Dear Staff, Faculty and Students – 

Welcome back for the spring (or winter?) semester! It is good to see our campuses buzzing with activity again. I hope that you had a restful and enjoyable holiday break.
I will start with the topic that is on the mind of many at UNH: the Huron project. The objective of this project is to build our financial strength—one of our four strategic priorities. While UNH’s financial strength is generally good, we have limited financial resources to invest in our future. We engaged Huron Consulting to help us ensure that we are directing as many of our limited resources as possible into our core mission and strategic priorities. As I wrote earlier this month, Huron has finished its review of our finances and we are in the midst of appointing several implementation teams to explore how to capture the potential cost savings or revenue enhancements Huron identified. Some of these projects will take place over the next few months, others over the next year or longer. You can read Huron’s final report and read a Frequently Asked Questions document about the project here

One question I have heard a few times is, will there be a loss of jobs? We anticipate that there will be a reduction in the number of FTEs. At this time, because we are at the beginning stages of establishing implementation teams for phase one, we are not able to project how large that reduction might be. I have also been asked if there is a list of employees who will be displaced. The answer is no—there is no such list. We recognize that eliminating positions is difficult and painful. Anyone who has their position eliminated will be treated with the utmost concern and respect; we are already exploring potential outplacement services. I want to reiterate that this is all in service of strengthening our ability to perform our core mission. Finally, if you would like to speak to me and other senior leaders directly about this project, we are scheduling several town hall meetings in the coming weeks. Click here for the times and places of these meetings.
We have now initiated the search for a new chief diversity officer. The job is posted, and the committee will be meeting soon to begin reviewing candidates. Thank you to Dean Cari Moorhead for chairing the search committee. I will keep you posted as the search progresses.   
On Tuesday, Feb. 4, from 12:40 to 2 p.m., I along with others will be giving the State of the University address at the Hamel Rec Center. We are planning a more interactive event this year. If you would like to learn more about how we are doing in implementing our strategic plan, please join us.
Finally, books. I read two very different books over the last month. The first, The Emperors of Chocolate by Joel Glenn Brenner, provides a history of the chocolate business, focused on Mars and The Hershey Company. The most interesting part of the book is the stories of the two families behind these companies, and how the businesses they started reflect their family dynamics. The second, Perfect Pitch by Jon Steel, is not about music, but rather about making presentations. Steel, a successful advertising executive, is an entertaining writer who has thought very hard about how to put together winning presentations. It is worth mentioning that he is no fan of PowerPoint! I also wanted to mention that my comments on children’s books last month led to a number of suggestions from people across UNH. If you are interested in the books that some of your colleagues love, click here . Thanks for your suggestions!

All best wishes for a successful semester,

James W. Dean Jr.