June 2013
June 2013
Board of Regents Report Banner

Board of Regents

Tim Clare
District 1

Howard Hawks
Vice Chair
District 2

Jim Pillen
District 3

Bob Whitehouse
District 4

Robert Schafer
District 5

Kent Schroeder
District 6

Bob Phares
District 7

Hal Daub
District 8

Jeremy Hosein

Moses Moxey

Eric Reznicek

Martha Spangler

Carmen Maurer
Corporation Secretary

James B. Milliken

Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska
3835 Holdrege St.
Lincoln NE 68583
(402) 472-3906
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Follow the University of Nebraska on Twitter and Facebook.

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.“

Nebraska State Appropriations

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:

  • An immediate “reset” in order to articulate PKI’s specific objectives, replenish resources and refresh the expectations of stakeholders within and outside of the university.

  • A review of PKI’s organizational structure aimed at ensuring that the leadership of UNO, UNL and the institute all have a stake in, and responsibility for, the success of the institute.

  • Development of a coherent vision and mission for PKI, including specific metrics – such as the number of graduates produced each year – by which the institute can measure its progress.

  • Improved synergy among the administrators and faculty involved in PKI, including improved coordination of research activities.

  • Continued commitment by UNO to leveraging PKI to expand its campus and orient its programs to the future needs of Omaha and Nebraska; and potentially enhanced support and expansion of the College of Information Science & Technology.

  • Additional strategic planning by both the College of Engineering and College of Information Science & Technology with particular attention to taking advantage of the opportunities presented by PKI.

  • Increased investments so the institute can expand its research activity, external relations and other initiatives.

  • Enhancing investment in the College of Engineering – which has ambitious plans to expand its presence in Omaha – to best meet the needs of the state.

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:

  • Building a single, strong College of Engineering that has a unified brand and significantly improved quality and productivity.

  • Increasing enrollment in Omaha and Lincoln by one-third within five years.

  • Increasing graduation rates to 70 percent in the next decade.

  • Working with industry partners to develop an innovative curriculum that will equip the next generation of engineers to succeed in the workforce.

  • Developing an Omaha-based masters program for working professionals that will be available beginning this fall.

  • Growing research activity, including through expanded partnerships with UNMC and engagement in national security research through the university’s new National Strategic Research Institute.

Ali’s goals include:

  • Doubling external funding from $4 million to $8 million.

  • Growing enrollment by 35 percent, to 1,240.

  • Significantly increasing partnerships with local high schools and businesses, and strengthening global outreach activities.

  • Continuing to recruit and retain underrepresented students, including women.

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.

Buffett Cancer 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.

Ataturk Regents


During its June meeting, the Board of Regents:

  • Approved modest renovations to the Nebraska Union at UNL – the campus’ “front door” that is a stop for all admissions tours, a game-day destination, and home to a bookstore, computer store and restaurants, among other things – that will include upgraded student lounge areas, new flooring and furniture and a renovated welcome desk and coffee shop. The projects will cost $2.1 million and will serve as a “bridge” while UNL conducts longer-term planning for a major renovation to the Union.

  • Heard a presentation on what NU is doing on each of its campuses to create a stronger pipeline for STEM education, develop more innovative STEM curricula, increase collaborations between campuses, and engage the community in STEM activities.

  • Approved creation of a Juridical Sciences Doctor in Space Law in the UNL College of Law.
  • Approved creation of a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology applied science in the UNK College of Business and Technology.

  • Heard an update on the university’s ongoing efforts to ensure fire safety in student housing. Rebecca Koller, NU assistant vice president for business and finance and director of facilities planning and management, told the Board that full sprinkler coverage has been achieved in student housing at UNO and UNMC. At UNL, 96 percent of housing and 61 percent of Greek housing is covered by sprinklers, and at UNK, 55 percent of housing is covered by sprinklers.

  • Heard a presentation on a recent trip to Washington, D.C., taken by the new members of the Board to learn about federal higher education news and initiatives. Regent Daub provided the update.

  • Rejected a proposal to allow the UNL chancellor to sign an agreement with Bryan Health for operation of the University Health Center.


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

Board of Regents – University of Nebraska – 3835 Holdrege St. – Lincoln, NE 68583 – (402) 472-3906 - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

University of Nebraska
3835 Holdrege Street, Lincoln, Nebraska 68583 | 402.472.2111 | Comments?
©2017 University of Nebraska Board of Regents