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State of the University Address 2010

SEPTEMBER 9, 2010

Harvey Perlman, Chancellor

Looking Forward

As we look forward we know that three elements are critical to our success: leadership, talent, and resources. During the last year we have been fortunate to enhance our stock of all three. We were, I think, very successful in four critical searches for top academic leadership, and I am very pleased to welcome Ronnie Green as the new Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Donde Plowman, as the new Dean of the College of Business Administration; Gary Kebbel as the new Dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications; and Susan Poser as the new Dean of the College of Law. Could these individuals please stand and be recognized.

I also know that we have attracted very talented new faculty and staff to the university during the last year. Those of you who have joined us during the last year please stand and be recognized.

It is always perilous to single out a few individuals among many but we have had true campus citizens who serve us in time of need and do extraordinary things. Ellen Weissinger, along with the entire group of academic deans, is providing exemplary leadership during an interim period. Jim O'Hanlon, now in his third consecutive interim assignment this time as Dean of the College of Engineering, has earned our respect as a caring and effective leader. Thanks also to Anna Shavers, Charlyne Berens, and John Anderson for their roles as interim deans.

The central question as we fashion our agenda for the coming year is: "What does entry into the Big Ten mean for us as a university?" Certainly we can enjoy the new association and stature as well as the excitement of new venues and rivalries for our athletic program. And we have many strengths that will contribute to the distinction of the Big Ten. But as we compare ourselves to our new colleagues, we are 12th among 12 in most academic metrics including research. To be sure this is not a bad group of which to be last, but this should serve as another incentive for us to raise our ambitions and our efforts.

It has been noted that the football team will have a very tough schedule during its first two seasons in the Big Ten. So will the academic enterprise! This challenge comes at an ideal time - we are fully prepared to compete at this level. We have the 2020 Report as the framework for our effort and as the statement of our aspiration. But it will require the best of all of us. Every faculty member, every student, and every member of the staff must rise to a new level.

It appears our new Big Ten status has become a source of pride for alumni and the citizens of Nebraska. We are fortunate that even in these economic conditions, our major capital campaign is on track to be successful. But beyond financial support, we cannot fully achieve our goals as a university without the active engagement of our alumni. We are well positioned here as Diane Mendenhall and her staff are building a successful integrated alumni engagement program in cooperation with the university's academic leadership. Our success in the Big Ten will also require the continued active support of the people of Nebraska.

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