The View from T-Hall

Well Served

SINCE ITS FOUNDING, the University of New Hampshire has had three jobs to do: teaching, research and public service. It was the intent of the Morrill Act in 1862 that each state would have a land-grant university to serve the public needs of the state through research and teaching. Combining the three roles creates a very rich learning environment for students and faculty. We know the more successful we are in integrating teaching, research and public service, the stronger the University will be.

Last year, the University received almost $50 million in research support. Some funds come directly from industries and businesses and some come from donors who contribute to endowments that support strong academic programs. The largest portion of research support comes from the federal government. These funds give testimony to the strong reputation of our faculty and academic programs in the competitive world of research support. Our faculty are established scholars in their fields and frequently enjoy national and international renown. For example, this year UNH scientists in geoscience research ranked third among national universities. The research grants UNH receives place it among the top 25 research institutions funded by NASA.

Distinctive among research universities is the extent to which UNH's undergraduate students are engaged in research projects with faculty. In many research universities, it is the faculty and graduate students who do the research. At UNH, approximately 75 percent of our undergraduates have research experiences before graduation.

Research is a special way of learning, and a research university provides an excellent learning community. There are the advantages of state-of-the-art laboratories and special library collections. There is the opportunity to participate in framing and answering questions that have never been answered before, and in this way, to acquire the skills of investigation that will serve students well as they continue their studies and move into their careers.

Because UNH is a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant institution, there are special federal funds in the areas of agriculture, marine science and space science. In addition, a wide spectrum of research is funded through specific federal grants. Currently, more than 40 students are working on UNH's small satellite project called CATSAT, a NASA-funded satellite that will fly in the year 2000. At the University's Coastal Marine Laboratory and the Jackson Estuarine Laboratory, students explore the unique combination of freshwater and ocean environments each semester. A team of civil engineering students and faculty, working with the state department of transportation, received an award for an innovative concrete bridge over the Newfound River in Bristol, N.H.

In every area, faculty and students are pushing the boundaries of knowledge. In the University's Child Development lab, for example, 45 students each semester do observational and library research under the direction of faculty. Others do similar work at the Family Research Laboratory.

Through extensive public service, the University helps apply research results to problems and issues facing our citizens. Cooperative Extension, with extension educators in each of New Hampshire's 10 counties, channels new information on agriculture, natural resources and child and family studies to all parts of the state, including a center in Manchester which focuses directly on issues of life in an urban setting.

The state of New Hampshire provides $500,000 to UNH's Industrial Research Center, where faculty and student expertise is matched to problems of business and industry. This center worked with 309 New Hampshire companies last year and has helped produce more than 11,000 jobs since it was founded in 1989.

The Institute on Disability works closely with physically handicapped people of all ages, in projects that range from helping to mainstream children in public schools to assisting adults with disabilities buy their own home. The latter was a model for a national program called "A Home of Your Own." Faculty in the Whittemore School of Business and Economics, led by Associate Professor Ross Gittell, are working on a long-range economic development plan for the state. Our new Entrepreneurial Campus, now under construction, will provide an opportunity for faculty experts and students to work alongside private industry.

We really do have the best of both worlds. The education of students is enriched when they conduct research with faculty, whether on a Greenland ice sheet or in a library. The results of research are transferred to the public domain to help people, businesses and government. In this way the University prepares its students well, and serves its public very well.

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