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Partnership Strengthens Manchester Area Organizations

December 12, 2007

Six grants focused on community outreach will benefit several organizations in the greater Manchester area in the coming months.

With funding from UNH’s Office of Outreach Scholarship, Cooperative Extension and UNH Manchester, the $40,000 in grants will touch such diverse organizations as the Manchester Area Homeschoolers, YMCA of Manchester and the Hillcrest Terrace Retirement Community.

These awards stem from the “engagement and outreach” priorities of the UNH Academic Strategic Plan, as well as academic program goals in UNH Manchester’s and Cooperative Extension’s Strategic Plans.

“I am pleased that my office is partnering with UNH Cooperative Extension and UNH Manchester to catalyze and support new opportunities to strengthen our partnership and work with the City of Manchester and the greater Merrimack Valley,” said Julie E. Williams, UNH associate vice president, research and outreach scholarship.

Williams explained that, in addition to the faculty, staff and students at UNH Manchester and Cooperative Extension, the grants will benefit local planning commissions, social service agencies and individual citizens involved in their local communities.

These six outreach scholarship projects represent efforts in which there is a mutually-beneficial collaboration between UNH and external partners to help generate and apply relevant knowledge that directly benefits the public.

“These projects require the collaborative efforts of an Extension faculty member, specialist or educator, a faculty member from UNH Manchester, and a community partner,” said John Pike, Cooperative Extension dean and director. “This clearly relates to our mission of providing New Hampshire citizens with research-based education and information, enhancing their ability to make informed decisions that strengthen youth, families and communities, sustain natural resources, and improves the economy."

UNH Manchester’s dean Kristin Woolever explained that the “partnerships bring the resources of the State's flagship university to the people and organizations that can truly benefit from them.”

“The partnership is a wonderful way for the University's urban campus to collaborate with the community and to make measurable difference. And these projects are just a beginning. We are committed to continued expansion of our role in developing the City and the region's bright future,” Woolever said.

Projects funded include the following:

Reaching Green through Service Learning:

UNH Manchester assistant professor Sarah Kenick is team leader. Other team members include Extension educator Michael Koski, Karen Acerno, director, Massabesic Audubon Center, and Melissa Drury, coordinator, Manchester Area Homeschoolers. Piggybacking on the success of Cooperative Extension’s Green Roof project in Manchester, UNH Manchester and Extension can continue the “green movement” with this project by providing green chemistry training and resources to after school staff in the Manchester area.

UNH Cooperative Extension’s Center for Innovation in Family Education and Support:

Malcolm Smith, family life and family policy Extension specialist, is team leader. Other team members include Extension educators Sharon Cowen and Thom Linehan, YMCA executive director Monica Zulauf, UNH associate professor Kate Hanson, chair, UNH Community Leadership Program, and Patrice Mettauer, Community Outreach Scholarship coordinator from UNH Manchester. This project will work towards permanent establishment of a center for family education and support, in cooperation with the YWCA of Manchester.

"The Outreach Scholarship Program has provided us with seed money to begin the development of a very exciting collaboration between UNH Cooperative Extension, UNH Manchester, the Manchester YWCA, and other community partners,” said Smith, one of the recipients. “It will help establish the UNH Center for Innovation in Family Education and Support in the Manchester community.

“Because of the funding, faculty and students from UNH and UNH Manchester will be able to make direct and vital contributions to the lives of New Hampshire families through education and support and those families will provide direct input into future Cooperative Extension parenting and family life programs. It is a situation where everyone will benefit.”

Monica Zulauf, executive director of the YWCA in Manchester, agrees and sees the project as “a dream come true.

“We are pleased the Center for Innovation in Family Education and Support will have access to the resources and knowledge the University and Cooperative Extension,” Zulauf said. She and her staff look forward to moving beyond a focus on direct service and keeping the doors open and developing evidenced-based skills and best practices that will help them develop higher level thinking.

New Hampshire Citizen Planner:

Team leader, Extension educator Dan Reidy. Other team members include Michele Gagne, representing Cooperative Extension and COLSA, Extension educator Mary Tebo and Extension specialist Charlie French, Kate Hanson, chair, UNH Community Leadership Program, Kerrie Diers, assistant director, Nashua Regional Planning Commission, and Joanne Cassulo, senior planner, municipal and regional planning assistance. This project will develop a training curriculum that addresses the core competencies that local officials and citizen leaders need to conduct land use planning that effectively engages the public in community visioning and decision-making.

An Evaluation of Real-Time Distance Learning Practices for Use in Online Geospatial Training: Mihaela Sabin, UNH Manchester assistant professor/computer information systems program coordinator as team leader. Other team members include Extension specialist Shane Bradt, Adam Kurowski, regional planner, Lakes Regional Planning Commission, Rachel Ruppel, GIS analyst, Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission, and Jo Anne Carr, senior planner, Southwest Region Planning Commission, rounding out the community partners. Building on the engagement of Cooperative Extension with community partners through the Geospatial Technologies Training Center and Geospatial Outreach Program, this project will develop an online training program in geospatial technologies.

Reconfiguring Computing Curriculum with Community Service Projects:

UNH Manchester assistant professor Mihaela Sabin, team leader. Extension 4-H Youth development educator Michael Koski also is on the team along with Karen Acerno, Massabesic Audubon Center, Greg Hartshorn, Manchester Salvation Army, Dominique Rust, NH Catholic Charities, and Jeremy Hitchcock, Dynamic Network Services, representing the community partners. This project involves UNH Manchester students helping to develop a database that addresses data management needs of the community partners who will receive training in database use and updating to ensure continued use.

Whole Grain Foods: Developing a Curriculum with and for Older Adults:

Catherine Violette, Extension food and nutrition specialist, team leader. Other team members include UNH Manchester associate professor Alison Paglia, Kerry Olson, director of Dining Services, Hillcrest Terrace Retirement Community, RSVP program coordinator Shirley Frost, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, and Barbara Vigneault, director, Senior Services Dept. of the City of Manchester. This project will create an educational curriculum to help older adults select and consume more whole grain foods. What is unique about this project is that older adults will be full partners in this process.

For more information on the partnerships or UNH’s Outreach scholarship initiative and partnership between UNH Manchester and Cooperative Extension, contact Trece Mettauer, Outreach Scholarship Coordinator at patricem@unh.edu or 603-641-4311.


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