About the Office of Outreach and Engagement

The Office of Outreach and Engagement (OE) helps the public connect with the UNH community to improve the state’s economy and quality of life. 

OE provides leadership, collaboration and support, to establish pathways to partnership for citizens, organizations and business seeking assistance, non-credit education or professional development.  OE emphasizes public engagement and collaboration to address the state’s most pressing issues, such as workforce development and readiness, k-12 education, environmental sustainability and healthcare.

Initiatives

 

K-12 Engagement Project

Every child deserves an education that allows the opportunity to achieve their dreams. UNH see the need for developing a "multiple pathways" approach that recognizes the diversity of student interests and abilities.

The multiple pathways approach addresses the President’s strategic priority: Embrace New Hampshire - by creating a K12 engagement strategy for the University that aims to expand opportunities by offering well-designed and coordinated activities and programs for young people. This approach will permit students to gravitate to programs that are personally relevant and hold the potential to improve and support progression to and successful participation in higher education. 

Student success is dependent on highly-effective teachers. By supporting the ongoing learning of primary and secondary teachers through professional development, UNH can engrain itself  deeply into our local communities.

The K-12 project resulted in the development of four main future goals:
  • Increase Outreach and engagement visibility and coordination, internally and externally 

  • Increase parent, youth, and educator awareness of UNH K-12 initiatives and provide meaningful and relevant pathways for personal development 

  • Help educators improve their practice and connect them with resources at UNH

  • Create a coordinated Engagement Hub

The Hub is a key final recommendation from the 18-month University-wide K-12 Engagement project that finished its work in June, 2021.

Recently, UNH Outreach was awarded a $10,000 New Technologies for Agricultural Extension (NTAE) grant from the national Extension Foundation. The UNH proposal was for Foundation assistance for the Engagement Hub.

A key aspect of the grant is the Program Accelerator, which is a unique partnership between a project team and the resources of the Extension Foundation for a year of rapid growth and progress, resulting in expanding the team’s local impact and national potential.

The Hub is expected to provide comprehensive and coordinated knowledge of the breadth of UNH outreach offerings in an accessible and highly personalized construct within an easily digestible site and format.   The University-wide endeavor will promote relevant, pathway learning and encourage lifelong connections. The UNH proposal was one of 8 accepted out of 18 applications from throughout the country.

The UNH Engagement Hub project is in the early stages of development and has a high potential for making a significant local and statewide impact. We’ve identified objectives, audiences, and our vision for potential outcomes. Our current Hub team will be increased to achieve broader representation from across the University system and will become an ‘Engagement Hub Implementation Team.’ This team will be part of a new K-12 Engagement Advisory Council that also includes implementation teams to carry forward the recommendations from the recent K-12 project. We expect to have these groups formed by the start of the academic year. 

The Engagement Hub is an exciting project for UNH. We understand it will have an incremental implementation, but also know it has the potential for growth and inclusion from all areas of Outreach and Engagement. Intentional and thoughtful execution of the Hub project over the next few years will certainly allow UNH to better “Embrace New Hampshire.”

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UNH Micro-credentials and Digital Badge Program

A college degree still looms large in hiring and it remains an important factor when assessing candidates. However, employers are also interested in candidates with detailed and easily accessible credentials that validate skills or competencies specific to their hiring needs. In response, UNH embraces the micro‐credential/digital badge as a means of both meeting workforce needs and supporting well‐rounded students with highly marketable skills.

UNH seeks to equip learners with accessible pathways for skill attainment and recognition to better serve our ever-evolving New Hampshire economy. A combination of applied learning experiences, credentialing and a quality degree stack the competencies needed for graduates to succeed in today’s highly competitive job market. Furthermore, we know that micro‐credentials can contribute to lifelong learning and professional development. As higher education and industry work together to bridge the gap of student preparedness for the workforce, the micro‐credential adds a stackable skill set to the foundational college degree.

UNH defines a micro-credential as evidence that reflects attainment of specific skills or competencies. Micro-credentials can be issued for formal and informal academic or professional learning experiences. A digital badge is one example of a micro-credential.

OE is leading the development and adoption of micro-credentials/digital badges at UNH. 

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New Hampshire Impact 

OE and CPA leads a NH Impact Advisory Council that helps university-level engagement leaders and college-level administrators collaborate. Council members include university level engagement leaders, dean/directors of cooperative extension, and directors/vice provosts of other community engagement units. This group improves  impact reporting, goal-setting and evaluations to improved advocacy for State support. 

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Upskilling Advisory Council

The vision driving the UNH Upskilling Advisory Council is simple: we strive to become the lighthouse for all continuing and professional education across the state and region within the next two years. Serving as a centralized “beacon” for individuals and organizations seeking opportunities to expand their skills, this initiative will support internal collaboration and expand innovative responses to workforce development challenges.

Email Initiative Lead