Agenda Committee of the Faculty Senate

Agenda Committee 2023-2024

Vidya Sundar, Chair
Jeffrey Halpern, Vice-Chair
James Connell, Member-at-Large
Amy Ramage, Member-at-Large
Will Smiley, Member-at-Large
Matthew MacManes, Past Chair

About the Agenda Committee Members

Session XXVIII

Vidya Sundar (she/her/hers) is an Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy (OT) at the University of New Hampshire. She received her undergraduate degree in Occupational Therapy from Dr. MGR Medical University, India, and her Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science from University of Buffalo. At UNH, Dr. Sundar teaches graduate, undergraduate, and inter-disciplinary coursework related to inclusive workplace practices, worker rehabilitation, and research methods and statistics. She was the recipient of the CHHS Outstanding New Investigator Award in 2018 and the Excellence in Collaboration Award in 2017. Dr. Sundar leads the Positive Work Experiences Research (PoWER) group, and her current scholarship focuses on intervention programs for career development and advancement of individuals with disabilities. Her research has been funded by federal agencies and private foundations such as the Administration on Community Living, Administration on Aging, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, Social Security Administration, and Kessler Foundation. At UNH, Dr. Sundar has served on several departmental, college and university committees including the Honors and Hamel Scholars liaison, the CHHS Academic Affairs Committee, Faculty Senate Agenda Committee, and GSC Merger Governance committee. Dr. Sundar has been a member of the Faculty Senate since 2019.  

Jeffrey M. Halpern (he/him/his) is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering. In 2012, he was awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholarship and joined UNH in 2014. Dr. Halpern currently runs the Surface Enhanced Electrochemical Diagnostic Sensors (SEEDS) Laboratory and is the PI of BIO-SENS (Bio-Inspired On-demand Strategies to Engineer Nanostructured Sensors) [an NSF EPSCoR funded group #2119237]. His current research is highly interdisciplinary which integrates surface chemistry, electrochemistry, material science, and biosensor design by focusing on surface polymer modifications towards the recruitment of biomolecules for enhanced sensitivity, reproducibility, and reusability. Halpern currently serves as the Past Chair of the Sensors Topical at American Institute of Chemical Engineers, which awarded him the 2022 Herb Epstein Award for Technical Program. Halpern is also currently serving as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Organic and Biological Electrochemistry Division of the Electrochemical Society. Since 2018, Halpern has taught 9 different courses within Chemical Engineering, with a wide range of topics. In addition, Halpern is a proud mentor, winning LEAP for Education Educator’s Award in 2019, and he is heavily involved with different teaching and mentoring pedagogies adapted for neurodiverse students.


James J. Connell (Jim) (he/him/his) is a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy with a joint appointment in the Space Science Center. Dr. Connell received his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. From graduate school he went to the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago as academic research staff. His main work involved the High Energy Telescope (HET) on the Ulysses deep-space mission. In 2002 he moved to the University of New Hampshire as an Associate Professor. Since coming to UNH, Dr. Connell has taught a variety of graduate and undergraduate Physics courses. He developed and taught an interdisciplinary Inquiry Course, PHYS-444, "Myths and Misconceptions about Nuclear Science," which addresses nuclear physics, technology, policy and society. This course was in the first group of 444 courses ever taught. At UNH, he continued his research on high-energy space radiation and instrumentation. He developed a new technique known as ADIS (Angle Detecting Inclined Sensors) which is the basis of the Energetic Heavy Ion Sensor (EHIS) for the GOES-R series of weather satellites. Three of five EHIS instruments are now on orbit: GOES-16 launched 19 November 2016;  GOES-17, 1 March 2018; and GOES-18 1 March 2022. He is presently developing a synthetic diamond Cherenkov detector.  He also has a patent pending on a novel approach to magnetic confinement nuclear fusion. Dr. Connell has served on a range of departmental and university committees and became a faculty senator in 2011. He has served on the Agenda Committee since AY2012-13 and acted as Parliamentarian since AY2013-14. 

Amy Ramage is an Assistant Professor and Research Coordinator in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders. Her research, teaching, and clinical interests center on the neurologic bases of cognition and emotion as they interact with communication competence. Dr. Ramage’s research group, the Cognition, Brain, and Language Team (CoBALT) studies the association between impairments of cognition, emotion & language in acquired brain injury and the brain systems that underlie them. The objective is to identify variables (biomarkers or behaviors) that contribute to the dysfunction of brain systems and to determine their value as predictors of outcomes. The long-term goal of this work is to understand whether these predictors may be targeted and optimized in treatments effecting change in these neural systems. While at UNH, Dr. Ramage has served on several Departmental, College, and University committees including those centered on awarding funding to students and faculty through the Faculty Development and Scholars Program, Dissertation Year Fellowships, and the Collaborative Research Excellence (CoRE) initiatives. She has served as the Hamel Center and the Honors Program liaison for her department for several years with an interest in providing high-level, scholarly activities to all students across the curriculum. She has served as a faculty senator since 2021 and as Chair of the Academic Programs Committee in 2022-23. Outside of work, she aspires to see all the 52-with-a-view in NH and may graduate to seeing the 48 4000 footers someday.

Will Smiley is an Assistant Professor in the Humanities Program. He is a historian of the Middle East, Eurasia, the Ottoman Empire and international law. Dr. Smiley received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, his J.D. from the Yale Law School, his master’s degree from the University of Utah and his bachelor’s degree from Hillsdale College. His first book, “From Slaves to Prisoners of War: The Ottoman Empire, Russia, and International Law” (Oxford University Press, 2018), examines the emergence of rules of warfare surrounding captivity and slavery in the context of the centuries-long rivalry between two empires, the Ottoman and Russian, which defined the future of the Middle East and Eurasia. He has been a member of the Faculty Senate since 2020, never having known a time when the Senate was in-person.


Matthew MacManes is the past chair and Associate Professor of Genome-Enabled Biology in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences in COLSA. He has been at UNH since 2013. Matt received an AAS in Nursing in 1999, a BS in Natural Resources at The University of Michigan (Go Blue!) in 2005, and a PhD in Integrative Biology from The University of California at Berkeley in 2011. Dr. MacManes’s research program involves understanding how desert mammals survive despite the intense heat and profound lack of water by combining studies of physiology with genomics.  Matt teaches courses in genetics, genomics, and bioinformatics, which bridge the fields of biology and computer sciences. Matt has had the privilege of serving on numerous Departmental, College, and University Committees including the Data Analytics Steering committee, the College P&T committee, and several faculty search committees. Matt is passionate about DEI, open access/science, and science communication. In his free time, Matt enjoys a hoppy IPA, his Great Dane, and being outdoors. 

Agenda Committee for 2022-2023

  • Matthew MacManes, Chair
  • Vidya Sundar, Vice Chair
  • James Connell, Member-at-Large
  • Jeffrey Halpern, Member-at-Large
  • Andrew Seal, Member-at-Large
  • Kevin Healey, past Chair, Ex-Officio Member

Agenda Committee Membership 2021-2022

  • Chair: Kevin Healey, Communications, COLA
  • Vice Chair: Matthew MacManes, MCBS, COLSA
  • James Connell, Physics, CEPS
  • Vidya Sundar, Occupational Therapy, CHHS
  • Harriet Fertik, Classics, Humanities, and Italian Studies, COLA (Fall 2021)
  • Kathrine Aydelotte, Library (Spring 2022)

Agenda Committee Membership 2020-2021

  • Chair:  Erin Sharp, Human Development & Family Studies, CHHS
  • Vice Chair:  Kevin Healey, Communication, COLA, Vice  Chair (elected on 11/2/20)
  • Past Chair:  David Bachrach, History, COLA 
  • Ann Bartow, UNH Law
  • James Connell, Physics, CEPS
  • Allison Wilder, Recreation Management and Policy, CHHS (elected on 11/2/20)

Note: Rosemarie Came, Earth Sciences, CEPS, served as Vice  Chair from 05/04/20 - 11/2/20