New Hampshire Institutions Innovating Higher Education

Choosing the right college or university can make all the difference in a person’s future.

Luckily, New Hampshire residents have many options from which to choose. A highly respected community college system and renowned universities give Granite Staters a great opportunity to find the right fit.  

The best part: many of those schools are innovating higher education. We spoke to three experts who outlined how each of their institutions are offering new, revolutionary options to incoming students: UNH Manchester Dean and Chief Workforce Officer at the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute Mike Decelle; Executive Vice President of Southern New Hampshire University’s College of Engineering, Technology and Aeronautics Jim Smith (who is heading up the school’s Aviation Operations and Management program); and representatives from the Community College System of New Hampshire.


The Community College System of New Hampshire is offering an opportunity for high school students to earn college credit while saving money in its innovative Running Start program.

What is Running Start?

“Running Start is a program that enables high school juniors and seniors to take courses for both high school and college credit. The courses are taken during the normal high school day, as part of the students’ regular schedule, but they use a college syllabus and students learn material at a college level. Students earn college credit that is reflected on a transcript from the New Hampshire community college that has partnered with their high school to offer the courses. Running Start courses are available in almost every high school in New Hampshire.

“Running Start is one type of ‘dual and concurrent enrollment’ program. Two others are eStart and Early College, where high school students can take a 100 percent online course or actually go to a college to take a course or courses. New Hampshire’s community colleges offer all three types.” 

Who can take the courses?

“Students in 11th and 12th grade from New Hampshire high schools and Career and Technical Education Centers. Students in 9th and 10th grade may be eligible with permission from the college.” 

What courses are available?

“Course availability varies at each high school and covers a very wide range of program areas. Some courses students have taken include college composition, intro to business, French and Spanish, statistics, calculus, intro to biotechnology, criminology, accounting & financial reporting, computer technologies, intro to welding, anatomy & physiology, automotive technology, medical terminology, principles of marketing, desktop publishing, intro to video production, early childhood growth & development, intro to veterinary technology and many more. Courses available at particular high schools are dependent upon scheduling and the availability of teachers who are eligible to teach a particular course.”

How does this help students?

“Students earn college credit before they even graduate from high school. These credits have been transferred to over 200 colleges and universities here in New Hampshire and across the country. This saves students time and money once they enter college. Many students who have transferred credits start college with a semester or more already completed! The courses also help students become accustomed to college-level curriculum and expectations.”  

What’s the cost?

“Courses cost $150 for Running Start and eStart and half the cost of full tuition for Early College courses.  That’s a savings of hundreds of dollars per course compared to tuition for courses taken at a college. Scholarships are also available.”

What’s the Governor’s Dual and Concurrent STEM Scholarship?

“New in 2018, eligible students who take STEM-related courses (science, technology, engineering and math) can have two courses per year paid for through the Governor’s Dual and Concurrent Enrollment scholarship. The student’s high school will need to have a written agreement with CCSNH along with a dual and concurrent enrollment school board policy in place in order to award the scholarships.”

Anything Else?

“Thousands of credits earned through Running Start, eStart and Early College have been used by students to get ahead upon entering college. However, the decision of whether to accept the credits is up to the receiving college.” 

How Do I Learn More?

“To learn more about the CCSNH dual and concurrent enrollment programs,  go to and click on ‘Contact your Local Running Start Coordinator.’”

Southern New Hampshire University’s Aviation Operations and Management program, led by Jim Smith, is providing would-be pilots a chance to pursue their dreams by learning skills that are soon to be in high demand.

What is the job market like, and what types of jobs can students expect to be prepared for upon graduation from the Aviation Operations and Management (AOM) program?

Smith: “The latest study by Boeing states that there will be a shortage of nearly 120,000 pilots in North America within 10 years, and a shortage of several hundred thousand worldwide. With the drawdown of pilots in the military and the increased cost of flight training and tuition, we as a nation are not producing enough pilots today to meet the demand. We anticipate full employment for our graduates.”

Are there any prerequisites to entering the AOM program?

Smith: “There are no flying requirements, though any student who has some flying experience will have a better sense of how well they can adapt to the flying environment. The private pilot’s license is part of our program, but we will accept and give college credit to a student who has already been awarded a private license prior to entering AOM. The main prerequisite is to complete an FAA Class 1 flight physical because this will be a requirement to fly with any major airline.”

Where will students build their flying hours, in what type of aircraft, and what can they expect to achieve in the short term?

Smith: “After the first year of intensive flight instruction, students will complete the requirements for Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), with the early training in the Cessna 172. Students will then spend the following summer as CFIs in an internship where they will continue to build flight hours. Over the course of the remainder of the academic program, they will build flight hours either as a CFI or flying with a Part 135 carrier.”

What’s unique about the tuition model of SNHU’s AOM program?

Smith: “The goal of AOM is to dramatically reduce the cost to becoming an airline pilot and this requires a fundamental reshaping of the current model. Our program will drive down costs in four fundamental ways. First, the flight training is compressed into the front end of the college experience with the intent of reducing repeat sorties through an intensive flight experience. In doing so, the unique syllabus provided by our partner, Air Direct Aviation Flight Academy, we reduce the expected training flight hours closer to the FAA standard. Second, tuition covers both the cost of academic instruction and flight instruction; a student will not pay for instruction twice. Third, after the first intensive year of flight, students will become paid flight instructors building their flight time while they continue the academic program. The AOM model assumes a student does not need to wait to graduation to build toward the hours required for an Air Transport Pilot’s license required for an Air Transport Pilot’s license. They will amass flight time during their college experience with the goal of gaining a restricted ATP by graduation. Finally, owing to the unique nature of Southern New Hampshire University’s online program, the last two years of the student’s college experience can either be in residence or online (or a combination). This option allows for both cost savings and the flexibility to take on a full-time job flying while completing the college degree.”

Mike Decelle, dean of UNH Manchester and chief workforce officer at Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), is helping to lead a program that will prepare students for opportunities in the growing, changing field of biological sciences and biotechnology — where there is projected to be a real need for trained professionals.

What is UNH Manchester’s role in the ARMI initiative?

Decelle: “The Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute taps UNH’s leadership role in creating powerful partnerships that leverage the university’s research and workforce expertise to drive economic development in the state and the nation. UNH leads the national education and workforce development efforts of ARMI that will identify and develop the curriculum, certificate and degree programs, and workforce training programs needed to enable and sustain the growth of this emerging industry. This work requires the support of three stakeholder groups: industry, academia and state, local and national workforce partners. The graphic on the upper right captures some of the scope and dimensions of the ARMI education workforce development plan.

What new changes have taken place at UNH Manchester as part of this initiative?

Decelle: “With the ARMI partnership and continued growth of our biological sciences and biotechnology programs, UNH Manchester has begun plans to renovate the sixth floor of our building to house laboratories to support a number of areas:

1) Expanded instructional labs for both undergraduate and graduate degree programs

2) Tissue fabrication faculty research

3) ARMI workforce training facilities

4) Incubator space for ARMI-affiliated startup companies.

What kind of a demand exists in New Hampshire for skilled workers in the bioengineering/sciences field, and how will UNH Manchester students benefit from the ARMI public-private partnership?

Decelle: “Biofabrication is an innovative manufacturing industry segment at the intersection of biology-related research, computer science, materials science and engineering. The Department of Defense tells us that the acceleration of regenerative tissue research is especially important to restoring form, function and appearance to wounded soldiers and reducing the waiting time for organ transplant patients. Successful large-scale manufacturing of engineered tissues and related technologies will not only benefit critical US public health issues but also drive the need for new, highly skilled jobs.

“Tissue biofabrication is a young, nascent field, but one that is growing rapidly. The challenge is to make sure that a significant fraction of the industry grows here in the state of New Hampshire. New Hampshire already has a growing market in the biosciences area. Today, the bulk of that market is represented by medical device companies and, to some extent, biopharmaceuticals. Tissue biofabrication will be yet another growth engine in the larger biosciences field.”

What are some of the certificate programs related to the ARMI, and what opportunities exist for someone who earns one?

Decelle: “We have invested in the development of a range of biotechnology and biofabrication courses and training modules that will form the basis for full certificate programs. These courses and training modules are being piloted at partner locations around the country, including here at UNH.”

How does this address workforce development challenges facing the state?

Decelle: “According to the 2016 New Hampshire Employment Security report, by 2024, New Hampshire will need 25 percent more biomedical engineers, 16 percent more biochemists and 13 percent more biological technicians. ARMI is bringing an emerging industry into our state — an industry that will not only need researchers but also clinicians, manufacturers, supply chain specialists, machine engineers and more. This industry is positioned to transform lives, and to do so will require the creation of new highly skilled jobs. What we hope to achieve at UNH is to spur interest in the field and build the academic pipelines to fill these jobs. We anticipate the partnership with ARMI will be a force for net migration into the state, and a place where those students will stay because of the opportunities in the industry.”

Categories: Education