UNH develops system to track deadly hazards
EPA endorses the use of UNHCEMS at nation's universities
By Lori Gula
With concern about chemical, biological and radiological hazards still
on the minds of many Americans, UNH has developed a comprehensive online
system that research universities nationwide can use to manage their stores
of some of the world's most dangerous substances.
The UNH Chemical Environmental Management System (UNHCEMS) was developed
by the UNH Research Computing Center (RCC) in consultation with the UNH
Department of Environmental Health and Safety. The Web-based system allows
public and private institutions to manage hazardous chemicals stored at
multiple locations on their campuses. State and federal guidelines mandate
that such institutions meet hazardous materials safety and compliance
Soon it will be able to track thousands of biological agents and radioactive
"Most universities do not maintain comprehensive, online inventories
of their hazardous materials. Most universities simply don't have that
information available or up to date," says Brad Manning, director
of UNH Environmental Health and Safety.
UNHCEMS was developed as part of a settlement agreement with the
Environmental Protection Agency following an EPA inspection at UNH five
years ago. At the time, UNH was found to have violated the Resource Conservation
and Recovery Act regarding waste disposal in laboratories.
"This online chemical management system holds great potential to
help universities and colleges improve tracking and management of chemicals
and wastes," says Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's
New England Office, which initiated the enforcement case against UNH and
negotiated the settlement that included the project.
"We've found in our inspections that many colleges are wasting significant
amounts of chemicals because they do not have systems in place for accurately
recording the identity, quantity and location of materials. This system
holds great promise to reverse this problem, resulting in campuses that
are safer and better for the environment," Varney says.
Two universities, Brown University and the University of Massachusetts
at Amherst, are using UNHCEMS. More universities are expected to being
using the system by the summer's end, according to Manning.
The need for such a comprehensive system was proven all too real earlier
this year when a faculty researcher at Texas Tech reported 30 vials of
the bacteria that causes the plague were missing. Although the vials had
been destroyed, the interim period when officials were unsure of what
had happened to the vials caused concern nationwide. Had Texas Tech been
effectively using a system such as UNHCEMS, the university could have
known within minutes exactly if, how and when those vials had been destroyed.
What sets UNH's system apart from commercial products is it is designed
for educational institutions and is easily accessible via the Web. Data
and software is securely stored at UNH.
"From the standpoint of Homeland Security and the U.S. Patriot Act,
this system dramatically increases the ability of universities to track
certain hazardous chemicals. For example, if we need to determine if we
have a particular hazard on campus, we can query the system and find out
within a minute if that substance is on campus and exactly where it is
located," Manning says.
"We can ensure we have the necessary security measures in place
to prevent unauthorized access to these chemicals and ensure that the
faculty member is following all of the required procedures regarding that
particular substance," he says. "My counterparts at other universities
have had to hire people to go out and look in every laboratory - hundreds
of laboratories - to find these hazards."
Although Manning and his department worked closely with RCC in developing
the program over the last three years, he is quick to credit RCC with
making the system a reality.
"There are not many other academic institutions that have a research
computing center. Many universities turn to their administrative computing
departments, which are unable to build such a complex system. But because
we have this resource as part of our research mission, UNH has developed
a system that many universities can use," he says.
Among other, the system provides UNH and client users online chemical
inventory management; hazardous waste management tracking; online Material
Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and safety information; the ability to designate
certain substances as particularly hazardous; laboratory emergency signage
requests; modules that support pollution prevention, and chemical reduction,
recycling and reuse; and a centralized chemical purchasing strategy.
"When we started the project, there didn't appear to be any similar
solutions that were Web based," says Patrick Messer, associate director
of the UNH Research Computing Center. "Our system is developed specifically
for higher educational institutions, and I have not found any of the competition
coming close to offering what our system provides."
With the development of the system, UNH now provides its local fire department
in Durham a CD of its chemical inventory, MSDSs and information about
emergency signage, which assists the fire department in its emergency
response planning and preparedness activities.
"The success of the program is in large part due to the commitment
and involvement from EH&S. They worked closely with RCC throughout
the development period, and continue to do so today. Their input helped
us mold the program to meet the administrative needs of EH&S and the
functionality needs of the chemical owners on campus," Messer says.
He also notes that the success of a single application depends on a solid
IT infrastructure. "RCC is fortunate to have the committed and capable
staff to deploy and maintain such a strong foundation. RCC has a proven
track record for deploying advanced Web/database applications so we were
an obvious choice to supply the technical expertise," Messer says.
For this project, that technical expertise was found primarily in Phil
Collins, an information technologist with RCC. "He worked tirelessly
on this and continues to come up with innovative ideas to keep making
it better," Messer says.
By Lori Gula
UNH will recognize long-time Director of Women's Athletics and Coach
Gail Bigglestone with the naming of the plaza adjacent to Memorial Field
in her honor. The dedication of Bigglestone Plaza at Memorial Field
will be Sunday, Sept. 7, 2003, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
"Gail is a person of high integrity and accomplishment, and remains
deeply respected in the national women's collegiate sports community,
as well as by many UNH alums and ex-athletes," UNH President Ann
Weaver Hart says. "She has built a women's program at UNH that
has attained national recognition, and we take pride in recognizing
her in this manner."
Bigglestone Plaza sits between Main Street and Memorial Field, the
primary site for women's athletics, particularly field hockey and lacrosse.
Recently, the area was enhanced with a synthetic field, architectural
fencing, lights and a scoring platform. The upgrades were achieved through
charitable efforts made in recognition of Bigglestone.
Bigglestone, a member of the UNH Athletic Hall of Fame and respected
ski coach, served as UNH's first director of women's athletics (1975-89)
and was directly responsible for the development of one of the most
successful women's intercollegiate programs in the country.
During her 14-year tenure as director of women's athletics, the program
expanded to 12 sports with more than 200 competitors. UNH won its first
national championship (lacrosse, 1985) under her watch. The field hockey
squad competed in five NCAA tournaments and finished as the NCAA runner-up
in 1986. The women's ice hockey team won six regional titles and the
gymnastics team captured three regional titles, while consistently holding
a national ranking. The basketball team won two regional titles and
qualified for tournament play five times. The cross country, ski, soccer,
swim, track and tennis teams regularly qualified for regional and national
A 1960 graduate of the university, Bigglestone joined UNH in 1970 as
an assistant professor of physical education.
She served as head ski coach and was instrumental in organizing women's
collegiate skiing as a member of the U.S. Collegiate Sport Council Ski
In 1983, she was recognized with the UNH Profile of Service Award.
She retired from UNH in 1989.
by Sharon Keeler
UNH Assistant Professor of Nursing Janice Foust has been awarded
a scholarship from the John A. Hartford Foundation's "Building
Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Scholar" program. She is
the first person from the UNH faculty to ever receive this honor.
The program, which began in 2000, aims to create a new group of nursing
leaders and scholars to advance the quality of health care to older
adults, inform health care policy and build a powerful national network.
One of only eight nurses to receive the post-doctoral scholarship
in the prestigious 2003 national competition, Foust will receive $100,000
over two years to support her post-doctoral studies at the University
of Pennsylvania and research in the field of geriatric nursing. She
will be working with faculty at Penn's Hartford Center of Geriatric
Foust's research focuses on safer discharge planning for older adults
being sent home from hospitals. Nearly one in five patients had "adverse
events" after they were sent home - most of which could have
been prevented or eased with better care - according to a study conducted
by the University of Ottawa and Harvard Medical School.
Most of these problems involved difficulties with medications.
Foust says this is not surprising and may be the result of gaps in
the healthcare system that need to be corrected.
"We need to move away from blaming individuals who are doing
their best, and focus on improving systems within healthcare,"
Foust says. "Hospitals, clinics and homecare agencies need to
develop better ways to make it easier for the elderly to understand
and take their medications properly. Right now the responsibility
rests on the individuals and their families."
Foust says the elderly often have numerous medications to track -
she recalls a patient who kept his pills stored in a fishing tackle
box - and this presents a challenge and host of questions. What medications
is the patient already taking at home? If the drug is filled generically
with a different name than in the hospital, will the patient know
it is the same drug? Will the new drug interact with over-the-counter
"We also see patients selectively filling prescriptions because
of the high cost," Foust adds.
"We need to make it easier for people, and nurses are in a terrific
place to be part of the solution," she says.
Foust's research examines both rural and urban experience, focusing
on New Hampshire and the Boston area. She is analyzing medication
discharge efforts and will conduct interviews and focus groups with
home care nurses, discharge planners, physicians, pharmacists and
"What we're looking at is system change," Foust says. "What
are the common issues? What most likely affects patients? Our goal
conduct a pilot intervention program the second year."
For example, Foust says a study conducted by Vanderbilt University,
Visiting Nurse Services of New York and others found a nurse-pharmacist
team improved medication use among older adult homecare patients.
"Communication is the biggest issue," she says. "Patients
need to know how to prepare their medications at home, how to set
up a schedule, etc. When instructions are given on discharge, this
is not exactly the best learning environment. A nurse-pharmacist team
checking in with the patient at home would be a valuable strategy,
along with better communication with the patient's primary care physician."
Foust says the Hartford Fellowship will help her further her research
and eventually provide better and more cost effective care to high-risk
"What's most exciting for me is that what we learn will not
only help those working in the health field, it will help prepare
our students to become better nurses," Foust says.
For more information, Foust can be reached at email@example.com
By Lori Gula
The UNH community is invited to review revised draft reports on the three
areas of focus that are the major effort of UNH's comprehensive decennial
accreditation review by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
The reports, which focus on the undergraduate experience, engagement
through research and scholarship, and institutional effectiveness, incorporate
comments and suggestions submitted from faculty and staff during the last
three months. The reports are available online at www.unh.edu/neasc/reports.htm.
"The faculty, staff and students on these area committees have dedicated
hundreds of hours of their time over the last year. The reports not only
offer detailed reflections of our past and present, but they also provide
solid recommendations for our future. The university will be well-served
by their efforts," says Stephen Hardy, professor of kinesiology and
chair of the Self-Study Steering Committee.
UNH is accredited by a number of agencies. Some, such as the Accrediting
Board for Engineering and Technology or the National Athletic Trainers
Association, are specific to a segment of academic programs or a single
program. As a whole, the university is accredited by the New England Association
of Schools and Colleges, specifically NEASC's Commission on Institutions
of Higher Education (CIHE).
According to the CIHE, "An institutional accrediting body considers
the characteristics of whole institutions. For this reason an institutional
accrediting body gives attention not only to the educational offerings
of the institutions it accredits, but also to other such institutional
characteristics as the student personnel services, financial conditions,
and administrative strength."
This accreditation is crucial in many ways, not the least of which is
its tie to federally funded financial aid. The most important part of
NEASC accreditation, however, is the self-study, which NEASC says lies
"at the heart of the accreditation process."
The major effort of UNH's self-evaluation is the alternative self-study,
which concerns planning in three areas UNH has identified as critical
that have not been closely studied. Each is a subset of one theme in the
"Institutional Effectiveness" focuses on assuring that academic
plans and budget plans are consistent, budgeting (RCM) tools are used
to achieve strategic priorities, and academic and fiscal integrity is
maintained. NEASC's "Statement on Institutional Effectiveness"
maintains that "in order to inform its planning, decision-making
and resource allocation, an institution needs to determine how well and
in what ways it is accomplishing its mission and purposes." This
committee is examining how well UNH integrates planning, resource allocation
"The Undergraduate Experience" represents the first half of
the new vision statement in the Academic Plan. This focus area examines
the existing learning goals, attitudes and behaviors of undergraduates;
and recommends ways to elevate and clarify goals for all students. The
report particularly addresses advising, internships, international education,
undergraduate research and student life.
"Engagement Through Research and Scholarship" represents the
second half of the new Academic Plan-using research to serve the public
good. This report includes a definition of "engagement" as "a
mutually beneficial collaboration between the University of New Hampshire
(New Hampshire's land, sea, and space grant university) and community
partners for the purpose of generating and applying relevant knowledge
to directly benefit the public." It describes existing programs of
engagement at UNH, and offers recommendations for strengthening the university's
commitment to this part of its mission.
Faculty and staff are encouraged to submit further comments to the steering
committee by Aug. 20. The final version of the reports will be sent to
NEASC at the end of August. From Oct. 20-22, the full NEASC team will
visit UNH to evaluate the university regarding its compliance with NEASC
standards. Faculty and staff will have the opportunity to attend open
forums as part of the formal visit.
For more information on the accreditation process and the alternative
self-study, visit www.unh.edu/neasc/index.htm.
By Lori Gula
As young children squatted on the forest floor delicately picking wild
blueberries and gobbling them up, couples and co-eds sunbathed on secluded
rocks warmed by the day's sun that hugged the shoreline.
It was another spectacular day on Mendum's Pond at the UNH Recreation
One of UNH's hidden jewels for faculty, staff and students, Mendum's
Pond is located on Hall Road off Route 4 in Barrington. Visitors to the
200-acre recreation area can swim (there are no lifeguards), rent a canoe,
kayak or paddleboat, or hike around and enjoy the abundance of wildlife.
Recently, there has been timber harvest activity, leaving openings in
the forest, which is prime real estate for deer and moose.
Lucky visitors may spot the pond's pair of loons. UNH keeps track of
where they nest every year and diverts visitors away from the area during
the nesting period.
"Few universities have places like Mendum's Pond, and we want the
university to enjoy university space. We would love to have the students
out here more. We want it to be used, used well, but used correctly and
safely," says Denny Byrne, director of Campus Recreation.
In 1930, Arthur W. McDaniel donated a small parcel of what is now known
as Mendum's Pond to the UNH Women's Athletic Association. In 1970, he
granted the rest of the area to UNH for $1.
For the last few decades, UNH has used some of the shoreline property
to house its Sailing Club. The rest of the property has been allocated
according to McDaniel's wishes: a recreation area, an active natural and
wildlife area, and a timber harvesting area. In addition to the boat rentals,
visitors can picnic in two pavilions, including one with a nearby playground,
or on outside picnic tables. Several grills are available throughout the
Matt Reitan, a senior in mechanical engineering, is working his second
summer at Mendum's Pond."This is a beautiful area that is very private
and has no public access other than the UNH access. It's a great place
to kayak if you are a beginner. It's not rough and there is hardly any
traffic," Reitan says.
And the fishing is good, says Reitan, who enjoys catching large-mouth
bass at the pond. "Mendum's Pond is quiet and there are no big crowds.
It's a great place for families because there is no alcohol allowed,"
Faculty and staff are admitted for free with a valid UNH ID with a Mendum's
Pond sticker available for free to employees and students.
Mendum's two pavilions with large grills are available for group events
and can be reserved in advance for $20. If a group of 10 or more calls
two weeks in advance, they receive a group rate of $2 per person entrance
fee and $2 per boat per hour rental fee. The area is open 11:30 a.m. to
7:30 p.m. daily through Sept. 1. From Sept. 6 to Sept. 28, it is open
weekends during the same hours.
Mendum's is also available during the off season to group activities.
Reservations should still be made at least two weeks in advance and are
subject to staff availability. Directions and additional information about
use of the area are available at the Service Desk in the Hamel Recreation
By Sharon Keeler
Health and human services professionals from around the country have gathered
at the MUB this week for the 28th National Institute on Social Work and
Human Services in Rural Areas, which concludes tomorrow.
Sponsored by UNH's Department of Social Work, the institute highlights
the importance of identifying needs and meeting challenges to foster innovative
practice in rural communities.
Gary Bailey, National Association of Social Work president, was a featured
speaker. Other featured topics include:
- Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment.
- What's So Different About Rural Health Care?
- Rural Underemployment and Health
- Faith-Based Mentoring Programs
- Counting the Homeless: Educating Students in Rural Community-Based
- Employment for Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime: Creating Jobs in a No-Jobs
- Welfare-to-Work: A Rural Perspective, Mental Health of Children in
Poverty: Rural vs. Urban
- Healthy Aging: Interdisciplinary Strategies for Communities and Practitioners
By Heather L. Smith
This fall, UNH Continuing Education will offer more than 500 day and evening,
undergraduate and graduate credit courses, and over 250 one-day seminars
and noncredit courses and workshops for professional development and personal
The UNH Continuing Education Catalog outlining credit and noncredit courses
offered during the fall semester is now available. The catalog may be
obtained by phone, e-mail, mail, Web, or in-person.
To request a catalog, call 862-4234, visit the Web at www.learn.unh.edu,
e-mail the request to firstname.lastname@example.org , write
to UNH Continuing Education, 24 Rosemary Lane, Durham, NH 03824, or stop
by the Registration Office in Durham at Stoke Hall, 11 Garrison Ave.
Individuals who do not have a college degree can pursue an associate
in arts or bachelor's degree through part-time day and evening study at
UNH. Many postbaccalaureate degree programs are also available.
Credit courses are open to anyone with a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Credits earned are recorded on an official UNH transcript and may be transferable
to degree programs at UNH or other institutions. A wide range of courses
are offered in the arts and sciences.
Credit courses start Tuesday, Sept. 2.
Eleven short-term noncredit career certificate programs are offered through
UNH Continuing Education, including marketing, project management, professional
coaching, graphic arts, supervisory skills, human resources management,
computer applications, desktop publishing, Web site development and more.
Noncredit courses are open to anyone 18 years and older and start at
various times throughout the fall semester. Noncredit workshop topics
include: management and business, computers, the arts, fitness and health,
social work and counseling, teaching and school administration, nonprofit
management, health and human services, engineering, real estate, photography,
writing and many more.
Mail, fax and Web registration began Aug. 4. Phone and in-person registration
begins Aug. 11.
Space is limited, so early registration is advised.