UNH alum named interim dean of UNH Manchester

By Tom Spencer
On January 28, 2014

UNH Manchester has a new dean. Effective Jan. 22, J. Michael Hickey assumed the role as the interim leader of the UNH Manchester campus.

"Dean Hickey will serve until a permanent dean is appointed. A national search will begin next year," Erika Mantz, the director of UNH Media Relations, said.

Hickey is a veteran executive of the telecommunications industry with over 20 years of experience. He was president of Verizon New Hampshire for seven years. His work has included directing the company's policy development and advocacy on cyber security, emergency preparedness and critical asset protection in Washington, D.C. He was a key part of the company's transitions from New England Telephone Company, to NYNEX, Bell Atlantic and, finally, Verizon. 

Before working in the telecommunications industry, Hickey directed the state Division of Economic Development and the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. 

Hickey graduated from UNH, where he earned a bachelor's degree in sociology, in 1973. He cites his time at UNH as part of the experience he will bring to his work as dean.

"During my time in Durham, I learned the value of critical thinking and effective communications," Hickey said. "The quality of our daily interactions with family, friends and colleagues allow us to shape, in positive ways, the world around us. We have a wonderful community at UNH Manchester and I hope to make a positive difference."

Hickey was appointed after the resignation of Ali Rafieymehr, Ph.D., who served as dean from July 1, 2012, to Nov. 1, 2013. According to Lisa MacFarlane, provost and vice president for academic affairs, Hickey was selected for his experience in business, nonprofits and local, state and federal government. He is also a former president of UNH's Alumni Association.

"Mike has long been a champion of UNH Manchester ... he has brought the same values of transparency, collaboration, thoughtful listening and concern for the intangible qualities that make for good leadership," MacFarlane said. "These are qualities which we all know to be crucial to UNH Manchester's long-term success."

Hickey's goals include working closely with faculty, staff and students to move UNH Manchester towards the objectives outlined in the Huron Consulting Group report entitled "Revitalizing the College through Change." The report, published in December 2013, recommends an intense liberal arts program, professional work-oriented studies and experimental learning.

"By doing so, we will better meet the demands of current and future students and the communities we serve," Hickey said.

The report also addresses financial and educational challenges, as well as issues involving the school's brand, marketplace niche and sustaining the institution in the long term. 

According to Hickey, some challenges ahead include making operations between UNH's Durham, Concord and Manchester campuses flow more smoothly and ensuring support for the academic and community programs. His visions of UNH Manchester's future include offering students quality education programs and experimental learning opportunities. He also intends to increase enrollment and keep UNH Manchester appealing to future students.

"Much can be accomplished by clarifying goals, calibrating success and communicating effectively," Hickey said. "By doing so, we can provide even greater value to our students and to the communities we serve."

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