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UNK Welcomes NCA

North Central Self Study
Chapter 1: UNK and the University of Nebraska
The institution has clear and publicly stated purposes consistent with its mission and appropriate to an institution of higher education.
The First Years
Chapter Objectives: (a) continue the account, begun in the last report, of UNK's historical development, (b) highlight elements of UNK's general situation and direction, by reviewing major initiatives since 1994, and (c) introduce key topics to be explored later as they relate to NCA criteria.
  1. Strategic Planning and Budgeting: Defining and filling a new, differentiated, complementary role within the U of N
    1. CCPE and U of N plans and guidance.
    2. Beginning in 1993, new UNK process and document re: mission, priorities, programs, investment priorities and patterns. 1995 plan. Progress revisited with Regents.
    3. Comprehensive conceptualizing about differentiated role fundamentals:
      1. "residential" but non-traditional students and service to region.
      2. "undergraduate" but complementary graduate.
      3. "university" but a campus within a University.
    4. Guidance/principles operationalized and refined in annual budget reallocations and U-wide prioritizing.
    5. Resource challenges and initiatives: U of N and UNK funding levels; recent budget cut imperatives sharpen the planning challenge. Foundation fund raising trends.
  2. Academic initiatives
    1. Recruiting/retaining excellent faculty - terminal degree numbers, faculty recognitions/achievements.
    2. Sustaining/invigorating the commitment to teaching and learning - CTE, undergrad research, modernized curriculum/pedagogy - web-based courses, smart classrooms, discipline-based computer labs.
    3. Sponsored Programs/Research and other investments in faculty (Foundation grants for equipment).
    4. Curricular developments/innovations
      1. General Studies: CD courses, WI courses, program review.
      2. Honors Program: growth and residential community development.
      3. Experiential Learning.
      4. Priority Programs - U-wide process/result.
  3. Student Learning/Development and campus life
    1. Student Quality - entering benchmarks, Honors growth.
    2. Student Success - persistence/graduation rates, # of degrees awarded (same as in KSC heyday).
    3. Living/Learning Environment - learning communities, co-curricular and fine arts activities/events.
    4. Multiculturalism - student diversity (internationalization, nonresidents), programming (exchanges, WAC).
    5. Student Services (OSS, Academic Advising).
    6. Intercollegiate athletics, intramurals.
  4. Campus Infrastructure
    1. Academic facilities - Copeland, West Center, COE Building, Bruner Hall, OO.
    2. Information technology.
    3. Campus Life: Student Union, esthetic advancements.
    4. Not as far along: residence halls, athletics facilities, greenspace.
  5. Enrollment - trends in size, composition.
    1. Overall decline - immediate drop from KSC levels, then sustained decline; show categories and trends, off campus, graduate, new students, etc.
    2. Reasons: higher standards for academic programs and admissions, intra-university and other competitors, scholarship/financial aid disadvantage, declining population in traditional region.
    3. Plans - recruitment and financial aid/scholarships.
    4. Result/situation - contraction around the campus core; more students of university caliber than 10 years ago; more U.S. non-Nebraskans and international students; more U.S. minorities, but not a lot yet, with a large increase in Hispanics.
  6. Community/Regional Developments (if not addressed in Introduction)
    1. UNK-community partnerships - Advisory councils, Arch, UNK staff in community leadership roles.
    2. Economic - general status, new developments, student employment opportunities.
    3. Demographics.
  7. Results: 10-year Overview, Future Outlook
    1. Intra-university role defined strategically and refined in plans/budgets.
    2. Substantial progress on key quality measures within that role: faculty/student success.
    3. Challenges:
      1. Sustaining consensus about vision/mission and next steps to develop an excellent UNK within the University.
      2. Take next steps while sustaining faculty/staff/program quality and morale in hard times.
      3. Stabilize enrollment.
      4. Diversity.
      5. Residential infrastructure.
      6. Productive Strategic Partnerships with Campus Constituencies: community, prospective donors, alumni, faculty/staff.