The View from T-Hall

Where in the World?

AT UNH, WE BEGIN EACH ACADEMIC YEAR with an academic convocation. Our annual gathering celebrates the scholarship and expertise of UNH faculty members and brings together our vibrant community of teachers and learners.

This year, we introduced the new University Dialogues series, a welcome addition to the universitywide discourse that we cherish and uphold. The series is intended to provide an exciting embarkation point for professors, students, staff members and the wider community through a shared intellectual journey that explores one important issue from a number of perspectives.

"Where in the World is UNH? A University Dialogue on Globalization" is the theme for 2005-06. We are privileged to have the insights of nine faculty "Discovery Authors," each of whom has provided a position paper on the effects of globalization as seen from her or his area of expertise. While other universities choose a book to share as a springboard for communitywide discussion, UNH's selection of its own faculty authors is unusual and impressive. UNH may become a model for universities everywhere as a result of this program.

The 2005 Discovery Authors are Mimi Becker (natural resources); John Cerullo (history); Ross Gittell (management); Filson Glanz (faculty emeritus, electrical engineering); Lori Hopkins (Spanish); Tom Kelly (sustainability programs); Joe Lugalla (anthropology); Chris Reardon (political science); and Jeff Salloway (health management and policy). They were selected by faculty and staff members and students to provide new opportunities for intellectual engagement. The work of our Discovery Authors will form the basis of a yearlong conversation in classrooms and residence halls, at events, and online through the Discovery Web site. More than 1,000 UNH students are already signed on and participating. Films, discussions and programs will all be listed on The program will culminate in Town Hall meetings in the spring at both the Durham and Manchester campuses. This is a wonderful way for alumni and current students to come together, and I encourage you to join in.

The dialogues are an important new component of the Discovery Program general education curriculum that UNH, through a faculty-led initiative, is implementing. Predicated on inquiry-based learning—or discovery—a UNH education emphasizes a holistic academic and personal approach that prepares students to become active learners and to shape their own individual experiences. We want our students to learn in an environment that encourages them to take charge of their own education through the active pursuit of knowledge through what we call "Discovery."

UNH's growing list of Inquiry Seminars for first-year students—another part of the Discovery Program—also builds these learning skills. These small classes encourage interdisciplinary thought and discussion and lay the groundwork for inquiry-based learning. Together, these programs expand a distinctive method of learning and knowing and take us closer to our goal of creating a signature educational experience.

Convocation and the University Dialogue series are just two examples of the many ways the UNH community unites to explore the issues of our day. A few weeks ago, UNH faculty experts from all disciplines joined together in conversation to discuss the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A partnership between the Center for the Study of Community at Portsmouth's Strawbery Banke Museum and UNH's Center for New England Culture provided an excellent forum for the exploration of New England's immigration history and its modern-day relevance. The 2005-2006 Saul O. Sidore Lecture Series will examine how the modern-day world battles evil across the globe in countries as divergent as Nigeria, Ghana, the United States, Great Britain, Egypt and Sudan.

These activities form a powerful network of opportunities for our students and our communities. At the heart of these endeavors is the concerted desire that our students will embrace the world and become contributing citizens equipped with the skills and knowledge they will need as they come of age in the 21st century. I encourage you to participate, in person, or through the Internet. Please visit for full details on university activities, and join the conversation on globalization through the Discovery Web site.

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