2004 State of the University Address
"2005: The Will To Believe"
Ann Weaver Hart
Memorial Union Building
University of New Hampshire
September 2, 2004
What a pleasure to be with you this afternoon. As we begin a new
year at UNH, I am reminded of Charles Murkland, our first president.
He was passionate in his fight to introduce broad educational principles
to what was then known as New Hampshire College of Agriculture and
Mechanic Arts. President Murkland believed that the liberal arts
would complement existing agricultural programs, and that the combination
of the two would best serve the state. We see the results of that
vision at UNH today.
This past Friday, more than 3,500 new students—graduate and
undergraduate—joined the university community. Our collective
commitment and dedication to this university drew them here.
In that spirit, I am pleased to recognize the 2004 UNH Faculty Excellence
We honor these faculty members for their excellence in teaching,
research and public service. All were nominated by colleagues and
students, and they represent every school and college within the
The 2004 recipients are: Jeffry Diefendorf (History), Distinguished
Professor; Ross Gittell (Management), Outstanding Associate Professor;
Charlotte Bacon (English), Outstanding Assistant Professor; Carole
Barnett (Management), Jean Brierley Award for Excellence in Teaching;
Tom Laue (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), Excellence in Research;
Barbara Krysiak (Education), Excellence in Public Service; Charles
Goodspeed (Civil Engineering), Alumni Association Award for Excellence
in Public Service; and Ihab Farag (Chemical Engineering), International
Engagement Faculty Award.
And the school and college Teaching Excellence winners are: Raymond
Cook (Civil Engineering), College of Engineering and Physical Sciences;
Robert Barcelona (Recreation Management and Policy), School of Health
and Human Services; Piero Garofalo (Language, Literature and Culture,
Italian), College of Liberal Arts; John (“Ted”) Kirkpatrick
(Sociology), College of Liberal Arts; Nicholas Smith (Philosophy),
College of Liberal Arts; Frank Rodgers (Microbiology), College of
Life Sciences and Agriculture; Barbara Jago (Communication Arts),
UNH Manchester; John Becker Blease (Accounting and Finance), Whittemore
School of Business and Economics; and John Bozak (Forest Technology),
Thompson School of Applied Sciences. Congratulations to you all
for your outstanding achievement.
Please plan to attend this year’s Academic Convocation on
September 14th in the Richards Auditorium to hear from Professors
Diefendorf, Bacon and Barnett, on the challenges they have faced
in articulating what it means to be an integrated academic in the
face of modern career pressures.
This is the season when we look back and reflect on how successfully
we have met the goals set for the past year and set goals for the
coming year that build on that foundation for success.
Before I begin, however, I want to acknowledge the wonderful creative
accomplishments of the photographers whose work I have used for
this presentation: Lisa Nugent, Doug Prince, Perry Smith and Gary
Last year was eventful in many ways. Our combined efforts resulted
in the University of New Hampshire being named to The Kiplinger
100 (November 2003), where we were named in the top 100 best
values in public colleges, and among the top 50 public universities
by U.S. News & World Report (August 2004).
The accomplishments of students, faculty and staff have left me
with many stories from which to choose. I’ll share just a
few today, knowing there are many, many more. Please keep sharing
and bringing them to my attention.
I have organized my remarks this afternoon around the strategic
themes of the Academic Plan—discovery, engagement, community,
effectiveness and resourcefulness. These five themes represent our
blueprint for the future.
Education that Is Grounded in Inquiry
During this past year, the Faculty Senate endorsed
the Academic Plan and expressed its support for the first stages
of implementation of the Discovery Program.
This coming year, Provost Bruce Mallory and program directors Joanne
Curran Celentano and John Ernest will work with the Discovery Program
Advisory Committee and the Faculty Senate to assure the successful
development of the program.
I would like to share with you just a few examples of the inquiry
courses that already have been developed and taught and of the undergraduate
discovery learning designed by UNH faculty.
- “From Frankenstein to Dolly, and Beyond,” is an
inter-disciplinary course that explores social and ethical issues
associated with scientific research.
- “The Portable, Exportable Nation,” seeks to define
the United States for those who encounter it only online, on television
or in the newspaper.
- A journey to Guatemala helps to reconstruct the oldest Mayan
murals ever discovered—the murals that Bill Saturno found
in 2001 in an astounding chance discovery.
- Ten undergraduates retraced the last leg of the journey of
the Corps of Discovery.
- And, Rake’s Progress, an original theater piece
by David Kaye, based on the recent Chain of Fools: Hogarth
Reinterpreted exhibition, was an educational highlight of
Students tell us that faculty encouragement is the strongest motivation
in getting them involved in hands-on research and creative work.
These efforts are paying off. Nearly 500 students presented original
research at the fifth annual Undergraduate Research Conference this
We see the benefit of faculty involvement in the Undergraduate Research
Opportunities Program (UROP) and the International Research Opportunities
Program (IROP). In the coming year, funding from Dana Hamel, a long-time
friend of the university, will enable us to boost support for faculty
mentors and extend participation to even more students.
And involvement in research at the undergraduate level often leads
to new quests. The Center for International Education reports that,
10 years ago, few of the students who sought advising for Fulbright
awards had been abroad. Now, many come fresh from successful international
research experiences and are eager to go back. We are particularly
proud that all five of our Fulbright finalists last year received
grants and have joined the ranks of distinguished UNH Fulbright
scholars. Forty percent of UNH faculty members are actively involved
in international engagement in more than 70 countries and on every
Success in undergraduate research last year extended across all
disciplines and colleges. For example, six engineering and business
students took top honors for their proposal for removing carbon
dioxide from the atmosphere at the 14th annual Environmental Design
Contest in Las Cruces, New Mexico. They have just presented a research
funding proposal to the U.S. Department of Energy and will soon
be seeking a patent.
The best education connects the academic experience with the wider
world. Under the guidance of Student and Academic Services, we are
making better connections between advising and residential programs
that support the transition to college life: advising for undeclared
liberal arts students; special focus study groups; peer-advising;
and an expanded advising and Career Center mentoring program are
just a few examples.
Extending Knowledge to New Hampshire and Beyond
The UNH mission as a land-, sea- and space-grant institution
also requires that our many communities benefit from the new knowledge
created here. I am proud to say that UNH is exemplary in its level
of engagement with community partners and with the breadth of those
Faculty engagement and the commitment to seek sponsored research
funding clearly make the difference. Here are some examples of how
we partner with our communities for mutual benefit.
Thanks to a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, UNH graduate
students and their advisers in the Leitzel Center are working with
nine New Hampshire High Schools to revamp existing science curriculum
into an inquiry-based model through the Partnership for Research
Opportunities to Benefit Education (PROBE).
The Empowering Communities Project provides access to key data and
the training necessary to help state and local officials improve
the health of their communities, and the Carsey Institute will serve
as a resource for faculty in the social and behavioral sciences
and health and human services.
Meanwhile, under the sea, zoology Professor Win Watson and his students
are hard at work unearthing the secret lives of lobsters. The knowledge
this work unveils is of immense value in sustaining the lobster
industry and the livelihood of thousands of New England’s
Ellen Fitzpatrick’s appearance on the nationally televised
NewsHour with Jim Lehrer during the Democratic National Convention
is a great example of the public scholar in action. It filled me
with pride when Professor Fitzpatrick told me how much she enjoyed
hearing herself introduced as…“from the University of
New Hampshire,” and I loved watching and listening to her
Career opportunities for engagement sometimes knock early through
the UNH experience. Shannon Buckley, class of 2006, had barely been
on campus a day when she got a job at the Climate Change Research
Shannon says that it didn’t really hit her until she actually
started gathering data for the International Consortium of Atmospheric
Research on Transport and Transformation Project (ICARRT), that
she had become part of “something really big, something that
could help protect the environment in a way she had never imagined.”
In a February 2004 Granite State Poll conducted by Andy Smith of
the UNH Survey Center, we learned that Cooperative Extension is
one of the university’s best-known programs. Over the past
year and into this coming year, I am visiting each of the 10 county
extension offices of the Granite State to meet with county leaders,
legislators, members of the Governor’s Executive Council and
extension educators to learn more about how the university serves
New Hampshire. For instance, the Lakes Lay Monitoring Program, celebrating
its 25th anniversary this year, is a fine example of Cooperative
Extension’s excellence in service.
Governance, Diversity, Respect, Citizenship
As a public university, providing the highest quality,
broad-based education for students in an ethical and welcoming setting
is one of our core responsibilities. When I refer to diversity in
this context, I have a focused meaning.
I have in mind the opportunity for full participation and freedom
from discrimination for all groups of people, especially those who
have been historically excluded or under-represented in higher education
and in the broader American society. Their participation is vital
in order for the university to thrive. UNH will be a respectful
and inclusive community for all its members.
This past year, we completed a series of study circles, worked
with an external consultant on a review and analysis of racial and
ethnic diversity, confronted the stress and conflict that emerged
from hate groups demonstrating on campus during the consecration
of Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson and moved toward more integrated
communication and collaboration among all of the Presidential Commissions
on issues of race, gender and sexual orientation or expression.
The study circles on alcohol abuse are another example of community
building that occurred last year. Students, faculty, staff and community
leaders participated in a series of conversations on campus that
grew out of the Student Summit last fall, which encouraged a national
dialogue on civil disturbances in university communities.
Excellence for Faculty, Students and Staff
The themes of effectiveness and resourcefulness are
closely related. They provide the checks and balances that keep
this university funded and moving forward. Continual assessment
of our performance, costs and benefits and risks and rewards is
necessary to sustain UNH. Some efforts in this domain this past
year included the New England Association of Schools and Colleges
(NEASC) self-study and the faculty contract negotiations.
Last year, we received reaffirmation of accreditation by NEASC.
The process included an extensive UNH self-study that focused on
the undergraduate experience, engagement through research and scholarship
and institutional effectiveness. I commend and thank the self-study
committees for their difficult and extraordinarily successful work.
The praise UNH received from the commission at the conclusion of
its review was, in my experience, truly rare and remarkable.
Last year, I expressed my belief that we could execute a fair and
equitable negotiation of the faculty collective bargaining agreement.
We succeeded, thanks to the efforts of many, and signed the first-ever
contract without an impasse or mediation since the beginning of
collective bargaining at UNH. I am very proud of everyone on our
AAUP (American Association of University Professors) and university
administration teams for making this happen as we continue to strive
for market salary equity for all members of the UNH community.
Ensuring Efficient Use of Available Resources
We know that to accomplish our goals, we must strive
for the efficient use of all available resources. This is true in
the best of all worlds. It is especially true in New Hampshire.
From the most recent Granite State Poll, we learned that New Hampshire’s
citizens are largely unaware of the low proportion of state funding
for higher education in our state and its impact on the University
of New Hampshire. With state funding the lowest per capita in the
nation and providing only 15 percent of our annual operating budget,
we must be frugal in our operations and resourceful as we seek additional
One strategy for success is through smart partnerships. Securing
the National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate
Competitive Research (EPSCoR) designation from the National Science
Foundation for the state was a central part of my charge to the
leadership of research administration last year. I am pleased to
report that we have received funding for the EPSCoR planning proposal
led by Vice President John Aber. As of Aug. 15, New Hampshire is
an EPSCoR state, which qualifies all New Hampshire institutions
of higher education to be eligible for $400 million of NSF funding.
In FY '04, UNH received a record $94 million through grants and
contracts—up 9.1 percent over the preceding year. Faculty
across campus contributed to this increase, which continues a 20-year
trend that has seen external funding for research increase nine-fold.
UNH is now an important national and international partner in many
areas of research expertise, as judged by publication impact, colleague
citations and participation in cutting edge projects.
Funded research also has yielded dividends in a fledgling technology
transfer program at UNH, where faculty and students partner with
the university to benefit from the intellectual property generated
by their research.
Private fund raising is another source of revenue. Despite a flagging
economy and serious challenges to nonprofits for the past few years,
UNH was able to end FY’04 with $12.4 million in cash raised
compared with $10.7 million the preceding year. Our endowment enjoyed
its first double-digit return in several years and has risen to
an all-time high of $170 million.
The beauty and adequacy of the physical campus are also keys to
UNH’s future. With at least 50 percent of state-owned buildings
on university system campuses, and the majority and oldest of those
buildings at UNH, we are the major stewards of New Hampshire’s
capital investment in the future.
We are obliged to secure state funding to maintain and improve these
facilities. As you know, the beautifully restored Murkland Hall
is one of our first successes. You can’t miss the powerful,
positive impact of the KEEP NH (Knowledge Economy Education Plan)
plan for capital improvements promoted through the visionary leadership
of our board of trustees. The renovation of Kingsbury Hall is now
underway—our next phase in realizing this vision. I am pleased
to report that we completed the Campus Master Plan this past year
and await final approval by the board of trustees. This comprehensive
long-range plan will guide campus development over the next two
The Year Ahead Holds More Opportunities
2005 – The Year of Resourcefulness and Engagement
In The Will to Believe, philosopher William
James reminded us of the importance of trust in the future and its
impact on the willingness of people to move forward together.
He said, “A social organism of any sort is what it is because
each member proceeds to his own duty with a trust that the other
members will simultaneously do theirs…. A government, an army,
a commercial system, a ship, a college, an athletic team, all exist
on this condition, without which not only is nothing achieved, but
nothing is even attempted.” Mutual trust and the willingness
to work together will have a huge impact on UNH in the coming year.
I agree with James that a distinguished future for UNH “cannot
come at all unless a preliminary faith exists in its coming.”
Our Academic Plan, Campus Master Plan and budget and finance processes
only lay the groundwork for the future. Mutual trust and a united
effort will drive UNH forward—we have “the right to
believe” that the future we have laid out in our vision for
UNH will become a reality, despite the challenges ahead.
Financial resources for UNH will be a significant
theme for the 2005 fiscal year, with a number of opportunities and
challenges. One of the most important challenges is the state biennial
budget process. These conversations are critical to our future.
They also offer an important opportunity to tell the UNH story and
build a greater understanding of the university’s role in
the state, nation and world. I will focus a significant amount of
attention and time during this upcoming session on a grassroots
advocacy effort and, in conjunction with the system office, a strong
communication effort in Concord.
We must clearly demonstrate the excellence of our educational programs,
underscore the impact of our research, continue our commitment to
our communities and be responsible in the use of all of our resources.
This focus is especially critical in the upcoming session as we
seek funding for the desperately needed renovations of DeMeritt,
James and Parsons Halls.
I will work this year with the UNH team to help lawmakers appreciate
anew the reality that tomorrow’s qualified workers, the citizens
who form the bedrock of New Hampshire’s economy, are here
with us today as students. More than 44,000 UNH alumni make their
homes in New Hampshire and contribute to the well being of our state.
They represent the depth and interdependence of the UNH relationship
with the State of New Hampshire.
As you well know, we are used to being resourceful with our operating
budgets. This year is particularly tight, and you have all done
a tremendous job reducing expenditures. We’ve all had a good
laugh over the extent to which one might carry this effort. Yes,
there will be toilet paper in the restrooms. I know it has been
a challenging process, and I am extremely grateful for your efforts.
The University of New Hampshire is once again proving that we are
able to achieve excellence with frugality.
As part of this process, Dr. Aber and his staff will continue their
excellent work in obtaining EPSCoR funding. Through the EPSCoR designation
we also qualify for programs in other federal agencies including
Defense, Energy, Commerce, NASA and EPA. We already are part of
a research funding program through the NIH (National Institutes
of Health), called BRIN, which will help us build a solid foundation
for growth in NIH-based research—a primary goal over the next
In the coming year, I will be working with the UNH Foundation leadership,
preparing for the silent phase of the next capital campaign, laying
the groundwork with current and potential friends of the university.
A successful capital campaign presents the opportunity to achieve
that extra edge of excellence that can distinguish UNH, and is made
possible by those who believe most deeply in this wonderful institution.
Our success in this undertaking depends in part on closely coordinating
the activities of the UNH Foundation, the Alumni Association and
University Communications and Marketing to keep our friends informed
of our accomplishments.
It will be increasingly important for me to meet with friends and
supporters as I begin to work with UNH Foundation President Young
Dawkins, Provost Mallory and Vice President Jennifer Murray to structure
this critical campaign. Stewardship is a priority for us all, as
donors deserve to see the impact and added value of their gifts.
You will be hearing more about the campaign in the coming months.
I hope that you will participate as planning begins to take shape.
In the coming year, the implementation of the new
Discovery Program, including the revised general education curriculum,
will be a major step forward.
Building on the success of the pilot inquiry courses offered last
year, and over the next two years, we will strengthen the undergraduate
experience while offering a more cogent array of courses that assures
a liberal education for all of our students.
To assist with the oversight of strategic planning
and assessment, I have asked that a Planning and Alignment Committee
(PAC) be formed. The members of the Committee will include the Central
Budget Committee, plus supplemental members such as a trustee, a
campaign representative, a graduate student, the assistant provost
for faculty development and strategic planning, a department chair
and a university institute or research center director. The Planning
and Alignment Committee will be cochaired by Provost Mallory and
Vice President Candace Corvey.
This process will result in specific metrics that will measure and
assess student learning. It will examine efficiency and effectiveness
from both a curricular and organizational standpoint. Faculty productivity,
institutional reputation, the student postgraduate experience and
financial well being will also be considered.
In the rapidly changing world of the life sciences, where the disciplines
have made enormous advances in the last decade, it is a challenge
to marshal our resources so that UNH can continue to deliver fine
COLSA Dean Bill Trumble will proceed through the early fall to work
with the faculty in designing a conceptual framework for the future
structure of the college, a structure that will better reflect contemporary
disciplinary and interdisciplinary pedagogy and scholarship and
that will operate in a manner that is financially viable. This work
with the faculty will include an examination of previous studies
of the college and its departments and programs.
A proposed plan for reorganization will be presented to Provost
Mallory in November. The proposed plan will then serve as the basis
for a comprehensive program review under the provisions of our Collective
I am committed to assuring a future for life sciences and agriculture
that places the college at the forefront of these critical disciplines.
For the past few years, Responsibility Centered Management (RCM)
has provided a flexible budgetary structure that is responsive at
the local level. RCM is scheduled for its five-year review beginning
this year. The first stages of the review, including data gathering
and analysis, will commence this fall. This process follows the
gathering of extensive preliminary input by the Central Budget Committee
over the last year. Overall, RCM has served us well. Budgets are
more responsive to changes in activity, incentives exist for cost
effectiveness and revenue generation and clarity about university
finances is increased. But RCM as currently structured is not perfect.
The coming review and recommendations to improve our budget system
will be led by Provost Mallory and Vice President Corvey and will
draw widely on input from across the university.
We will continue to make progress integrating and enhancing the
UNH living and learning and working environment. Vice President
Mark Rubinstein will lead the UNH efforts to focus with greater
clarity and intensity on a core set of outcomes that will define
a UNH graduate. The reorganized Division of Student and Academic
Services is working hard toward this end. Through this new merger
of student services and academic support, and in partnership with
Academic Affairs, UNH must forge integral links between the academic
and nonacademic aspects of student life, create better connections
between curriculum and cocurricular experiences, and foster high
expectations for academic and personal excellence.
The Operating Staff (OS), Professional Administrative and Technical
(PAT) staff and Extension Educators (EE) staff councils have been
developing an Employee Suggestion Program that will reward employees
whose suggestions improve service, efficiency, institutional image
and/or increase revenue.
The staff councils have proposed a modification of the leave policy
to include bereavement, adoption and family care under a broadened
Family Friendly Leave program. The proposal is currently under review
at our sister campuses and is scheduled for consideration by the
USNH System Personnel Policy Council this fall.
UNH will also continue to serve the educational needs of nontraditional
students and community members. As many of you know, Provost Mallory,
with faculty participation, has been examining the future of the
Division of Continuing Education (DCE) through an extensive strategic
review and planning process. This effort, completed in May 2004,
has resulted in recommendations for the restructuring of the division
to more effectively extend academic access to nontraditional students.
I support the recommendations of this planning group and the Provost
Mallory to revise the reporting structure and create a new name
for the largest segment of the former DCE:
- Nontraditional credit offerings and Summer Session will remain
a part of the Provost’s Office and will be renamed The Office
of Outreach Education and Summer Studies.
- Noncredit professional development will merge with the Center
for Graduate and Professional Studies and become a part of the
Graduate School.ÿ Interhostel/Familyhostel will operate as
a stand-alone auxiliary.
Provost Mallory, faculty, Computer and Information Services (CIS)
and New Hampshire Public Television (NHPTV) also are working to
finalize a plan that will provide enhanced access to UNH through
technology mediated instruction. This important effort will address
distributed learning demands in the future while appropriately marshalling
the resources of UNH, NHPTV and the Granite State Distance Learning
Network. We are latecomers to this effort in American higher education
and will draw on this resource prudently and appropriately to safeguard
the highest academic standards.
NHPTV is a wonderful resource at UNH and, in partnership with others
at the university, can be a major resource to the university system
with the support and encouragement of the board of trustees. Coordination
is particularly important now, because of a leadership transition
in CIS. Chancellor Reno and I will be seeking external expert advice
as we contemplate the best possible future organization for CIS.
In the coming year, Athletics Director Marty Scarano will conclude
a comprehensive strategic planning process for athletics that will
move UNH toward a more cohesive and successful structure for all
student participation in sports. I expect that the new UNH approach
to sports at all levels will provide greater opportunities for student
athletes, from intramurals and club sports to varsity competition.
I anticipate that this planning will include strategies to enhance
all UNH students’ experiences, from competitors at all levels
to spectators for all sports, drawing on the expertise in university
recreation. UNH students invest significant resources in support
of recreation and varsity athletics on campus, and this effort will
result in much broader participation, engagement and enjoyment for
Last year, many members of the greater Durham community worked together
to be more supportive of each other. Upon the recommendation of
Provost Mallory, I am establishing the UNH Community and Citizenship
Leadership Council to foster more productive and positive relationships.
The council will serve as an umbrella oversight group to coordinate
the many efforts with Durham citizens and business leaders, the
town government, students and organizations on campus toward a more
cohesive and supportive community.
This is an important effort that will increase our success as we
meet the continuing challenge of nurturing an inclusive community
while confronting ongoing, competing and multiple stressors that
drive us apart. Get involved. We’re all in this together.
As we roll out the “Durham: It’s Where U Live”
program this fall, I hope that we will be able to nurture a universal
feeling of respect among the Durham community and UNH students,
faculty and staff. This grassroots effort grew out of conversations
with several Durham merchants following the student disturbances
last year and was designed by Vice President Murray’s team
in University Communications and Marketing. Its goal is to create
mutual respect and inclusiveness among students and residents of
The program is focused this year on first-year students, and you
will see the campaign in full force on University Day on September
14th and on Durham Appreciation Day on Saturday, October 23rd. Special
thanks to our Durham business leader partners for their contributions
and UNH Athletics for the free tickets for Durham residents to attend
the UNH/Hofstra football game.
You will see this year a great deal of activity arising out of last
year’s work toward a more powerful definition of the UNH commitment
to diversity. This effort aims to reinvigorate UNH as an inclusive
and welcoming place to study and live. This year, Dr. Wanda Mitchell
will serve as Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity Initiatives.
She will work to guide UNH toward the finalization of a strategic
plan for diversity and will be asking many of you to participate.
I hope that you will visit the new UNH Diversity Web site (www.unh.edu/diversity),
scheduled to be launched this week, where you will find information
about the many activities at UNH that advance our goal to promote
a diverse and inclusive community.
One thing we learned during the extensive dialogues last year was
that we have been remiss in providing information and promoting
participation in the many great programs available at UNH. One example
last spring was the evening of celebration called “Culture
X,” sponsored by the Diversity Support Coalition. The coalition
is the umbrella organization for the Black Student Union, Mosaico,
the United Asian Coalition, Native American Cultural Alliance, Hillel
and Alliance (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, questioning,
allied student association).
Our students put on a grand evening of entertainment from many cultures
and ways of life, but few of us were in the audience. Let’s
show our support by turning out in greater numbers this year.
I challenge all of us, however, not to become too wedded to notions
of harmony as we embrace diversity. We will always have disagreements
and should remain quietly proud of our ability to confront those
differences. Dr. Carol Christ, president of Smith College, laid
out the challenge we face when she said:
“The metaphors of family and community that we so readily
use can become obstacles. A model of diversity that says our goal
is to create a harmonious and loving unity is not going to succeed.
After all, public arguments with strangers are easier than family
fights…. A model that acknowledges the possibility of respect
without love, opposition without apology, will take us much further.”
Respect and debate are treasured features of academic life at great
universities like ours. I am confident that we will embrace diversity
within that context, knowing that too much agreement might be a
warning sign that we are not confronting tough issues with enough
courage and honesty.
The future is filled with challenges both known and unknown. The
University of New Hampshire is prepared. UNH is the fertile ground
in which new knowledge will germinate, grow and flourish. We have
shown ourselves more than ready to rise to the thorny challenges
embedded in the human intellectual endeavor—from the fine
and creative arts that express the human spirit, to planetary sciences
that explore the solar system.
I believe that UNH also will be important in helping all of us to
understand our uncertain times. We can rise to the responsibilities
of public scholarship, face the burning issues of our time in a
public context and apply our considerable analytical and conceptual
skills to lay bare the critical forces that will shape the human
experience in our era.
The time ahead is full of promise and challenge. I embrace with
enthusiasm the UNH commitment to engagement articulated in the Academic
Plan—to engage our empirical and theoretic knowledge to confront
the issues of our times and to organize and expand the knowledge
of experience. Increasingly, the expertise brought to bear on experience,
empirical knowledge and theory will be important. I believe that
the public scholar who embraces all of these roles is growing in
importance in our society.
Stephen Graubard asserts that: “[T]here is a compelling obligation
to support scholarship that accepts the reality of insecurity, but
insists … that the ‘great ages have been unstable ages.’
This approach would invite research efforts rarely pursued in the
more pacific 19th century or in the ideologically charged century
that followed the two World Wars. We live in a new world, made so
not by … terrorists, but by the incomparable scientific and
technological knowledge created in the last century.
It behooves us to understand that world in all its diversity, seen
as something other than a new political and economic creation that
has eradicated all previous historical roots….”
The greater the challenge, the greater the rewards. We face challenging
times indeed, especially from the reality shaped by extraordinarily
scarce resources, but these challenges also present great opportunities.
Dr. Patricia Limerick, professor of history at the
University of Colorado, whimsically compares the challenges faced
by great universities in modern America to those faced by rodeo
bronco riders. As she points out, a rider can have a successful
ride with a mount that resists with only a few bucks and jumps.
But such a ride will never win the gold buckle.
A gold buckle ride requires that we face the most determined of
mounts and overcome energetic and daunting efforts to dislodge us
from our mission. We are in for a tough ride, but a ride bursting
with opportunity—a ride worthy of the gold buckle.
We have committed to the best possible living and learning environment
for UNH students in an intellectual community charged with the energy
of creative work and world class research, and we have reorganized
our curriculum and learning experiences to energize and advance
that living and learning community. We have committed to a university
that is welcoming and inclusive, and we have taken steps to assure
the achievement of that goal.
We have committed to increased energy and distinction in basic research
and to engagement through scholarship that confronts the pressing
issues of our times, and we have increased our research productivity
and outreach. We have committed to faculty and staff compensation
that addresses demands in the market, even as it requires that we
reorder priorities to meet that commitment, and we have reordered
priorities. We have committed to accountability, and we have developed
assessments that will illuminate our successes and failures.
When I began reflecting on the past year and looking forward to
the year ahead, lists of challenges came quickly to mind. But, as
I began to review the achievements and distinction amassed by faculty,
students and staff, my spirits soared. UNH is ready for the future,
and I look forward to it with excitement and anticipation.
We have the will to believe in the future of UNH and a more than
preliminary faith in its coming. Please join me in celebrating and
welcoming the new year at the University of New Hampshire.
# # #
Carol T. Christ. (2004). “What private colleges
can learn from public universities about public spaces.” Chronicle
of Higher Education—Architecture and Campus Planning.
March 26, 2004.
Stephen R. Graubard. (2004). Public Scholarship: A New Perspective
for the 21st Century. New York: Carnegie Corporation of New
William James, 1842-1910. (1979). The Will to Believe and Other
Essays in Popular Philosophy/William James. Edited by Frederick
H. Burkhardt, Fredson Bowers, Ignas K. Skrupskelis. Cambridge, Mass.:
Harvard University Press.