WELCOME TO THE FALL ISSUE of Plymouth Magazine.
Plymouth State University is a regional comprehensive university, incorporating both liberal arts and professional programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. PSU emphasizes academic excellence through innovative teaching, informed by first-rate research and creativity, and characterized by engagement with our community—locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. As a comprehensive university, we are “stewards of place,” caring about partnerships with businesses and schools, research that connects with real-world needs, arts and cultural outreach to our wider communities, and the economic development that higher education brings. Our region should be better for our presence in every area from academics and workforce development to focused research and community service.
PSU is what Executive Director of University Relations Steve Barba likes to call higher education with its feet on the ground.
This issue of Plymouth Magazine beautifully captures how PSU does its work today, through creative people developing vibrant programs. TIGER (Theatre Integrating Guidance, Education, and Responsibility), for example, is celebrating its 10th anniversary bringing performances on topics such as bullying to regional and international audiences; now, through a television program produced in partnership with New Hampshire Public Television, TIGER may reach even more children. The transdisciplinary Museum of the White Mountains brings together teaching and research, providing hands-on learning for students, digital collections that can be used worldwide, and curricular materials to make available the unique history and culture of the White Mountains. Courses like the Community Research Experience offer students experiential learning opportunities, uniting undergraduate research and community engagement of benefit to our partners. As Vice Provost for Research and Engagement Thad Guldbrandsen notes, “The campus is becoming more connected to our broader region, and that creates so many opportunities for students.”
Extraordinary students, faculty, staff, and alumni are making a difference. You see that authenticity and excellence in faculty members Irene Cucina and Marjorie King, national leaders in their field; in Barbara O’Brien, whose doctoral research is impacting New Hamp-shire’s classrooms; and in Patrick O’Sullivan, an undergraduate veteran who is stepping up to create a student veterans organization. You see it in the achievements of PSU alumni.
This is an uncertain time, requiring innovation and a willingness to take appropriate risks, to find new ways to accomplish old and new goals and to acquire new partners. Within all of that challenge and change, however, is and must be a core of educational mission, a certainty of what PSU offers students, of our commitment to them. This autumn, PSU again was recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education as a great place to work, and one of the reasons was the teaching environment, including both educational innovation and commitment to student success. You see that innovation and commitment in the people profiled here.
As you read this issue, think of what PSU is today: distinctive in niche and distinguished in performance.
Sara Jayne Steen, President