Update No. 40 from President Dean

February 28, 2022

Dear Staff, Faculty and Students—

People around the world, including those of us in New Hampshire, have been devastated by the reports from Ukraine in the aftermath of the unprovoked incursion into the country by Russian forces. The outcome of this conflict is very much up in the air as I write this. All of us who stand for freedom and democracy hope and pray that these values will continue to flourish in Ukraine, and that there will be an early end to this unnecessary conflict. We are reaching out to students and other members of our community whose lives are impacted by these events.

About three weeks ago I gave the annual State of the University address. I talked about the significant challenges the university is facing, including COVID, financial pressures and the threat of political solidarity eclipsing facts and logic as a guide to beliefs and action in our nation. I also called out some of the great things taking place at UNH including our accomplishments in research, as well as our performance on best value among public universities (10th in the U.S.), ongoing excellence in graduation rate performance (19th in the U.S.) and in sustainability (4th in the U.S.).

Our COVID leadership team has been monitoring the decline in case counts in the U.S. and in New Hampshire. Throughout the pandemic, we have based our policies on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which released new guidance Friday. The CDC’s guidance on masks is tailored to individual counties based on active cases, hospitalization rates and capacity. We are working through the implications of this new guidance for UNH campuses and will be back in touch with any policy revisions very soon. In the meantime, please continue to test as scheduled, always wear a mask indoors and check your Wildcat Pass.

Your response to the offer of free tickets to UNH athletic and arts events was impressive; we have distributed almost 1,500 tickets! Based on this response, we will look for more opportunities for faculty and staff to enjoy similar events in future semesters.

Since March is women’s history month, I wanted to share with you a report entitled The Women’s Power Gap at Elite Universities. This report investigates the number of women in senior leadership positions in American universities. We have benefitted from our NSF supported ADVANCE program that has been working for years to improve the university climate through increased fairness, transparency and clarity of recruitment, retention, and promotion and tenure policies and practices. I am proud to share that UNH was ranked 3rd nationally on this dimension and was categorized as a leader in this space.

I continue to hold office hours for students, faculty and staff. If you are an undergraduate student, you can schedule an appointment using My Wildcat Success. If you are a graduate student, faculty or staff, please email cheri.oneil@unh.edu.

Warmest wishes for the end of winter!

James W. Dean Jr.