On October 2, 2019, the University of New Hampshire signed a five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Howard University to mutually enhance one another’s capabilities in the areas of education, research, and capacity building. The partnership aims to establish cooperative relations in the areas of curriculum development, research, professional development, student and faculty exchange, joint course offerings, and postdoctoral recruitment.
Before the MOU was signed, UNH and HU worked on a number of projects together. The relationship between the two universities began in 2015 when the late Dr. Julie Williams, senior vice provost for engagement and faculty development, helped HU transform faculty development and create its own Office of Faculty Development. The two institutions joined forces again in 2017, when Dr. Teresa Redd, professor emerita at Howard University, helped revamp UNH’s Freshman English 401 course—the university’s largest course--to include more diverse assigned readings. In summer 2019, faculty and students from HU, along with faculty and students from across New England attended the Public Humanities Institute at UNH. Also, a collaboration between the Howard University Graduate School and the Office of Engagement and Faculty Development supported the participation of five emerging Howard University PhD scholars in the UNH Writing Academy. Each of these engagements has supported the growth of UNH and HU faculty and students by reinforcing academic research links and cultural interchange between the two.
“This partnership began informally through the work of Dr. Julie Williams. Because of Julie’s sustained efforts to connect people and projects at the two institutions, many partnerships have happened,” said Leslie Couse, executive director of Engagement and Faculty Development at UNH. “Given this track record, the two institutions formalized their relationship through a Memorandum of Understanding.”
Both universities are research institutions. Howard University is a private, historically black university located in an urban setting, while UNH is a public, predominantly white university located in a rural-suburban setting, with expertise as a land, space, and sea-grant institution.
Provost Wayne Jones shares, "Our partnership with Provost Wutoh and the academic affairs team at Howard has been key to building a partnership where we could share expertise equally for our students, faculty, and staff. Regular meetings between Provost Wutoh and I have clearly demonstrated the many similarities in challenges and approaches around research, student success, and faculty development."
MOU signing ceremony, October 2, 2019
Together, UNH and HU are working on a few priority projects led by the Office of Faculty Engagement and other university departments.
- Faculty Development
Writing Academy is a summer faculty development program focused on scholarly writing that began in 2013. For the first two to three years, a cohort of HU faculty participated with UNH faculty. Then, HU designed its own version of a writing academy to support faculty success. Last summer and again in 2020, five to six Howard University rising doctoral scholars joined UNH faculty in the UNH Writing Academy, made possible through UNH’s partnership with the HU Graduate School.
- UNH Postdoctoral Diversity and Innovation Scholars
The program is a high-profile initiative designed to increase the diversity of UNH's faculty, which is inextricably linked to academic excellence and student success. A cohort of diverse postdoctoral scholars pursue independent research for two years, while participating in professional development, the life of an academic department, and mentoring to prepare them for a tenure track faculty opportunity. HU graduates are invited to apply to these nationally competitive position.
- Summer Institute for Public Humanities
Week-long Summer institutes, or boot camps, in public humanities continue to take place, with the aim of grounding humanities faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students in the intellectual rationale, history, foundational skills, and prospects for doing engaged work in the humanities. These institutes are funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation and hosted by the UNH Center for the Humanities. In the summer of 2019, faculty and students from HU participated in the inaugural institute with other faculty and students from the New England area.
- Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP)
Part of a mission that NASA will launch in 2024, IMAP will help researchers around the world better understand the boundary of the heliosphere, a bubble surrounding and protecting our solar system. The heliosphere strongly affects the radiation from our galaxy that poses hazards to human and robotic exploration, and likely affected the development of life on Earth. IMAP will collect and analyze particles that are used to map the heliosphere’s boundaries. The IMAP student collaboration is a component of the mission and is currently being developed. Howard University undergrads and faculty will collaborate with the UNH team in the IMAP Student Collaboration, which is on-track for confirmation in 2020.
“The initial selection of IMAP’s student collaboration provides a significant boost for the partnership between UNH and Howard University. The win demonstrates the strengths and synergies between our institutions, and the excitement we share in developing visionary collaborations. Ultimately we aim to provide new opportunities for the next generation of scholars, scientists and innovators,” according to Nathan Schwadron, Presidential Chair and Waite Professor of Physics. In addition to building stronger synergies between UNH faculty including between their respective Law Schools, UNH and HU are also working to increase the number of STEM graduates and are jointly pursuing collaborative funded research in those areas.