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USNH Presidents Will Report to Board of Trustees

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The board of trustees of the University System of New Hampshire on April 19 overwhelmingly approved a resolution intended to increase the authority of college and university presidents vis-à-vis the board and chancellor’s office in most areas, including academics and student affairs, finance and administration.

The four college and university presidents will report directly to the system board of trustees, rather than through the chancellor, and will be evaluated by the board on their success in advancing the missions of their respective institutions according to broadly defined parameters.

The system office will focus more narrowly on coordinating service and benefits operations, and providing a central treasury. It also will provide the board with data to assist in the evaluation of the success of the schools’ plans and activities over the long term.

The resolution also stated the board would engage a management consultant to advise in the implementation of its intention to decentralize, offering specific guidance as to how to maximize financial efficiencies and effective policymaking.

On Oct. 20, 2011, the trustees passed a resolution directing the system office and the administrative board to develop a plan for USNH that would lead to “enhanced independence, autonomy, and self-governance for each of the component institutions.”

This action was “focused on the consensus vision that the board of trustees must enable the institutions to implement changes necessary to maintain and enhance New Hampshire’s excellent public higher education system that reflect each institution’s unique character and educational mission.” The October resolution included language asking the state Legislature for time to develop a plan within the system before acting on a legislative initiative that might be similar in its intent.