Review of Thompson School Calls for a Return to Its Roots
The Thompson School of Applied Science fills a unique need in the state, providing an associates level, job-ready education in the areas of land, food and animals that community colleges don’t and/or can’t provide. UNH is committed to the Thompson School’s original mission to best serve its students as well as the workforce needs of the state while at the same time addressing increased competition, enrollment pressures and a need to control costs. The school fills an essential role in the university’s mission to provide high-quality programs of distinction.
In March, a strategic review was commissioned by Provost Lisa MacFarlane and conducted by Huron Consulting Group. It identified the school’s historical ties to industry, strong commitment to student success and access to the university’s farms, dairies, greenhouses and equine facility as great strengths and made the following recommendations:
- Differentiate the school from community colleges as providing unique associates degrees and the traditional undergraduate student experience at a flagship university
- Evaluate all programs to ensure the school’s offerings meet the core focus on food, land and animals
- Ensure that strong leadership and business skills remain part of a work-ready Thompson School degree
- More closely integrate the school into the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture to increase efficiency
- Share more back office and general administrative functions with the college and integrate with university admissions
- Establish articulation agreements between relevant Thompson School programs, those in COLSA departments, and the university’s other schools and colleges. Increase efficiency of transferring from the two-year to a four-year program
COLSA Dean Jon Wraith stressed that these changes will be implemented in consultation with faculty and staff.
“This will provide great opportunities for our faculty and staff to help us reposition the school for greater sustainability and continued excellence. The Thompson School will be mission aligned and even better positioned to continue serving its students and the state.”