North Central Self Study
Chapter 3: Criterion One
The institution has clear and publicly stated purposes consistent with its
mission and appropriate to an institution of higher education.
Understanding of the stated purposes by institutional constituencies.
Communications efforts initiated on campus have been energized by the plans discussed earlier in this chapter. They have also been strengthened by administrative restructuring initiatives that have professionalized and re-focused the UNK marketing effort under leadership of the Vice Chancellor for University Relations. Consultative mechanisms such as the Chancellor's Advisory Council have also been important in these efforts, producing increased mutual understanding of the university's purposes and challenges. In its daily operations, at all levels, UNK actively seeks to inform external and internal audiences through regular e-mail bulletins and announcements, news releases, and special publications for students, staff, and alumni/ae.
Beyond those regular communications and "sensing" mechanisms, UNK (and University of Nebraska) leaders have sought periodically to assess the public's understanding of its purposes, contributions, and needs. Major external surveys have been conducted by both the campus (the 1995 image study) and by Varner Hall (in 2003). In general, the 1995 image study indicated that UNK is perceived as a quality, accessible undergraduate institution providing good value to its students. The study also indicated, however, that UNK was much better known in Greater Nebraska than in the eastern part of the state. Data gathered since that time (notably in connection with recruitment activity) indicates gradual widening of awareness of UNK and its major strengths (notably strong academic programs, residential campus improvements, and athletic achievements). Such information aligns generally with assessments conducted by community leaders concerning statewide and regional perceptions of Kearney itself. Most recently, the 2003 survey conducted by Varner Hall indicated that an overwhelming majority of Nebraskans recognize the impact and quality of the University's teaching, research, and service programs. Materials pertaining to the 1995 and 2003 studies are available in the Resource Room.
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