Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

Welcome back for the beginning of the academic year! I have been meeting with groups all over our campuses to kick off the new year. It is great to see so many people and to feel the buzz of a reunited community. I particularly enjoyed participating in our orientation program for new faculty, and meeting many of the talented people who are joining us this year. Whatever it is that you will be doing during the Fall Semester, I wish you the best of luck.

Students, I will once again be holding office hours and I would love to see you, even if just to hear how you are doing.

Faculty and staff, as we renew our focus on supporting our returning students, let’s not forget to take care of ourselves, too. This seems like a good time to remind you of the UNH fitness reimbursement program. UNH will reimburse up to $300 per family for eligible fitness expenses. You can find details and the application form here.

I am excited to share that I recently had a sneak peek at our new bike-sharing program on the Durham campus. I am a cyclist myself, and Cat Trax Bike Share is not only an example of the university’s legacy of commitment to sustainability but the commitment of you, our students. You have been asking for this for years and it is finally here. I hope you will watch out for the bikes at racks around campus and sign out a bike when they are available.

I sent an announcement earlier this month about COVID policies for the academic year and I want to clarify that every member of the UNH Durham community should do start of the semester testing, no later than Sept. 2, either rapid or PCR. Tests are available at the Whittemore Center, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., through Sept. 2. The MUB office and New England Center have closed and consolidated; all COVID testing services will be provided at the COVID Clinic at Health & Wellness, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. beginning Sept. 6. If you have any questions or would like to be reminded of current policies, please review them (Manchester and Concord communities should review their campuses’ policies).

I have mentioned a couple of times in these messages our upcoming implementation of new financial, student and human resources software for our campuses, generally referred to as ERP, or Enterprise Resources Planning. I will send you a message specifically about this topic within the next week or so.

Finally, some important changes have occurred within the offices led by Chief Diversity Officer Nadine Petty. The Affirmative Action and Equity Office is now the Civil Rights and Equity Office (CREO). The name change was made to better reflect the breadth of civil rights compliance operations managed by the office to include discrimination, sexual misconduct, and hate/bias reports; requests for ADA and religious accommodations; and review of search and hiring processes. UNH remains an Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity employer and these functions remain a part of CREO’ s work. CREO and the Office of Community, Equity and Diversity collectively are called the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The division was created to improve alignment and structural clarity and to strategically position diversity, equity, access, justice and inclusion as continued institutional priorities.

Best wishes to everyone,

James W. Dean Jr.