Proposal for University of Nevada, Reno and Sierra Nevada University transaction approved by accrediting body

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities votes to approve the agreement, contingent upon U.S. Dept. of Education approval

Proposal for University of Nevada, Reno and Sierra Nevada University transaction approved by accrediting body

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities votes to approve the agreement, contingent upon U.S. Dept. of Education approval

RENO, Nevada – The Executive Committee of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) has voted to approve the proposal for the acquisition of Sierra Nevada University (SNU) by the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), contingent upon the approval of the United States Department of Education.

As noted by the Executive Committee of the NWCCU this transaction “will allow for continued long-term growth and financial stability by implementing strategies to promote enrollment growth of existing programs through efficiencies, greater geographic reach, symbiotic programming, and the alignment of programs to serve the people of Nevada.”

“This is a monumental step in bringing the SNU and UNR families together,” said University of Nevada, Reno President Brian Sandoval. “UNR will have the opportunity to benefit greatly from SNU’s focus and strength on entrepreneurial thinking, professional preparedness, liberal arts and sustainability. SNU’s programs meld perfectly with many of the core institutional themes that are at the heart of what UNR offers its students. I wish to thank Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Chancellor Melody Rose and the Board of Regents, as well as the administration and Board of Trustees for Sierra Nevada University, for their continued support in this effort.”

NSHE Chancellor Rose said that both institutions share goals and want the same outcomes.

“Both institutions offer programs that speak to individual students’ dreams,” Chancellor Rose said. “The educational experience at SNU uses the environment of Lake Tahoe to help students become confident, collaborative leaders. These are vital synergies that the agreement hopes to leverage an exciting future for both UNR and SNU.”

“This pursuit, now with the approval from NWCCU, will broaden students’ study and research possibilities in beautiful Lake Tahoe and its surrounding regions,” NSHE Board of Regents Chair Pro Tempore Carol Del Carlo said. “This will offer a new and diverse perspective in growing academic faculty and student populations.”

In July 2021, the Board of Trustees of SNU and the NSHE Board of Regents unanimously agreed to enter into discussions regarding the transfer of the SNU academic programs and related academic operations to UNR and SNU’s financial and real property assets to the UNR Foundation. This approval from NWCCU is an important milestone in an ongoing process that is still subject to approval by U.S. Department of Education, the NSHE Board of Regents, and the Nevada Commission on Post-Secondary Education. The transaction is expected to be completed no earlier than July 1, 2022.

“SNU will remain a separate university for the rest of the 2021-22 academic year with students continuing their studies on the SNU campus while SNU faculty deliver instruction as scheduled, and athletic and extracurricular programs will be unchanged,” Jill Heaton, UNR’s senior vice provost and SNU’s executive vice president and provost, said. “Without question, the number one priority for the SNU community is to have a successful academic year. Students remain the highest priority during the institution’s transition and our plan is to work with each student to find the most successful path forward for them.”

“We are extremely pleased to learn of this latest approval,” Dr. Atam Lalchandani, chair of the Sierra Nevada University Board of Trustees, said. “We are thrilled that as the process continues to proceed, we are on track to join the family of the University of Nevada, Reno while preserving the intimacy of a small campus. This is great news that our institution and campus will remain an educational resource and centerpiece for the entire Lake Tahoe community.”

“Through this acquisition, SNU and its community are gaining significant resources from UNR,” SNU Executive Vice President Sue Johnson said. “In turn, UNR is gaining the unique and proven programs, approaches and location that SNU offers. Education at the Lake Tahoe campus is dedicated to moving lives and learning forward, to engaging students and assisting them to become confident collaborative critical thinkers who are uniquely prepared to thrive in the State of Nevada and the world.”

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The University of Nevada, Reno is a public research university that is committed to the promise of a future powered by knowledge. Nevada’s land-grant university founded in 1874, the University serves 21,000 students. The University is a comprehensive, doctoral university, classified as an R1 institution with very high research activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Additionally, it has attained the prestigious “Carnegie Engaged” classification, reflecting its student and institutional impact on civic engagement and service, fostered by extensive community and statewide collaborations. More than $800 million in advanced labs, residence halls and facilities has been invested on campus since 2009. It is home to the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and Wolf Pack Athletics, maintains a statewide outreach mission and presence through programs such as the University of Nevada, Reno Extension, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, Small Business Development Center, Nevada Seismological Laboratory, and is part of the Nevada System of Higher Education. Through a commitment to world-improving research, student success and outreach benefiting the communities and businesses of Nevada, the University has impact across the state and around the world.

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