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UNK Welcomes NCA

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.

Institutional Commitment to Excellence in Teaching and Learning

UNK has been and remains strongly committed to excellence and to constant qualitative improvement, even in stressed fiscal circumstances. As indicated earlier, the strategic plan expressed a firm consensus to seek distinction in undergraduate, residential education, and also to develop focused excellence in the colleges. This presaged, and was reinforced by, the University of Nebraska's Strategic Framework Document, which expressed an aspiration for each campus to achieve top-30 rank among like institutions. The commitment has been sharpened by the University of Nebraska-wide academic prioritization process and by successive budget reduction rounds over the last several years that have concentrated attention on identifying and protecting core capabilities.

Guidance issued in our most difficult times illustrates the primacy we have given to academic excellence. For example, as Nebraska's fiscal crisis deepened in the Summer and Fall of 2001, and the University was required to identify immediate spending reductions, Chancellor Johnston issued planning instructions that declared we would preserve the quality of undergraduate, residential education, strengthen academic program priorities, and maintain our ability to recruit and retain excellent faculty and students. These principles were restated in the Spring of 2002, as a second round of reductions was mandated by further appropriations cuts.

The sustained, strategic commitment to quality has produced demonstrable results.

Perhaps most importantly, UNK's commitment to excellence has been institutionalized since the last NCA Report in a variety of ways directly affecting teaching and learning.

These include the following:

Importantly, UNK has developed systematic procedures assessing teaching and learning (see previous discussion and chapter 5) - and also evaluating a variety of other operations and student services. Feedback from these mechanisms routinely influences personnel and program decisions.

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