A new academic year is underway at the University of Nebraska, and I’m reminded again of the reasons my colleagues and I come to work every day. Seeing our classrooms, residence halls and student unions come alive with activity is a powerful illustration of the university’s responsibility to prepare students to be successful, to provide them with a safe and welcoming home away from home, and to expose them to talented faculty and staff whose expertise and guidance will serve them for years to come.
I am also reminded of our duty to make sure every Nebraskan knows about the work happening here. Our campuses may be bustling, but it’s not enough to hope that all the diverse stakeholders of the University of Nebraska will come to us to personally witness the teaching, research and service we’re doing. We need to bring our story to you. We need to show you how your university is working on your behalf.
I am proud to say this is exactly what we’ve been doing.
Over the past few months, we’ve made personal engagement with you a priority. Ogallala, Imperial, Red Cloud, Broken Bow, Falls City, Auburn, Peru, Sidney… I could go on. We’ve connected with Nebraskans in all corners of the state – to listen to you, learn from you, and tell you about what we’re doing to change the lives of our students, enhance quality of life in our communities and keep Nebraska’s economy strong.
“We’re connecting with Nebraskans in all corners of the state to listen, learn and tell you what we’re doing to change the lives of students, enhance quality of life and keep Nebraska’s economy strong.”
If you’re heard from me or one of my colleagues, you’ve heard a great story.
You’ve heard about how the University of Nebraska is a real value for students and families and how we hope to expand access even further so that everyone who wants to pursue a university education can do so.
You’ve heard about how we are a $3.9 billion economic engine for the state. About how we are a major driver of Nebraska’s workforce, with 1 of every 36 jobs in the state attributable to the university.
You’ve heard about how our talented faculty and staff have put us in a position to be a leader in addressing some of the world’s biggest problems: hunger, poverty, disease, national security, educational achievement gaps.
You’ve heard about the positive working relationship we have with policymakers whose support for affordable and quality higher education has helped maintain Nebraska’s competitive advantage.
You’ve heard about visionary and generous private donors whose gifts have made extraordinary learning and research opportunities possible for students and faculty.
You’ve heard about our quest to become one of America’s leading academic health science centers, and how we’re well on our way thanks to our nationally known work in treating infectious diseases and caring for cancer patients.
You’ve heard about extension and outreach services that touch every Nebraska county.
And you’ve heard about how we’re dreaming bigger. About our plans to grow enrollment to better meet Nebraska’s workforce needs, and expand our research enterprise to solve the important challenges, and distinguish ourselves in what is clearly the most competitive higher education environment of our lifetimes. You’ve heard that we have ambitious goals – and that they’re not possible without your engagement.
If you haven’t had the chance to meet someone from the university, I hope you know our outreach isn’t done. We’ll continue to share the story of our work and impact across the state. Nebraskans can be proud of their university, and we can’t wait to tell you more.