Lincoln (Neb.) - Oct. 9, 1997 - The University of Nebraska- Lincoln has been recommended for reaccreditation by an evaluation team from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
The team report and recommendation is the first step in the evaluation process. The report now will be forwarded to a readers panel selected by NCA. Final approval will be in the hands of NCA's Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.
"We are delighted with the very favorable report we received from the evaluation team," said Nebraska Chancellor James Moeser. "The report underscores the fact that the university is moving in the right direction."
The evaluation team's report commended the university for its undergraduate programs, particularly for the Honors Program, which it said "is a strength of UNL. This is an important tool for recruiting and retaining highly talented students"; the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, which recognizes the university's top classroom teachers; the Comprehensive Education Program, designed to provide undergraduate students with competence in a wide range of subjects; and the Teaching and Learning Center, which supports the faculty with a variety of services.
"These diverse examples highlight the fact that provision of excellent undergraduate programs has been identified as a high priority for UNL as well as the university's strong research, graduate teaching and outreach programs," the report said.
In the area of research, the report commended the university both for its achievement of Research I status and for the significant contributions its research has made to the state. For example, more than 80 percent of the wheat acreage in Nebraska is planted in varieties developed by UNL scientists. "These improved varieties add an estimated $50 million to the state's revenues annually," the report said.
Other highlights from the report:
- "The evidence . . . indicates that financial resources are well managed."
- "The physical plant at UNL is impressive and clearly enables the institution to carry out its mission," but "as is the case at many institutions of higher education, a major facilities problem is deferred maintenance."
- "A strength . . . is the apparent fluidity of organization uncharacteristic of some large public universities. Programs can be developed fairly easily across college lines and faculty are able to work cooperatively across disciplinary and departmental lines."
- "The library can be counted as a strength of the institution. UNL provides its scholars a major research library which is also open to all residents of the state," but "like many research libraries today, the library has significant problems especially with respect to space and acquisitions."
- "The University of Nebraska State Museum (is) an outstanding facility for university teaching and research (and) an educational asset for thousands of school children and citizens."
- "UNL is . . . a leader in the use of telecommunications and electronic technology for instructional purposes."
- The report noted "the generally high morale of the faculty and its commitment to the institution" and reported undergraduate students who were "generally pleased with their academic and social lives and very committed to the institution."
The report said Nebraska has satisfactorily addressed many of the issues that were raised in its previous accreditation review in 1987, citing its achievement of Research I status, reflecting "a new level of research effort for the university," technological improvements in the library system, expansion of the Honors Program; and significant improvements in faculty salaries made by the Nebraska Legislature in the late 1980s and early 1990s. However, the report said, the salary advantage "has eroded each year since 1992-93." As a result, "there are some problems in retaining highly productive senior faculty, especially at the associate professor level."
The report also took note of the evaluation team members' conversations with some female faculty and staff who contended that the university does not have strong commitment to gender equity. While urging the university to increase its efforts to provide opportunities for all qualified persons and to be sensitive to the needs of women on campus, the team also also noted that Nebraska has made some progress in increasing the percentage of women faculty.
The team's report was submitted prior to Moeser's announcement of the university's budget reallocation plan, which enhanced diversity programs by more than $700,000. Included in that reallocation was $400,000 for a "Targets of Opportunity Fund" designed to recruit and hire talented faculty of color and senior women. It also was submitted prior to Moeser's appointment of two representatives to be responsible and accountable for progress on gender equity goals approved in 1991 by the NU Board of Regents.
Nebraska was first accredited by NCA in 1913. Its last
previous comprehensive review was in 1986-87.
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(402) 472-8514, Fax: (402) 472-7825