President Huddleston Attends December PAT Council Meeting

President Huddleston Attends December PAT Council Meeting

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The challenges facing higher education today are truly unprecedented, President Mark Huddleston told PAT Council representatives while attending their December meeting. 

“What is unsettling is not knowing what’s around the next corner. But what we do know is that higher education is absolutely essential. What we do is not going to go away,” Huddleston said during the council’s monthly meeting. 

The president makes it a point to attend PAT and OS Council meetings at least once a year, fielding questions representatives have gathered from constituents. At the PAT meeting, he discussed today’s higher education landscape. 

“At the time I got my first job, all of us who were going into higher education assumed we were stepping into a world that wasn’t going to change,” Huddleston said. While noting the benefits of education remain eternal, the manner in which business is conducted will have to change, he said, adding that costs need to be brought under further control.  

“We have to figure out a way to do what we do that people can afford,” Huddleston said. “The cost structure of higher education has for too long outpaced base rates of inflation.” 

Today there are an estimated 4,000 colleges and universities in the country. Huddleston said that won’t be the case in 20 years. 

“There will be a shakeout; I would bet the rent on that,” he said. “That will be the story during the next decade—those who survive and those who don’t. I am confident that UNH will be among the survivors.  Indeed, I am confident that UNH will continue to thrive in the years ahead.”  

In other news, the council elected its officers for the coming year: Jen Hammond, chair; Dan Corbeil, vice chair; and Stormy Gleason, secretary.  

In a brief update, Kathy Neils, chief human relations officer, noted that salary reviews are underway, and that 130 employees signed up for the new Choice health care plan. 

The PAT Council meets the first Wednesday of every month.