Perlman sets ambitious goals for UNL

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September 1st, 2011

Omaha, NE – The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Chancellor set an ambitious agenda for the University on Thursday, as UNL steps into its first year as a Big 10 school.

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Taking his cue as the Husker fight song, Dear Old Nebraska U, played to cheers from his audience of faculty and staff, Perlman struck an upbeat, and challenging, tone in his annual State of the University speech.

UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman (Photo credit UNL)

“Over the last decade, we have grown from a place of modest ambition and accomplishment,” he said, “to a University of energy, optimism and self-confidence. We have served our year in the wilderness, and are now a full member of the Big 10. In so many ways, we are a different university.”

For the next decade, Perlman set ambitious goals for UNL, which he said are necessary to keep the University competitive with its new peers.

“We have the opportunity to re-set the table,” he said, “to now start anew to reformulate our ambitions and our aspirations, to set new goals and objectives … to learn from but also to lead our new peers, to demonstrate that while we are in a new place, there’s still no place like Nebraska.”

Perlman proposed increasing enrollment at UNL to 30,000 students by 2017. He said UNL has a comparably small enrollment to the Big 10 schools, and it also has a graduation rate below average. Perlman laid out the goal of increasing graduation rates by one percent each year, for the next six years. That would bring it up to 70 percent, he said, which is more in line with UNL’s peer institutions.

Chancellor Perlman says it's time for UNL to be a "large University." (Photo credit Wikimedia)

“Why should we so aspire?” he asked. “First and foremost, the world economy has become a race for the attraction of talent. The future of this state depends on its ability to attract young talent to its communities, and the University has an important role to play in this effort.”

Perlman set further goals of increasing tenure-track faculty and ramping up the number of research dollars spent to $300 million in the next six years. He called on faculty and staff to step up their efforts on recruitment and retention. Comparing the university to a collection of talent contributing to the “symphony” of education – like a jukebox of different tunes – Perlman ended the speech with a note to his own tenure at the University. This is the 12th time he’s delivered this address, he said, and it appears he has no plans to step down.

“If the role of the faculty and staff is to continue to supply the jukebox with new music, the role of the Chancellor seems to be to feed the jukebox with quarters so that the music can continue,” he said. “That’s what I do, I feed the juke box.”

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