search articles: 

   from the issue of January 5, 2006


Chancellor outlines endeavors for 2006

Editor's Note - This is a campus wide E-mail issued by UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman on Jan. 3.

Dear Colleagues:

Welcome back. I hope each of you had a very happy holiday season. In our own academic year cycle we are half way through another year but, of course, the rest of the world is just beginning a new year. Regardless of which perspective you accept, there remain many challenges and opportunities ahead of us.

The Legislature returns into session shortly. This is a "short" year so our budget is largely established relative to salary increases and operational funds through June 30, 2007. The university does have two high priority funding proposals before the Legislature this session. The first is adoption of LB605, which addresses our deferred maintenance needs in several buildings. The second is a deficit appropriation request which seeks funding of our rapidly escalating utility costs as well as funding for our liability for clean-up at the research center at Mead. Failure to receive funding for either would pose very significant budget challenges on top of those we are already addressing because of tuition shortfalls.

Internally, two very important projects will continue to demand our attention. The first is our preparation for the North Central Association accreditation. We are focusing our accreditation process on our strategic planning in hopes of obtaining valuable information and feedback as we move forward. The second is the examination of our Comprehensive Education program. I recognize this is a sensitive issue but it is critically important to us - important for the coherence of our undergraduate experience and important for our enrollment. The current program is a barrier to many qualified students coming to the university and does not provide us with a clear message with which to recruit students. We can do better, even if give up on the idea of doing "perfect".

One final piece of information: The presidents and chancellors of all the Big 12 Athletic Conference institutions have embarked on a project to explore how we might collaborate to form a new economic engine for our seven-state region for the 21st century. We have engaged Pike Powers and Ron Kessler of Powers & Kessler, L.L.C. to create a Center for Economic Development, Innovation and Commercialization (CEDIC) alongside the Big 12 Athletic Conference. We have enlisted their help to assist the universities in the economic development area by obtaining more research dollars and accelerating the commercialization of our technology in order to create jobs and well-being in our seven-state region.

We are focusing on the following four major endeavors during the 2006 calendar year:

•Working with engineering deans, ag deans and other academic disciplines, the Big 12 CEDIC will generate a funded collaboration action plan to conduct a Water Resources Symposium to be held in the third quarter 2006.

•Working with the engineering schools, ag schools and other schools and departments, the Big 12 CEDIC will generate a funded collaboration action plan for a Bio Fuel/ Bio Material Summit to be held in the fourth quarter 2006.

•Working with the business schools, engineering schools, entrepreneurship centers and offices of technology transfer the Big 12 CEDIC will generate a funded Big 12 New Venture Championship to be held in Dallas March 10-11, 2006 (basketball tournament time).

•The Big 12 CEDIC will execute a Big 12 Business Heroes event honoring alumni and faculty from each university in December 2006 (coinciding with the championship football game in Kansas City).

Pike and Ron will be on our campus sometime mid-January to early February. I ask that you meet with them and share your views on how our university can cooperate with CEDIC and collaborate effectively among the other 11 institutions. I support this process with the hope that it will identify areas of collaboration that serve our interests as well as the region's. Let me hear from you and share your views on what you think is the best way for us to be involved with this important project.

Finally, I have always thought that we come as close to any university to incorporating a strong athletic program into the context of a major, research university. The "power of red" is sufficiently potent to produce both winning teams and world-class education and research, and each gains strength from the other. So I can't help but take this opportunity to salute: our football program for its gutsy victory in the Alamo Bowl, our volleyball program for a spectacular season with four players named first team All Americans and for changing the face of women's athletics in Nebraska, Richelle Simpson for being selected by the NCAA as one of the Top Eight student-athletes of the year, and all of our student-athletes who continue to give meaning to the "student" in "student-athlete".

Harvey Perlman, Chancellor



Charging into history
Candidates to interview for VC spot
Libraries dedicate new Cather collections
Chancellor outlines endeavors for 2006