Update No. 15: Campus Climate progress continues

Nov. 25, 2019

President's update No. 15

Dear UNH staff, faculty and students,

I have a lot to cover this month, but I will try to be concise. Thanks to all of you who have mentioned that you enjoy these updates!

Thank you to Professor Monica Chiu for serving as interim associate vice president (AVP) for community, equity and diversity. Monica is stepping down this month to return to teaching and scholarship in the English department. She has done a wonderful job in her interim role and I deeply appreciate her service.

We are looking for the next person to serve in this important role and are reshaping the role as follows. The new AVP will be a member of the Executive Committee (EC), the senior leadership team of UNH. This will ensure that diversity and inclusion are always considered in the university's policies and practices as this group makes decisions. The AVP will also continue to be responsible for the Office of Affirmative Action & Equity, Title IX, and diversity and inclusion programming. The Commission on Community and Equity (CCED) will craft recommendations from the President's Advisory Council on Campus Climate (PACCC), which recently took a deep dive into the campus climate survey results. CCED will advise the AVP and me on issues of community, equity and diversity across the university.    

After broad consultation with many offices across campus we have made the following changes effective Jan. 1:

  • The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) and Military and Veteran Services (MVS) will report to Student Life, unifying student support services under one umbrella. OMSA will relocate to a larger space on the MUB second floor to accommodate the number of students who use the office.  
  • McNair Scholars Program will be a member of the Academic Success team that reports within Academic Affairs. Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search will report to Outreach and Engagement, led by Ken LaValley. This move is to maximize the connection to the K-12 mission of these organizations.
  • While we are searching for a new AVP the Affirmative Action & Equity and Title IX office will report to Human Resources and CED's programming will report into the dean of students' office.

We have recently held alumni receptions in Atlanta and Portland, Maine. Both events were well attended and involved lots of Wildcat Pride! We had events earlier this fall in New York, Washington, D.C. and Boston.

As part of Embrace New Hampshire, I have begun to visit high schools in the state. I have been to Fall Mountain Regional HS and Spaulding HS, and soon will visit White Mountains Regional HS and Bedford HS. The principals and teachers at these schools have been quite welcoming, and we are building stronger bridges to these important institutions.

Each year the president gives a speech on the state of the university. This year it will be on Feb. 4. I will send further details but please save the date.

Finally, books. I have stuck with Salman Rushdie this month, and am reading Midnight’s Children, an historical novel about the partitioning of India at the time of its independence in 1947. There are many important historical themes in the book, including colonialism and religious (in)tolerance.  From a literary standpoint, it reminds me of the classic by Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude, another multigenerational saga that features magical realism.

Thanks for your persistence in making it through this long note! My warmest Thanksgiving wishes to everyone in the university community. Jan and I are delighted that our entire family has made the trek from North Carolina to New Hampshire to share the holiday with us. Happy Thanksgiving!