Update No. 39 from President Dean

January 31, 2022


Dear Faculty and Staff—

Welcome back for the spring 2022 semester. It is great to see people on our campuses again, and to feel the energy emanating from our academic community. I hope that you were able to take some time off during the holidays and are feeling renewed.

Topics in this update:

  • Important COVID reminders
  • State of the University address
  • Update on process improvements
  • Office hours with me
  • Black History Month events

We start this semester in a new place with respect to COVID. The omicron variant has led to more contagious but less severe (for those who are vaccinated) infections. The national and regional case counts have finally started to decline after months of rapid increases. While no one knows what the future holds, it is reasonable to hope that the next few months will be better than what we have experienced so far. Thank you for everything you have done for almost two years to keep our campuses and community safe.

Here are a few COVID-related requests as we begin the semester:

  • If you have received a booster, please report it to Health & Wellness. This helps us to better understand the vaccination status of our community. If you have not received a booster. please make an appointment at Health & Wellness. You must quarantine if you are exposed to a household member with COVID-19 if you don’t have the booster.
  • If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, please contact Health & Wellness to get tested, rather than dropping a sample into one of the boxes. This helps us to process the tests more efficiently and get results back to everyone faster.
  • Please continue to check Wildcat Pass. This is how we ensure that our community is tested regularly and that it is safe for us to be together.
  • Please continue to wear your masks. KN95 masks are available for front-line staff and faculty. Contact your dean or department head to request them.
  • Finally, please be kind to one another. John Watson is quoted as saying “Be kind. Everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden.” His observation and advice are truer now than ever. I have been privileged to see many displays of kindness in our community during these difficult times. I will have more to say about this during the State of the University address.

Speaking of which, I will give the State of the University address Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 1 p.m. You can attend in person in the MUB Granite State Room or via Zoom (https://unh.zoom.us/j/97861082662 or Telephone: +1 646 876 9923 Webinar ID: 978 6108 2662). We will also be recording the event.
We continue to make a great deal of progress on the issues associated with process improvements following discussions with numerous faculty and staff. As noted in last week’s update
, you can get help with any question about HR, Finance, SPA and Procurement processes by calling (603) 862-4685 Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.  to 5 p.m. There is also a new mechanism to give us feedback on what is working or not working. The best place to go for general information and updates is this SharePoint site.

As you may know, I have been holding office hours for students for some time and I have learned a lot from these meetings. I have decided to begin holding regular office hours for faculty and staff as well. If you are interested in meeting with me in person or via Zoom, please contact Cheri O’Neil at cheri.oneil@unh.edu and mention what you would like to talk with me about.

UNH has several upcoming events to celebrate Black History Month and more events are being developed; you can find them here. I am particularly looking forward to the African drum and dance ensemble in the MUB Granite State Room at noon Feb. 18.

Best wishes

James W. Dean, Jr.


P.s. If you would like to know what I have been reading, please click here.