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State of the University Address, 2007

AUGUST 30, 2007

Harvey Perlman, Chancellor

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Intellectually, I continue to think the Gallup process is the type of process that holds the best hope for improving the climate for faculty and staff and yet it has been a challenge to tailor it for the academic enterprise. This would be the year we would take the survey for the third time. Instead, I am devoting those resources to enhancing training opportunities for those in leadership positions, particularly in the academic units, who have responsibility for matters relating to workplace climate. Our work at the university is so important, it holds the keys to successful lives for our students and it opens prospects for economic growth and prosperity for our community and state. With such importance and responsibilities, it would be a sad situation if even one of our employees didn't get up each morning stimulated to get to work and make a difference.

At the same time, I wouldn't want us to go through an entire year without a survey. Through the efforts of Campus Recreation, we will each have the opportunity to take, voluntarily, a health assessment survey, as an initial step in implementing a campus wellness program for faculty and staff. I promise there will be no mandatory 6 a.m. calisthenics. But this university ought to promote wellness as an alternative to ever rising health care costs. Ours will be a modest program until a system-wide program initiated by President Milliken is developed and implemented. I am prepared to declare victory in our efforts to align our publications so that they clearly reflect the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Here again I appreciate the frustration of some whose creativity seemed restrained by templates, tool boxes and design standards. While little skirmishes continue to erupt from time to time, the logo war seems to be behind us. Frankly, I hope you agree with me that on balance, our efforts to give UNL a "sense of place and identity" are succeeding.

Last year in this speech I launched a similar effort for our Web sites. We developed templates with the hope that at least the top levels of Web sites flying under the UNL banner would transmit a sense of a coherent institution. Under the direction of the Web Developer Network led by Bob Crisler, we have tried to engage the campus in conversations about the web and its realignment. This medium is increasingly important to us for communicating the richness and quality of this university and we cannot take its development for granted. Happily, we currently have all of our colleges and the great majority of our upper level websites in conformity with our templates and almost all units are in the process of complying. As I surf "unl.edu" I see an increasing sense of institutional identity but with a rich diversity of presentations that reflect the diversity of units represented.

I regard myself as a very fortunate chancellor indeed to have a faculty and staff who have been willing to humor me in these initiatives or at least haven't yet lynched me in effigy.

It is said that the "conclusion" of a speech is the place where the speaker simply got tired of thinking. Some may have thought that occurred earlier today. I suspect, like you, there are some mornings when it's difficult to get up and face the responsibilities that await us - whether it's the struggle to figure out another way to present material so the students will finally understand it, or to refashion an experiment to prove a yet elusive theory, or to answer, once again, a common inquiry by students or faculty, or to perform the invisible tasks that keep this university functioning. Some of us, now burdened with the additional weight of a Medicare card in our wallets, can be excused for starting slower. But I hope, like me, that when you approach the campus you feel the vibrancy and excitement of this place, that you reflect on the successes we have shared and the potential we have before us, and that you are energized and reinvigorated by the Power of Red.

It has been my practice to open myself for questions at the end of these remarks. It has been your practice to sit quietly, or impatiently, waiting lunch. Let's forgo the formalities. Let's eat! Thank you.