Strategic Plan Update

Mark W. Huddleston

Update: Strategic Vision for 2020
Progress and Priorities
September 21, 2010

Welcome everyone, including colleagues at UNH Manchester who are joining us via simulcast.

I’d like to begin with a hearty “thanks” to our performers for that terrific and rousing start to our presentation today. I want to recognize Jack Savage, the musical director, accompanist Evelyn Mann, and the cast of talented students for that performance of “Seasons of Love” from “Rent.” Thank you also to the student Woodwind Quintet.

Your performances highlight “Arts for Life,” our yearlong celebration of the last half-century of arts at UNH, a celebration sets the stage for continued great works. Deb Kinghorn of the department of theatre and dance has led the campus-wide “Arts for Life” effort. I hope you all received the mailer that lists the extraordinary number and range of fine and performing arts events that will take place on campus this year—including the September opening of “The Artists Revealed,” an exhibition showcasing recent work by 13 studio faculty members.

I would also note that later this month we are inviting a group of arts leaders from around the state for a conversation about how UNH can lead a more robust statewide arts network.

The future of the arts at UNH was just one of the initiatives presented when we gathered in February to roll out the strategic plan, a plan that we dubbed “UNH in 2020.”

As you will recall, in an era that has seen college costs rise faster than the ability of students and families to pay, the plan calls on all of us to rethink how a major research university can and should operate. It commits us to finding new ways to teach, learn, discover, create, and engage in the 21st century—and positions UNH to become a national leader in the redefinition of American higher education.  

In the next few minutes, I would like to highlight some of the specific actions—nine to be precise—we’ve taken to move the plan forward.

  • First, in the area of internationalization, I’m proud to report that next month we’ll officially open a Confucius Institute at the University of New Hampshire.  The Confucius Institute will deepen our relationship Chengdu University, our Szechwan province partner, and immediately make UNH a center for learning Chinese language, arts, and culture. You should know that competition to get Confucius Institutes, which are supported by the Chinese government, is extremely keen internationally. In fact, the last institution to receive one was the University of Chicago, so we’ve joined an elite club.  We’ve made strides on other international fronts too, and to keep the momentum going, I will be convening a Presidential Panel on Internationalizing UNH to develop further strategic recommendations by January.
  • A second and related area of the strategic plan involves inclusive excellence. Last April, several hundred participants, including many UNH staff and faculty, attended “Making Excellence Inclusive,” a statewide summit hosted at UNH. The summit was the product of lot of hard work on our campus, as well as very constructive collaboration across New Hampshire. This afternoon, in a meeting with other college presidents, I will be endorsing the UNH-initiated proposal for a statewide inclusive excellence planning process.
  • Third, and fundamental to rethinking UNH, is our commitment to support “enterprise” in its many forms, and to find new ways to commercialize our intellectual capital. We’re on our way. Let me give you three examples: 

    First, with Governor John Lynch, we announced just last May the first group of businesses selected to participate in an intensive business accelerator called the Green Launching Pad. Led by Profesors Ross Gittell and Venky Venkatachalam, the Green Launching Pad helps innovative companies bring new, green products to market and, we hope, create jobs. One of the winners, the company Innovacene [in-O-va-seen],was founded by Glen Miller, whom many of you know as a chemistry professor and the director of the nanomanufacturing center here at UNH. 

    A second example under this heading is the N.H. Innovation Commercialization Center at Pease airport.  The NH ICC is an incubator for start-up businesses providing access to technical assistance and research expertise at UNH, while accelerating the commercialization of our own research and innovations. Last summer, the NH ICC selected its first resident company, Holase, a wireless technology company in Newmarket. 

    Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that our affiliation with what was once known as Franklin Pierce Law Center is now official. I say “what was once known as” because the UNH family now proudly includes what the world is coming to know as the University of New Hampshire School of Law. This new relationship adds an entirely new dimension to the University, providing, among other things, exciting opportunities for joint programs and interdisciplinary study, as well as ready access to world-class expertise in the realm of intellectual property.

  • A fourth area of progress with our strategic plan is the new Peter T. Paul College for Business and Economics, which continues to move forward.  We’ve been busy over the past few months with two kinds of “razing/raising.” First, we’ve been “r-a-i-s-i-n-g” a lot of money to meet Peter’s challenge gift.  And we’ve start “r-a-z-i-n-g” some old buildings to make room for the new one.  If you walk down Garrison Avenue, you’ll note that Hersey House is no more.
  • Fifth:  “Nimbility” is a word we coined last winter to emphasize our commitment to being more flexible and adaptable as an institution.  We’re making good on that commitment.  For instance, after a very successful first year, January Term, or J-term as it has come to be known, will go to the next level with the addition of study away opportunities in several new countries to augment the palette of on-campus and online courses.
  • And speaking of new words, “interdisciplinarity” represents a sixth exciting area of progress this past year. The Office of Sustainability has been reorganized as the UNH Sustainability Academy, which signals an important extension of UNH’s signature commitment to sustainable curriculum, operations, research, and engagement. And the Marine School that the 2020 plan referenced has also begun to move forward. With leadership from Janet Campbell and many others, in May the marine faculty voted overwhelmingly in favor of establishing the school.
  • As a seventh item, I can report that Provost Aber and VP for Finance and Administration Dick Cannon are working with all units on campus to discuss RCM and the opportunities and challenges it presents as we align our resources with our strategic plan. However, this year has already yielded at least one major strategic success…, which John will discuss shortly.
  • And then there is the new University Club that is aborning in Dimond Library. This eighth marker of progress will provide much-needed space for dining, guest lectures, and informal gatherings for the University community. Plans and menus are for the new club are already underway. Reserve your table today!
  • Finally, the strategic plan’s call for building a culture of philanthropy at UNH—and ultimately for planning and carrying out an unprecedented capital campaign—just got a much-needed boost with the hiring of Peter Weiler to the position of vice president for advancement and president of the UNH Foundation. Peter comes to UNH from Ohio State, where he has served as the senior vice president for development and president of the Ohio State University Foundation. We are delighted to have someone of Peter’s experience and talents join us—beginning, I might add, on Sept. 30th.


There is more, but I’m going to stop there. As you can see, UNH has been very busy these past several months. And we’re not planning on slowing down. To give you a snapshot of four of the key priorities we’re moving on in the coming nine months, I’m going to turn the microphone over to University Professor and Provost John Aber.

Thank you.