MANCHESTER — The University of New Hampshire at Manchester should change its name, drop its associate degree programs, and emphasize internships and job-ready education, according to a consultant report released to campus faculty and staff on Thursday.
The report, dubbed "Revitalizing the College through Change," said enrollment at the Millyard campus has been essentially flat for the last five years, budgets have dipped into the red for two of those years, and decision-making takes places miles away at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
The core recommendation in the 22-page report is for UNH-Manchester to create a "distinctive academic niche." The niche would combine a rigorous liberal arts education with "experiential learning," which means internships or other cooperative arrangements with area employers, the consultant recommends.
It even pitched a new name for the college — the College of Integrated Professional Studies — but cautioned that any rebranding would be a separate process.
"As an important step for its future, the College must select a name that will clearly identify its academic distinctiveness as opposed to its location," the report states.
The assessments and recommendations were made by the Chicago-based Huron Group, which the university hired last April and agreed to pay between $125,000 and $175,000 for the work.
It was released Thursday, the second day on the job for Michael Hickey, the former telephone company executive and newly named interim dean of the college. In an interview, Hickey said the report will serve as his job description for the next 18 months.
He said the college already emphasizes experiential learning, and much of his work will involve ramping up what the college already does. For example, many students are non-traditional and hold jobs in the community. Between 50 and 70 students hold internships currently, he said.
► Click here to view the report.
A name change won't take place immediately; it will take a while to determine if a new name is needed, Hickey said.
"That (College of Integrated Professional Studies) may not be the name. Form will follow substance," he said.
He stressed that he will run the campus on a shared-governance model with the faculty, and the faculty will be part of an implementation team that will work on the recommendations.
He also said the campus would not dislocate any associate degree student, although he noted the statewide plan calls for moving associate degree programs to the community college system.
Fifteen percent of UNH-Manchester students take associate degree programs in biological sciences, business administration and general studies.