The Ten Initiatives: Interdisciplinary Schools and Academies

Interdisciplinary Schools and Academies
Point Person:
John D. Aber, university professor and provost, vice president for academic affairs

New interdisciplinary units will allow faculty members across a wide range of backgrounds and experiences to broaden their areas of inquiry and pedagogy, and to build working relationships and academic programs that will express hidden strengths at UNH, and deliver a better education to our students.

The Strategic Plan identifies four initial targets for the establishment of new interdisciplinary units:
School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering
School of Public, Community, and International Service
School of Earth System Science
Sustainability Academy

Relevant working group reports

Group 1 – Breaking Silos, Scrambling Categories: Integrating the Academy Horizontally and Vertically
Group 2 – Research: New Frontiers and Old Challenges
Group 8 – UNH and the World: Advancing a Global Perspective
Group 9 – Sustainability: Extending the UNH Commitment

Download reports (pdf)

What's happened since 2010

The Sustainability Academy has been launched as is pursuing a number of activities related to the CORE (Curriculum, Operations, Research, Engagement) of the University.

The group developing the proposal for the School of Public Service and Policy is chaired by Jim Varn, and includes Rosemary Caron, Charlie French, Kevin Gardner, Curt Grimm, Ned Helms, Bruce Mallory, Jerry Marx, Jan Nisbet, Janet Sable, Michael Swack, Mica Stark, Stacy VanDeveer, and Sally Ward. The group has produced a description of the school and has begun a feasibility study that will be completed this fall (2011).

The two other schools called out in the Strategic Plan are the “Earth” School and the “Marine” school. Two faculty groups have put forward proposals for these schools, and a general policy regarding schools has been discussed in the UCAPC Committee of the Faculty Senate. All three of these proposals are available here:

The impact of the state budget cut (48% reduction in one year beginning July 2011) was filtered through the Budget Task Force appointed by President Huddleston, which made recommendations including a review of graduate programs and the Graduate School, as well as considering a merger of the three units that are most involved with the Marine and Earth schools.

In response to the Task Force recommendations, a retreat was held on July 22 to discuss the possible merger of COLSA, CEPS and EOS, and the impact of this possibility on the Earth and Marine schools. Expert opinion present at the retreat, in conjunction with information obtained from other schools attempting similar mergers, quickly put the merger idea to rest. Neither academic nor financial justifications could be found. The retreat then focused on the nature, location and characteristics of the two schools. A narrative of these summer activities can be found in three letters to the campus written by the Provost.

What's happening now and plans for the future

This fall, the Marine school group is meeting with Senior Vice Provost Jan Nisbet to develop a budget model for the School, which will then allow detailed conversations about location, operations, faculty relations and finances. The Earth School proposal will receive more attention as the faculty group forming the proposal meets with Deans, Directors and members of the Provost’s Office to focus the goals and structure of the School. UCAPC will be asked to consider a modified general description of Schools. The goal is to implement these Schools this academic year.

Upon completion of a feasibility study this summer, the planning group for the School of Public Service and Policy will also disseminate a proposal by the end of the fall semester.