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Higher ed organizations are bracing for potential cuts in student loan funding and the trickle down of major cuts to agencies that support the bulk of institutional research and development.

Officials at Manchester Community College and across the state are working to increase the number of graduates in STEM fields such as biology.

Students, residents, and employers of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) field graduates in New Hampshire will be hearing a whole lot more about these areas of study in coming years. Representatives from the University System of New Hampshire and the Community College System of New Hampshire signed a letter of commitment last month that lays out steps to meet a big goal: increase STEM-educated graduates by 50 percent by 2020, and then double that number by 2025. Currently, the two systems graduate about 1,120 students in these areas.

Higher education is a dynamo for economic growth, powering the supply of high-level skills and the technological advances for improving productivity and opening up new markets. Where higher ed flourishes, so can an economy.


An Atlas of Giving report reveals that the education sector was the strongest for charitable giving in 2011. The sector received $54.30 billion in 2011, an increase of 9.8 percent over 2010 when donors gave $49.44 billion. Education still falls in second place to religious charities, with education accounting for 16 percent of total giving in 2011 and religion at 36 percent.

College campuses have long been accused of being bastions of liberal thought. But the most recent Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) survey of the nation’s entering students at four-year colleges and universities shows that current freshmen, at least, are arriving on campus with their own more liberal beliefs than previous classes. “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2011” shares findings that students are more accepting of everything from same-sex marriages to affirmative action.

Tim Goral

Everyone remembers the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones, with his iconic Fedora and bullwhip, narrowly escapes from a Peruvian temple with a stolen golden idol, avoiding the path of a rolling boulder and a band of arrow-wielding Hovitos tribesmen. In the next scene, we see Dr. Jones home again, teaching an archaeology class at “Marshall College.” He stands before the class in a bowtie and glasses (which, oddly, he doesn’t seem to need for the rest of the film). 

Textbooks for rent

In this digital age, at a time when everybody is tightening their belts, it should come as no surprise that students are buying fewer textbooks. How many fewer? Two recent surveys show that 70 percent of students polled at the University of California, Riverside say the rising costs of higher ed have caused them to skip buying textbooks altogether. And findings from a 2011 Pew survey, “The Digital Revolution and Higher Education,” indicate that 62 percent of college presidents anticipate more than half of textbooks used by their undergraduates will be digital within 10 years.

Programs in entrepreneurship aren’t new on college campuses.  But, the mindset that college graduates may find it easier to create their own jobs rather than find one is new.

Think about everyday gizmos like cell phones, iPods, Kindles, and Cuisinarts. We take items of convenience for granted, yet without polymer science discovery and product development research, these consumer devices would not exist.

For over a century, polymer science faculty and graduate students have explored applications of a wide range of polymer materials, including nylon, neoprene, PVC, silicone, Kevlar, and even old-fashioned natural rubber. So, we offer a guided tour of today’s leading polymer university programs.

The 1798 poem "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge states, "Water, water everywhere / Nor any drop to drink."

Since the times of the ancient mariner, fresh, potable water has been a scarce commodity around the world. Clearly, in the new global economy, clean water will be the leading pathway to 21st-century scientific discovery. It is equally clear that because of its dominant role in research and innovation, the science of protecting and restoring water resources will be the DNA of our planet's long-term sustainability.

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