UNH School of Law Moves To Fully Integrate With University of New Hampshire
The University of New Hampshire School of Law Board of Trustees voted on Thursday, Jan. 24, to fully integrate the law school with the University of New Hampshire.
The University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees will take up the question at its next scheduled meeting, on Friday, Feb. 1. If the USNH board also votes in favor, the process of fully integrating the two schools will begin, culminating in the law school’s transition to a school of the university by early 2014. The law school would remain in Concord.
This action would be an incremental step, capping off an affiliation with the university that began in 2010, when the former Franklin Pierce Law Center changed its name to UNH Law.
“It will be a whole new day,” said UNH Law Dean John Broderick. “Through the affiliation, we have created some dual degrees, and we believe by fully integrating, we’ll be able to expand some of those and to make the experience on both campuses more interdisciplinary. We’re interested in integrating UNH’s excellent business school curriculum fully with our nationally acclaimed intellectual property program, sponsoring conferences, creating joint certificate programs – the possibilities are endless.”
Under the current affiliation, the two schools are formally linked, but the law school remains a separate, nonprofit educational institution. Its faculty and staff are not currently employed by the University System of New Hampshire.
The affiliation began in August 2010, when the former Franklin Pierce Law Center changed its name to reflect its new ties with UNH. At the time, the agreement allowed for a vote on full integration to take place as soon as January 2013. On Thursday, the law school’s board voted unanimously in favor of full integration with UNH.
“As one of the earliest graduates of the law school, I have a deep respect for its history and am very excited about its future,” said Cathy Green, chair of the UNH Law Board of Trustees and a 1977 alumna. “Integration with this well-respected research university will allow UNH Law to continue to evolve in ways that will honor its innovative and entrepreneurial roots.”
The affiliation has resulted in benefits for students at both institutions as well as enrichment and joint research opportunities for faculty. The schools worked together to create two popular dual degrees: a JD/MBA with UNH's Whittemore School of Business and Economics, and a JD/MSW with UNH’s College of Health and Human Services. In 2011, the schools co-sponsored, along with the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, a conference to discuss ending domestic and sexual violence – more than 100 scholars and advocates from around the globe attended the event.
If UNH Law fully integrates with UNH, the schools can work together more seamlessly, and the possibilities for joint efforts increases greatly, said Margaret Sova McCabe, a professor at UNH Law and the school’s associate dean of academic administration and special projects.
“When we’re all part of the same system, we can focus more on growing programs that students need to be prepared to launch their careers,” McCabe said. “The development of things such as joint degrees will be considerably easier when we’re part of a single educational institution.”
“I’m pleased the integration process has moved another step forward, and eagerly anticipate the university’s discussion with the USNH Board of Trustees next week,” said UNH President Mark W. Huddleston.