By Lauren Campbell
Framingham State University is the only public university in Massachusetts which has been recognized as a school of distinction for the 2013-14 academic year.
Interim President Robert Martin said it is an honor to be included on the list of schools. “People who take a closer look at Framingham State are often surprised to see the level of innovation taking place in our classrooms and the unique and inviting learning environment we offer.”
According to the College of Distinction website, in order to be considered as a school of distinction, the school must exhibit four qualities: engaged students, great teaching, a vibrant community and successful outcomes.
Senior business major Krista LaPlante said, “It’s pretty cool to think our school was recognized. ... There are so many big schools in Massachusetts, like BU and BC, and for Framingham to make the list says something about what kind of school we are.”
Martin believes FSU has an “outstanding group of faculty who are truly invested in student success.”
According to the College of Distinction website, “Faculty interaction is crucial to learning; students who get meaningful comments on their papers and who feel comfortable talking to their professors outside of class are getting more out of their education.”
Undeclared sophomore Jana Reyes said, “I had one teacher who would pass back our papers with at least a page of her own notes. ... It was nice to see what was working in my writing and what I needed to work on.”
According to the College of Distinction website, “College is about more than classes and books. At no other time in your life will you have so many chances to explore new experiences, to live and grow. Finding a school that offers a real campus experience is part of finding the right fit for you.”
Graduate student Melissa Power, ’12, said, “There are so many opportunities at FSU. With all the clubs, sports and extracurricular activities that are offered, it really gives the students here a chance to do what they’re interested in.”
Power said she had such a positive experience while attending FSU as an undergraduate that she decided to return to the university for her master’s degree.
“I couldn’t imagine going to a different school,” Power said. “I’m not just a number here. The teachers I’ve had all remember my name, even after I’ve completed their class. If I see one of them walking around campus, they always say, ‘Hi Melissa!’ You don’t get that at every college.”
According to the College of Distinction website, the success of alumni is judged by more than whether they get jobs after graduation. “The alumni of these schools are also good citizens and responsible family members. They take away from their college years a sense of something bigger than themselves – something that makes them ‘successful’ in every sense of the word.”
Junior math major Sam Joseph said, “My brother graduated [from FSU] three years ago and told me his education here made him a better person. ... He said FSU is the reason he’s gotten so far in his life.”
Other public institutions in New England which were named schools of distinction include Keene State College in New Hampshire, University of Maine at Farmington and University of Maine at Fort Kent.
The Public Colleges of Distinction was founded in 2002 by a group of high school guidance counselors, according to the website. The counselors wanted to provide students who were preparing for college a list of schools which offered the best learning experience and environment.
On the list were schools which were not the most popular or expensive, but rather institutions which were the most affordable and were able to provide students with a positive learning experience.
Senior business major Danielle Pinto said, “For Framingham to get recognized is huge for the school. It definitely doesn’t get the credit it deserves as a university.”