Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 86.00
Liaison Jennifer Andrews
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of New Hampshire
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Jan Nisbet
Associate Vice Provost for Research
VP Research & Public Service
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an ongoing program to encourage students in multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability? :

A brief description of the student research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:
Undergraduate and graduate student research in sustainability is strongly encouraged and supported at UNH through the following programs:

1. Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) and Graduate Research Conference (GRC). Entering its 18th year in 2017, the URC is a celebration of academic excellence at the University of New Hampshire. At the week-long 2017 symposium, more than 1,800 UNH students from all academic disciplines presented the results of their scholarly and creative research in one or more of over twenty professional and artistic venues campus-wide. Sustainability is a strong focus and cuts across all colleges and presentations.

Students are mentored by faculty and present their research to the University community and the broader public and are rewarded with awards and scholarships. Students also gain from the tremendous personal experience in presenting their research in a professional setting. The URC has doubled in size over the past four years.

A few specific examples of sustainability student-led research included presentations such as:
• Sustainable Beef Production in New England: Mapping a Full Farm Plan for Grazing, Nutrient Management, Business and Marketing
• Developing and Costing Recipes for the New England Food Vision
• Effect of Climate Change on the Ski Industry
• Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility: Their Ever Changing Roles with Respect to Society, Business, and Performance
• Hydration Stations: Reducing UNH’s Carbon Footprint


2017 URC Booklet: http://www.unh.edu/sites/default/files/departments/undergraduate_research_conference/pdf/urc_2017_program_finalcvr.pdf

2. The Sustainability Institute, the Carsey School of Public Policy, the UNH Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Engagement and Outreach, the UNH Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Research, and all colleges and institutes offer a variety of support for UNH students working with faculty engaged in sustainability research:


3. The Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research offers several programs with funding for students to pursue research locally and abroad. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) supports students with their research and creative projects by funding Undergraduate Research Awards (URAs) and Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURFs). In addition to this research support, UROP offers presentation grants to assist with travel expenses and registration fees associated with students presenting project or research findings at a conference or professional meeting off campus. The Center's International Research Opportunities Program (IROP) funds nine weeks of research in a foreign country during the summer of junior year. Students conduct research under the guidance of a foreign mentor and experience the challenges of designing and executing a research project while living in a different culture.


Does the institution have a program to encourage faculty from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability topics?:

A brief description of the faculty research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:
1. UNH Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Engagement and Outreach (including Research & Engaged Scholars Academy):


The Engaged Scholars Academy, which debuted in the fall of 2004, is a faculty development program, designed to enhance faculty success in outreach scholarship within the disciplines. At UNH, engaged scholarship is a mutually-beneficial collaboration between the university and external partners for the purpose of generating and applying relevant knowledge to directly benefit the public. The Academy supports faculty who are developing and engaging in mutually beneficial collaborations with external partners. The Academy's goal is to identify, mentor, and work with faculty from across the institution who are interested in Outreach Scholarship. The principles of Outreach Scholarship (research in service of society, collaboration with external partners, etc.) blend very well with those of sustainability, and much research fostered by the Academy is related to sustainability.

2. UNH Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Research: http://www.unh.edu/main/research

All of this research support is done under the context of UNH's strategic plan (“Breaking Silos, Transforming Lives, Reimagining UNH: The University of New Hampshire in 2020"): http://www.unh.edu/strategicplanning/

We have just launched the Collaborative Research Excellence (CoRE) initiative, a new, internal funding competition to support interdisciplinary collaborations across UNH. http://www.unh.edu/research/collaborative-research-excellence-core-initiative

“A Deep Commitment to Interdisciplinarity” is one of six visions and values articulated in our strategic plan, UNH 2020. UNH has supported this vision through the creation of interdisciplinary units such as the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS); the School of Marine Sciences and Ocean Engineering; the Sustainability Institute; and the Carsey School of Public Policy, as well as through funding opportunities such as the 2014 “Strengthening and Creating Institutes and Centers” effort and 2011 “Research Leveraging Initiative,” both supported by the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Research.

The new CoRE initiative will build on these previous investments by providing five funding opportunities (four annual and one rolling) that will collectively reinforce a broad culture of interdisciplinary exchange, collaboration, planning, and support. Briefly:

Interdisciplinary Working Groups will support groups of faculty to convene around research topic areas to build awareness and relationships across disciplines, allow for cross-fertilization of ideas, identify potential collaborative research opportunities, and provide a venue for finding partners.

Pilot Research Partnerships will seed-fund collaborative research projects with strong potential to garner future funding from external sources (including industrial support) and/or with outstanding commercial potential.

Strengthening and Creating Centers are separate competitions that will provide funding to either shape and position existing centers for success or launch new centers in areas of strategic importance that have strong potential for significant future funding support from government agencies, corporations, industrial consortia or foundations.

Supporting Large, Complex Proposal Development will provide dedicated funding and guidance to increase the competitiveness of UNH teams for major, interdisciplinary external grants.

3. The Sustainability Institute supports faculty through the Faculty Fellows program and through two endowed professorships: http://sustainableunh.unh.edu/scholars

4. The UNH Carsey School of Public Policy and its focus on rural communities, families and development: https://carsey.unh.edu/

Has the institution published written policies and procedures that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research during faculty promotion and/or tenure decisions?:

A brief description of the institution’s support for interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:
One of the six primary visions and values in UNH's Strategic Plan, Vision 2020, is "a deep commitment to interdisciplinarity. Most of the challenges facing society in the 21st century demand thinking beyond the boundaries of any one academic discipline. Sustaining our health and that of our planet; reducing hunger and poverty; inspiring a new generation with words, images and performances; building bonds of common accord among different nations and cultures: all these require synthesizing knowledge from different fields of study. While colleges and universities routinely affirm the need for interdisciplinary approaches to address complex societal problems, too often we encounter both structural and cultural impediments to effective collaboration among faculty, students and staff, and across academic units. We commit to encouraging and rewarding collaborative work in all its manifestations, across all dimensions of our institution.”

UNH Vision & Values: http://www.unh.edu/sites/default/files/departments/president/media/StrategicPlan_FINAL_052015.pdf

All UNH Colleges give positive recognition of interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching with regards to appointments, tenure, and promotion.

Here are some examples of language from various UNH colleges’ policies on tenure and promotions:

Department of Languages Literature and Culture states: “The department recognizes that the field of Languages, Literatures and Cultures encompasses areas including, but not limited to, Literary History and Criticism, Literary Theory, Pedagogy, Technology and Media, Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Translation, Cultural History, Cultural Studies, Film Studies, Philology, and other interdisciplinary fields, regardless of the medium in which they are presented.”

Department of Political Sciences states: “Highly effective scholarship is a necessary condition for satisfactory performance towards tenure. Research and publication activities within the discipline or related interdisciplinary areas represent a major component of the evaluation of faculty performance within the Department of Political Science. As faculty progress, they are required to demonstrate continued scholarly progress with a coherent agenda for further research. The Department encourages collaboration; however, the candidate must provide documentation of a significant and original contribution to such endeavors. Fundamental scholarship activities include engaging in disciplinary or cross disciplinary research projects, the product of which is formally shared with others and is subject to review. Candidates are expected to give scholarly presentations at professional meetings and/or enhance effectiveness in scholarship by taking part in research-oriented development seminars or workshops. Finally, candidates will maintain and document significant progress in on-going scholarly activities.”

Department of Classics, Humanities, and Italian Studies states: “The department recognizes that the fields of Classics, Humanities, and Italian Studies encompass areas including, but not limited to, Literary History and Criticism, Literary Theory, Pedagogy, Technology and Media, Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Translation, Cultural History, Cultural Studies, Film Studies, Philology, and other interdisciplinary fields, regardless of the medium in which they are presented.”

The Natural Resources and the Environment Department document states: “Expectations of research output must be flexible and geared towards an evaluation process that recognizes differences in research specialty areas, including interdisciplinary research or that which focuses on applied problem solving.”

The Department of Biological Sciences document similarly states: “Assessment of research productivity must be flexible to recognize difference in specialty areas, including interdisciplinary research or theoretical or applied problem solving.”

Computer Science states: “Interdisciplinary collaborations are valued, and the department will solicit appropriate input to evaluate the interdisciplinary contribution of the candidate as part of the promotion and tenure process.”

Earth Sciences states: “Both disciplinary and interdisciplinary research is valued.”

Physics states: “Successful and promising interdisciplinary activities across different departments and colleges in teaching, research, and service are counted as valuable contributions within the appropriate categories in the overall evaluation. In particular, such activities are expected for faculty who are also members of interdisciplinary programs, such as the Material Science Program, the Integrative Applied Math Program, and other current or future programs of that nature.”

Positive outcomes over past three years:
The majority of tenure track faculty hiring that the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA) has undertaken over the last 8 years were in the form of interdisciplinary cluster hires.

These have included:
Sustainable Agriculture and Ecosystem Science and Management (7 positions)
Genome Enabled Biology (4 positions)
Climate Impacts Adaptation and Mitigation (5 positions)
Neuro- and Biosciences (5 positions; link to a sixth in COLA)
Life Sciences STEM Pedagogy (2 positions; link to several others across UNH)

Our faculty, graduate students and postdocs are integral members of diverse interdisciplinary research and graduate training activities including the Natural Resources and Earth System Sciences and the Molecular and Evolutionary Systems Biology (MESB) doctoral programs, EOS, Carsey School, SMSOE, NH Agricultural Experiment Station, and others.

Our five NHAES research facilities (two farms, two dairies, greenhouses) and our Woodlands and Natural Areas near campus and across the state host and support interdisciplinary research by faculty and students in COLSA, EOS, CEPS, COLA and other units.

Our Hubbard Center for Genome Studies supports and facilitates interdisciplinary research for COLSA, CEPS, EOS, COLA and perhaps other UNH units, as well as for other higher education institutions, and off-campus private and public stakeholders.

COLSA is the UNH campus lead in the multi-institutional NH INBRE (NIH Institutional Development Award Network of Biomedical Research Excellence) program, through our bioinformatics facility centered in the HCGS above.

UNH just appointment Heidi Bostic, Ph.D., as the next dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Prior to coming to UNH this past summer, Dean Bostic was the director of interdisciplinary programs for Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences. She has already raised resources to support interdisciplinary faculty research and teaching, with a focus towards addressing grand challenges.

Our new Murkland Interdisciplinary Scholar Teams (MIST) to Address Grand Challenges program is part of the broader Grand Challenges initiative to promote interdisciplinary work between COLA scholars and faculty in other Colleges.

A recent Neuroscience Cluster hire represented an interdisciplinary effort between COLA, COLSA in behavioral, molecular, and genomic areas (six hires).

The College of Engineering and Physical Science’s hiring into the following interdisciplinary Clusters have been supported over the past five years include:

Flexible Electronics (5 positions in CEPS)
Marine Science and Ocean Engineering (4.5 positions in Earth Oceans and Space Institute and CEPS)

Here is a current advertisement for a faculty position within our Institute for the Study of Earth Oceans and Space for a Chemical Oceanographer (https://ceps.unh.edu/earth-sciences/assistant-professor). The job ad contains language highlighting interdisciplinarity ("Opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations across campus include a joint appointment within the School of Marine Sciences and Ocean Engineering (http://marine.unh.edu/) which, along with the Ocean Process Analysis Laboratory and Earth Systems Research Center, is housed within the Institute.

Does the institution have ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning?:

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:
Over the past year, the library has introduced the concept of sustainability in library collections to the UNH campus. This effort has included educating our community about unchecked inflation in the pricing of library materials from commercial publishers, and the mismatch between stagnating library budgets and growing campus needs for a wide array of research materials across subjects, disciplines, and format. In our quest for sustainable collecting, we’re exploring alternative content delivery models and advocating more strongly for the development of robust open access publishing options. The library is also shifting from a general research support model to embedded subject librarianship, where librarians have the deep discipline expertise necessary to support the collecting, instruction, and research needs of campus programs. With more in depth of knowledge about the domains in which they are engaged, the librarians are better able to collaborate with one another on supporting interdisciplinary inquiry, and can better advise faculty and students on undertaking research that crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries.

The Library Sustainability Resource Guide is at: http://libraryguides.unh.edu/sustainabilty

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
The Research landing page at UNH provides numerous resources regarding research:


The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.