North Central Self Study
Chapter 6: Criterion Four
The institution can continue to accomplish its purposes and strengthen
its educational effectiveness
Resources Organized to Strengthen the Institution
Historically there is a campus culture of focusing on students, faculty pulling together during tough financial times, and all employees taking pride in the quality of programming and services offered. This culture has been important as the campus has undergone budget cuts the past several years. A definite strength is the maturation of UNK during the past decade as a university within the UN system. Its mission is shared and consistent with an institution of its current size, programs, and location.
Yet another strength is that the tenure of administration has been relatively stable, with the former Chancellor serving 9 years, and two Vice Chancellor's and the Assistant to the Chancellor here 10 years. Unit leaders in Business & Finance have experienced little turnover, while the tenure of deans ranges from 3 to 16 years. There has been moderate turnover in Student Affairs. Both the new Chancellor and Interim Senior Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs began their respective duties in July 2002.
As a result of budget cuts at the administrative level, several units have been consolidated to be more efficient and to preserve services to students and faculty. Staff dedication and loyalty to the institution have been strengths during these changes.
- Within Academic Affairs, the position of Dean of Continuing Education was eliminated. However, most of the employees in this division were reassigned to work under the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. In addition, several academic departments were combined to be more efficient.
- The position of Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (VCSA) was eliminated and the Dean of Students given supervisory responsibility for all persons formerly reporting to the VCSA. The position, now called Dean of Students, Residential and Greek Life, has been reassigned to work under the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs. Units serving students have reorganized to maximize resources and offer improved services.
- Within Business and Finance, several positions have been reduced in Facilities and the unit is being reorganized to operate with fewer funds. Other units within Business and Finance have also lost positions. The remaining employees have absorbed this work.
Faculty members take pride in offering quality programs. For the most part, the budget cuts have not affected academic programs. These cuts have resulted in some open faculty positions not being filled and some term contract faculty and support staff positions being eliminated. Some progress has been made on recruiting and retaining ethnic minority faculty members, and the number of female tenure-track faculty members is steadily rising.
Physical facilities are in better shape than at any time in the past two decades. Nearly $40 million in new and renovated facilities is improving the teaching and learning environment.
A major concern is that with budget cuts, morale of faculty and staff may decline. Also, as personnel cuts are made to units and as remaining employees absorb the work, burnout may occur.