CONNECT students on UNH campus

The University of New Hampshire CONNECT Program began in 1994 as a three-day summer orientation program designed to provide incoming students of color with a sense of community and belonging.

The first CONNECT program had twenty-nine students and one graduate student Coordinator.  UNH faculty and staff participated as mentors with great enthusiasm and commitment. The first program, though small in size, was well attended by students and their parents. In 2014, the Program saw its biggest class, with approximately 100 students and a full-time Coordinator.

After the success of this initial program, CONNECT was seen as a necessity to demonstrate the university's commitment to the recruitment and retention of students of color at UNH. Today, CONNECT is a yearlong academic and social support program for all students of color, first generation, and high financial need students.

Mission Statement

Mission Statement: The Challenging Ourselves in a New and Nurturing Environment by Coming Together (CONNECT) Program exists to support and advocate for students from historically excluded populations (People of Color, first-generation and those with demonstrated high-financial need) at the University of New Hampshire. To support incoming students to achieve their social and economic success by providing community, academic and co-curricular resources to assist with earning a college degree.

Vision: One day, every CONNECT student will thrive emotionally and academically at the University of New Hampshire.

The vision affirms the original goal in 1994 by the late Dr. Roger M. Beattie (Special Assistant to the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management), Dr. Judy Spiller (Assistant VP for Academic Support Services), and student leaders from the Diversity Support Coalition (DSC). Initially, both summer and academic year programs were designed to support students of color with the sociocultural development at a Predominantly White Institution (PWI) in Northern New Hampshire.

CONNECT is a community-oriented program that offers students a fast track of educational interventions comprising college readiness, tools, resources, and guidance to earn a post-secondary degree.

Through a joint partnership with the UNH Admissions Office, the CONNECT Program aids with the college’s recruitment and retention efforts for a more racially and class-diverse student body. This has been accomplished with CONNECT Peer Mentors assisting Admissions on high school visits to highlight the benefits of participating in CONNECT.

Our highlights include:

  • Building key collaborative partners across campus that are committed to student success.
  • Early determination of critical attributes to student emotional wellbeing
  • Increasing small cohort support from College Peer Mentors providing academic advice throughout the academic year.
  • Creating a grant-funded STEM two-week track of Summer CONNECT Program in 2014 to help majors in academic transition to campus
  • Ongoing UNH faculty, staff, and upper administration involvement in creating a more inclusive environment on campus.
  • Document GPAs, and student engagement (TOOBS Surveys).
  • Creation of workshop series CONNECT Tuesdays to provide additional relevant information to student cohort.
  • Permanent relationship with a Psychology & Counseling Services (PACS) liaison to provide mental health support to students