During the Fall of 2007 and Spring of 2008, faculty co-designed and instructed a new capstone learning experience for seniors in a Bachelor's of Science degree program in Safety Studies at Keene State College. Keene State College has embarked upon massive curricular transformation over the past four years and has established a central expectation of student engagement and service in learning at the college. The Safety Studies Program faculty redesigned the program curriculum by assessing learning outcomes and expectations to better prepare our undergraduate students for the professional challenges awaiting them and to develop the critical knowledge, skills and abilities to be successful safety professionals. The capstone course entitled Innovative Safety Leadership was redesigned at Keene State College to catalyze student learning by immersing our students by cohort teams to resolve real time safety and health challenges facing four local companies. Faculty leaders provided mini lectures to frame the cohort team's work and served as advisors to guide the teams to successful, professional conclusions. Student cohorts were instructed to serve as consultants to their client companies and were expected to derive solutions by applying their college educational experiences, the ANSI/AIHA Z10 systems safety model, and cost benefit analyses to provide options for clients to consider. Faculty designers and instructors were challenged with this new model of instruction within the major and students were resistant to a model of instruction that did not involve faculty leaders "telling" them what they "needed" to know. Feedback was sought from students and client contacts at several points during the semester--while a rocky journey, ultimately, all stakeholders report success in this newly designed instructional experience.
As New Hampshire's premier public liberal arts college, Keene State College faculty and staff are committed to providing and maintaining an intellectual environment grounded in the liberal arts that fosters both the personal and professional growth of our students. In support of this mission the College promotes and sustains strong relationships among students, faculty, and staff that emphasize creative and critical thinking, scholarship and research, and a passion for learning. Our college has a history of creating service learning, research and civic engagement opportunities for its students1 Over the past five years Keene State College has migrated to a four-credit instructional model and has launched a new Integrative Studies Program to replace our campus' former General Education curriculum. These curricular transformations have purposefully been designed to provide deeper, more meaningful and multi-disciplinary teaching and learning experiences for our students. During this same time, faculty and administrators have made a commitment to create undergraduate research opportunities for our students as part of our expectations for engagement and learning. To be successful in this effort, Keene State will rely heavily upon partnerships with others who will help to provide engagement. Co-curricular experiences that move the classroom into the community and the world, making the College motto, "Enter to learn, go forth to serve," are the touchstone in the lives of students and alumni at Keene State.