Board of Regents
James B. Milliken
Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska
Report from the June 2013 meeting of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
Resident tuition freeze highlights 2013-14 University of Nebraska operating budget
The University of Nebraska is becoming an even better value to students and families in the state thanks to a two-year freeze on resident tuition that will take effect in the upcoming academic year.
The first phase of the resident tuition freeze was part of the university’s 2013-14 operating budget approved by the Board of Regents during its June meeting. The freeze guarantees that tuition rates for all Nebraska students – undergraduate, graduate and professional, on-campus and online – will remain at their current rates for 2013-14 and 2014-15. A typical undergraduate will save about $1,000 over the two-year period.
The tuition freeze was part of an “affordability compact” with the state that the university proposed earlier this year. Through the compact, the university promised to hold the line on resident tuition if the state would renew its investment in public higher education after five years of essentially flat funding for operations. The biennial budget for the state approved by the Legislature and Gov. Dave Heineman included a 4 percent annual increase in state appropriations for NU.
“I’m very grateful to Governor Heineman and members of the Legislature for their support of the university’s affordability compact, which will help ensure quality, accessible higher education for Nebraskans,” NU President James B. Milliken said. “Their investment in the University of Nebraska puts us in a position not only to support important priorities, but also to freeze tuition for Nebraskans for two years – a step we know will be welcomed by thousands of students and families in the state.“
Milliken noted that NU campuses already are a tremendous value compared to peer institutions. Resident undergraduate tuition and fees are 26 percent below the peer average at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (and 48 percent below the average among Big Ten public institutions), 24 percent below the peer average at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and 18 percent below the peer average at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. The tuition freeze ensures NU will continue to be accessible for Nebraskans
For 2013-14, resident undergraduate tuition will remain $216 per credit hour at UNL (excluding differential tuition rates), $196.75 per credit hour at UNO and $174.50 per credit hour at UNK. Tuition rates at the University of Nebraska Medical Center vary by college.
Nonresident tuition rates will increase by 3 percent next year – the smallest increase since 1997.
The operating budget also includes a 3 percent increase in the salary pool for faculty and staff outside the collective bargaining units at UNO and UNK. The funds will be distributed on the basis of merit and performance. Faculty salaries at UNL and UNMC lag 7.5 percent and 9 percent, respectively, behind peer averages.
Additionally, the budget includes a $2.5 million investment in Programs of Excellence, which are high-priority academic areas across the university. Programs of Excellence funds are awarded to the campuses on a competitive basis to enhance the success and reputation of outstanding programs such as early childhood education, water, public health, and information science and technology.
Combined with the tuition freeze, those critical investments will require about $2 million in budget reallocations for 2013-14. This comes on top of $76 million in reallocations the university has implemented since 2000. Milliken said the university must continue to be strategic and entrepreneurial in developing its budget and identifying efficiencies.
Already, NU spends 4 percent less per student than it did in 2000, adjusted for inflation and enrollment growth. In the same time period, the number of FTE university employees supported by tax and tuition dollars has declined by nearly 100 – even as enrollment has grown from 45,000 to 50,000 and research expenditures have more than doubled, from $100 million to nearly $300 million.
Peter Kiewit Institute review identifies challenges, opportunities for enhanced success
An external review of the University of Nebraska’s Peter Kiewit Institute has concluded that while PKI has achieved success in meeting the educational and research needs of Omaha and Nebraska, its full potential has not yet been realized, according to a presentation to the Board of Regents at its June meeting.
The review identified a high potential for PKI to take engineering and information science and technology programs to the next level of excellence in Nebraska, particularly in view of ambitious growth goals that both of the respective deans have laid out. But a number of actions – such as additional strategic planning, improvements to PKI’s organizational structure, development of specific benchmarks for success, more collaboration among relevant faculty and administrators, and increased investments – will be necessary for PKI to maximize its success.
“The Peter Kiewit Institute is a very important part of the University of Nebraska and we are fully committed to its success,” NU President James B. Milliken said. “PKI’s executive director and the deans of engineering and information science and technology have aggressive plans for enrollment and research growth that will be tremendously beneficial to businesses in Omaha and throughout Nebraska. We have much work ahead, but I am confident that in the future the Peter Kiewit Institute will be doing even more to provide the education, research and outreach that Omaha and Nebraska need.“
Established in 1997, the Peter Kiewit Institute combines UNL’s College of Engineering and UNO’s College of Information Science & Technology to provide students with an innovative education in the high-demand STEM fields. The institute is home to nearly 2,000 students, with plans for significant growth in the coming years.
Milliken requested the review to determine whether PKI is on the right track for success. The review was conducted in May and was led by Peter Freeman, emeritus dean and professor at Georgia Tech College of Computing, and Don Giddens, emeritus dean and professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Freeman was one of several external experts consulted prior to PKI’s creation.
Freeman and Giddens’ recommendations include:
Freeman and Giddens conclude that the Peter Kiewit Institute is an important economic driver for Omaha and Nebraska and that its mission holds true: “The future of PKI is still bright and a path forward seems evident.“
The chancellors of UNL and UNO will lead the development of a report addressing the key challenges identified in Freeman and Giddens’ review. The report will be presented to Milliken and the Board of Regents’ Academic Affairs Committee within 90 days.
The report will build on plans already established by Timothy Wei, dean of the College of Engineering, and Hesham Ali, dean of the College of Information Science & Technology. Both reviewed their plans with regents in June. Wei’s goals include:
Ali’s goals include:
Regents approve UNMC Cancer Center, pharmacy namings
During its June meeting, the Board of Regents approved naming the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s new cancer center the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. The Board also approved the namings of the C.L. Werner Cancer Hospital, the Suzanne and Walter Scott Cancer Research Tower, and the Gail and Mike Yanney Conference Center.
Rendering of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.
The namings recognize major gifts given to the cancer center project, which will transform cancer care and research in Nebraska. Completion of the $370 million project – the largest in the University of Nebraska’s history – is expected in fall 2016. Pamela Buffett’s generous gift through her foundation, The Rebecca Susan Buffett Foundation, honors her late husband, Fred “Fritz” Buffett, who died in 1997 after battling kidney cancer.
The Board also approved the naming of the upcoming Lozier Center for Pharmacy Sciences and Education and Center for Drug Discovery in honor of major gifts from Ruth and Bill Scott and The Lozier Foundation.
The facility will house state-of-the-art education space and research laboratories for the College of Pharmacy. A groundbreaking ceremony for the facility was held June 13, with completion scheduled for 2015. The $35 million facility will be constructed entirely from private donations.
Courtney Fletcher, dean of the College of Pharmacy, said: “This is a unique opportunity to imagine and improve the future of human health.“
Board honors visiting delegation from Ataturk University
The Board of Regents welcomed and honored a visiting delegation from Ataturk University in Turkey, which NU helped establish in the 1950s. Since then, Ataturk has become a force for education, research and national development in Turkey, and it shares a number of mutual interests with the University of Nebraska in critical areas like agriculture, health, education, engineering and business. NU recently signed an agreement with Ataturk that lays the groundwork for expanded faculty collaborations and student exchanges.
During its June meeting, the Board of Regents:
The Board of Regents is guided by a Strategic Framework that lays out specific, measurable goals in key areas such as affordability, enrollment, graduation rates, research, engagement with the citizens of Nebraska, and cost-effectiveness. The university regularly reports its progress in each of these areas to the Board; the detailed metrics and the university’s updated progress reports are available here