, and Natalya Vinogradova traveled to Washington DC to attend a conference titled “The Future of High School Mathematics: New Priorities and Promising Innovations.” Speakers included leaders in the field from around the country; and they had the opportunity to work in small groups, discussing curriculum, teaching, and assessment.
  • Brian Beaudrie presented “Algebra for All… Is it Possible?” as an invited workshop presented at the North Country Professional Development Day in Whitefield in October.

Music, Theatre and Dance

  • Rik Pfenninger released a new Smooth Jazz CD in October titled “That’s Kool” available on Apple Itunes and Walmart music downloads. The CD contains tracks that are currently receiving airplay on the Weather Channel. Rik has also been hired as a demo composer for SONiVox sound libraries. Two of Rik’s jazz Christmas songs are under contract for inclusion on a 4 CD Xmas Box Set for Poland with distribution via Universal Music.
  • Dan Perkins was guest clinician and conductor of the University of Alabama Honor Choir on October 27th.
  • The Theatre division hosted the New Hampshire Educational Theatre Guild on October 24th for high school students from various theatre programs throughout the state. Presenting workshops for over 350 students in six one‐our long sessions were full time and adjunct faculty. Workshops on playwriting, directing, stage management, stage combat, acting techniques, building scenery, lighting design, stage management, acting a song, voice/speech work for actors, performance of Shakespeare scenes, improvisation, scenic painting, projections in design, understanding scenic drawings, and electrics were presented. Faculty and adjunct faculty involved: Kathleen Arecchi, Kevin Asselin, Bob Bruemmer, Elizabeth Cox, Danee Grillo, Jason Hibbard, Matt Kizer, Paul Mroczka and Lisa Travis. Recent alums Victoria Miller, Julie‐Anne Whitney and Andrew Codispoti also provided workshop sessions and many current theatre students acted as assistants in the various sessions.
  • Paul Mroczka directed The Robber Bridegroom, for Plymouth State Theatre’s October production. Amanda Whitworth, Director of Dance, served as choreographer and Amanda Munton, adjunct voice faculty and PSU alum, served as the musical director/conductor. PSU alum, Victoria Miller ’05, was a guest lighting designer.
  • Carleen Graff took a group of 5 PSU students to the Vermont Music Teachers Conference and the NH Music Teachers Conference to hear internationally known pedagogues, Robert Vandall and Suzanne Guy. Carleen had two articles published in the October/November 2008 American Music Teacher: “Making Music Together: Preparing Students for a Lifetime of Ensemble Experiences: Festivals and Competitions as Motivational Tools,” which is a compiled summary of 4 panel members at the National Conference in Denver (March 08), which describes the PSU Piano Monster Festivals and the PSU Biennial Monster Concerts, AND her review of Throughout the Year: 12 Piano Duets for Every Season by Christos Titsarus.
  • Holly Oliver, Program Coordinator for Music Education, presented a workshop at the New Hampshire Music Educators Fall Conference at the Manchester Community Music School on Oct. 16th. “Is it time for YOU to give back?”focused on the exploration of ways in which practicing and retired music teachers can share their expertise and support for NH’s future music educators.


  • Ray Perkins, Jr., has been re‐elected Vice President of the Bertrand Russell Society (he has edited Russell’s letters over many years), and also re‐elected as the Executive Secretary of the Northern New England Philosophy Association whose recent meeting was at his alma mater in Maine, Colby College. This office has been housed in the PSU Philosophy Department since the beginning of NNEPA; Herbert Otto, Professor Emeritus and now an adjunct professor, was the first secretary, and Ray succeeded him.

Social Science

  • At the Boston Area Model UN conference, PSU Model UN Students (Advisor, Filiz Otucu) won three awards representing PSU in the following committees:
    • Jordan Lynes: Best delegate award (Interpol)
    • Alexander Bullock: Outstanding delegate award (Aegis Group)
    • Elisia Morgani: Honorary Mention (UNITA)
  • Marcia Schmidt Blaine has joined the NH Humanities Council Program Committee. She also has given several talks around the state, including one titled “A Woman Alone: Women in Eighteenth‐Century New Hampshire” which was part of the “One Valley, One Book” program in Conway, NH.

Social Work

  • Cynthia Moniz and Stephen Gorin attended the Council on Social Work Education, Annual Program Meeting in Philadelphia (Oct 29‐Nov 2). Cynthia Moniz co‐presented a Series Session, “Council on Leadership Development (CLD): Proposal for a CSWE Leadership Institute” and participated in a half‐day meeting of the CLD at the conference. Stephen Gorin hosted an NASW Publications Reception as Editor‐in‐Chief of “Health & Social Work” during the conference. Three Social Work Club students also attended and served as student volunteers for the conference.

Featured in Plymouth Magazine

Example Image

And Justice for All

Alisha Medeiros ’15 wants to help troubled youth make better choices and live fulfilling lives. This desire, influenced by a family tragedy, led her to pursue a career in criminal justice.

Example Image

Ut Prosim: A Cultural Exchange in Jamaica

On Sunday, January 8, six Plymouth State students and their instructor, Jessica Dutille ’03, ’04G, boarded a plane bound for Jamaica, leaving the remnants of a snowstorm behind them in favor of a week of sun and 80-degree weather. But this was no vacation. This was a service-learning trip in which Dutille, an instructor in […]

Example Image

Interim Director Named for Museum of the White Mountains

PSU Professor of History Marcia Schmidt Blaine is now interim director of the MWM, following founding director Catherine Amidon’s stepping down …