In the newest episode of the University of Nebraska System’s "Leading Nebraska" podcast series, President Ted Carter is joined by NU colleagues and partners in discussing the significant impact the campuses have on the state’s economic growth and quality of life.
An independent new analysis of the NU System’s impact has found that the teaching, research and outreach activities of the University of Nebraska campuses grow the state’s economy by $5.8 billion each year. That’s equivalent to a $9 return on every $1 the state invests, according to the analysis from the leading national consultant Tripp Umbach – up from the 7-to-1 ROI assessed by the firm in 2019.
Carter called the findings "the latest confirmation that the University of Nebraska is one of the largest drivers of economic and individual growth in our state." That the university grew its impact in the midst of the pandemic makes the results even more impressive, he said.
"The university is involved in everything from medicine to teaching, to legal, to the building of our engineers and our physical structures here in the state. The people of Nebraska should know that their university is the centerpiece to all of that," Carter says in the podcast.
But Carter – a retired vice admiral in the U.S. Navy and past superintendent of his alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy – added that he and the chancellors are focused on growing the university’s impact even further as they work to meet the urgent workforce needs of the state.
"You’re only as good as your last carrier landing," Carter says in the podcast. "I view my job as the system president with the attitude that we never rest on our laurels. We’ve got to continually prove ourselves. Nothing is static."
Bryan Slone, president of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, notes in the podcast that the university’s 50,000-strong student body plays a critical role in the state’s workforce development, particularly at a time when Nebraska has tens of thousands of open jobs in high-need areas like health care and the STEM fields.
"There are only two organizations within the state that have broad reach economically within the state," Slone says. "One is the State Chamber. The other is the University of Nebraska, which has statewide influence. When we combine and partner with that business and education piece, we can attack big issues economically for the state."
Carter said his priorities for the year ahead include continued progress on the NU System’s five-year strategic plan, including expansion of internship opportunities for students, growth in research activity, and new partnerships with business, industry, government and education.
Already, he said, the university’s upward trajectory and expansive expertise – including world-leading faculty in areas like infectious disease, early childhood education, national defense and engineering – show that the University of Nebraska can compete with the nation’s top institutions.
"It’s really an exciting time for the university," he says.
Detailed information on Tripp Umbach’s analysis of the university’s economic impact is available here.
Listeners may follow the NU System’s "Leading Nebraska" podcast here. Launched in 2019, the podcast series shares stories of researchers, students and educators across the four campuses who are growing the state’s workforce and quality of life. Podcast topics include nursing, agricultural education, workforce development, cybersecurity, teacher education, national defense and others, featuring experts from UNK, UNL, UNMC and UNO.