Section 1: Overview of the University of New Hampshire

Academic buildings

1.1 History

UNH has a rich and fascinating history and has undergone many changes over the last century and a half. It was founded in 1866 as the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts and was one of the early land-grant institutions established to serve the sons and daughters of farming and laboring families.

1.2 Mission, Vision and Goals

Mission. UNH is the state’s public research university, providing comprehensive, high-quality undergraduate programs and graduate programs of distinction. Its primary purpose is learning: faculty working with students in teaching, research, creative expression, and service.  UNH has a national and international agenda, holds land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant charters, and has a Carnegie “very high research activity” classification. The Carnegie Foundation has also identified UNH as a "community engaged" university. From its main Durham campus, its college in Manchester, and the school of law in Concord, the University serves New Hampshire and the region through continuing education, cooperative extension, cultural outreach, economic development activities, and applied research.

The University is made up of dozens of academic departments, interdisciplinary institutes and schools, and research centers that attract students and faculty from around the world. UNH is distinguished by its commitment to high quality undergraduate instruction, excellence in graduate education, relatively small size, a location in a beautiful and culturally rich part of the seacoast of New England complemented by a strong sense of responsibility for this special place, a commitment to serving the public good, and our emergence over the past decade as a significant research institution.  More details on the University’s mission can be found at

Strategic Plan. In February 2010, UNH presented "The University of New Hampshire in 2020," our blueprint for the future. Hundreds of faculty, staff, students, and community members joined together to create a collective vision of where our University could be in ten years. The result is our strategic plan that provides a roadmap for University of New Hampshire to attain its full potential and be positioned among the finest small public universities in the nation. The plan builds on firmly established University strengths, ties it to all of its communities, and upholds its commitment to create a model of public higher education that is relevant for citizens of a rapidly changing world.

The Strategic Plan has three sections, (1) requisites for change, (2) programmatic initiatives (encompassing the “Ten Initiatives”), and (3) brick and mortar investments. The first section is the heart of the strategic plan that involves changes in our culture that establish the foundation for our ultimate success. The second section outlines specific initiatives, which give structure to the plan. The third section is a commitment to improve our University by investing in the capital improvements that are essential to do our good, innovative, and enterprising work.

In January 2019, President James W. Dean Jr. announced four strategic priorities that will guide the university’s success, and help UNH achieve a bold, overarching aspiration – to be among the top 25 public universities in the country in the most important measures of academic performance. More details on the four strategic priorities can be found at

1.3 University System of New Hampshire (USNH)

The University of New Hampshire is one of four institutions that comprise the University System of New Hampshire (USNH).  The other three institutions include Plymouth State University, Keene State College, and Granite State College.

More information about USNH can be found at

1.4 University of New Hampshire Administrative Structure

The University’s administrative structure consists of three vice presidents responsible for (1) the academic mission of the university, (2) advancement and (3) administration, a chief financial officer and a chief diversity officer, each reporting to the president.  The deans of the University’s schools, colleges, and institutes report to the provost and vice president for academic affairs. Three senior vice provosts also report to the provost:  (1) Senior Vice Provost for Research, Economic Engagement and Outreach; (2) Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs; and (3) Senior Vice Provost for Student Life.  Further detail about the administrative structure can be found at

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