Milliken highlighted the University of Nebraska’s accomplishments of the past year and the goals of the university’s strategic framework, which was developed to guide university planning, establish priorities and measure progress. Created in consultation with the Board of Regents, chancellors, faculty, staff, students and citizens across the state, the framework is built on six overarching goals:
- Affordable access to education
- Quality academic programs
- Excellence in research and scholarship
- Nebraska’s workforce and economic development
- Engagement with the state
- Accountability to the people of Nebraska
Milliken cited several accomplishments in the past year: a significant increase in state financial support, the lowest tuition increase in eight years, increased need-based financial aid, and the University of Nebraska Foundation’s transfer of $78 million in private funds for scholarships, endowed chairs and other support.
Other positive news in 2005 included increased enrollment on all four campuses, including increased numbers of ethnic minority students, and record-setting research awards in excess of $175 million that put Nebraska – for the first time – in the top 50 among all universities for R&D funding. He also reflected on the university community’s quick and caring response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the initiatives created to assist students and their families who were affected by the storm.
Milliken spoke to the challenge of increasing Nebraska’s level of educational attainment, saying, “Nebraska needs more educated citizens, and the university must play a central role in increasing the number of people who hold college degrees.” Keys to meeting that challenge include new recruitment strategies for both in-state and out-of-state students, stronger diversity initiatives, an increased emphasis on distance education, and the P-16 initiative, which helps prepare students and their families for the challenges and rewards of college.
Milliken underscored the importance of the university’s outreach efforts, announcing a new Outstanding Engagement and Outreach Award to recognize faculty members who develop innovative approaches to sharing university resources with Nebraskans. It will be presented annually with university-wide awards that recognize excellence in teaching, research and creative activity.
In closing, Milliken said, “I am more excited today than I was year ago about the future of the University of Nebraska. I have found that the ‘Love of Place’ that brought me back to Nebraska in 2004 is stronger than ever – and that it is shared by people throughout the university and in every community in the state. I am honored to serve as president of this great university.”
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