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October 9, 2019

Kathy’s Point: A Big Year for Our College

Kathy’s Point: A Big Year for Our College
Dean Kathy Farrell meets with members of the Dean's Advisory Board at this year's Partnership Summit.
Last week was a great Homecoming celebration, the biggest in our university’s history. We welcomed back alumni hailing from South Carolina to South Lincoln, and together we celebrated “150 Years of Grit and Glory.” Homecoming this year was extra special not only in part from its expanded efforts but also because it came just after a very inspiring week at the college. We had just celebrated B-Week, one of our longest-standing traditions to build community amongst students, and our annual Partnership Summit, which brings together our 16 advisory boards to discuss and strategize our college’s future. With both of these happening in the same week, the energy was kinetic around the college and helps inspire us to do big things. Guided by our strategic plan and with support of our donors and alumni, this year will further define how we will lead the future of business.
 
New Executive in Residence
At the Partnership Summit, I shared updates on our initiatives driven by our strategic plan. Last spring, with the help of a private commitment of funding, we pursued hiring an Executive in Residence. The position was envisioned during our strategic planning process to be primarily focused on outreach and engagement and to help us coordinate our activities that are outward focused. This fall, our new Executive in Residence, Joe Petsick, began his role in establishing a deeper connection between the business community and our college. A co-founder of Proxibid, Inc., he brings to this position more than 20 years of experience driving successful entrepreneurial and innovative endeavors. He serves as a resource and a point of contact for business and community partners who are looking to engage in the college through experiential learning projects, event sponsorships, research projects and more.
 
New Graduate Programs
You may have heard that new students enrolling in the university’s graduate programs increased, resulting in part from expanded programs developed by our college. We saw a 2.4 percent increase in graduate students this year, and we plan to continue to expand our online graduate program portfolio by five more certificate programs in 2020. By offering these new programs, we are responding to workforce needs and providing more higher education options to adult learners in Nebraska and beyond.
 
New Incentive-Based Budget Model
Over the past several months, Vice Chancellor Bill Nunez and I, as well as a steering committee representing the university, have been diligently gathering data and laying the groundwork for the university’s future incentive-based budget. We hosted many campus sessions on our efforts to redesign the funding allocation process and move to a hybrid-Responsibility Center Management budget model. We have a preliminary model and will begin to shadow it during the current fiscal year for implementation beginning July 2020. This effort will empower growth and opportunity, and incentivize strategic thinking. I agree with Chancellor Ronnie Green in his belief that this project is one of the highest short-term priorities of the university.
 
Much work is being done within the college and across the university to best serve our state by being a world-leading, mission-integrated, land-grant university. Your engagement and support will propel us forward on our mission to drive discovery, create opportunity and empower individuals to lead the future of business.
 
Dean Kathy Farrell