INSTITUTION: AN OVERVIEW
Founded as a land-grant institution in 1869, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is the flagship institution among the four universities of the University of Nebraska system. UNL ranks among the world’s leading universities and is the state’s primary intellectual center through its three primary missions of teaching, research, and service. The university’s land-grant tradition creates a state-wide responsibility to serve the needs of Nebraska and its citizens and, through Nebraska Extension and its partnerships with federal, state, and county agencies, the university has an outreach program in each county in the state.
UNL is designated in the Carnegie Classification system as a research university with very high research activity and a wide array of grant-funded projects aimed at broadening knowledge in the sciences and humanities. By connecting everything it does to its research, scholarship, and creative activity, the university ensures these innovations shape the education provided to its students. It is a member of the Big Ten Conference and the Big Ten Academic Alliance and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The university completed a successful reaccreditation visit in 2017.
While a research-intensive institution, UNL faculty possess an extraordinary and primary focus on educational excellence. The university offers over 175 undergraduate majors and 173 graduate degree and certificate programs in its nine academic colleges. UNL holds access to high quality education as a principal part of its mission. In congruence with this value, the university enrolled 25,332 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in fall 2019.
These students comprise the most racially diverse and academically talented in the university’s 150-year history. Undergraduates learn from faculty who create new knowledge, who are leading scientists, artists, and scholars, and who care deeply about students’ success. The general education curriculum, Achievement-Centered Education, is built on student learning outcomes that answer the fundamental question: “What should all undergraduate students — irrespective of their majors and career aspirations — know or be able to do upon graduation?” The Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences program, University Honors program, and Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management exemplify this commitment to undergraduate success. UNL also provides attractive graduate education offerings and aims to foster a meaningful and excellent graduate student experience through its individual development plans, Preparing Future Faculty program, and Teaching Development program.
UNL is home to a distinguished standing faculty of over 1,600 engaged in groundbreaking research and professional practice that crosses disciplinary and professional boundaries. In addition to its regional and national collaborations, the university brings international dimensions to its programs through the faculty’s global engagement, a student body that includes students from throughout the world, exchange agreements with other universities abroad, and the incorporation of international components in a variety of courses and curricula.
For the second year, the University of Nebraska system ranked among the world’s top 100 in earning U.S. patents. The university’s top sources for federal funding include the National Science Foundation, U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services (including the National Institutes of Health), Defense, Energy, Interior and Homeland Security. NUtech Ventures, UNL’s technology commercialization arm, brought in a record $6.1 million in licensing revenue in fiscal year 2019. With current research expenditures over $320 million, UNL seeks to grow to $450 million by 2025. UNL is regularly named a top research institution, whose students are awarded Fulbright scholarships, and UNL undergraduates consistently succeed in prestigious national scholarship competitions.
In fall 2019, UNL was listed 64th among public colleges and universities, 115th on the Best Value Schools list, and was included among the Top 100 schools on the Best A+ Schools for B Students list by U.S. News & World Report. High rankings on the Best Value Schools and Best A+ Schools for B Students lists affirms UNL’s success in its commitment to the land-grant mission: access to an affordable college education for all qualified students. UNL was named a “Best Buy” by the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2018. It also ranks among the best universities for veteran and military student success in the United States. “Big Red” lifts Nebraska’s visibility nationally and allows the university to compete both athletically and academically. Nebraska athletes have earned more Academic All-American awards and NCAA Top Eight Awards than any other Division I institution.
The university’s state-aided budget is $1.3B with an endowment of $1.7B. UNL recently conducted a comprehensive review of its existing budget system in order to better align the university’s budget allocation with university goals and objectives. The institution has chosen to move from a centralized management model to an incentive-based management system. This new budget model is guided by some common RCM principles, in addition to the direction set forth in the university’s budget model redesign task force report.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has invested $1 billion over the last 10 years in significant academic and research facilities, including new construction and renovations. Plans for additional projects are underway. In addition, the University of Nebraska Foundation recently completed an extremely successful capital campaign raising over $1.8 billion, supporting undergraduate scholarships, study abroad scholarships, and graduate fellowships; support for endowed professorships, research professorships and chairs; support for targeted and identified academic and research programs; and support for campus facilities and infrastructure. Planning for the next major campaign is underway. UNL firmly believes that the campaign’s success would not have been possible without the strong support and appreciation from the citizens of the state of Nebraska. Nebraskans value higher education, which is the key to a strong workforce and vibrant economy. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s direct annual overall economic impact across the state of Nebraska was $2.2 billion (2019 Tripp Umbach Economic Contribution Report), including directly or indirectly supporting 18,497 jobs across the state.
Situated in the city of Lincoln, Nebraska, UNL plays an integral part in the success and future of the city. As collaborative and open partners, the city of Lincoln and UNL are deeply committed to the success of their counterpart. UNL is consistently reminded of its support from the local area through regular attendance of its football gamedays, performing arts center events, and through partnerships such as the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy. The university also frequently seeks ways to partner with the city, and the Office of Student Affairs figures prominently in this work.