To Walk and Think Among the Trees

October 17, 2018

photo of Janet Polasky

Janet Polasky, Presidential Professor of History, delivered an address at the faculty convocation held in honor of UNH’s new president, James Dean, on October 11, 2018. In the speech, Polasky touched on the birth of UNH and, with it, the conviction that has guided UNH since: that a liberal education is at the core of what UNH does — it is advantageous to students, integral to professional education and the foundation for civic engagement.

Read Janet Polasky’s address here.


Metaphysics of Mind and More

August 13, 2018

photo of Willem deVries

The University of New Hampshire has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to fund a four-week seminar for college faculty on philosophical responses to empiricism in Kant, Hegel and American philosopher Wilfrid Sellars, to be held summer 2019 in Durham.

The award is one of 218 announced recently by NEH, totaling $43.1 million in support for humanities projects across the country. Only ten grants were awarded in the category of summer seminars and institutes for college and university teachers.

“It’s a tremendous honor to receive one of these NEH awards,” says project co-director Willem deVries, professor of philosophy in the College of Liberal Arts at UNH. “Summer seminars like ours have a lasting impact on the participants and the profession, so it speaks to the quality of UNH’s program to get an award like this. Our program will also have a bit of an international spin, because James O’Shea [project co-director and professor of philosophy] teaches at University College Dublin. Indeed, we hope to be able to take UNH to Europe in 2020 with another seminar for European scholars.”

The focus of the 2019 seminar will be on Sellars (1912-1989) and his tussles with empiricism, the idea that all knowledge and meaning arise solely from experience. Sellars’ attempt to develop a more adequate empiricism was profound and set the stage for philosophic debates that persist today, according to deVries. Moreover, his philosophic framework has been the basis of an explosion of scholarship in recent years.

“We’re going to be looking into questions concerning the structure, reach and methods of human knowledge, known as epistemology. We’ll also be looking at the fundamental metaphysics of mind: how do minds relate to the material world around us? Empiricists do not, traditionally, have a strong story to tell about the mind-matter relation. We’ll be exploring a line of thought that stems from Kant through Hegel to Sellars that makes normativity — that is, something like rule-following — a central pillar of what it is to have a mind” says deVries.

Both deVries and O’Shea have written books on Sellars’ philosophy, edited anthologies drawn from conferences devoted to his work, and published essays dealing with Sellars and with aspects of German Idealism, including monographs on Kant and Hegel.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the NEH supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the NEH and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.


Interns Who Innovate

July 25, 2018

group photo of interns

Over two dozen UNH students are spending their summers undertaking socially- and environmentally-conscious internships through the UNH Social Innovation Internship program. Half of them are students from the College of Liberal Arts (COLA) who are bringing their energy for social innovation to the nonprofit and for-profit business worlds. Students showcased their work in a presentation today, held at Paul College.

Taryn Duncan ‘21 is a women’s studies major who interned at Koya Leadership Partners, an alumna-owned executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. Duncan said her internship gave her confidence and a way to put her passions into practice. She’s looking forward to spreading the word to other COLA students that internships can be a way to take frustrations and hopes about the world and use them to concretely make a positive difference in communities.

Julianna Good ‘21, a music education major, said she’d like to see more COLA students apply to the program, pointing out that students do not need to have a business background to be accepted for or succeed in social innovation internships. Good interned at the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers, an organization that addresses the lack of diversity in the nation’s teaching faculties by recruiting students of color and other scholars committed to diversity.

Nelson Thomas ‘20, a communication major and football athlete, found that he was able to successfully balance the requirements of athletics and academics with his internship at Coca Cola, where he worked on community engagement. It can be a challenge to juggle everything, he noted, but well worth it. He wants other student athletes to know that they can work internships into their schedules, too.

The Social Innovation Internship program, now in its 8th year, is run by the Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise, a joint venture of the Paul College and Carsey School. Over 50% of the program’s interns have gone on to secure jobs at which they work toward social and environmental good at the intersection of mission and business.

Learn more about this year’s interns.


Recommencement

June 29, 2018

photo of Jessica Nadeau
Mostly, it was about the tassel. And her parents seeing her there on the field with the rest of her class on commencement day, celebrating the last four years and all the hard work that went into making it through them. And sharing the experience with her twin sister, Arianna, who had graduated from UNH Manchester two days earlier.

Jessica Nadeau ’18 missed it all. Just days before UNH’s May 19 commencement she was sidelined by a medical event. For the psychology and justice studies dual major, there was no throwing her cap in the air, no singing along to “Happy Trails,” no standing on her seat to search the crowd for her family.

And she was crushed.

But then, Joan Glutting, clinical associate professor of psychology, came up with an idea. She would hold a “recommencement” and invite Nadeau’s parents and sister to attend. She asked a couple of faculty members to join in. The response, she said, was incredible.

“I thought I’d get maybe three people. I got 15,” Glutting said.

So, she emailed Nadeau’s mother, Heidi Nadeau, and cemented the plan. Shortly before 3 p.m. on Monday, June 11, the family gathered under the arch at Thompson Hall where Styliani Munroe ’17 was waiting. Jessica Nadeau laughed as she hugged her friend and former classmate.

“It was hard to keep it a secret — we talk every day,” Munroe said. “I felt very sad for her when she couldn’t go to commencement. I’m so happy they could do this for her.”

As they stood there, one faculty member after another walked up until all 15 were assembled. Nadeau just kept grinning while her family looked on in awe. Her father, Serge Nadeau, took a minute to collect himself and then said, “The fact that UNH did this speaks volumes.”

“That they put this together for one student is so incredible,” Heidi Nadeau said. “She was devastated to miss graduation. Something as simple as being able to move your tassel over — you don’t realize how much these things mean.”

It seems Glutting did. She printed a program. There was a processional; Nadeau’s boyfriend and sister walked with her behind Barbara White, associate professor of occupational therapy, and Charles Putnam, co-director of Justiceworks. The other faculty members stood near the flagpole. Nadeau, her boyfriend and her sister stood shoulder to shoulder, facing the group.

“I am truly grateful and appreciative to all of the people that helped to create that moment for me,” the Auburn, New Hampshire, resident said after the ceremony. “There are not enough words to describe the happiness and joy that I felt. Having all of the faculty take time out of their busy days just to come to a ‘recommencement’ ceremony was incredibly humbling.”

During the ceremony, Glutting commended Nadeau for all her hard work. “You completed three internships while you were here. You got multiple job offers; you could have chosen a job that was a little safer, but you didn’t,” she said. (Nadeau starts work in July at Hampstead Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Hampstead, New Hampshire.) “You embody all that a UNH student can be.”

She offered what she called a five-minute recap of commencement, citing remarks made by L.L. Bean Chairman Shawn Gorman ’89, this year’s speaker. A faculty member started the call-response “It’s a great day to be a Wildcat.” Senior vice provost of student life and dean of students Ted Kirkpatrick presented Nadeau with her diploma. Cristy Beemer, associate professor of English, led the group in singing the UNH alma mater.

And then, Nadeau turned her tassel.

Story written by Jody Record for UNH Today.


The (603) Challenge

June 1, 2018

stack of books with 603 logo

This year’s 603 Challenge begins at noon on Sunday, June 3 and runs through June 8 at 6 p.m.

As we face the grand challenges of our time, the liberal arts are more essential than ever. Your gift enables students and faculty to tackle the world’s pressing problems by supporting experiential learning, new employer partnerships and career pathways, innovative and interdisciplinary programs, and faculty research and creativity. Thank you for being part of the solution.

Respond early at unh.edu/603 to take advantage of matching funds. Be sure to designate your gift for the College of Liberal Arts or your favorite COLA program.


UNH Receives Mellon Foundation Grant to Take the Humanities to the Public

May 30, 2018

Thompson Hall

The University of New Hampshire has received a three-year $724,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which will be used by the Center for the Humanities to host residential summer institutes that will train humanists to work in the public realm and embrace community engagement.

“We’re thrilled to have this support from the Mellon Foundation,” said Burt Feintuch, director of the UNH Center for the Humanities and professor of folklore and English. “The humanities help us think about how to live good lives in complicated times. This work is critically important in public life, and our week-long boot camps will help faculty and students think about how to contribute to the public good, how to reflect on social issues, how to think about the present in the context of the past, how to figure out what matters in the face of massive change. Our goal is to help humanities faculty develop innovative and meaningful ways to connect to civic life and for students to think about real-world applications of their classroom experiences and about possible career paths.”

The New England Humanities Consortium, a network of academic humanities centers and institutes in the region, will co-sponsor the boot camps. Member institutions will nominate participants and the boot camps will also include faculty and students from Howard University, building on a history of successful collaboration between UNH and Howard.

“The humanities are vital to our democracy and for addressing the grand challenges of our age, such as health care, urbanization, food sovereignty and the role of technology in human relations and discourse,” said Heidi Bostic, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “We have a well-established history of engaged scholarship and the summer boot camps are a natural next step for the university in the evolution of our public-facing trajectory. We are grateful for the support of the Mellon Foundation as we continue to prepare our students for professional success and meaningful lives that support the wider society.”

This grant is part of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s continued support for academic institutions as they endeavor to demonstrate, through counter-narratives offered by public humanities programs and initiatives, the essential relevance of the humanities to productive civic dialogue.

Post written by Erika Mantz.


Outstanding Teacher-Scholar

March 6, 2018

Paula Salvio, chair and professor of education, has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the Lindberg Award, given annually to the outstanding teacher-scholar in the College of Liberal Arts.

Appointed to the faculty in 1992, Professor Salvio is an interdisciplinary scholar who focuses on the cultural and historical foundations of education with a specialization in psychoanalysis, life-writing and the impact that marginalization, trauma and war have on women, children and youth in formal and informal educational settings. She explores transitional moments in history and society – reform, wars and revolution and their aftermaths – and how these affect the relations of education, culture and politics.

“Professor Salvio epitomizes the kind of interdisciplinary work that is a hallmark of Liberal Arts at UNH,” says Heidi Bostic, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “She works skillfully across several areas of expertise to address educational reform. She represents core values of UNH such as excellence and inclusion.”

Professor Salvio’s publications reflect an innovative and broad approach to educational studies, applying diverse theoretical frameworks and modes of inquiry to a variety of educational situations and settings. Her most recent book is “The Story-Takers: Public Pedagogy and Contemporary Italy’s Non-Violent Resistance Against the Mafia” (University of Toronto Press, 2017).

Professor Salvio teaches a wide range of courses to both undergraduate and graduate students, and has served on or chaired dozens of dissertation committees in the departments of Education, English and Psychology. Students say she goes above and beyond, working vigorously to advise and advocate for them in their professional development.

“Professor Salvio is a true teacher-scholar, bringing her work to the classroom and to the world,” says Bostic. “The kind of work she does prepares young people to face the grand challenges of today and tomorrow.”


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