Citizens, business leaders urge state to restore USNH budget
By longstanding tradition, New Hampshire lawmakers expect to hear from the UNH officials when they work on a new state budget. But this year, lawmakers are also hearing from voters, business owners and opinion leaders from across the state who are sending a clear message to Concord: It’s time to restore state support for our four-year public universities and colleges.
They are part of a new and growing grassroots campaign, UNH Works, that calls on lawmakers to restore state support for UNH and others schools in the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) back to 2010 levels. If the budget is restored, USNH trustees have agreed to freeze tuition for in-state students and to increase student financial aid.
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New partnership aims to increase NH science, tech grads
Responding to a critical and growing need for talent in New Hampshire’s technology sector, the University System of New Hampshire and the Community College System of New Hampshire have teamed up to double the number of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) graduates by 2025.
While New Hampshire consistently ranks among the top 10 states in the percentages of adults with college degrees, the state is not as well positioned in the percentages of post-secondary degree holders in science and engineering. Recent trends indicate the historical reliance on in-migration of highly educated workers cannot be sustained.
The agreement was a focus of a NH STEM Forum in November, bringing the state’s business leaders and educators to UNH Manchester. Keynote speaker Jay Labov, a senior adviser for the National Research Council, urged participants to explore ways to retain students already studying technology in addition to recruiting new students.
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UNH mapping project helps state agencies work smarter
When a tornado ripped through southern New Hampshire in July of 2008, it took 15 people from the state’s Department of Revenue Administration (DRA) working for nearly three weeks to assess the damage in order to apply for federal disaster relief.
Now, thanks to a collaborative effort between the state and UNH, officials could assess maximum damage totals from the next tornado or other disaster in just five minutes. The Mosaic Parcel Map, a project of UNH’s Technology Transfer Center, merges the tax maps of all 234 municipalities and 22 unincorporated areas in the state to create the first sustainable statewide parcel map in the nation.
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Arabic language program expands, hosts Fulbright initiative
More UNH graduates will be able to converse with the world’s diverse Arabic speakers thanks to an expanded Arabic language program. UNH recently became a host institution with the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program, a competitive program that pairs international educators with U.S. colleges and universities.
This fall, UNH welcomed Samah El-Said from Egypt, who is teaching UNH’s first advanced Arabic language courses.
“Our students have been asking for access to higher-level Arabic courses. At the same time, the college, and indeed the university, has been keenly interested in internationalizing the campus for our students. We’ve addressed both of these interests creatively with the success of this Fulbright application. We are very pleased to welcome Ms. El-Said to our faculty,” said Kenneth Fuld, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.
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Anti-bullying program gains national, international following
A revolutionary program created by UNH researchers to combat bullying in middle schools is gaining ground across New Hampshire and New England and will soon be drawing attention on the other side of the world.
Courage to Care, developed by UNH Cooperative Extension and launched in 2011, has already been adopted by 26 New Hampshire school districts and others scattered throughout New England and the Midwest. South Korea’s Educational Broadcast System (EBS) came to New Hampshire recently to produce a documentary about Courage to Care.
“The experience of bullying is really a worldwide issue, and the South Korean network is really interested to learn about how we’re dealing with it over here,” says Extension Associate Professor Malcolm Smith, co-director of the project. The nine-lesson program is based on research showing that empathy and caring for others can be taught, and are effective at reducing bullying and general meanness.
It is sometimes tempting to focus solely on the numbers of our major budget decisions: How much will an item cost? What’s the revenue picture look like? What’s the return on investment? The risk of not investing?
Certainly, our campaign to restore state support for the University, UNH Works, provides great resources for those answers, with budget facts, a UNH economic impact report and an engaging, easy-to-follow financial report that explains how we manage our money in the public’s interest. I also encourage you to stay up to date on this effort via Facebook and Twitter.
But there’s another powerful aspect of this effort that I encounter every day here in Durham and across New Hampshire: our state’s human capital.
I am inspired by the hard-working students and families of New Hampshire that rely on UNH to provide an excellent education, one that is affordable and accessible. It is also heartening to meet the many business owners, school officials, health care workers and public safety officials who work closely with UNH year-round to support New Hampshire’s economy and our first-rate quality of life.
I hope that you can meet them, too, as they reach out to you as UNH Advocates during this legislative session.
The choices we make in upholding our responsibility to serve them is a trust, one that defines our character and our values—both as a University and as a state. As you, our lawmakers, craft a state budget for our citizens, I look forward to working with you to support public higher education as a wise investment that will strengthen New Hampshire’s future for all.
Mark W. Huddleston, President
University of New Hampshire
Did you know?
The RENEW Initiative for Youth and Community, a program of the Institute on Disability at UNH that provides school-to-career transition planning for youth with emotional and behavioral disorders, was named to the Social Impact 100 (S&I 100) of the Social Impact Exchange. The S&I 100 is the first-ever broad index of U.S. nonprofits with proof of results. Read more>>
Physicists from UNH’s Space Science Center have been funded by NASA to develop key technological components needed for instruments on board next-generation small research satellites known as “CubeSats.” The three-year, $369,948 competitive grant was awarded through NASA’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, or EPSCoR, Research Infrastructure Development (RID) program. Read more>>
UNH head football coach Sean McDonnell has been recognized as the New England Division I Football Head Coach of the Year by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston. McDonnell, who earned the award for the fourth time in his career, was honored Jan. 10 at the annual Bob Whelan College Football Awards Night at the Westin Hotel in Waltham, Mass. Read more>>