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UNC provost James W. Dean Jr. is named 20th president of UNH

Union Leader Correspondent

April 04. 2018 11:47AM

James W. Dean Jr. will take over as president of the University of New Hampshire June 30. (COURTESY)

DURHAM — Officials at the University of New Hampshire announced Wednesday that James W. Dean Jr. has been selected as the school’s 20th president.

According to a resume released by UNH officials, Dean served as executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill from 2013 to 2017. He is also a professor of organizational behavior in the Kenan-Flagler Business School.

UNH’s board of trustees unanimously chose Dean after a months-long national search by a 21-member committee formed last June after officials announced President Mark Huddleston’s plans to retire this spring.

“On behalf of the board of trustees and the search committee, it is my pleasure to welcome Jim as UNH’s next president. UNH is gaining an experienced leader from one of the nation’s top public universities. Jim is committed to and understands public higher education and the key role it plays in the state, the region and the nation,” John Small, chair of the search committee and the University System New Hampshire board of trustees, said in a statement.

Small said Dean understands the challenges of access, affordability, diversity and inclusion.

“Jim is thoughtful, approachable, a visionary and an exceptional team builder — he will be an outstanding president for UNH,” Small said.

During a telephone interview Wednesday morning, Small said four finalists were interviewed by the board of trustees and Gov. Chris Sununu March 15. A final decision was made Tuesday.

Small said Dean was chosen, in part, because of his ability to tackle difficult issues and handle controversial situations. When he took over as UNC’s provost in 2013, the school was the focus of a “paper class” scandal involving student athletes.

According to a 2014 outside report investigating the African and Afro-American Studies Curriculum, the paper classes were especially popular with student athletes who played “revenue” sports such as football and men’s basketball.

Small said the scandal was part of the conversation during the nonpublic interview process. He said Dean’s recollection of the incident and how it was handled is consistent with the outside report’s findings.

“I would much rather have a president that has gone through some difficult situations because I think it’s a real asset,” Small said.

Small said the current diversity and inclusiveness controversy at UNH was also discussed with Dean. A final Presidential Task Force report on the topic is due to be released Friday.

“Jim has built a career at an institution that is very diverse,” Small explained.

According to UNC total headcount enrollment numbers for the fall of 2017, UNC at Chapel Hill has a student population that is 61.2 percent white, 13 percent Asian, 7.8 percent black or African American and 7.5 percent Hispanic.

Rogers Johnson, president of Seacoast NAACP in Portsmouth was concerned Wednesday that underlying issues behind the diversity and inclusiveness problem at UNH were not fully explained to Dean. Johnson plans to take action because students are not feeling safer than they were a year ago.

“We were assured those issues were brought up during the search for a new president,” Johnson said. “I still need to go meet with this individual to assure again that was adequately explained.”

Officials said the total target cash compensation for Dean includes an annual base pay of $445,000 and a target annual pay at risk award of 20 percent. Actual payment of the risk award depends on performance against goals and objectives set by the board.

Actual payout of the pay at risk award can range between 0 and 150 percent of that target award, spokesman Erika Mantz said.

Dean will also be awarded an annual deferred compensation payment of $30,000, which will vest in five years.

Dean will visit all three UNH campuses April 9 and 10.

A video statement by new UNH President James Dean can be viewed below:

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