The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is part of the University of Nebraska system, which is governed by a Board of Regents whose members are elected by Nebraska voters. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln was chartered by the Legislature in 1869 and serves as both the land-grant and the comprehensive public university for the State of Nebraska. Those responsible for its origins recognized the value of combining the breadth of a comprehensive university with the professional and outreach orientation of the land-grant university, thus establishing a campus which has evolved to become the flagship campus of the University of Nebraska. The university works cooperatively with the other three campuses and Central Administration to provide for its student body and all Nebraskans the widest array of disciplines, areas of expertise, and specialized facilities of any institution within the state.
Through its three primary missions of teaching, research, and service, the university is the state’s primary intellectual center providing leadership throughout the state through quality education and the generation of new knowledge. The university’s graduates and its faculty and staff are major contributors to the economic and cultural development of the state. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln attracts a high percentage of the most academically talented Nebraskans and its graduates form a significant portion of the business, cultural, and professional resources of the state. The quality of primary, secondary, and other post-secondary educational programs in the state depends in part on the resources of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln for curricular development, teacher training, professional advancement, and enrichment activities involving the university’s faculty, museums, galleries, libraries, and other facilities. The university provides for the people of the state unique opportunities to fulfill their highest ambitions and aspirations thereby helping the state retain its most talented youth, attract talented young people from elsewhere, and address the educational needs of the non-traditional learner.
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has been recognized by the Legislature as the primary research and doctoral degree granting institution in the state for fields outside the health professions. Through its service and outreach efforts, the university extends its educational responsibilities directly to the people of Nebraska on a statewide basis. Many of the university’s teaching, research, and service activities have an international dimension in order to provide its students and the state a significant global perspective.
The Missions of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln
The role of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln as the primary intellectual and cultural resource for the state is fulfilled through the three missions of the university: teaching, research, and service. The university pursues its missions through the Colleges of Architecture, Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education and Human Sciences, Engineering, Hixson Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, Journalism and Mass Communications, Law, the university-wide Graduate College, and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources which includes the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the Agricultural Research Division, the Cooperative Extension Division, and the Conservation and Survey Division. Special units with distinct missions include the University Libraries, Online and Distance Education, International Engagement, the Lied Center for Performing Arts, the Bureau of Business Research, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications, the Sheldon Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden, the University of Nebraska State Museum, the University of Nebraska Press, the Water Center, the Nebraska Forest Service, the Nebraska State-wide Arboretum, and Intercollegiate Athletics.
To capitalize on the breadth of programs and the multidisciplinary resources available at Nebraska, a number of centers exist to marshal faculty from a variety of disciplines to focus teaching and research on specific societal issues and to provide technical assistance for business and industry in order to enhance their ability to compete in world markets. Additionally, interdisciplinary programs promote integration of new perspectives and insights into the instructional research and service activities.
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln promotes respect for and understanding of cultural diversity in all aspects of society. It strives for a culturally diverse student body, faculty, and staff reflecting the multicultural nature of Nebraska and the nation. The university brings international and multicultural dimensions to its programs through the involvement of its faculty in international activities, a student body that includes students from throughout the world, exchange agreements with other universities abroad involving both students and faculty, and the incorporation of international components in a variety of courses and curricula.
Teaching, research, and service take on a distinctive character at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln because of its status as a comprehensive land-grant university. These traits permit opportunities for the integration of multiple disciplines providing students more complete and sophisticated programs of study. Its land-grant tradition ensures a commitment to the special character of the state and its people.
The faculty is responsible for the curricular content of the various programs and pursues new knowledge and truths within a structure that assures academic freedom in its intellectual endeavors. The curricula are designed to foster critical thinking, the re-examination of accepted truths, a respect for different perspectives including an appreciation of the multiethnic character of the nation, and a curiosity that leads to life-long learning. Additionally, an environment exists whereby students can develop aesthetic values and human relationships including tolerance for differing viewpoints.
The people of Nebraska created the university to provide its citizens with the highest quality of post-secondary education. Therefore, a fundamental mission of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is teaching. The distinctiveness of the teaching mission at Nebraska lies in its range of undergraduate majors, the character and quality of the faculty, and the extracurricular environment. The university provides students with a wide choice of courses and career options which often expands the scope of their dreams and ambitions. The size and diversity of the university permits students to mature and to develop their own sense of self-confidence and individual responsibility. The course work is enriched by a faculty that is engaged in active research and creative activity and whose frame of reference is the national and international community of scholars.
Having created the first graduate college west of the Mississippi River, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has historically recognized graduate education to be a central and unique component of its mission. Thus, the university has primary responsibility in the state for graduate education, especially at the doctoral and professional levels. The university is unique in possessing the scope of programs necessary for multidisciplinary instruction at the graduate level, a faculty involved in research necessary to support graduate education, and the libraries, laboratories, computer facilities, museums, galleries, and other ancillary resources required for graduate instruction.
Basic and applied research and creative activity represent a major component of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s mission, a component that is recognized in Nebraska legislative statutes, and in its status as a land-grant university. The quest for new knowledge is an essential part of a research university; it helps define and attract the type of faculty necessary to provide a university education; it distinguishes the quality of the undergraduate students’ classroom experience; and it is the necessary component of graduate instruction.
As part of its research mission, the university is dedicated to the pursuit of an active research agenda producing both direct and indirect benefits to the state. The special importance of agriculture, environment, and natural resources is addressed in its research priorities. In addition, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln conducts a high level of research and creative activities that address in specific ways the issues and problems that confront Nebraska. Through their research and creative activities, faculty at the university interact with colleagues around the world and are part of the network of knowledge and information that so influences our society. As a consequence, the university serves as the gateway through which Nebraska participates in and shares the gains from technological and cultural developments.
The land-grant tradition creates for the University of Nebraska–Lincoln a special state-wide responsibility to serve the needs of Nebraska and its citizens. In addition, many of its service aspects extend to regional, national, and international clientele. The Cooperative Extension Division has a specific responsibility to bring the teaching and research resources of the university to a wider clientele. Through Cooperative Extension’s partnership with federal, state, and county agencies, the university has an outreach program in each county in the state. Moreover, all units of the university have a service and outreach mission.
To help accomplish this mission, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln delivers educational services through diverse ways including distance education and as a participant in the development of regional educational centers especially in those areas where it has state-wide responsibilities. The university recognizes its obligation to extend its resources beyond the campus and throughout the state. Serving the needs of Nebraska requires more than responding to the felt needs of the time. The university must be visionary in its planning and must help the citizens of the state prepare for the future as well as deal with the present.