I hope you've noticed the scope and depth of transformation you have accomplished in the last two years. You've individually and collectively focused on excellence – an over-used but under-considered word. Creating excellence is usually disguised as a thousand deeply academic decisions that faculty members make in pursuit of more effective teaching and more important scholarship. Academic excellence looks a lot like hard work, and on our best days most of us are surprisingly happy as we do it.
It’s been satisfying to watch as programs, departments and colleges made hard but thoughtful decisions about academic priorities. You refined curriculum and degree requirements, invented new ways to support student success and innovated with new pedagogies and learning spaces. All the while, you produced creative work and scholarship and research that attracted the attention of your disciplines, federal and state funding agencies and private partners. You've hired energetic new faculty colleagues, deans, department leaders and center directors – and every new hire has incrementally enhanced our academic quality and reputation. It really is an amazing time for UNL academics. Describing the years since we entered the CIC, a friend of mine said “every one of us has raised our game.”
So what has our office been doing while you did the important stuff? We've tried to remove as many old barriers and create as many new resources as possible, and we've focused on building an academic infrastructure that supports your work and your students. We’re not finished by any means, but we've made a good start. This year, we’re going to send you a series of updates about these innovations. Some of these updates will be more relevant than others for a given faculty member at a given moment. Feel free to keep some, file others and pass whatever is relevant on to a student. Our intent is to create a store of resources that you might remember and call upon when need arises.
Enjoy the first installment – some quick information about new people, programs, services and spaces designed to help you help your students succeed academically.
Please accept my respect for your work and my best wishes for yet another excellent year,
Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs