The View from T-Hall

From Vision to Implementation

Thomspon Hall

The celebration of University Day and the delivery of the State of the University address each September have become campus traditions. This year, I had the privilege of reviewing our achievements and expressing my goals for the future. While our accomplishments are many, so are the challenges we must overcome if we are to realize our goal of becoming one of the best small, student-centered public research universities in the nation.

This is a unique community. Every day, brilliant, dedicated, inventive and hard-working people come together to teach, learn and discover, despite less than adequate resources and facilities. We see evidence of this unique UNH spirit in the field of glycobiology, for example, where the combined work of professors Vern Reinhold '59, '61G and assistant professor Charles Warren represents interdisciplinary teaching, research and outreach at its best. We see it in the work of Charles Simic, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and 30-year faculty member, who was just recently named a Ūnalist for a National Book Award in poetry for his new book, The Voice at 3 a.m.: Selected Late and New Poems. And we see it in the excitement and expectation for even higher levels of scholarship and research that coincide with the naming of the Paul chairs in space science and developmental psychology. We also see it in faculty legends like Tom Fairchild '59, who exemplifies excellence in the true land-grant tradition. Tom, who recently announced his retirement, led us in the development and advancement of the dairy program as ably as he led us in the past as interim president. It is only Ūtting that UNH has dedicated the Dairy Teaching and Research Center in Tom's name.

The UNH commitment to excellence and service must always extend to our wider community. In the last year, we developed a curriculum to improve the ability of social workers to prevent suicide, and through our state and local partnerships, the New Hampshire Institute for Health Policy and Practice helped communities implement health improvement initiatives. Tony Tagliaferro, professor of human nutrition and director of the Center for Health Enhancement, is doing ground-breaking health research in the areas of obesity, metabolism and insulin resistance. UNH's Recycled Materials Resource Center helps the environment while showing cities, states and the federal government how to save money by using recycled materials in highway construction.

Building on this kind of outstanding achievement, we must continue to raise our expectations to reach the next level of excellence. While UNH enjoys a tremendous reputation nationally, we must continue to work at conveying the worth of UNH to the residents of New Hampshire. We need the support of the citizens of the state, and our alumni, in order to better serve New Hampshire.

We must strengthen UNH's academic excellence by securing additional funding and providing our outstanding faculty the resources they need to pursue their research. I am pleased to report that after months of careful dialogue, debate and planning -- with broad participation across the university -- the Faculty Senate has endorsed the principles, goals and strategies of our Academic Plan. This plan moves us toward the realization of our promise to deliver an even more distinctive and distinguished UNH education. In keeping with the plan, we must now begin to implement the Discovery Program, a new general education program that emphasizes discovery and inquiry-based learning. We will continue to work closely with the UNH faculty to complete this long and complex process. During my State of the University address, I challenged students to feast on the banquet that is a UNH education and to seek out new opportunities to hone their abilities in analysis, inquiry and research. I asked everyone to hold higher expectations for the student community, and to build on the power of the recent national Student Summit on responsible celebrations. I ask students to reafirm their commitment to the core value of respect for one another, and to confront the issue of responsible behavior in social settings.

As we strive for excellence, I remind every member of the UNH community that UNH is a great institution and that we are fortunate to be a part of it. We are privileged to be able to spend our lives inquiring, reading, talking about critical issues, teaching, discovering and investing in the future of our students, the state and the nation. But what we learn and accomplish here is of only limited value unless we deliver and implement that new knowledge. Working together, we can overcome our challenges and deliver on our promises. ~

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