2004 State of the University Address

"2005: The Will To Believe"

Ann Weaver Hart
President
Strafford Room
Memorial Union Building
University of New Hampshire


September 2, 2004



Welcome.

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 winners.

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 university.

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 Samson.

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.

Discovery
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 last year.

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 past spring.

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 continent.

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.

Engagement
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 interactions.

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 families.

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 every night.

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 Center.

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.

Community
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.

Effectiveness
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.

Resourcefulness
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 funding.

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 decades.

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 Resourcefulness

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 few years.

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.

Discovery

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.

Effectiveness

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 academic programs.

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 Bargaining Agreement.

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 students. Community

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 Durham.

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.

Conclusion

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.

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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 York.

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.