Welcome to the start of the 2018-2019 academic year. This year we welcome nearly 3,200 new first-year students to our campuses, representing 37 states and 13 countries. We added more than 850 master's and doctoral students, one of the largest entering graduate classes in the last five years.
We also welcome 42 new faculty colleagues to our ranks. Thank you to the faculty and staff who have been working so hard to prepare the campus for their arrival so they can hit the ground running and have a successful year.
The summer has been active in terms of planning and changes in leadership. As you know, in early July we welcomed President James W. Dean Jr. to campus. He and I have been visiting with college leadership, staff across departments and units, student groups, individual groups of faculty members and faculty leadership. We will be continuing these meetings into the academic year as we both get to know the UNH community better. We also welcomed professor Chuck Zercher as interim dean in CEPS and professor Michele Dillon as interim dean in COLA. Professor Monica Chiu has agreed to serve as the interim associate vice president for community, equity and diversity. This fall, we will be initiating searches for permanent deans in COLA and the Graduate School.
The Deans’ Council and leadership in academic affairs participated in a retreat this summer to focus on our core mission of promoting student success. As a result, we proposed the following mission statement for academic affairs: A thriving and diverse UNH community with an uncommon dedication to student success, community engagement and nationally recognized scholarship/research at a flagship university.
We established three goals for this academic year, including growing graduate programs, increasing diversity and inclusivity and expanding our research enterprise. We also collectively agreed to focus on one strategic initiative: increasing first-year student retention above 90 percent. Teams of faculty, staff and students are now coming together to develop and implement strategies around first-year programming, sophomore success, early academic assessment and engagement and personal/financial issues. You will be receiving more information on these activities and opportunities to participate in the coming weeks.
The beginning of the year is a vibrant time with new students, new colleagues and new opportunities seemingly everywhere. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in the coming year.
Thank you for everything that you do in support of UNH and our students’ success.
Wayne E. Jones, Jr.
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs