The Board of Trustees of Sierra Nevada University (SNU) has approved an agreement allowing Sierra Nevada University to become part of the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). It is the first critical step in a careful process that requires further approvals by the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents and several key regulatory bodies. Under the agreement, the Sierra Nevada University Incline campus would become part of the University of Nevada, Reno and SNU programs and operations would be gradually merged with those of UNR.
“We could not be more excited at the prospect of having Sierra Nevada University join the Wolf Pack Family,” University of Nevada, Reno President Brian Sandoval said. “This is an historic agreement, a very important first step in what will be several more to come to ensure that this process will be done thoughtfully and carefully. The agreement has generational opportunities that promise to help Nevada and Nevadans in ways that will last for decades to come. Sierra Nevada University’s emphasis on entrepreneurial thinking, professional preparedness, liberal arts and sustainability meld perfectly with many of the core institutional themes that are at the heart of what the University of Nevada, Reno offers our students.”
SNU students will continue their studies on the SNU campus for the 2021-22 academic year and will experience very little change. SNU faculty will deliver 2021-22 academic year courses as scheduled, and athletic and extracurricular programs will continue unchanged. In consultation with, and subject to approval by, the U.S. Department of Education and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, a thoughtful integration is planned. All SNU students would be offered paths to either SNU or UNR degrees.
“This will be the best of both worlds for SNU students,” Dr. Atam Lalchandani, chair of the Sierra Nevada University Board of Trustees, said. “To provide access to the resources and opportunities of an outstanding research university like UNR while preserving the intimacy of a small campus is every college’s dream. The SNU student experience is the heart of our institution and will continue. We are proud to bring new possibilities into that experience.”
Lalchandani added: “This wonderful news ensures our beautiful campus can remain an educational resource and centerpiece for the Incline Village and North Lake Tahoe communities. We have long enjoyed the support of our community and have been committed to providing our community access to quality programs. I'm thrilled to imagine an even more dynamic campus as we work collectively to meet our community needs.”
Sandoval said the collaborative effort between the two institutions will have clear benefits in enhancing current and future student experience and in research to help preserve Lake Tahoe’s legendary clarity, among many other things.
“This is a tremendous moment to develop a multi-campus approach in solving the environmental challenges associated with Lake Tahoe’s water- and airshed, incorporating important issues like sustainability more directly into the curriculum, and developing exciting new ways to engage our students as Sierra Nevada University’s students have been engaged through the unique learning environment that is Lake Tahoe,” Sandoval said.
Wayne Prim, a longtime donor and past chair of the Sierra Nevada University Board of Trustees, said the partnership continues the work of a large group of community members who have worked diligently in expanding the institution’s mission to what it encompasses today.
“The SNU legacy built on the generous donations from community and alumni over the past 50 years can now advance in ways we never even imagined,” Prim said. “This partnership will ensure our SNU campus vision is fully realized as we move into a new and exciting era in Sierra Nevada University’s long and proud history.”
Located along the shores of Lake Tahoe, the 20-acre master-planned environmentally sustainable campus of Sierra Nevada University in Incline Village offers an educational experience unlike any other setting in higher education, where students are expected to use the most challenging and beautiful learning environment in the world – Lake Tahoe. Through entrepreneurial approaches of confident, collaborative thinking, graduates have then found success in the professional world and in life.
“We always want our students to realize that their education does not exist solely on our campus and in our classrooms,” Sandoval said. “This will broaden the possibilities in studying or doing research at Lake Tahoe. And, we see this as a wonderful and highly innovative bridge in building meaningful relationships and engagement with the communities we serve.”
The NSHE Board of Regents are scheduled to consider the agreement on July 23. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, as well as the United States Department of Education will then review the integration details to ensure student and academic program continuity.
Sierra Nevada University is Nevada's only accredited private non-profit four-year university. Sierra Nevada University, and the College of Entrepreneurial Leadership in Incline Village, offer a new paradigm of higher education focused on engaged real-world learning through application and the cultivation of an entrepreneurial mindset across all disciplines – In short, a uniquely valuable hands-on education leading directly to success upon graduation.