State of the University Address 2016

State of the University Address 2016

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State of the University Address 2016Transcribed as delivered September 22, 2016

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CHANCELLOR GREEN: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Lied Center for the Performing Arts here at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

It’s a real privilege that we have, as we settle in to the 2016-17 year for us here, to take a breath, to step back, to assess, to take stock of the progress of our university and, this year in particular, I would say perhaps equally importantly, to look out to the future of our great university.

Before I assumed the role of chancellor, I didn’t ever dream that I would have the chance to give back to a such great university who has given so much to me personally, to my family, to literally hundreds of thousands of alumni around the world and, indeed, as we’ll talk about today, to all of the over 1.8 million people of the state of Nebraska.

And while I won’t talk to you today very much about leadership philosophy or about how I plan to approach the role of the chancellor’s position – I’d much rather let our leadership team’s actions speak louder than any words might – I will tell you that I like to approach leadership as a servant, one who operates as a servant leader, who believes that I lead with you and for you – with you being all of our faculty, our staff, our students, our stakeholders and, indeed, our state that we represent. And I look forward to a great journey ahead as we launch down this path.

Now, I thought it might be really helpful today to couch our conversation into terms of the history of our university, who we are as a university, from whence we have come as a university.

All of you will recognize the image on the screen, one of the greatest U.S. presidents in our history, a president who served at a time of great civil discord in our country during the Civil War, during the expansion to the west, overtop of us literally here at Nebraska, the development of the transcontinental railroad, the Homestead Act that meant so much and has continued to mean so much to the Great Plains region of the U.S.

And then there was this little thing that President Lincoln signed in 1862 – which I believe history will count long term as one of the most profound pieces of policy for our federal government to have ever enacted – called the Morrill Act. That act established and set up the system of public land-grant universities across the U.S. to help a growing nation succeed; to give access to higher education not just to the elite, but to the masses; to do applied research that mattered to the regions where those universities would be located as they developed.

And as you know, our land-grant university, the University of Nebraska that was first established here in 1869 in the fledgling community that was eventually to bear the name of President Lincoln, is our origin. And I would wager to bet and believe that the founders of our university, the leaders, the previous 19 chancellors, would never have envisioned that in the nearly 15 decades since that time, we would have become the university that we are today.

I doubt that they would recognize the campus that we have here and the physical infrastructure and capacity that we have on our main campus in downtown Lincoln, our City Campus, our East Campus in Lincoln, our development of (the) new Innovation Campus on the former state fairgrounds here to our north, and, indeed, they probably would never have been able to envision that, in fact, our university is a statewide campus through our efforts in extension and research that reach to every one of the 93 counties of the state of Nebraska that we serve.

I doubt that they would have been able to envision the economic impact that our university has on an annual basis, now a university that’s made up of four campuses spread throughout our state, plus the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at Curtis, with the UNL campus alone contributing over $2 billion in economic activity and impact to the state of Nebraska annually by our most recent estimates. And if you put together our sister campuses at UNO and UNMC and UNK and NCTA, that number is closer to $4 billion in economic impact from public education in our state.

I doubt that our founders would have been able to envision the record enrollment that we’re enjoying this academic year as we set a new enrollment record for the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in our 147-year history of nearly 26,000 students studying with us here in our great University.

I doubt that they would have been able to envision that we would have the largest freshman class in our history, nearing 4,900 new students who have come to us and (who) represent the most diverse student body that we have ever had, diverse in where they come from, diverse in geographic identity, diverse in ethnic and cultural and racial background, diverse in socioeconomic status.

I doubt that they would have been able to imagine the academic credentials and capability of the students, and their intellectual curiosity, as evidenced this past year by a record number of 11 Fulbright student awards, so that these students can go and spread their impact abroad post study.

I doubt that they would have been able to recognize the extracurricular success of our students, academic extracurricular success, athletic academic success, the fact that Husker athletics continues to lead the United States in being the best place to be a student athlete in the NCAA, with 325 Academic All-Americans, leading the country by over a hundred over our nearest competitor.

And they certainly would have never been able to envision the excitement of the competition on the field, as evidenced this past year by our women’s volleyball team and their success in winning the NCAA national championship, plus the excellence across the other 23 sports that we compete in through Husker athletics.

I doubt that our founders would have been able to recognize the new faculty that we have been able to add to our ranks over time, and the research and the creative activity. Once again we broke an all-time record this past year at UNL with $285 million in research expenditures of our faculty, our staff, and our students working together to create and develop new scholarship.

Now, one thing that I will say here, and I’ll repeat this later in the presentation this afternoon, when we report research expenditures in this way, we actually underreport the impact of our scholarship and our creative activity because we don’t include so much of the breadth and depth of our research and creative activity, especially in the arts and humanities and in the social sciences that grace our campus.

As evidence of our faculty continuing to reach new heights in excellence and international stature, this past year we were very pleased that eight of our faculty members, a record number, were inducted as fellows of the premiere science organization in the world, known as the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Out of the over 90 institutions boasting a new inductee as a fellow in AAAS around the country, we were ranked second in the United States in the number of new AAAS fellows, tied with the likes of Stanford University, and only bested by our colleagues at Duke University.

I doubt that our founders would have been able to imagine the new faculty and the level of expertise that we’ve been able to bring to our campus; we draw diverse faculty from throughout the world to us, and they excel and succeed.

I doubt that they would have imagined the level of support that we enjoy from donors, from alumni, from stakeholders of the university and, indeed, from our very own state of Nebraska, and the fact that we are amongst the very best-supported institutions of public education in the country from our state and the citizens here.

The support of this university is evidenced in so many places. This morning I attended the funeral services of one of the greats here in Lincoln, Duane Acklie, the founder and developer of Crete Carrier Corporation, who exemplifies in so many ways through his life the service of giving back to the university. We lost him this year. We lost Jim Seacrest. We lost Dick Holland. Long-time supporters of our university who, as servant leaders, have given so much back to our academic programs over time.

I’m sure our founders wouldn’t have imagined a time when we welcomed 162 people in our new faculty orientation just a few weeks ago. As this slide depicts for you, we have a richness of diversity and background in terms of disciplines and expertise, where these new faculty are coming to us from, and this will increase the excellence of our work here at the university for decades to come.

And, of course, we are very blessed here to have a very large UNL family, a family that is made up of faculty, staff, and students. In faculty and staff alone, we have a family of 6,427 of us reaching for the highest levels of excellence in meeting our tripartite mission of teaching, research, and outreach and service to our state, region and world.

And as you know, in recent years our tradition tied to the State of the University address has been to recognize the five-year marks of service for our faculty and staff, tied to or as a prelude, if you will, to this conversation and dialogue of the State of the University.

We decided this year to do that a bit differently and to localize that down into the academic colleges, into the divisions and the units of the University so that it would be more personal and we could go out and spend time in those colleges with our servant leaders.

But I do want to take some time today to recognize a very elite group of servants to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, those who have hit their 40, their 45, their 50, and, indeed, in the case of one, 55 years of service to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

And as I ask them to join me on stage for you to thank them for their service, please enjoy this video tribute to them.

(Pause for tribute.)

CHANCELLOR GREEN: I also want to do one other shout-out before we move forward in thanking a team of faculty and staff who have worked now for a couple of years in preparing us for our reaccreditation with the Higher Education Learning Commission.

As you probably know, our university is accredited on a ten-year rolling basis by the HLC. Our last accreditation was in 2006, and we have a very important site visit coming up the week of October 24th, just about a month from now, of the reaccreditation evaluation team from HLC that will be working with us in this process moving forward.

It has been a huge amount of love and labor on the part of a team that has been led by Laurie Bellows, our acting dean of graduate studies, Amy Goodburn, associate vice chancellor in academic affairs and interim dean of academic services and enrollment management, and Renee Batman, associate vice chancellor in academic affairs.

They’ve led a team, a core team of 80, and over 300 of our faculty and staff have been involved in developing the documentation and the assurance statements and working toward this reaccreditation process. So I would ask any of you in the audience who have been part of that process, please stand, take a bow, and accept our thanks for your work in our reaccreditation. I know you’re here. Stand up.

(Applause.)

CHANCELLOR GREEN: Now, in the remainder of our time this afternoon I want to shift gears a little bit and talk about the future. As the slide behind me shows, I believe the best days of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln are yet to come. I said that the day that President Bounds announced the appointment of the chancellor’s position, hard to believe now five months ago.

Three years from now, as I indicated earlier to you, we’ll celebrate our 150th anniversary on February 15th, 2019, but I believe the best days are ahead of us rather than behind us. And the best analogy that I can provide to you for that, and pardon me for using this analogy, but I think you’ll all be able to relate to it, is if you had the opportunity to be in the stadium on Saturday or if you had the opportunity to be plugged in to the stadium in some way on Saturday, you could sense the eagerness, the expectation, the enthusiasm, the hope, the desire that was there on the part of the importance of that athletic competition for our football team and the anticipation that was associated with that.

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the way I feel every day when I get up about the University of Nebraska and about the future that we have ahead here at UNL.

I want to start by reminding us of what President Bounds said in his investiture speech when he was installed as our seventh University of Nebraska president this spring. He referred to four pillars of strength that the University of Nebraska should aspire to as a system.

He talked about the University of Nebraska being the best place in the nation to be a student. He talked about the importance of transforming lives through research and innovation that is done by the University of Nebraska. He talked about the University of Nebraska doing that and achieving our mission by working together with our partners, and then, lastly, he talked about how we would eventually win in our mission by the quality of the people that we have on our team, including the students who we have in our principal mission.

I couldn’t agree more with those four pillars that Hank has laid out so well for us. And as the flagship university of the University of Nebraska, perhaps a historical image to go with that, but as the flagship university of our university system, the comprehensive, doctoral-granting, research-intensive, land-grant university that we are, we have a responsibility to lead, and we have a responsibility to move to higher levels as we move forward.

And I believe that in those days that are ahead for us, as we think out to the quarter century mark that is ahead, 2025, that while we are a global leader today in many respects at our university, we should seek to become a global leader on the global stage of higher education and scholarship in ways that have been unsurpassed by us previously. And I believe we will see that happen in the future.

There has also been much made about our maturity into the Big Ten athletic and academic alliance. I can remember distinctly, because I was a brand-new administrator here at the University in 2010, when we had the opportunity to become a part of this great collection of universities, most of them public, across an 11-state, now, footprint that makes up the Big Ten. These are 14 of America’s greatest universities, the flagship, and/or comprehensive University, and/or land-grant in those 11 states of this Big Ten academic alliance.

And we’ve talked a lot about how while we might be the smallest University in size and scope, except Northwestern, in that group and we have catch-up to do there in size and that we have strived to become bigger and better in business and in engineering and in agricultural sciences and natural resources and in law and education and human sciences and fine and performing arts, all of our nine academic colleges, I would submit to you that our challenge should be to be a distinctive Big Ten university. Distinctive in the way that we serve our students, distinctive in the value of a University of Nebraska–Lincoln degree as our students leave and go into society and serve through their lives, distinctive in research and scholarship and creative activity that matters to Nebraska, and matters to the challenges that we face in the world as we move forward.

And I think we’re making great strides in seeing that happen, evidenced most recently of our College of Business Administration jumping significantly in the rankings nationally that we’re so proud of and glad to see. And we will see those same kinds of things happen in a number of our colleges in the future.

Now, I want to speak a little bit to growth and how we anticipate looking when we hit that 2025 mark. And I am going to qualify my statements here right up front and say the numbers that I am going to show you are targets. They’re not refined numbers at this point. We have a lot of work to do ahead of us to strategize and refine these numbers. But I want you to feel the direction that we should be moving.

Enrollment. We celebrated this record enrollment for our University campus a few weeks ago. We’ve already talked about that. 25,897 students. This graph shows you that trend since 2000. And you can see that we are beginning to trend up, a goal that we have had now for a number of years, as you know, as Chancellor Perlman laid out five years ago a goal seeking to have a 30,000-student campus here at UNL.

And you will see that as I think about 2025, nine years out in advance, I think that number is probably too low and that we have the opportunity to become a bigger campus in terms of student impact and through student success, closer to the 35,000 student mark.

If we look at the demographics and the change in our student body over the last number of years, we know that we already are changing in very positive and successful ways. And I’ll show you a few of those statistics here in these slides.

Non-resident students to Nebraska who have come to our campus in recent years. These numbers that you’ll see reflect 2007 in the lower number, 2016 today in the upper number, so the previous nine years of time, if you want to think about it that way, as we’re thinking about the next nine years ahead of us.

22.4 percent of our students in 2007 came from outside Nebraska. This year we hit 31.4 percent. It is our expectation that that number will continue to trend up as we bring more talent to Nebraska from around the country and outside the country, indeed, in our international enrollment.

That’s a win for the state of Nebraska. That’s a win for bringing talent here and bringing high-capability students to come here and study and then hopefully stay in Nebraska. We need to find creative ways in our state for that to be the case.

International enrollment. 5.9 percent nine years ago, currently bumping 11 percent of our student enrollment. And we know that we continue to see that increase. Our expectation is that it will continue to increase.

I would wager to you that perhaps we need to diversify it further, as we are very concentrated in a relatively few countries of origin in our international student population today.

I could not be more pleased that Sonia Feigenbaum has joined us just recently as the new associate vice chancellor for international engagement and global strategy. She came to us from Brown University. And we welcome Sonia to our leadership team to help us strategize and think about this international enrollment as we move forward, as well as international engagement of our students abroad, as well as engagement in our research programs abroad.

Our minority student enrollment. Underrepresented minorities made up just 8.6 percent of our enrollment seven years ago – nine years ago in 2007. Today we’re at 14.3 percent minority enrollment. That is a number we will work to continue to increase, which I hope will hit at least 20 percent in that nine years that we have ahead.

I couldn’t have been more pleased, just a little over a week ago in this very venue here at the Lied Center, where we hosted two groups of our freshman students for the Husker Dialogues put on by over 300 volunteers from our faculty and our staff. We had small-group discussions amongst our freshman students, the majority of our freshman class in attendance between those two sessions, to talk about the meaning of diversity and inclusion and how to relate to a diverse environment and to have those conversations in ways that are rigorous, that welcome all perspectives, and that allow us to expand our horizons from the richness and diversity of the background of all of our people here at the university.

We also have work to do ahead, and this is an area that I am going to point to very heavily, in student success. Recruitment has been very successful. We are raising our enrollment. We’re going to continue to see that happen following the trend of this year and recent years.

But we also have work to do to enhance the success of our students once they arrive here on our campus. And if we look at our retention rate of our first-time freshmen to their sophomore year, we have hovered in that low 80 percentile range for some time. Last year that number was around 83 percent.

We should commit ourselves to that number exceeding 90 percent retention of first-time students to second-year students. And as we grow our enrollment and retention, we’ll see even more evidence of that the fact in our commencement ceremonies, as we’ve already outgrown Pinnacle Bank Arena for May commencements because we’ve worked very hard to increase our graduation and matriculation success of our students.

Today we are at 67 percent in six-year graduation rate as reported federally. And if you know that statistic, the way we report federally is the number or percentage of our incoming first-time freshmen who graduate within six years from UNL; these are students who start at UNL and who graduate at UNL.

If you roll together the students who start here, and graduate with a four-year degree from any university, we’re well over 80 percent, which is much better in terms of thinking about it from that perspective.

I would wager to you, though, and I know I’ll hear some gasps when I say this, but I believe it in the depths of my heart, that we should shoot for an 80 percent graduation rate, not only in six years, but, in four years, and that we need to uncover in our campus everything that we can do or any impediment that stands in the way of that kind of success for a student who puts forth the effort that is required to meet the requirements for our degrees.

We also recognize, as we talk about enhanced enrollment, that we need to place greater emphasis in the future on not only undergraduate enrollment, but graduate enrollment as well. And if you study our history over the last decade, our graduate enrollment has been relatively stable. It’s been relatively flat over that period of time if you look at master’s students, doctoral candidates, professional degree students that make up those graduate students and their success.

I believe that we need to take the cover off of that and to look hard at how we should grow in targeted areas for our graduate enrollment that make sense for us, where there is a demand for those doctoral candidates, those professional degree holders as we move forward.

And this last kind of rolled together enrollment discussion here is that if you think about where we are today, graduating somewhere north of 5,200 students in total per year from UNL, where about 450 of those graduates are doctoral, about 300 doctoral degree candidates graduate per year and about 150 professional degree students, I would wager to you that that number should escalate at a rapid rate, more to the 8,500 to 9,000 level nine years from now. And proportionally, a greater percentage of that growth over the base should be in graduate students as compared to undergraduate students to further our research mission.

Now, I want to stop here before I move to research and scholarship and creative activity and just say to you that we recognize that we have work to do to define the strategies for this kind of goal in enrollment. I mentioned that we’ve had the 5,000 student increase goal for a number of years here. And what we have done is gone out and tried to recruit more undergraduate students, principally, to our campus.

We need to define a real strategic framework for where that growth needs to be, how that growth needs to be funded, how we need to fund it in areas of demand and interest that are going to be important to our University and to our state, and this relativity of graduate to undergraduate enrollment is a big part of that. So we have significant work to do ahead in defining that strategy and that plan as we seek to move to become a bigger enrollment campus.

Prem S. Paul, 1947 - 2016

Now, I want to shift to research and creative activity and scholarship briefly and talk about our aspirations and goals there as well. It hasn’t escaped any of us that we lost a dear colleague and friend and leader, transformational leader for our campus this month with the passing of Prem Paul.

And I can’t begin to say enough that will categorize and will characterize the impact of his leadership since he came here in 2001, as the vice chancellor for Research originally, ultimately having economic development added to his remitted title in the latter half of his tenure.

Prem was known as the person who thought big, who always wanted to think about how we could be bigger in research and creative activity and scholarship. Some would refer to him as the vice chancellor of enthusiasm, as you may have heard in our attribute to him on Saturday during the football game.

And I could not be more pleased that our Board of Regents from the University of Nebraska formally approved last Friday in their board meeting that we will rename the Whittier building on our campus, which as many of you know was Prem’s project, that he desired to bring that into the university as additional infrastructure, now the home of much of ORED for us, the Prem S. Paul Research Center at Whittier School. I am so glad about that, so happy about that for the legacy that he leaves here on our campus.

Please give our dear friend and colleague Prem Paul a huge round of applause for everything he has done for our campus.

(Applause.)

CHANCELLOR GREEN: And the numbers bear witness to Prem’s transformational ability for us. I mentioned the $285 million research expenditures record number that we currently have at the university this past year, and you will see that we started from a number about half that level when Prem became vice chancellor for research.

We have aspirations to become a top 35 public research university, which means that proportionally we will increase that level of research expenditures over time, and keep in mind, this doesn’t measure much of the impact of our research areas across campus because of the way these numbers get reported.

We’ll increase our research by building on areas of excellence, building on focal points that are important and relevant to our state, our region, to the challenges that we face ahead.

Certainly we have emphasis and international expertise in water and food security that continues to lead in many respects in those fields around our campus. We have work in early childhood education and international leadership in that area in early childhood education and development. The Buffett Early Childhood Institute is added to that recently in our capacity.

Social sciences and behavioral research, the arts and the humanities, we have so much leadership in those areas across a number of our disciplines on our campus. In the engineering and the physics area, material science, and in energy development, and certainly in the life sciences we have opportunity to grow even bigger in the future.

And I am particularly excited and interested in the opportunities that we will have ahead in the areas of national defense. The contributions in our physics area, as you know, are immense and huge, in brain biology and behavior and the CB3 that’s now building and further developing into a world-class area of expertise.

And then we have this opportunity, I believe, to link better with our partners in the University of Nebraska system, to leverage synergies that we have together, particularly at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. And I could not be more excited to be able to link arms with Jeff Gold, the chancellor at UNMC, and we’ve begun doing this.

We’ve begun having discussions about how we can tie our research enterprises together in a more meaningful and impactful way, as well as our education mission, as well as our partners at UNO and our partners at UNK in areas of strategic importance where we can partner to move forward in the future.

We have this opportunity as well to develop our now third campus at UNL, Nebraska Innovation Campus, that extends our ability to do public-private partnership work and extend our scholarship and research out into the private sector faster and more meaningfully.

We had a great year this past year, six years into the development of a 25-year plan for Nebraska Innovation Campus, to dedicate phase one of our facilities that now make up a world-class food innovation center, a conference center that has exceeded our expectations in its first two years of use, an Innovation Commons housing a number of our university partners and private partners, and a greenhouse innovation center that will allow us to link with industry in an important developing area of automated plant phenotyping.

And today we already have 20 partners working with us together at Innovation Campus, not only in food, fuel and water, the emphasis originally of the campus, but extending now into health care, extending into biosciences, extending into emerging media and the digital world as we move ahead.

I couldn’t be more excited about phase two that we are now planning for Innovation Campus with groundbreaking of our first facility coming up very soon.

We had the plan over that 25-year period for Nebraska Innovation Campus that ultimately we would have a million and a half square feet of space that would house our public-private partnerships on that campus. That’s, you know, 20 – 19 years from now ahead of us.

Today we’re at 380,000 square feet in that initial phase-one plan, where about 75 percent of the activity there today is with the university, 25 percent with our partners. Ultimately we will see that flip, for a third of the activity ultimately to be university and two-thirds to become private industry supported in private sector.

We could have never gotten this started without the $25 million of support that was provided to us by the state of Nebraska to enable us to develop and get this first phase of Nebraska Innovation Campus underway.

And then we have this opportunity ahead of us to unleash the talent that we have on our campus and that we will be bringing as we assemble a new leadership team. I am sure it hasn’t escaped you that in order for us to grow at the levels that we aspire to in the years ahead that that community of 6,427 will be bigger in the future.

I don’t know if 9,000 is the right number, but we certainly will have to be bigger in faculty and in staff to deliver on our tripartite mission. And we have strategy to develop for how to make that happen and tactics that we will have to use to move forward in that way.

We couldn’t be more fortunate to be led by a talented group of academic leaders. These are the deans of the nine academic colleges and other units of our campus. And you will recognize a number of new faces on that slide. We’ve welcomed Kathy Ankerson as the new dean of the College of Architecture this summer to come and lead that college into its next era of development.

Lance Pérez, Interim dean of the College of Engineering

We’ve welcomed Lance Pérez as the Interim dean of the College of Engineering on a two- or three-year appointment to work with the college to develop its plans for elevating its stature and moving forward in the future; Richard Moberly, who stepped into the role as interim dean of our College of Law earlier this year and is doing a wonderful job for us as we move through transition of leadership in that college; Beth Doll, who stepped in as acting dean of our College of Education and Human Sciences following Marjorie Kostelnik’s willingness to serve as interim senior vice chancellor of academic affairs.

So we’ve got a wonderful group of leaders here – also should mention Laurie Bellows as acting dean of graduate studies that you see in that picture – who we’re going to be asking to step up to leadership roles as part of our senior leadership in the university, to envision this future with us and to, oh, by the way, do a lot of planning as we move forward.

I know that you saw the announcement in the last couple of days that we have been successful in attracting finalists for our two chief academic officer positions for the university, the first two big pieces of assembling that future leadership team for the university as we move forward.

I could not be more excited about the four finalists you see on the screen for the executive vice chancellor position, that what we know now is the senior vice chancellor of academic affairs. That title is being changed to reflect some difference in remit of that position as we move forward, in that the vice chancellor for research, as we bring our next leader in that area following Steve Goddard’s willingness to serve as the interim leader at this time, will report to the executive vice chancellor, as well as our Division of Student Affairs will move to reporting in an integrated fashion with academic affairs to whoever we select amongst these finalists.

I also am very pleased that we will start on Sunday, just in a few days, with the interviews for the vice chancellor of the Institute of Ag and Natural Resources, our other chief academic officer on the campus, and vice president of agricultural and natural resources for the University of Nebraska system. And we’ve attracted four exceptional candidates for that position as well.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say that we are very fortunate to have had two exceptional search committees working these positions, led in the executive vice chancellor search by Dean Joe Francisco of our College of Arts and Sciences, and Sherri Jones, department head from the College of Education and Human Sciences, and on the IANR search Tiffany Heng-Moss, associate dean of CASNR, and former senator and governor Mike Johanns.

And what I am so pleased about is that those searches didn’t start until Memorial Day week of this year. And for us to be bringing four exceptional finalist candidates to campus for both of those positions in a matter of a mere three and a half months is light-speed work, as you know, and I’d like to do a huge shout-out and thanks to the 25 members of each of those committees who have worked so hard over the summer to bring those candidates to our campus. Give them a round of applause.

(Applause.)

CHANCELLOR GREEN: As we bring our new executive vice chancellor and vice chancellor of IANR on board, they’ll have a lot of work ahead of them to do to fill out their teams, as you know. A fair amount of succession is in place for a number of our positions as we move forward.

And I would say to you that the calendar year 2017, as we move past January 1st and New Year’s in the year ahead, and we have these two new chief academic officers with us, is the plan by then, that we will have a year of planning to do on our campus.

If you’re aware, our last strategic planning exercise for the University of Nebraska–Lincoln was about the turn of the previous decade, resulting in the strategic compass, as we refer to it, for our campus that we’ve operated under for those period of 15 or 16 years.

I think the time is ripe for us as we move forward to develop a living, breathing, working, accountable strategic plan. You might tell I kind of like those, and I do. I believe they’re valuable and they’re important and that we need to develop a living strategic plan for our campus to achieve these goals that we have ahead.

And 2017 will be an important and seminal year for us to do that, led by the academic leadership, but engaging the campus community of faculty and staff in that process to develop that plan. So I ask for your help as we unfold that when our new leaders come into place this winter and spring. And it will be a busy year ahead of us as we seek to look at things like is our budget model optimized for the University to be able to facilitate the kind of growth that we have and we choose and want to have ahead.

How can we diversify the funding of our university base to be able to become a bigger and bolder university as we move forward? How will we become a more ever-diverse and inclusive community as we move forward? I am so pleased that Halualani & Associates are coming, a leading consulting firm in that area, being helped by our diversity council, chaired by Lance Pérez, as they work with us this year in mapping our campus in terms of diversity and inclusion and identifying for us ways that we can move the ball forward in that area.

And then, lastly, there’s a tremendous amount of building growth that we have been blessed with on our statewide campus. Since 2000, some $1.3 billion in enhancements to our physical plant, our physical campus have occurred. You know what many of those are. I don’t need to reiterate the beautiful new facilities or relatively new facilities that have come online for us across our campus.

We have a number of important construction projects underway, certainly anchored by the new College of Business Administration building bookending, if you will, Memorial Mall here on city campus.This will be such a huge move forward for our College of Business Administration. It’s an $84 million project completely privately fundraised with the leadership of the University of Nebraska Foundation and the leadership of our college, a huge advancement moving them forward, as well as a number of projects on East Campus, the veterinary diagnostics facility, a new residence hall on East Campus, renovation of the Behlen facility for Department of Defense-related research through our National Strategic Research Initiative, in addition to the College of Law and the McCollum Clinic to house the clinics for our College of Law that is now under construction. All of these to come online prior to our next academic year, a year from now.

And we have a number of projects that are under discussion or about to begin construction. Notably, with the final plans being approved by our Board of Regents this past week, our new Student Health Center, which will share a building with the Lincoln division of the College of Nursing of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. This will be constructed south of the Beadle Center, to our east here on city campus, as a beautiful new facility to anchor that part of our campus.

And another beautiful part of that is the fact that it is a working partnership between UNMC and UNL, in that Nebraska Medicine is now managing and delivering our student health care.

We are in discussions about the East Union on East Campus and the needs for a new dining facility tied to that residence hall that’s under construction there currently; there’s an addition to our library depository retrieval facility on East Campus that’s underway; and then, to complement the Adele Hall Learning Commons here on city campus that’s been such a huge success and addition to the learning spaces for our students this past year, we are moving to the same process and the same idea for East Campus and the C.Y. Thompson facility, where we expect to start construction after the first of the year in 2017.

And then the most exciting developments that we have lying ahead are renovation and renewal projects for two of our major facilities on city campus. The College of Engineering complex has received $70 million in state support to go into the redevelopment and renewal of that complex of facilities for our Nebraska engineering program here. We’re now in the front end of planning for what that will look like and what those needs will be and how we’ll meet them, in addition to a major fund-raising effort that will be launched to match those funds for the full development of that complex.

And then for the College of Education and Human Sciences, the Mabel Lee facility that is part of that complex there with Henzlik and Teachers College on city campus, just across the street from the new CBA building. As you know, that was the former health, physical education and recreation facility on campus, and it includes a swimming pool, a dance studio, gymnastics studio, amongst a College of Education and Human Sciences, so we now have the opportunity to repurpose that facility and to relocate those units elsewhere on campus in a $35 million project, with $25 million of support being provided by our state of Nebraska.

And then, lastly, we’re very excited to be thinking about – we’re still very much in the thinking mode here on proposals – how to develop Memorial Mall, that iconic central part of our campus. As I mentioned earlier, Memorial Mall is now bookended by East Stadium and by the new CBA facility and renovated Elephant Hall, Morrill Hall that’s underway as well, also anchored by our new Athletics Hall of Fame on that north side.

Every Big Ten campus has an iconic space like this. Most of them have been developed to be contemporary. And, as you know, we haven’t been able to do a lot with this space in recent years. So we’re thinking about how to do that. And we’ll be bringing proposals forward in the coming year for that exciting project as well.

Now, I hope you get the impression that we have bold, bright days ahead of us at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. We already are a global leader in many ways. We are going to become an ever more global leader in higher education as we move forward.