Discovery: a way of knowing
State of the University Address
Ann Weaver Hart
University of New Hampshire
Sept. 6, 2005
Welcome back to UNH as we begin another wonderful academic year.
Before we continue, my thanks to the many talented staff members
who created the wonderful video we just watched. It continues to
intrigue me how varied are the ways in which the University of New
Hampshire pushes us to know more about our world and the people
who make it so fascinating.
This afternoon, I want to reflect with you on some of the challenges
and achievements of the year just past and look to the year ahead.
Let me begin by thanking you for your commitment to this great University
and by recognizing the 2005 recipients of the Faculty Excellence
Awards for teaching, research, and public service and the Presidential
Award of Excellence. I can think of no better way to begin a year
than to acknowledge the achievements of our outstanding faculty
and staff. This year’s awardees are:
* John W. Seavey, (health management and policy) Distinguished Professor;
* Victoria L. Banyard, (psychology) Outstanding Associate Professor;
* Jo Sias Daniel, (civil engineering) Outstanding Assistant Professor;
* Gale B. Carey, (nutritional sciences) Jean Brierley Award for
Excellence in Teaching;
* Charlotte E. Witt, (philosophy and the humanities) Excellence
* W. Jeffrey Bolster (history) Excellence in Public Service;
* Jane A. Nisbet, (education) Alumni Association Award for Excellence
in Public Service;
* Barbara T. Cooper (French) Excellence in International Engagement;
* Russell G. Congalton, (remote sensing and geographic information
systems) Excellence in Graduate Faculty Mentoring Award.
The following faculty members received Awards of Excellence in college
* Edward H. Wong, (chemistry) College of Engineering and Physical
* Robert W. Kenefick, (kinesiology) School of Health and Human Services;
* Lisa C. Miller, (English) College of Liberal Arts;
* R. Scott Smith, (classics) College of Liberal Arts;
* Cynthia Van Zandt, (history) College of Liberal Arts;
* Thomas D. Lee, (forest ecology) College of Life Sciences and Agriculture;
* John F. McCarthy, (business) UNH Manchester;
* Ludwig A. Bstieler, (marketing) Whittemore School of Business
and Economics; and
* Matthew Chagnon, (forest technology) Thompson School of Applied
I am pleased to recognize Presidential Award of Excellence recipients:
* Nicole M. Cavicchi, (Early Childhood Teacher) Child Study and
* Deborah J. Cheever, (Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development)
* Kathryn M. Ferreira, (Director, Center for Graduate and Professional
Studies) UNH Manchester;
* Stephanie M. Higgs, (Senior Administrative Assistant, Office Manager)
University Counseling Center; and
* Shawn P. Roche, (Facility Manager) New Hampshire Public Television.
Congratulations to you all.
You will have an opportunity to hear from faculty at the Academic
Convocation on September 13th at 12:30 p.m., when Provost Bruce
Mallory moderates a discussion with UNH Discovery Authors. These
authors are part of our new University Dialogue series. I will be
telling you more about the series in a few minutes.
Where Are We?
The 2004-05 academic year was filled with challenges, excitement,
and achievement. I have selected just a few examples for illustration
this afternoon. These achievements represent progress toward accomplishing
our goals and objectives. We are seeing the fruits of our collective
We are increasing our sponsored grants and contracts. UNH exceeded
$108 million in this critical area last year. This represents an
increase of more than 15 percent over the previous year and an even
higher rate of increase in indirect cost recovery. And, the $108
million figure does not include the recent $38 million NASA grant
to build instrumentation for the space agency’s Magnetospheric
MultiScale (MMS) mission—the largest single research award
in the history of this institution. This growth in extramural funding
holds enormous promise for the University and it supports faculty
as they work to answer burning questions and seek solutions to major
issues facing our world. Art, scholarship, and research represent
a Discovery way of knowing central to our core mission—the
creation of new knowledge and new manifestations of the human spirit.
We continue to expand our commitment to new knowledge creation as
a component of Discovery for undergraduates. This spring, more than
700 students presented original research and creative work at the
Undergraduate Research Conference. The conference featured 15 separate
events, giving undergraduates across all colleges and schools the
chance to present the results of their work. The growth of this
program over the past six years has brought true distinction to
We are creating a more cohesive student life experience. In keeping
with our long-held desire and explicit goal in the Academic Plan
to more fully integrate the student experience, orientation now
extends across the entire first undergraduate year. Staff and faculty
are creating a closer connection that begins with the June orientation
and continues through the second semester. Young adulthood is a
period of explosive personal change and discovery. Recognizing the
critical link between personal and academic discovery, we will continue
to emphasize improvement in the integration between student life
and academic learning.
We are building a more inclusive community. In response to the diversity
study circles held last fall, Provost Mallory and Vice Provost Wanda
Mitchell appointed the Diversity Task Force to develop a Diversity
Strategic Plan. We adopted this plan and began its implementation.
Our current focus is on faculty recruitment and retention of people
of color and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,
but we will not lose sight of the need to continue to be an inclusive
and welcoming community to all. We also adopted, with the full support
of the Faculty Senate and input from across UNH, a new and expanded
policy against discrimination and harassment that adds gender expression
or identity and further expands our understanding of inclusion and
The President’s Commission on the Status of Women faced a
particular challenge last year because of heightened visibility
and concern about issues of sexuality, violence, and freedom of
speech. I re-established the Violence Against Women Committee that
works through the Commission, and created a new position in the
Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program office that addresses
the issue of intimate partner—or domestic—violence.
Our community is not of one mind on the critical questions that
arose, and the dialogue will continue. Leaders in Student and Academic
Services met with The New Hampshire and Main Street magazine staffs
to work toward a higher level of professionalism and civic dialogue.
The Student Senate adopted the Society of Professional Journalists’
Code of Ethics for responsible journalism for all publications funded
by student fees. The Student and Academic Services division has
taken action through the established judicial system. Many across
campus, including the journalism faculty, the theatre department
faculty and students, and others, are sharing ideas about ways to
nurture respect while advancing freedom of speech and protecting
the safety of all members of our community. Faculty from many disciplines
have expressed their commitment to continue this dialogue with their
active participation, which will expand our understanding and enlighten
Finally, we have worked with the sororities and fraternities to
develop a new accountability system that ties chapters’ rush
and pledging activities to achievements in service, leadership,
and academics. And we are establishing better relationships with
our community by eliminating outdoor parties for UNH sponsored Greeks.
We are vigilant stewards of New Hampshire’s resources. We
seek ways to enhance funding and cut expenses at the University
of New Hampshire to address a worrisome budget gap in some areas.
As Vice President Candace Corvey stated in a letter last spring,
in the five-year period between fiscal years 2002 and 2007, revenue
to our Education and General Budget, which comes from multiple sources,
is increasing by an average annual rate of 4.8 percent. In contrast,
our expenses are growing by 5.5 percent. If unaddressed, this difference
would produce an annual $1.7 million budget gap. Continued attention
and resourcefulness are required.
We are aggressively seeking cost savings through initiatives such
as our power cogeneration plant, as well as an ongoing search for
alternative fuels. We will seek additional funding sources with
equal vigor. The deans worked last year with Provost Mallory and
me to set the priorities for the next capital campaign, and we will
complete that planning process this year. With closer ties between
the UNH Foundation and the Alumni Association, we are more effective
than ever before in our outreach to alumni across the country.
Many of you assisted in our public advocacy efforts last year through
on-campus visitors’ tours and discussions with key legislators
about operating and capital budgets. The final state budget provides
for an increase in the state appropriation of 2.2 percent in FY
06. The comparable increase for FY 07 is 4.2 percent. While we recognize
the enormous fiscal pressures that the legislature and the governor
face as they craft the state budget, greater investment is needed
if New Hampshire is to provide an affordable first-rate public higher
education to its citizens.
The University of New Hampshire drives New Hampshire’s economy!
We will continue to advocate for a level of state funding that recognizes
the tremendous contribution of higher education to the well being
of the state, and its real costs, including those shouldered by
our students and their families.
On the bright side, the New Hampshire legislature fully funded our
capital budget request. This means that we can move forward with
the renewal and renovation of DeMeritt, James, and Parsons halls,
a long-overdue effort to rescue three buildings in dire condition.
Still, there is much to be done with other “classic”
buildings across campus!
These are our constants. We continually strive for more realistic
financial support and better facilities. We are committed to a diverse
and inclusive community. And, we do not waver in our dedication
to a safe, rewarding, exciting academic environment where every
student can make her or his experience distinctive, meaningful,
and personally fulfilling.
Where are we headed?
Two years ago, I focused on the tremendous promise of the newly
adopted Academic Plan and the challenges we faced in realizing that
promise. I called upon the University community to make the Discovery
Program a reality by adopting and beginning to implement the six-year
transition plan proposed by the Faculty Implementation Committee.
I also predicted that in the near future, “every student at
UNH will test the veracity of our discovery claims in every class,
in the laboratory, and in the field, and they will judge the congruence
of our actions and rhetoric.”
Last year, I declared that we have the will to believe that we can
achieve our goal and move forward to make that plan a reality. I
provided examples from across the University of ways in which that
will to believe was being realized through concrete accomplishments.
This year, we are on the cusp of creating a true signature educational
experience. Despite the difficulty of the challenges, an unmistakable
Gold Buckle Ride, we are poised to make that promise a reality.
At the graduate level, the entering class of 650 has the highest
undergraduate grade point average on record. We have more than 300
students enrolled in professional masters’ programs through
the Center for Graduate and Professional Studies in Manchester.
Innovative new programs such as the one-year accelerated MBA are
making their mark on the future.
Through teaching and scholarship, graduate students contribute to
virtually every aspect of University life, including the humanities,
social and life sciences, physical and geosciences, engineering,
the arts, and applied professional fields. Our nationally recognized
Preparing Future Faculty program provides preparation in the newest
teaching methods. Research teams put faculty, post-doctoral, and
graduate students side by side with undergraduates in exciting collaborations.
The undergraduate experience is enriched through these valuable
This year, we welcome one of our largest and strongest first-year
classes in University history. With an estimated 2,800 students,
the entering class is high achieving, with a sharp increase in the
number of top New Hampshire high school students enrolling. We experienced
a rise in average SAT scores and a 38 percent increase in admission
deposits from New Hampshire residents offered Presidential and Dean’s
These students are attracted to a dynamic community of teachers
and learners. They are attracted to programs that work together
to meet their expectations for a holistic academic and personal
discovery experience. UNH will not only prepare them to be active
learners and shapers of their individual experiences, but will equip
them to be contributing citizens who will continually master new
ways of knowing in a global community. These students are attracted
by an intimate living and learning environment that is charged with
the energy and excitement of inquiry and personal growth. They are
attracted to Discovery.
A huge debate has raged for many years in academe over ways of knowing:
quantitative, qualitative, phenomenological, existential, explanatory,
experiential, inductive, deductive, sensory, logical, constructivist,
deconstructivist, authoritative, intuitive/inspirational, diverse/
multicultural, female/male. UNH committed in its Academic Plan to
an inquiry-based, questioning pedagogy that embraces the universe
of ways of knowing. Discovery is its core.
Educational reformer Ted Sizer has said: “A wise school’s
goal is to get its students into good intellectual habits. Just
which habits can be grist for properly endless debate.” I
think UNH has decided which habits of mind we will choose to nurture
in our students through the “Discovery Program” general
education curriculum and through our commitment to inquiry and original
research by undergraduates. UNH students will develop, through a
thirst for discovery, what Sizer calls the habit of perspective,
the habit of analysis, the habit of empathy, and the habit of communication.
The Discovery Program is the outgrowth of a series of faculty-led
initiatives that established the Discovery Program Advisory Committee
in the fall of 2004. Composed of faculty and staff, this group is
now working on implementation.
We are making good progress in the first-year experience. Today’s
incoming students can opt to participate in one of 40 Inquiry Seminars.
Defined by small class size and characterized by inter-disciplinary
thought, discussion, and debate, this growing program lays the groundwork
for future inquiry-based learning. Students learn how to learn according
to a paradigm that celebrates the hands-on, take charge, active
pursuit of knowledge. Discovery is the way of knowing.
This fall, first-year students will also participate in “Where
in the world is UNH? A University Dialogue on Globalization.”
As I mentioned earlier, you are invited to attend its debut at the
upcoming Academic Convocation. Throughout the year, papers written
by the first group of faculty Discovery Authors will form the springboard
for a yearlong conversation that examines this topic from a host
of perspectives. The goal? Engaging students in a dynamic, intellectual
exchange and scholarly exploration that will ultimately help them
grow as people, as thinkers, and as global citizens.
The implementation of the Discovery general education program beyond
the first-year experience is the next task in our six-year plan.
Extensive guidelines for new categories are being finalized by the
Discovery Program Advisory Committee, and the work has begun on
re-conceptualizing current general education courses as revised
Discovery offerings. Discussion begins at the September 12th Faculty
We have taken a significant step in our evolution that will move
students from the requirement “check-off” mentality
of the “shopping mall” of general education, to pro-active
course selections more closely aligned with individual academic
Increased focus, intensity, and integration extend to intercollege
programs, as well. The Honors Program is redefining excellence through
discovery. Faculty leaders are structuring its criteria to allow
students to be further challenged and to set higher goals for themselves.
Students who aspire to continue their research after graduation,
perhaps as Fulbright Fellows, can now take advantage of our new
Post-Baccalaureate Fellowship Advising Office. The UROP and IROP
programs continue to grow, expanded through the generosity of a
substantial private donation and now offered through the Center
for Undergraduate Research. The Center for Teaching Excellence is
a valuable resource for faculty who desire to enhance their experience
through innovative teaching approaches. The Writing Center is a
similar resource for students.
We seek to expand the number of students who participate in international
study and to broaden the diversity of their opportunities. The Center
for International Education links coursework with unforgettable
experiences. We have what Nannerl Keohane called “the marvelous
combination of being rooted in a specific region and being very
ambitious in reaching out to the entire world…. [New Hampshire]
is a magnificent place to come and study because [students] will
have a sense of feeling at home and a sense of community, but also
a very strong sense that the whole world is part of their educational
arena.” This combination of grounding in our region’s
unique nature and reaching out to the world must become a reality
for more students. All UNH students should get and use a passport
during their years of study here.
The University of New Hampshire continues to be an extraordinary
setting for the acquisition of and creation of new knowledge, the
search for a better way of life for all people, and the exploration
and expression of the creativity of the human spirit. Many inspirational
and difficult tasks lie before us. I will note just a few of these.
Among the most important tasks we face this year is the successful
negotiation of a new contract with the University of New Hampshire
chapter of the American Association of University Professors. Our
three-year faculty contract expires at the end of this year. As
Provost Mallory said in a letter to the faculty this spring: “…the
University has achieved its long-held goal of fair and equitable
faculty salaries with respect to our New England and national peer
institutions…. We have made significant progress in the current
contract period. I believe this progress is the result of the commitment
of both parties in our last round of negotiations to the achievement
of a fair, equitable, and competitive compensation structure for
the faculty.” In the strongest possible terms I want to emphasize
that I am fully committed to the partnership and process that made
our last negotiation so successful under the leadership of faculty
and administration team members.
We must continue to confront the “structural deficit”
in our budget. Staff, faculty, and administration leaders are working
on ways in which we can continue to slow projected expense increases
and direct as many of our scarce resources as possible into the
core academic activities of the University.
The five-year review of Responsibility Center Management (RCM) currently
underway will be completed this year, and I will move to implement
changes indicated by that review. Unquestionably, this task is directly
related to the ongoing efforts I just mentioned to manage our scarce
resources wisely and prudently with a focus on our core mission.
During the coming year, we will complete the program displacement
review of the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture and take
the necessary steps to act on that review to restructure the college
for a bright and vibrant future. I want to emphasize that the life
sciences and agriculture have a strong future at UNH.
We welcome two new Deans. Dean Joseph Klewicki of the College of
Engineering and Physical Sciences and Dean Kristen Woolever of UNH
Manchester will lead their divisions into the future.
I am pleased that Wendy Keeney will be joining us as president of
the University of New Hampshire Foundation. In the coming year,
we will complete the planning for the silent phase of our next capital
To reinforce and support the growing excellence in and emphasis
on discovery at UNH, I am devoting $400,000 of the President’s
Fund for Excellence this year to a strategic investment in faculty
research, scholarship, and creative work. Vice President John Aber
will soon be releasing a call for proposals for awards of up to
$20,000 to be granted on a competitive basis, with larger awards
possible for interdisciplinary faculty teams. These awards will
leverage additional support from other sources and lead to ongoing,
extramurally funded research. They will also create opportunities
for new or untenured faculty to advance their scholarship and spark
promising new areas of inquiry.
The future of UNH continues to be imbedded in the life and culture
of New Hampshire, the nation, and the world. Good relationships
across the state are critical to that future, and I will continue
to work to represent you and all you do to our broad community through
extended County Conversations plus ongoing work with state government
and community leaders. The world is our home as well, so we must
do everything we can to keep that world front and center in the
lives of our students. International research and study grounded
in the home we love—this should be an aspiration for all of
This is a beautiful campus, and we will make it even more welcoming
and beautiful! The new and renewed buildings currently rising out
of the New Hampshire granite will be joined by other great building
projects in the near future. Most immediately, we will complete
the first phase of Kingsbury Hall, finish construction at the Gables
residence halls, and plan the renovation of Demeritt Hall.
Live the Questions: What are yours?
Dialogue and debate are central to the Discovery way of knowing
to which the faculty, students, and staff of UNH will commit their
energies in the coming years. Energetic debates sometimes escalate
to a level of conflict that is uncomfortable and test our resolve
to support the values of academic freedom and inquiry. These roiling
debates certainly test our ability to be calm and respectful, even
as we express views with intensity. The issues we will confront
at the University of New Hampshire are complex, and the incredible
range of belief and opinion sometimes appears as an unbridgeable
chasm between us.
We are committed, and the work of faculty and academic leaders stands
as proof of that commitment, to master the knowledge of the past
and create new knowledge through inquiry-based pedagogy and the
spirit of Discovery. We will “live the questions” and
grow by doing so. (Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet,
Even as debates rage and new knowledge disconcerts and awes us,
we must nurture habits of mind that promote our ability to discover—with
eyes wide open—the habit of perspective, the habit of analysis,
the habit of empathy, and the habit of communication. To paraphrase
a Native American proverb, we must “listen, or our tongues
will make us deaf.” At the University of New Hampshire, we
will listen to the past, the present, and the future, exemplifying
the spirit of Discovery in all that we do. I look forward with excitement
to the coming year of Discovery as a partner with all of you.