New Lecture Series Established in Music

August 31, 2015

The UNH Department of Music has established the Keith Polk Music Lecture Series. Two lectures will be offered each semester, one from a visiting scholar and one from a UNH music department faculty member.

Rob Haskins

Rob Haskins

The inaugural lecture will be delivered by UNH associate professor Rob Haskins on Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 4 p.m. in the Verrette Recital Hall of the Paul Creative Arts Center. His talk is titled “John Cage and Zen: What Did He Know, When Did He Know It, and Why Should We Care?”

Tom Moore

Tom Moore

The second lecture in the series, titled “Fifty Unknown Flutists,” will be presented by Tom Moore, Head of the Sound and Image Department of the Green Library, Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Moore’s talk will take place on Thursday, October 8, 2015 at 4 p.m. in the Verrette Recital Hall.

Polk, an emeritus faculty in the department, is one of the world’s pre-eminent scholars of Renaissance instrumental music. The series is co-sponsored by the UNH Center for the Humanities. All lectures are free and open to the public.

Our Newest Wildcats

August 29, 2015


Class of 2019 By the Numbers.
Graphic by UNH Communications and Public Affairs.

UNH Psychology Professor Wins Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award

August 27, 2015

photo of Edward O'Brien
Professor of psychology Edward J. O’Brien has won the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Society for Text and Discourse, an honor shared with Jerome L. Myers of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

In choosing the recipients, the Society noted that the two scholars have made a singularly important contribution to the field of text processing through their Resonance Model, which the Society calls theoretically elegant as well as meticulously researched.

The combined research from 30 years of lab work by O’Brien and Myers has focused on the extent to which passive activation processes (i.e., resonance) in the brain play a role in comprehending text. In order for comprehension to be successful, says O’Brien, readers must have quick and easy access to large amounts of information to both interpret the author’s intended meaning and to fill in information not explicitly stated in the text. Two major components of the comprehension process are those involved in the activation of the knowledge necessary for comprehension and those involved in the integration of that information. O’Brien and Myers’s research focuses on the former.

In the Resonance Model, the notion that an individual actively or consciously searches memory for relevant information during reading is rejected, explains O’Brien. Instead, as a reader encodes information, that information sends a signal to all of memory, much like hitting a tuning fork sends out vibrations in all directions. The process is passive and outside the awareness of the reader. Any information in memory that is related to the signal has the potential to become active in memory and part of the comprehension process, whether the activated information facilitates or hinders comprehension.

O’Brien and Myers’s research on passive activation has been highly influential. Most current models of reading incorporate their findings.

“Ed and Jerry’s development of the Resonance Model ushered in an era in which the role of memory-based text processing is now a fundamental assumption,” wrote the Society in their award announcement, also noting that “at least as important have been the generations of researchers who learned how to think scientifically and to conduct rigorous research from these two prolific mentors.”

The Society for Text and Discourse is an international society of researchers who investigate all aspects of discourse processing and text analysis.

Recent Grad Awarded Prestigious Carnegie Fellowship

August 19, 2015

photo of Cory McKenzie

Cory McKenzie ’15 has been named a fellow in the Junior Fellows Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Each year the endowment offers only 10-12 one-year fellowships to recent graduates. Approximately 5 percent of applicants are selected from a pool of nominees from close to 400 participating colleges. Carnegie junior fellows work as research assistants to the endowment’s senior associates. They have the opportunity to conduct research for books, co-author journal articles and policy papers, participate in meetings with high-level officials, contribute to congressional testimony, and organize briefings attended by scholars, journalists, and government officials. McKenzie will work on the Japan Studies project in the Asian Program.

From Hampstead, N.H., McKenzie graduated in May with majors in history, philosophy, and classics. In his final semester, while studying abroad in Japan, he won the University’s Hood Achievement Prize, which recognizes the senior man who shows the greatest promise through character, scholarship, leadership, and usefulness to humanity. A member of the University Honors Program, McKenzie garnered a number of other awards as well as grants and scholarships during his time at UNH. He also was awarded a critical language scholarship from the U.S. Department of State that funded intensive language study in Japan.

Students interested in this opportunity may contact the UNH Office of National Fellowships.

Dijon Program Turns 50

August 17, 2015

photo of Dijon

The UNH-managed study abroad program in Dijon, France is celebrating 50 years. An anniversary party will be held on Friday, October 23, 2015, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the 1925 Room of the Elliott Alumni Center, located on 9 Edgewood Drive in Durham. All alumni, current students, teaching assistants, staff, and faculty members who have been or are involved in the program in various capacities are invited. A twin event will be held at the program’s site, the Université de Bourgogne campus in Dijon, on March 18, 2016.

Hundreds of UNH students have participated in the Dijon Program since its inception in 1965. Dijon is a lively provincial capital known for its historic monuments, museums, ecological awareness—and, of course, its world-famous mustard. The UNH program in Dijon remains the principal avenue for UNH students of French to immerse themselves in French language and culture. Initially a full academic year experience, the program has grown to offer a single semester and summer options. French teaching assistants from the Université de Bourgogne have been an integral part of the program’s cultural exchange, with an assistant providing instruction at UNH every year since 1968.

Professor of French Claire Malarte-Feldman, who assumed directorship of the program in 2000, is organizing the celebration.

“The longevity and vitality of the Dijon Program are not only evidences of its high academic quality, but also of the passion and energy of all the people at UNH and UB-Dijon who managed it over the past 50 years. And that calls for a double celebration!” said Malarte-Feldman.

Participating in the Dijon Program “…was one of the best things I have done in my life,” said alumna and French major Martha Foley Jackson ’76 ’96G in a 2013 interview with UNH. Foley Jackson’s enthusiasm for the program, study abroad, and UNH led her and her husband William S. Jackson ’75 to establish a UNH scholarship for study abroad.

The 50th anniversary celebration is a free event. Light hors d’oeuvres will be served and a cash bar available. An RSVP is requested at or

For more information, contact Claire Malarte-Feldman at

Liberal Arts: “Tech’s Hottest Ticket”

August 5, 2015

“Throughout the major U.S. tech hubs, whether Silicon Valley or Seattle, Boston or Austin, Tex., software companies are discovering that liberal arts thinking makes them stronger.”

So says an article that appears in the August 17, 2015 issue of Forbes, “That ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket.”

According to the article, tech companies are hiring non-STEM graduates at high rates to fill their jobs in sales, marketing, education, consulting, business development, product management, real estate, and many other areas. In one example, Forbes used LinkedIn to research the job placements for Northwestern University graduates pursuing careers in the San Francisco Bay area. The top corporate employers for these young alumni are Google, Apple, Facebook, Genentech, and LinkedIn. Over half of those employed by these tech giants majored in subjects in the liberal arts.

What are these employers looking for? People who know how to effectively and creatively communicate with other people.

Read the article.

UNH History Professor Wins NEH Grant for Book on Martin Luther King Jr.

August 4, 2015

photo of Jason Sokol

Associate professor of history Jason Sokol has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment from the Humanities (NEH) for his book project, “Shot Rings Out: How King’s Death Was Lived.” The $50,400 Public Scholar grant is one of 36 announced by NEH in a new initiative to bring nonfiction humanities books on important and appealing subjects to popular audiences, book clubs, and best-seller lists.

“NEH Public Scholar books will make important and exciting discoveries in fields such as history, literature, linguistics, and archaeology accessible to readers everywhere, and serve as an example of how humanities scholarship can benefit the common good,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams.

Sokol’s proposal was among 485 that NEH received from academics and writers nationwide, a number that Adams said “almost overwhelmed” the selection committee.

“Shot Rings Out” will explore the impact that Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination had in the short- and long-term following his death. Sokol contends that most King scholarship deals with his life and the events that led up to his last day in April of 1968. But research on the broader impact of King’s death on individuals and the course of the nation is lacking.

“This is a book…that shows how his [King’s] death unleashed a host of different emotions: devastation and despair, pain and guilt, shock and apathy, bitterness and even satisfaction,” wrote Sokol in his proposal. “In addition, this book probes the long-term ramifications of the shot that rang out. I illustrate how King’s death, and the responses to it, shaped the longer trajectory of race relations in America.”

Sokol hopes his study will open up new dimensions of King’s historical significance and offer a fresh look at this oft-written-about American leader.

“It is a great honor to have the support of the NEH, and also a great honor to be in the company of such an extraordinary group of scholars,” said Sokol of his award. “I particularly appreciate the NEH’s emphasis on writing for the public. I have always tried to write books that not only engage with the scholarly discipline of history, but that will hopefully be interesting and meaningful to the reading public. As such, I am excited and thankful to be a part of the NEH’s Public Scholar initiative.”

Sokol specializes in twentieth-century American politics, race, and civil rights. He is the author of There Goes My Everything: White Southerners in the Age of Civil Rights (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007), which was named one of Jonathan Yardley’s 10 best books of 2006 in the Washington Post Book World. Sokol is also the author of All Eyes Are Upon Us: Race and Politics from Boston to Brooklyn (Basic Books, 2014).

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