North Central Self Study
Chapter 5: Criterion Three
The institution is accomplishing its education and other purposes.
Research, Fine And Creative Arts, Community Service,
and Needs of Sponsoring Organizations and Other Special Constituencies
The partnerships between programs at UNK and the broader community illustrate a commitment on the part of the colleges and departments to utilize resources external to the campus to provide enhanced learning opportunities for students as well as sharing expertise of UNK faculty. In 1994, partnerships were not clearly defined and were generally informal in nature. Since that time, there has been a greater effort to expand the utilization of partnerships across campus. This intent may be found when examining College and Department goals and accomplishments. Specific examples include the following:
Existing in 1994:
- The partnership with MONA has been continued with an increase in staff support.
- The partnership with Kearney Public Schools has been greatly expanded to include all schools within the system and joint participation in program renewal and development in College of Education programs.
- The College of Fine Arts and Humanities is a partner with Kearney Public Schools in assisting with the creation and renovation of the Kearney Performing Arts Center.
- The Biology Department at UNK has been very active in facilitating partnerships with other agencies. These include the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) in the delivery of courses and providing an on-line Masters degree. In addition, this department collaborates in research that is jointly conducted with the University of Nebraska Medical Center and UNL. Partnerships with shared funding and collaboration have been undertaken with the US Fish and Wildlife Agency, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and the Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust. Two members of these agencies have been awarded courtesy appointments as adjunct professors in recognition of their contributions to the department.
- The Chemistry Department is participating in joint research with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Electrical Engineering. A number of UNK students have expanded their opportunities from participating in this research.
- The Department of Criminal Justice and Social Work has a variety of partnerships with agencies including the Buffalo County Sheriff's Office, the Nebraska State Patrol, and the I Believe In Me Ranch (Kearney, NE). Students are regularly placed in these agencies for internships. The Social Work program also has many informal partnerships with agencies throughout the region for placement of interns. Examples include Bethpage Mission, Columbus Community Hospital, the Kearney Police Department, and Northeast Family Resource Center (Lincoln, NE).
- The Geography program in the Department of Sociology, Geography and Earth Science has collaborated in partnership with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Agricultural Extension Education division and the National Drought Mitigation center to sponsor workshops. The Department has also been engaged in discussion with its counterpart at the University of Nebraska at Omaha regarding the collaborative offering of selected courses.
- The Health Sciences program has partnerships with 13 clinical sites across the state and in South Dakota.
- The History Department has worked extensively with agencies such as the Buffalo County Historical Society, the Center for Great Plains Studies, and the Nebraska State Historical Records Advisory Board.
- The Physics Department has collaborated in research with faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and offered courses in pre-engineering as part of a collaborative agreement with UNL. Physics day programs for high school students have been offered in collaboration with Educational Service Unit #10 which serves the central Nebraska region.
- The Counseling and School Psychology Department has initiated a number of partnerships with Educational Service Units in Nebraska and Iowa and school districts throughout the state. The purposes served by these partnerships include assessment of K-12 student learning, mentoring support for K-12 students and placements for interns.
- The Department of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Leisure Studies has developed a number of partnerships with various agencies and schools. These include Special Olympics, school systems within the region, the local Chamber of Commerce, the City of Kearney Park and Recreation Department. The activities initiated in these partnerships reflect all programs offered within the department.
- The Department of Teacher Education and the College of Education have expanded the partnerships from two elementary schools in 1994 to include 16 different school systems within the region for the purpose of promoting greater participation in mutual development of programs. The schools selected reflect characteristics of demographic diversity typical of the region and will provide UNK students with expanded opportunities to experience the diversity offered within central Nebraska. The partnerships are reflected through collaborative staff development and curriculum development activities at UNK.
- The Center for Rural Research and Development is housed in the College of Business and Technology. The Center specializes in market research services for communities, businesses, and agencies. Recent reports include community needs assessment surveys, labor availability surveys, housing and homeless analysis studies, and customer satisfaction/market strategy research (e.g. Central Nebraska Community Services, Public Schools Accreditation Study). (See http://www.unk.edu/acad/crrd/home.html)
- The Nebraska Business and Development Center (NBDC) is housed in the College of Business and Technology. As noted on its website (http://www.unk.edu/acad/nbdc/home.html) the Nebraska Business and Development Center is a cooperative program of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the College of Business Administration of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and the College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska Kearney. Statewide, NBDC provides direct management and technical assistance to more than 2,000 businesses in Nebraska each year. Basic services are provided free of charge.
- The Center for Economic Education (http://www.unk.edu/acad/econ/center.html) is housed in the College of Business and Technology . As noted on the Center's website: The goal of this Center is to provide K-12 educators and administrators with resources useful in putting economics into the curriculum. Besides maintaining a curriculum library, each semester the Center offers workshops, classes and other activities aimed at increasing the economic literacy of the students in Nebraska. To further economic education in Nebraska, the Center is involved in such educational efforts as workshops (e.g., Nebraska Department of Education Workshop, Workshop on International Economics), hosting International Study Tour participants, and involvement in the NASDAQ Teacher Award through a Regional Judging Panel. Additionally, the Center makes available to teachers in Nebraska scholarship funding through the Richard L. Guffey Memorial Economic Education Scholarship.
The four Colleges maintain a number of internship programs to provide opportunities for students to reinforce their coursework through practical application and to gain valuable on-the-job experience. The programs are administered through the separate departments. In the case of the College of Business and Technology the programs are consolidated and administered through two coordinators, one for the Business division and one for the Technology division. A report prepared for the SVCAA for the 2000-01 fiscal year noted at least 491 internships were completed by UNK students. The internships by college were: Business and Technology (217), Education (119), Fine Arts & Humanities (28), and Natural & Social Sciences (127). The scope and diversity of opportunities open to UNK students for possible internships are demonstrated by the following examples:
- U. S. Park Services - Niobrara River (Biology)
- Baylor College of Medicine Summer Research (Biology)
- University of California Santa Barbara Research for Undergraduates (Chemistry)
- Argonne and Oak Ridge National Laboratories (Chemistry)
- Chicago Police Department (Criminal Justice)
- U. S. Senator Chuck Hagel's offices (Kearney, Lincoln, Washington) (Political Science)
- Nebraska Public Policy Center (Political Science)
- Public Defender's Office, Des Moines, IA (Political Science)
- Richard Young Hospital (Psychology, Social Work, Family Studies & Interior Design, Counseling)
- Architectural Artworks, Winter Park, FL (Family Studies and Interior Design)
- West Company, Kearney NE (Industrial Technology)
- General Electric, Chicago, IL (Industrial Technology)
- Baldwin Filters, Kearney, NE (Business and Economics)
- Becton Dickinson, Columbus, NE (Business and Economics)
- L.A. Times (Communication)
- Smithsonian (Communication)
- Chicago Lyric Opera, Chicago, IL (Music Business)
- USA Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, CO (Recreation)
World Affairs Conference
Recognizing the need to bring a strong international component to an undergraduate education and as a part of its service to south central Nebraska, the University of Nebraska at Kearney sponsors an annual conference on global issues. The Midwest Conference on World Affairs began as an important campus and community activity in the 1960s. Budget shortfalls prompted a temporary hiatus, but the University reinstated the conference in 1988. At that time the event was renamed "The James E. Smith Midwest Conference on World Affairs" in honor of a professor whose vision and dedication significantly affected the continuation of the conference. Since 1994, leadership of the conference has rotated among the four Undergraduate Colleges.
Each college hosting the conference chooses a theme around which the conference participants base their presentations. For example: in 1997, the College of Education chose "Children's Rights and Our Responsibilities;" in 1998, the College of Natural and Social Sciences selected, "Global Perspectives in a Changing World;" in 2000 the College of Fine Arts and Humanities chose the theme, "Images of Culture;" and in 2003, the College of Business and Technology selected as its theme, "The Global Economy: Promises and Perils of an Uncertain Frontier." The conference traditionally begins on a Sunday evening and lasts through Tuesday. Two highlights of each conference are the International Food Festival and the keynote speaker.
Presented by the International Student Association and sponsored by Morris Press, the International Food Festival showcases the culinary and fine art talents of many of the international students who attend UNK. Along with preparing food, students bring their countries' culture to light in a variety of ways, performing vocal music such as their national anthems, instrumental music, and dances from such countries as Japan, Nepal, Zambia, Kenya, West Africa, Bahamas, Colombia, Germany, India, Brazil, Mexico, and Sri Lanka. The festival is free and open to the public and traditionally draws large crowds. Last year, for example, an estimated 2,000 students, faculty, and local citizens attended the festival. Morris Press also prepares and distributes cookbooks with recipes provided by UNK's international students.
Keynote speakers presenting at the World Affairs Conference include nationally and internationally known scholars, activists, and politicians. For example, in 2002, Oscar Arias, Nobel Peace Laureate and former President of Cost Rica, was the keynote speaker; in 2000, the speaker was National Geographic contributor Joel Swerdlow; and in 1998, the speaker was former President and CEO of the United Way, Elaine Chao. The 2004 Conference will feature Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland, who will speak on "Human Rights and the War on Terrorism."
Besides the keynote speaker, the conference serves as a forum for a wide variety of other speakers, including invited specialists, Fulbright scholars, diplomats, and UNK faculty and students. For example, in 1998, the conference included twenty-six invited participants from fifteen countries including Russia, Germany, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, and the Czech Republic. Through panel discussions, roundtables, lectures, classroom presentations, and group activities which continue over a two-day period, UNK students and Kearney area citizens are given the opportunity to interact with individuals from other cultures and are exposed to a variety of viewpoints on important issues.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney is proud of the James E. Smith Midwest Conference on World Affairs which not only provides an outstanding service to our students and the Kearney community, but also serves as tangible evidence of our commitment to a broad liberal arts education and a responsible and informed citizenry. Since its inception, Kearney area citizens have both supported and benefited from the World Affairs conference and its scholarly examination of issues with contemporary global and local significance.
Fine Arts Facilities
UNK has three on-campus facilities available for use by the faculty, students, and the public for the purpose of presenting recitals (Fine Arts Recital Hall), theater productions (Miriam Drake Theater), and art exhibits (Walker Art Gallery).
The Nebraska Art Collection was begun in 1976 and the Museum of Nebraska Art was founded in 1986 in the old Kearney Post Office, originally built in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The facility was expanded and completely remodeled in 1991-93 and reopened as the NEW Museum of Nebraska Art in October of 1993. The mission of the Museum is to collect, exhibit, preserve and interpret the art of Nebraska. A major focus of MONA is to create understanding among people through art. The Nebraska Art Collection is designated by the legislature as the official visual art collection of the State of Nebraska. The Museum of Nebraska Art is jointly administered by the Board of the Museum of Nebraska Art and the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
The Concerts-on-the-Platte recital series, which features full-scale recitals of UNK music faculty and guest-artists, was inaugurated during the summer of 1999 to better reflect the institution's growing role in Nebraska as a magnet for faculty artist-performers. With an increasing number of music performance majors and other students interested in presenting recitals themselves, the series has served to provide professional examples to the department's growing enrollment. Concerts have included a broad cross-section of vocal, instrumental, and solo piano recitals. Guest artists have traveled from as far as Poland, Germany, and Korea to perform on the series. All concerts are free and open to the public.
KLPR-FM is the university-owned and student-run radio station. The station programs jazz and blues during part of the day and alternative music in the evening. Students are encouraged to develop music and talk formats of their own choosing.
The Department of Communication is home to the Antelope, the student-produced weekly newspaper which was first published in 1910. As of 2003 the Antelope is also made available on the internet at http://www.unk.edu/theantelope/. The web-based Antelope provides students with an opportunity to acquire skills for multi-media presentation.