North Central Self Study
Chapter 1: UNK and the University of Nebraska:
The First Years
The region surrounding UNK continues to provide the campus significant advantages. The population of the City of Kearney and Buffalo County has grown by more than 12% since the campus entered the university, while population in the rest of central and western Nebraska has generally declined. A diverse economy has weathered economic conditions that elsewhere have produced sharp downturns and dislocations. Recreational and cultural opportunities have expanded markedly - including addition of a multipurpose arena and local US Hockey League and indoor football league franchises.
Most importantly, the community understands the role of the University in its social, cultural, and economic life, and has sought to support University activities in a variety of ways. Among the formal linkages established since 1991 are the following:
- Since its inception, the Strategic Planning Committee has included members of the surrounding community, who have played important roles in its activities from development of the 1995 strategic plan to operations designed to market UNK and Kearney to prospective students. Community members have also played important roles in selecting campus leaders, through representation on committees that have evaluated chancellor and vice chancellor candidates.
- A Chancellor's Advisory Council, composed of area civic and business leaders, was established in 1995. It meets regularly to consult with university leadership on matters of mutual concern. The Advisory Council played important roles, for instance, in efforts to obtain a new College of Education Building on campus and to launch an accreditation campaign for our business programs. Several vice chancellors and deans have established comparable groups for their units.
- As the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument was in planning stages, and subsequent to its opening in 2000, the Chancellor led an Educational Advisory Commission which designed programs integrating the Monument's exhibits with school curricula.
- Over the last decade, UNK administrators and faculty have served on such leadership bodies as the Kearney City Council, the city's Planning Commission, the Kearney Public Schools Board, and a variety of governing boards including those of several major banks and the Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center.