President's update: In-state tuition freeze, campus climate and more

Dear students, staff and faculty,

I hope you are having a productive and enjoyable fall semester. There is a lot going on at UNH! Here are a few notes and thoughts.

Last week the legislature passed, and Governor Sununu signed into law,  a state budget for the next two fiscal years. I am happy to share that after five years of flat funding, state lawmakers supported a $12 million increase for the University System of New Hampshire, which will be used to freeze tuition next year for in-state students and continue to support important state engagement programs like Cooperative Extension. Additionally, UNH was appropriated $9 million to carry out an aggressive plan designed to bolster the state's growing health care workforce. I am proud that the governor and lawmakers have entrusted UNH to lead on this issue and I look forward to sharing more information on the health sciences initiative with you in a future update. Earlier this summer, the legislature approved a new capital budget that includes $10 million to begin the renovation of Spaulding Hall and promises an additional $32 million over the next four years to complete the Spaulding project and support additional infrastructure improvements across USNH.

We recently received the data from our Climate Study; the results are available here . The results show both that we have made progress in creating a welcoming climate at UNH, and that we have more work to do. We are currently taking a thorough look at the data and will be announcing soon our plans to address ongoing challenges. Thanks to all of you who filled out the survey; we had a very good response rate.

We have created a new organization called the President’s Leadership Council, which supersedes the cabinet and brings together senior academic and administrative leaders at UNH into one group that will meet monthly. This group will provide information and counsel to me and to others on issues facing UNH and will also deepen connections between academic and administrative leaders. To see the members of the President’s Leadership Council, click here.  

The Huron project we recently announced has gotten off to a fast start. As a reminder, Huron is reviewing our finances to see how we might dedicate more resources to our key missions of teaching and research. The Huron team has interviewed nearly 100 people and has reviewed a vast amount of data. They will continue their work for the next few weeks and will provide us with information and recommendations before the end of the semester. We’ve created a website for this initiative where you can see who is serving on the steering committee and read weekly updates.

I hope that you enjoy Homecoming this weekend, but I really hope that everyone will act responsibly and be safe. Last year, some students put themselves in serious danger and had to be taken to the hospital. At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, I think we can have fun without the level of drinking that leads to these outcomes. Our most important strategic priority is student success and well-being. Please help us pursue this aspiration!

The book I am reading this month is one I have been reading off and on for several years: A La Recherche du Temps Perdu, by Marcel Proust. I am reading it in the original French and also the English translation (In Search of Lost Time ). Proust is among the most influential French authors, and this is his masterpiece. The book is best known for the scene in which the author enjoys a madeleine (a type of cookie), the taste of which causes the memories of his childhood to come rushing back to him. There is a lot of rushing; the book is several thousand pages long!

Finally, a book that I wrote with a co-author was published this month: The Insider’s Guide to Working with Universities (UNC Press), by Deborah Y. Clarke and me. In the book, we explain how universities work to board members and to other business people who work with universities, in hopes that this knowledge will assist them in helping higher education institutions more effectively. If you are interested in reading it, there are copies in both the UNH Library and the Durham Public Library.

All best wishes,

James W. Dean Jr.

President