University of New Hampshire President Ann Weaver Hart Outlines Goals in State of the University Address

Contact: Lori Wright
603-862-0574
UNH Media Relations

September 2, 2004



Editors: The full text of President Ann Weaver Hart’s address is available at http://www.unh.edu/news/news_releases/2004/september/lw_20040902speech.html.

DURHAM, N.H. – University of New Hampshire President Ann Weaver Hart reviewed the previous year’s accomplishments and set goals for the future during the 2004 State of the University address Thursday, Sept. 2, 2004.

UNH President Ann Weaver Hart

Titled “2005: The Will to Believe,” Hart’s address touched on the themes of the Academic Plan -- discovery, engagement, community, effectiveness and resourcefulness – which she said represent UNH’s blueprint for the future.

“Last year was eventful in many ways. Our combined efforts resulted in the University of New Hampshire being named to The Kiplinger 100, 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,” Hart said.
In discussing discovery, Hart cited examples of how a UNH education is grounded in inquiry. In addition to moving forward with its Discovery Program, UNH has developed a number of “inquiry” courses.

On the theme of engagement, Hart said UNH’s role as a land-, sea-, and space-grant institution requires that communities benefit from its knowledge creation. She cited several examples of how UNH partners with communities, including a National Science Foundation grant allowing graduate students in the Leitzel Center to work with nine New Hampshire high schools to re-vamp existing science curriculum into an inquiry-based model.

The university’s study circles series, and review and analysis of racial and ethnic diversity were cited as examples of UNH’s commitment to fostering a welcoming community.

Hart also noted that “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.”

The president also said UNH must continue to ensure efficient use of available resources in order to accomplish goals. “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,” she said.

UNH’s strategy to make the most of its resources has been successful on several fronts, including through smart partnerships such as the state’s EPSCoR designation from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that qualifies all state institutions of higher education 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. And despite a flagging economy, UNH ended FY ’04 with $12.4 million in private fundraising, compared with $10.7 million the prior year.

“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,” she said, citing the importance of state support for capital improvements such as those ongoing with the Kingsbury Hall renovation.

In looking ahead to 2005, Hart said the year holds more opportunities and called it “The Year of Resourcefulness and Engagement.”

“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,” Hart said.

According to the president, financial resources will be a significant theme for the 2005 fiscal year, with one of the most important challenges being the state biennial budget process. Hart plans to focus on a grassroots advocacy effort and, in conjunction with the USNH 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 DeMerritt, James, and Parsons Halls,” she said.

UNH will continue to pursue federal research funding, including NIH-based research. And in the coming year, Hart said she will work with the UNH Foundation to prepare for the next capital campaign.

Hart has requested formation of a Planning and Alignment Committee (PAC), which will develop metrics to measure and assess student learning. It will examine efficiency and effectiveness from both a curricular and organizational standpoint, including faculty productivity, institutional reputation, the student post-graduate experience, and financial well being.

UNH also will continue to serve the educational needs of nontraditional students and community members, Hart said, outlining her recommendations for the future of the Division of Continuing Education (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.
  • Interhostel/Familyhostel will operate as a stand-alone auxiliary.

Hart also said she would soon be announcing the newly created UNH Community and Citizenship Leadership Council. “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,” she said.

Another community effort, “Durham: It’s Where U Live,” recently was rolled out as a way to encourage mutual respect among the Durham community, UNH students, faculty, and staff. “This grassroots effort grew out of conversations with several Durham merchants following the student disturbances last year,” Hart said.

The coming year also will see a greater emphasis on diversity. Wanda Mitchell has been selected to serve as special assistant to the provost for diversity initiatives, and will work to guide UNH toward the finalization of a strategic plan for diversity.

Hart concluded her address by saying that although the future is filled with challenges, both known and unknown, UNH is prepared.