President Steen addressed New Hampshire legislators and guests at a briefing on December 9, 2013. Handouts supporting her remarks are found in the link to a printable pdf or contained in the text below. In addition, accompanying videos can be viewed from the below link.
PLYMOUTH STATE UNIVERSITY
LIVING THE PLYMOUTH STATE MISSION
As a regional comprehensive university, Plymouth State University serves the state of New Hampshire and New England by providing well-educated graduates; by offering ongoing opportunities for graduate education and professional development; and by extending to communities partnership opportunities for cultural enrichment and economic development. In each of these roles, Plymouth State University has a special commitment of service to the North Country and Lakes Region of New Hampshire.
At Plymouth State University, mission is an active verb. In all we do, the people at Plymouth State are striving to serve, from providing each and every student with a meaningful education, to working on behalf of our local and wider community with valuable research, partnerships, and service that solve problems and add value. As Executive Director of University Relations Steve Barba states, “Plymouth State is higher education with its feet on the ground.”
PSU seeks to be a premier comprehensive university with a distinguished reputation in specialized areas of study, respected for its standards of excellence and regional impact. Among PSU’s primary goals are:
- academic excellence where students work closely with faculty mentors;
- access to excellent education for all students, especially the more than 40 percent first-generation students;
- high-quality student engagement that continues to place PSU above its national peers (National Survey of Student Engagement) in areas of success such as academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, and supportive campus environment;
- affordable and cost effective options for online and transfer students that foster academic success and high completion rates;
- enriched character-building and transformational experiences on the residential campus;
- regional impact through outreach in arts, cultural, and economic development initiatives and partnerships;
- a culture of service and engagement where organizations, communities, and institutions are eager to form productive partnerships, enabling PSU to do good work and provide real-world opportunities for students to learn.
PSU offers a range of focused and integrated liberal arts and professional programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels to meet our mission of providing well–educated graduates for New Hampshire and beyond.
Recent program additions, enhancements, and news include:
- PSU is working to expand academic capacity in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and allied health fields. A range of existing programs in science and math includes an expanding program in computer science and a distinctive meteorology program recognized for faculty-student research, the only one in New Hampshire. A new nursing program that awarded its first degrees in May, 2013 is a harbinger of a growing effort in the health fields that already includes mental health, school psychology, and Health and Human Performance, with 13 undergraduate and graduate programs in health and wellness.
- The new Master of Arts in Historic Preservation, begun in 2012, is designed to provide a fundamental understanding of historic preservation issues and opportunities that promote the protection of historic and cultural resources, particularly those cherished in New Hampshire and New England. Students acquire skills that are ideal for careers in historic preservation, heritage tourism, and/or heritage resource management. Students may choose to enroll in the historic preservation master’s program or pursue a graduate historic preservation certificate.
- PSU’s EdD program in Learning, Leadership, and Community continues to grow. Aimed at working teachers, administrators, counselors, and individuals in higher education, related community agencies, and organizations, the program integrates research, service, and coursework, creating reach beyond the campus and opportunities for students to make a difference with applied research that can translate into educational improvements in schools. Begun in 2009, the program has conferred 10 doctorates and currently has 63 candidates enrolled. Each admitted candidate becomes part of a small cohort of candidates who work together as a learning community for the eight required doctoral courses, and then pursue their own specializations for the remaining requirements.
- The Division of Online and Continuing Studies (DOCS) serves undergraduate, online students—both full and part–time students—as well as students who want a combination of evening, daytime and online courses. PSU now offers four undergraduate degree programs 100% online as well as on the residential campus (Criminal Justice, Communication and Media Studies, Nursing, and Business Administration). Online programs last year generated 5,600 enrollments and nearly 17,000 credit hours. PSU currently educates 7,025 students; 4,525 undergraduate and 2,500 graduate, representing 47 states and 28 countries.
- PSU’s Professional Sales Leadership Program has been named one of the best in North America by the Sales Education Foundation, as it released its list of Top University Sales Programs. The program, begun in 2009, offers a minor or a certificate. Students learn through an eight-step consultation process, and students in the program are averaging 2.8 job offers before graduation. PSU students placed in the top 20 schools in the nation at the National Collegiate Sales Competition and placed runner-up in the Northeast Intercollegiate Sales Competition. The program recently added another corporate sponsor, DHL, a global logistics company, bringing the number of companies on their advisory board to 20. In aggregate, these companies represent some 1.3 million employees.
- Plymouth State’s online Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), New Hampshire’s first, has marked a 10-year track record of success and innovation, receiving recent national recognition. The program offers the flexibility of 100 percent online coursework or a combination of night or weekend-intensive courses, making it possible to earn an MBA while working full-time or with international options. PSU’s accredited MBA program has offered degrees for nearly 40 years and is home to the award-winning Zamzow Small Business Institute.
Recent news about students and alumni further tell the story of the “Plymouth State experience”:
- Chelsea Desrochers ’13 (Psychology) is considered to be among the next generation of the nation’s civic leaders. As a 2013 Newman Civic Fellows Award winner, she was recognized for having demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. She was also honored with the President’s Leadership Award from Campus Compact for New Hampshire, which recognizes students who have made outstanding contributions to civic engagement. Desrochers was the president of PSU’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, oversaw student volunteers for PSU’s Alternative Spring Break, has served in the US and in countries such as Nicaragua, and was vice president of the Student Support Foundation.
- Alex Nix ’13 (Business) earned his degree in accounting with a double minor in Chinese (Mandarin) and economics. Like the majority of PSU’s accounting seniors, Nix secured a position well before graduation, in his case with a major international firm. During his undergraduate years, Nix served as treasurer of the student senate, allocating $1.67 million to student organizations and various departments and set the student activity fee. He also served as president and treasurer of the College of Business Administration Student Advisory Council and as treasurer of Spring Fling, and was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi and Delta Mu Delta honor societies. In his senior year, he was elected by the PSU student body to serve as student trustee on the University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees.
- Current graduate student Katie Laro ’12 (Meteorology) is working with her mentor, Professor Emeritus of Meteorology James Koermer, to test the effectiveness of a lightning sensor prototype for a company that wants to produce low-cost lightning detectors for businesses whose revenue is tied directly to weather conditions, such as golf courses and stadiums. As an undergraduate in Plymouth State’s highly regarded meteorology program, Laro was among 75 students nationwide invited to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, to present her work on convective episodes, periods ofthunderstorms or heavy rain showers that have the potential of producing dangerous surface winds. Laro conducted her research at Cape Canaveral, Florida, working side-by-side with Professor Koermer, and the work has had an impact on the weather support provided to the nation’s space program.
- Joseph “Joey” Lee ’06 has been named the 2014 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year by the New Hampshire Department of Education. Lee is a social studies teacher at Pinkerton Academy, currently teaching cultural geography. He coaches golf, will direct the hockey program this year, and is co-adviser for the China Exchange Program. The selection committee recognized his passion for teaching, the energy he brings to the classroom, and his philosophy of making every student better. Lee will be New Hampshire’s candidate for the national Teacher of the Year award, the oldest and most prestigious program to focus on excellence in teaching.
- Baritone Daniel Brevik ’11 (Music, Theatre, and Dance) is currently with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, an A-level opera house, where he will perform in the company of respected and well-known opera singers, sometimes with music created for his voice. As a student at PSU, Brevik studied and performed in a prestigious festival in Salzburg, Austria, and toured Italy, Vietnam, and the American Southwest with the PSU Chamber Singers, and performed on campus in department productions and with the popular student a cappella group, Vocal Order. He also received the Peoples Choice Award at the American Traditions Competitions for Singers (ATC) in Savannah, GA, where he was the youngest of the 35 contestants, the only undergraduate selected for the competition, and one of five singers chosen to perform in a master class given by American opera baritone Sherrill Milnes, who was a judge for the competition. Of his undergraduate experience that included voice studies with Professor Kathleen Arecchi, Brevik commented, “I’m so lucky I heard about Plymouth State.”
Innovation is a hallmark of the Plymouth State University academic experience, often marked by collaboration and partnerships that help deliver outstanding student opportunities. PSU has received national recognition for its teaching environment (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2011) and has also received higher ratings than our peers in the National Survey of Student Engagement, based on factors such as academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, and supportive campus environment.
The TIGER (Theater Integrating Guidance, Education, and Responsibility) program is a powerful and exciting collaboration between the Integrated Arts and Counselor Education graduate programs that also demonstrates how intellectual capital, collaboration, and innovation are transformed into activities that impact our students, our region and state, and well beyond. TIGER is a professional theatre company designed to help children, schools, parents, and communities deal proactively and positively with social issues and concerns facing children in schools today. Born out of a sabbatical project for Trish Lindberg (Elementary Education & Childhood Studies) and with her colleagues Gary Goodnough and Gail Mears in the College of Graduate Studies, TIGER developed into a travelling theatre company that addresses social issues facing children today. Delivered primarily to schoolchildren throughout New England, TIGER has reached more than 320,000 so far, with countless others being touched through the Emmy Award-winning television program, TIGER Takes on Bullying, an original program co-produced by Trish Lindberg and New Hampshire Public Television. The show depicts children’s real experiences of bullying and intolerance, and shows children how to move toward more positive social interactions at school.
The North Country Teacher Certification Program (NCTCP) is a forward-looking collaboration between Plymouth State University and White Mountains Community College designed to provide opportunities for higher education to place-bound students in the North Country of New Hampshire. North Country residents can earn a bachelor’s degree and K–8 teacher certification upon graduation from the program. Launched in fall 2005, the program runs on a two-year cycle with three semesters of course work and one semester of student teaching. The cohort of students takes their Plymouth State University courses together at White Mountains Community College in Berlin, with classes on evenings and weekends to accommodate non-traditional students who work in the day. The goal of the NCTCP is to provide these citizens who want to stay in the North Country with an opportunity previously unavailable to them. The largest cohort of students will graduate in 2014 (16), adding to the 26 who have already graduated, with an impressive 81 percent graduation rate, the majority of these new teachers remaining in the North Country.
PSU has introduced a new web-based advising tool called Degree Works that offers a better way to support students. Known as the premier advising tool used in the United States today, Degree Works is a comprehensive academic advising, transfer articulation, and degree audit solution that helps students negotiate curriculum and degree requirements. Plymouth State is an early adopter of Degree Works, the first in the University System of New Hampshire to do so, and one of just two institutions in New Hampshire currently using the tool. By using Degree Works, PSU students and their advisors minimize obstacles that slow progress to graduation, creating clear and consistent degree plans that can lead to faster time to graduation.
The Coos County Early Childhood Development Initiative is a multiyear, multipartner initiative dedicated to improving the lives of young children and their families in Coos County that is funded by the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the NH Charitable Foundation. The overall goal of the Initiative is to improve the health, early care and education, and well being of young children from birth to age five and their families in Coos County. The Coos County Early Childhood Leadership Cohort is one part of the PSU Early Childhood grant that focuses on professional development and preparation of early childhood teachers and directors; three cohort students have just graduated in 2013 and have begun working in the county.
The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and PSU have signed an agreement to work together in education, environmental science, and cultural and historic studies. PSU and the AMC are among the few organizations working in northern New Hampshire with the institutional capacity to make a significant impact on the land, the communities, the economy, and the people. Mutually beneficial programs and activities are being planned to promote the joint missions of the AMC and PSU in education, research, and student service-learning opportunities throughout New England. Cooperative educational efforts in youth development, adventure education, natural and cultural history, and resource management will develop understanding, awareness, and appreciation of the White Mountains.
PSU and the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) have a partnership that enables ongoing collaboration in environmental science, social science, historical and cultural programs, and operations within the 800,000 acres of the WMNF in New Hampshire and Maine. The WMNF has a variety of data collection, monitoring, evaluation, and operational needs that PSU can collaborate on, providing PSU faculty and students with opportunities for applied environmental studies, education, and outreach; and the WMNF benefits from access to PSU’s research and field work.
PSU joined the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation to form a consortium to support research, education, and policy initiatives at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, the site of one of the longest running and most comprehensive ecosystem studies in the world. The five charter members of the Hubbard Brook Consortium are PSU, Dartmouth College, Syracuse University, the US Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, and Wellesley College. Hubbard Brook is well known as the place where acid rain was discovered in North America in the mid-1960s. For the past 50 years, hundreds of scientists representing dozens of research institutions have been part of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study on the patterns and processes governing forest ecosystems. Current faculty research involves understanding the impact of forest fertilization on hydrology, tracing water sources with water isotopes, detecting decadal trends in the long-term hydrologic record, and studying snow hydrology.
RESEARCH AND CREATIVITY
The PSU faculty is a strong mix of traditional academicians who are excellent teachers, scholars, and mentors, and former practitioners who provide a rich and enhanced experience for students marked by creativity and research activities. Notable recent examples include:
- Jonathan Santore (Music, Theatre, and Dance) has been awarded the American Prize in Composition for Choral Music. Santore, who serves as chair of the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance, was honored this year for his submission of selected choral works in the category for professional composers and was cited for “impressive skill, expressivity, and contrast in every musical selection.” Santore’s American Prize submission included recordings of his work performed by the New Hampshire Master Chorale, led by PSU professor Dan Perkins and for which Santore serves as composer in residence.
- Lourdes Avilés’s (Atmospheric Science and Chemistry) book on the science and history of the New England Hurricane of 1938, Taken by Storm, 1938: A Social and Meteorological History of the Great New England Hurricane, together with the 75th anniversary of the storm on September 21, has prompted newspaper, Internet, and TV interviews and appearances (including the Weather Channel, Associated Press, New Hampshire Public Radio, and others). More than one thousand people—in person and online via web streaming—joined the WMUR-TV 1938 Hurricane Anniversary event, held at the PSU Welcome Center.
- Trish Lindberg (Elementary Education and Childhood Studies) worked with New Hampshire composer Will Ögmundson, and faculty members Lisa Travis (Music, Theatre, and Dance) and Chris Slater (Elementary Education and Childhood Studies) to produce an original musical called Transitions. The production, supported by a suicide prevention grant received by PSU and based on the writings of students about sensitive issues that cause students stress, was aimed at high school, college, and adult audiences. Performances featured communications major Sarah Flower, music education major Alex Huntoon, elementary and childhood studies major Rachel Perelli, and music theatre performance major, Will Bolton.
- Gary Goodnough (Counselor Education and School Psychology) has been named the Marijane Fall Counselor Educator of the Year by the North Atlantic Region Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. A licensed clinical mental health counselor who is nationally certified, Goodnough is a state and national leader in the counseling profession. The award recognizes “a creative, generous, charitable counselor educator who has reached out to others in spirit, scholarship, and deed and thereby made a profound difference in the lives of those so touched.”
- Irene Cucina (Health and Human Performance) is an example of PSU’s continuing leadership in health and wellness. Under her watch as national president in 2012–13, the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD) announced a new era in youth fitness assessment called the Presidential Youth Fitness Program in partnership with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, the Amateur Athletic Union, the Cooper Institute, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Presidential Youth Fitness Program, which replaces the 24-year old Physical Fitness Test for youth, is a comprehensive program emphasizing health over performance and using FITNESSGRAM® as the program’s student fitness assessment. A nonprofit professional education association, AAHPERD is committed to enhancing the quality of physical education programs in this country. The initiative has national significance for childhood health and wellness. As she ended her presidency, Cucina spoke at a congressional briefing on the State of Health and Physical Education in Our Schools, shared highlights from AAHPERD and the American Heart Association’s 2012 Shape of the Nation Report, and provided an educator’s perspective on the importance of health and physical education.
- Fulbright scholar Mark Green (Center for the Environment) is lead author on a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences summarizing the results of a forest fertilization experiment at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. The research showed that a forest fertilized with calcium grew faster and in doing so transpired (evaporated through leaves) more water than the control watershed. The difference was so great that stream flow substantially declined in the fertilized forest. This is significant because the forest may have been limited by calcium due to the legacy of acid rain in the region. Also, it highlights an unintended consequence of forest fertilization. Professor Green also co-led a bilateral meeting of Japanese and US hydrologists to understand the response of forested watersheds to environmental change. The meeting involved 40 watershed scientists and was co-funded by the US National Science Foundation and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science.
Undergraduate and graduate students, as well as the local region, state, and beyond, benefit from an increased number of externally funded research grants ($1.5 million more this year). Students benefit in various ways, working alongside faculty on research and projects in locations near and far, while often doing good and making a difference. Among the goals of research activities at PSU are enhanced learning through mentoring, preparing students for employment, developing critical thinking skills, and creating intellectual independence.
- Thad Guldbrandsen, founding director of the Center for Rural Partnerships, has been named vice provost for research and engagement, redefined from the former vice provost position to recognize the increased importance of PSU’s external engagement and to provide support for faculty who pursue extramural funding. In its first six years, under the leadership of Guldbrandsen, the Center for Rural Partnerships has undertaken dozens of initiatives, developed strategic partnerships with off-campus organizations, and created numerous service-learning and research opportunities for PSU students. He has been a catalyst for innovative engaged scholarship among students and faculty and has arranged valuable partnerships for PSU with regional organizations, helping to expand PSU’s reach and attract new funding to the institution.
- PSU’s Student Showcase of Excellence, held each spring, is often the culminating presentation for many students who attend the event with their faculty mentors and present results of research through posters, presentations, and performances. Students display and demonstrate original research in the sciences, arts, and humanities, along with original musical and dance performances, representing a range of academic disciplines and demonstrating outstanding student scholarship. Projects in 2013 included research that worked to understand source water variation during storm events across NH watersheds, examined marine influences on lake sediments in Iceland to understand climate variability, worked on conserving grassland bird habitat on private lands in New Hampshire, and helped to identify cholera genes, improving treatment.
- PSU also works with other New Hampshire higher education institutions on a statewide research and education project known as EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research). The participants work to understand the environment and complex interactions of the climate-ecological-human system and provide information to state decision makers. The project also provides new education and training opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that is necessary for a highly skilled state workforce that advances economic development and employment.
- Plymouth State researchers are also participating with the New England Sustainability Consortium to help ensure the health of the New Hampshire and Maine coastal ecosystem. The three-year study funded by the National Science Foundation strengthens management of recreational beaches and shellfish harvesting. PSU will expand a current water research project to the= Gulf of Maine, lead workforce development initiatives, and examine inclusive decision-making as a product of ecosystem research. Three PSU faculty members (Mark Green, professor of hydrology; Doug Earick, research professor; and Shannon Rogers, professor of ecological economics) and students from the Center for the Environment and Department of Environmental Science and Policy are participating.
- The Judd Gregg Meteorology Institute is the center of meteorological and atmospheric research at PSU. Projects and partnerships exist with the National Weather Center, University of New Hampshire, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Air Force, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Federal Aviation Administration, Mount Washington Observatory, US Army Cold Regions Research Engineering Laboratory, and many other agencies. The Plymouth State Weather Center, one of the most sophisticated weather centers in the country, provides comprehensive weather information, including observations, tutorials, satellite and radar data, and more, and is accessed online (vortex.plymouth.edu) more than 500,000 times a week.
- The National Institute for Health’s IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) grant, continues its support of PSU research involving human health and wellness, in particular on balance and health, active living across the lifespan, circadian rhythms, and cholera studies. Other grants support work on innovative partnerships with organizations in the North Country, climate change, global change sustainability programs, enhancing student support services at PSU, and measuring the effectiveness of state tourism initiatives.
- Professor Eric Kelsey serves in a unique joint appointment between Plymouth State University and the Mount Washington Observatory, two institutions known for their education, research, and outreach in weather and climate. As director of research at the MWO, Kelsey is developing a research program to address several weather and climate issues that are critical to the social, economic, health, and cultural resilience of the region. As research professor of atmospheric science at PSU, Kelsey is integrating undergraduate and graduate students into his research projects so students can apply knowledge they gain in the classroom to address real issues, learn professional skills, and be better prepared for careers in atmospheric science. These research and education opportunities will be leveraged with the abundant resources available at both institutions: a growing network of over 30 weather stations, PSU’s weather balloon system, an advanced computing system to run high-resolution weather forecast models at PSU, and skilled atmospheric science faculty and staff. Current projects include understanding the drivers of climate change and improving the accuracy of weather forecasts in the northeastern US, and improving icing forecasts for aviation safety.
- The Joe ’68 and Gail ’66 White Graduate Fellowship supports graduate students in Environmental Science and Policy whose work helps address environmental issues of concern in New Hampshire. Current fellow Jamie Sydoriak’s work focuses on bird surveys and developing landowner outreach materials about the background, science, and management of maintaining grasslands for bird habitat. Fellow Lily Zahor’s research on tree ecological physiology focuses on effects of calcium-depleted soils from acid rain on tree productivity in the White Mountain National Forest.
- In the Haverhill Downtown Business Development Project, students in the College of Business Administration conducted a study to evaluate the business climate for Haverhill and some of the surrounding towns. The class provided a written report as well as raw data exported to a cross-tabulation software called Market Sight, which will allow the town to take any combination of questions or variables and then isolate them for trends or results.
- Also in Haverhill, a two-year civic engagement project focused on the quality of life in the towns of Haverhill Corner, North Haverhill, and Woodsville. The project, known as the Haverhill Civic Forum consists of a series of small group discussions in which local residents identify topics of community importance for further public exploration. These community conversations are facilitated by PSU faculty and undergraduate students enrolled in PSU’s Rural Field Studies and will identify local priorities, set achievable objectives, and ultimately enhance the quality of life in Haverhill and beyond.
PSU is one of only 311 higher education institutions nationally to hold the community engagement classification from the Carnegie Foundation. PSU was cited for “excellent alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.”
Plymouth State University has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for all seven years of the program’s existence. Part of the federal Learn and Serve America program, the honor roll supports and encourages service learning throughout the United States. Each year the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement by recognizing institutions that achieve meaningful, measureable outcomes in the communities they serve. This year, the Corporation for National and Community Service selected 642 colleges and universities for the honor roll based on factors such as the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.
Efforts associated with the Center for the Environment, the Center for Active Living and Healthy Communities, and the Center for Rural Partnerships—PSU’s intersecting threads of healthy places, healthy people, and healthy economies—benefit the region while providing learning opportunities for students.
- PSU’s Center for the Environment (CFE) recently signed an agreement with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to continue the work of joint projects for improved environmental protection with an emphasis on building understanding and involvement among local communities and organizations in the North Country. According to CFE director Joseph Boyer, such a partnership gives students real world experience, and at the same time provides a brighter future for environmental science, education, and the economy. CFE and NHDES have previously partnered on several research projects and the establishment of the Center’s Environmental Research Laboratory, which serves as a satellite lab for the NHDES’s Volunteer Lake Assessment Program.
- The Center for the Environment (CFE) and the Squam Lakes Association (SLA) have continued a joint agreement to protect and improve the health of the Squam Lakes watershed ecosystem. The objective is to facilitate and grow the joint capacity to engage in research, monitoring, education, and stewardship of the Squam Lakes watershed. CFE and SLA have previously partnered on research projects such as water quality, methods for reducing milfoil, a recreation study, and an analysis of land use regulations in the watershed towns. In addition, SLA has hired PSU students for summer field positions and often supports class field trips, providing students with valuable hands-on opportunities. Currently, PSU Professor Shannon Rogers is working on a study of the ecosystem services provided by the Squam Lakes watershed.
- Each year, the NH Water and Watershed Conference provides current information about New Hampshire’s water resources and related topics. Approximately 200 people attend the event to hear a variety of talks and to network with other people interested in our water resources. The conference started in 2007, merged with the NH Watershed Conference in 2009, and since 2011, it has been held at PSU with June Hammond Rowan from the Center for the Environment as the primary organizer. The 2014 conference will be on March 21, 2014 with a theme of “Sustainability of NH’s Water Resources.”
- The Coos County Outreach Initiative (CCOI) is a program that provides seed funding and institutional support for collaborative partnerships between PSU faculty, staff, students, and regional partners. The Coos County Outreach Initiative reflects community-based interests in the form of projects, exhibitions, tools, and an evolving network of human and organizational resources. Faculty, staff, and students apply for competitive internal grants through PSU’s Center for Rural Partnerships for the purpose of creating partnerships relevant to their academic interests or scholarly expertise. These collaborative projects not only benefit faculty, but also strengthen relationships between PSU students and rural stakeholders. As a whole, the CCOI program leverages additional resources for rural New Hampshire and serves as a catalyst for regional prosperity. The CCOI is funded by the US Department of Education and the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
- A new student engagement laboratory through the Center for Rural Partnerships involves students in collaborative research and outreach projects with and among local, regional, and international partners. Students from social work, computer science, tourism management and policy, and social science have participated, with some earning regional recognition for their efforts.
- The Center for Active Living and Healthy Communities focuses on research and community outreach with its activities. Recent outreach has included developing long-range strategies to expand access to whole, fresh, and locally grown foods in the Plymouth area; PSU students conducting senior fitness testing through area wellness fairs; and health and human performance students engaging in planning and implementing a community running/walking event. The Center also provides support for further research on fall risk assessment and reduction in older adults that is being conducted at PSU.
Building on its rich heritage in teacher education, PSU continues to be a leader in education. State governmental and business leaders, along with educators from around the state, commended PSU faculty leadership in the NH Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development when it was named the outstanding educational affiliate in the nation. The association’s NH Journal of Education is edited at Plymouth State by Stevens-Bristow Professor of Education Marianne True (chair of the Department of Elementary Education and Childhood Studies) and Stacey Curdie-Meade of the Lamson Learning Commons. Notably, the PSU ASCD Student Chapter also has been recognized for excellence.
The PSU chapter of the education honor society Kappa Delta Pi was presented with a 2013 US Presidential Volunteer Award “in recognition and appreciation of their commitment to strengthening our nation and for making a difference through volunteer service.” President Obama congratulated students for “helping to address the most pressing needs in their communities.” KDP students engaged in literacy initiatives in the greater Plymouth area and the North Country, supporting their mission “to sustain an honored community of diverse educators by promoting excellence and advancing scholarship, leadership, and service.” KDP students provided more than 1000 hours of community service last year.
Cheryl Baker (College of Graduate Studies) facilitates a group known as the Rural School Educator Effectiveness Collaborative (RSEEC) that provides quality professional development opportunities to NH’s rural educators. RSEEC partners include the NH Department of Education (NHDOE), Keene State College, North Country Education Services, Granite State College, and New England College. Natalya Vinogradova, director of PSU’s NH Impact Center, spearheads the mathematics professional development for this project. These efforts are supported by the State Agency Higher Education award through NHDOE.
Faculty Pat Cantor and Mary Cornish (Early Childhood Studies) are engaged in activities that benefit young children in Coos County. The Coos Coalition for Young Children and Families is developing a comprehensive plan to promote optimal development for young children and their families in Coos County by focusing on strategies that support and build healthy social and emotional development. Cornish and Cantor have also provided an ongoing series of professional development opportunities for early childhood teachers and directors from eight early care and education programs in Coos County to promote higher quality early care and education in Coos County. Both endeavors are supported by the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund. In addition, Cantor was a member of the five-person NH state team for the National Association for the Education of Young Children Public Policy Forum in Washington, DC, meeting with legislative aides and policy advisors for each member of NH’s Congressional delegation.
Since 2003, PSU has hosted NH’s National History Day program, an educational program that encourages middle and high school students to celebrate their skills as historians and exposes them to the processes, sources, and complexities of historical research. Nearly one million students participate nationwide. Working as individuals or in groups, students (grades 6–8 and 9–12) choose a topic relating to a nationally established annual theme. Students investigate their topic, develop a thesis, and interpret primary and secondary sources for application to the national theme. As part of the initiative, PSU’s Lamson Library provides library instruction to area school students.
In meeting its mission of educating students, half of whom remain in the state, Plymouth State University develops programs designed to meet state workforce needs and engages in hundreds of partnerships with businesses, government, schools, and nonprofits, bringing higher education to bear on our region’s economy.
The Enterprise Center at Plymouth (ECP) has opened and is now at capacity (of available space) with member businesses. The business incubator and accelerator was developed in partnership with the Grafton County Economic Development Council (GCEDC) and funded with more than $2 million from state, regional, and federal sources. The GCEDC has been responsible for managing construction and will continue to oversee the facility. Executive Director and College of Business Administration faculty member Michael Tentnowski provides leadership of the incubator and accelerator, and will guide PSU students and faculty who will work with member businesses. The ECP also acts as headquarters for enhanced business outreach in central New Hampshire by PSU staff and graduate students. Special features of the ECP include a sales skills development office, a video production room, and a space dedicated to professional focus group services.
Though the ECP building opened in October 2013, ECP staff have been providing “virtual incubation and acceleration” to several clients since January 2013 and have had a regional impact through more than 50 workshops, seminars, and presentations to chambers of commerce and other business organizations.
The ECP builds on the success of what is now known as the Zamzow Small Business Institute at PSU. The program has won the national SBI Showcase Award and PSU SBI projects have been awarded either first- or second-place Project of the Year awards in each of the past fourteen years, the last two of which saw two first place PSU wins at the national level. No other school in the history of the SBI organization has ever achieved this level of success. Two teams from PSU’s MBA program earned first place awards in the 2012 National Small Business Institute® Project of the Year Competition. John Scarponi and Tim Beaulieu created a comprehensive business growth plan for Narrative1, a software company located in Holderness that provides software systems for commercial appraisers. The firm, founded by alumnus Tom Armstrong, was the first member business for the ECP, now working to expand its market share nationally. Teirrah Hussey and Marc Abear teamed up to create a winning marketing and operations plan for another Holderness business, Long Haul Farm, an organic farm with a restaurant and unique entertainment venue.
The ALLWell (Active Living, Learning, and Wellness) Center is an advanced and contemporary complex that replaces the existing PE Center (constructed in 1968) and integrates academics, athletics, and recreation on one site to better achieve the educational purposes of PSU. The facility will strengthen the educational link between the Department of Health and Human Performance (HHP), which houses 13 multidisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs, and important athletic and recreational spaces for all students. ALLWell will advance student recruiting; allow for new academic majors and options related to health and wellness; increase our ability to attract external funding through sponsored research; and allow for additional community programming, economic development, and critical workforce development in the much needed fields of health and wellness. ALLWell I, the PSU Ice Arena and Welcome Center that was completed in 2010, is the first phase of the ALLWell project. This facility was projected to add $2.6 million annually to the local economy. The proposed ALLWell North, a multi-purpose academic, recreational, and athletic facility with high volume use also will bring over $2 million annually in direct impact.
Plymouth State’s first nursing class graduated in 2013. Of the 32 graduates, all who sought employment as registered nurses are working, many at regional hospitals. Already, one hospital recently commented about the high quality of the students’ preparation as professional nurses. An additional 103 students are continuing in the program in the traditional four-year program or in the RN-to-BS completion program.
With the Institute for New Hampshire Studies and the Division of Travel and Tourism Development, the Center for Rural Partnerships hosts professional development workshops focusing on topics of interest to the tourism community: Tourism Development Toolkit Series. Recent workshops have focused on “retro” itinerary development and agritourism development on area farms. Another, organized by Professor Katharine Harrington (interim chair, Languages and Linguistics), helps local business owners be more supportive of French-speaking visitors. It was organized in conjunction with the Institute of New Hampshire Studies, the NH/Canada Trade Council, and the Pemi Valley, Plymouth Regional, and Littleton chambers of commerce to provide opportunities for students and to support economic development.
The North Country Economic Index (NCEI) is a quarterly economic report to gauge the performance of the economy in rural northern New Hampshire. The NCEI is a periodic index prepared by Professor Dan Lee (College of Business Administration), containing detailed information about the economic climate in Coös County and northern New Hampshire, including rooms and meals tax collections, home sales, manufacturing and trade sales, building permits, electricity sales, and personal income data. The report also tracks the economic performance of the State of New Hampshire for comparison purposes. A complementary student section reports on episodes and interviews with community leaders, reflecting the recognition that aggregate economic data may not reflect some positive side of the economy, particularly when the economy is going through some tough stretches. The NCEI was developed through a partnership with the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the Coös County Outreach Initiative, and PSU’s Center for Rural Partnerships.
A UNIVERSITY OF PLACE
The Museum of the White Mountains (MWM) has welcomed 4,000 visitors through its doors since its February 2013 opening, and more than 34,000 visitors online. Many have traveled specifically to see the museum, which has also hosted civic groups, schoolchildren, and Boy Scout troops. The current exhibition, Passing Through: The Allure of the White Mountains, will continue through March 2, 2014. Through the Eyes of the Dealers: Bob and Dot Goldberg will also be on display beginning October 17, and marks the first loan from a major art institution, the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College. A second major exhibition, To the Extremes: the Geology of Adventure in the White Mountains, will open in March 2014 and will include images, developed through new technology, of significant natural features in the region.
In June 2013, the museum co-hosted an evening on the White Mountains at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, led by MWM director Catherine Amidon. Among the presenters was Executive Director of University Relations Stephen Barba who spoke on the history of Grand Hotels and especially The BALSAMS. Professor of Music Mark Stickney had located and rearranged music from the Grand Hotels, which was performed by PSU faculty members. The event was nearly sold out, and the resulting news story appeared across the country and around the world.
In October, the MWM opened the exhibition The Great Blow Down: Effects of the 1938 Hurricane in Northern New England at the Mount Washington Observatory’s Weather Discovery Center in North Conway. Curated by PSU meteorologist Lourdes Avilés, the exhibition is one of a series of educational outreach initiatives by the MWM that will be made available for free to schools and not-for-profit organizations. Though all images, writings and educational materials are posted online, the MWM also mailed more than 200 DVDs of its current exhibition to regional and North Country schools, many of which are without high speed Internet connections, to introduce the exhibition and make educators aware of online resources including standards-based curriculum packets.
The People’s Forest: The Story of the White Mountain National Forest is a documentary film about the creation of America’s national forests that was produced by Moore Huntley Productions in collaboration with PSU’s Center for Rural Partnerships and the Museum of the White Mountains. The film focuses on the mix of man-made disasters, colorful characters, citizen activism, and political courage that brought about the protection of our national forests and grasslands through the Weeks Act of 1911. Principal producer David Huntley has produced and written for NOVA and Scientific American Frontiers, and the History Channel, Discovery, and National Geographic. The feature-length film will move on to national media outlets; a shorter 12-minute presentation inspired by the film is hosted on the museum’s website at go.plymouth.edu/museum.
PSU students and faculty joined the Plymouth Rotary, the Town of Holderness, DRED, NH Fish and Game, and other partners to form the Friends of the Pemi. This group models appropriate stewardship of Livermore Falls, (the stretch of river that runs from Livermore Falls past downtown Plymouth to the Plymouth “beach” on the Holderness side of the river), deepens community connections to the river, strengthens community ties, and provides better information for the public on the history, use and protection of the falls and surrounding area. Students are engaged in environmental and recreational planning and research.
The Educational Theatre Collaborative’s 2013 production of the original musical Marking The Moment has won the New England Theatre Conference Moss Hart Prize for outstanding theatre in New England. The Moss Hart prize recognizes outstanding theatrical productions of play scripts that present affirmative views of human courage and dignity, have strong literary and artistic merit, and exemplify creativity and imaginative treatment. The production, which celebrated the town of Plymouth’s 250th anniversary, was written by professor emeritus Manuel Marquez-Sterling and Trish Lindberg (Elementary Education and Childhood Studies) with music by New Hampshire composer William Ögmundson. Nearly 150 community members of all ages from 20 towns participated. Along with its annual production, ETC offers a one-day arts festival for children, an integrated arts conference for teachers, and a regional children’s art display. The innovative arts education program is a two-time Moss Hart Award winner for excellence in community and children’s theater in New England, and Lindberg’s original musical theatre production of Pollyanna, which premiered with ETC, has been published and is now available for production worldwide.
PSU is committed to sustainability. We hope that our activities positively affect NH’s greatest assets: the communities we serve and the natural environment around us. Many of our students, staff, and faculty are drawn to Plymouth State by their connections to place developed through family history, outdoor activities, and an appreciation of the high quality of life in New Hampshire, a quality of life that is dependent upon a healthy natural environment. Given these attachments to place, stewardship is a natural part of our campus sustainability efforts. We have taken many efforts to reduce energy use by increasing operational efficiency through technology and by encouraging conservation behavior in our community. Reducing energy use decreases our carbon footprint, keeps costs low for students, and is part of the larger efforts to be more sustainable in our region.
To better serve the region we continually improve our understanding of the impacts of our campus operations on the place in which we live. For example, last year a group of students examined the impacts of runoff from several of our parking lots to identify the effectiveness of our storm water pollution reduction measures. Across campus we continue to teach the next generation of environmental stewards in New Hampshire. The EcoHouse project is one such effort. EcoHouse is a student residence renovated through student class projects and serves as a living-learning laboratory for training future homeowners about sustainability in their own lives. This semester students have been researching photovoltaic power systems for the roof, have removed a parking space for installation of a tea garden, and have several other projects in process serving as learning opportunities for the future stewards of our region.
The Office of Environmental Sustainability at Plymouth State continues efforts to ensure our community residents are excellent stewards of the place we all call home. New Hampshire is a unique and special place, and through careful and consistent educational efforts of our future leaders we can ensure that stewardship of the natural environment continues to be a way of life.