The University of Nevada, Reno’s vision is to educate and graduate the best-prepared, confident leaders for the state, national, and global community; to be a nexus for research and creativity that focuses on the vital issues of our time; and to serve as a catalyst for the betterment of our society
Inspired by its land-grant foundation, the University of Nevada, Reno provides outstanding learning, discovery, and engagement programs that serve the economic, social, environmental, and cultural needs of the citizens of Nevada, the nation, and the world. The University recognizes and embraces the critical importance of diversity in preparing students for global citizenship and is committed to a culture of excellence, inclusion, and accessibility.
In all of its activities, the University is guided by the following values:
- Excellence in all of our endeavors.
- Integrity in all our actions.
- Inclusiveness of diverse cultures and identities.
- Collaboration between disciplines and programs and with community partners and stakeholders.
Founded in 1874, the University of Nevada, Reno (“University”) proudly embraces its historic place among the nation’s land-grant universities and the enduring mission of learning, discovery, and engagement associated with this prestigious designation. The University was relocated from Elko to Reno in 1885 and graduated its first class of three students in 1891. From this humble beginning, it has grown into a comprehensive university with 178 buildings, seven colleges and the Division of Health Sciences, a School of Medicine, 40 academic departments, and research expenditures of $100 million, while becoming a National Merit Sponsoring Institution with a record enrollment near 20,000 students in the fall of 2014.
Implicit with its land-grant mission to disseminate useful and practical information to the public, and in accordance with Nevada Revised Statutes, the University offers research-based knowledge and programs to address critical community needs across the state. It is home to the University of Nevada School of Medicine, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, Nevada Small Business Development Center, Nevada Industry Excellence, Nevada Seismology Laboratory, the Agricultural Experiment Station, and other statewide programs. Extended Studies provides programs and alternate delivery methods and services that address diverse academic, professional development, and cultural needs of Nevada and beyond.
The University of Nevada, Reno is a Tier-1 “best national university” as ranked by U.S. News and World Report. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classifies it as “Research University/High”, as well as a “Comprehensive Doctoral” and “Balanced Arts and Sciences/Professions High Graduate Coexistence University”.
While maintaining its commitment to being accessible and affordable, the University maintains high academic standards and attracts outstanding undergraduate and graduate scholars from Nevada, the nation, and the world. Its world-class research, artistry, and engagement programs contribute tangibly to fundamental knowledge while also providing practical contributions to issues that are directly relevant to the citizens of Nevada.
One of the primary goals of the University of Nevada, Reno is to improve lives of citizens of Nevada through exploration and engagement with a 21st century approach to the land-grant mission. The University is focused on building a collaborative academic and research environment that enables its vision of producing world-improving discoveries and fostering innovation and commercialization. In close partnership with the local, regional, and state economic development organizations, the University is implementing a shared goal of achieving economic diversity and prosperity in northern Nevada. The University is an engine of economic development with annual expenditures exceeding $500 million.
With over 4,250 employees, the University is the second largest employer in the region. Expenditures from all grants and contracts exceeded $100 million in fiscal year 2014 with an additional $85 million being provided by the federal government in the form of student financial aid. In the past year, the University launched 3 new start-up companies and is fostering development of more in the private sector. From 2007 to 2013, $500 million in new construction has been completed on campus, and an additional $154 million of construction projects are in the works, with construction expenditures injecting jobs and revenue into the region’s economy. Enrollment growth continues on a strong trajectory from close to 20,000 in 2014 (a record high) and is anticipated to eclipse 22,000 students during the planning period of this document. The economic impact of increased enrollment is estimated to increase by $175 million annually. Clearly, the University of Nevada, Reno is a key economic driver for the Reno area and northern Nevada.
It is recognized that several forces currently are influencing or likely are to significantly influence the development of the University. Over the next six years it is anticipated that enrollment will grow to and likely exceed 22,000 students; this, combined with growth in research programs, will strain the capacity of the University, both in terms of facilities and personnel. Limited resources from the state will most likely persist for the foreseeable future. This will necessitate an increasingly entrepreneurial business model as the University also works with legislators to demonstrate the value of the institution’s contribution and the return that follows state investment.
First-generation students and those who are from diverse racial and cultural demographics will continue to be an increasing percentage of our community. Multidisciplinary initiatives that connect across two or more units will continue to grow in importance and significance, gain favor by funding agencies, and potentially set the University apart, as noted by the Faculty Senate’s 2012 commission on “The Future of the University of Nevada, Reno.” Major developments such as Nevada’s designation as a major test site for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems, Tesla’s gigafactory, and the global challenge of cyber security will influence the University’s educational and research programs. Global climate change will present challenges for life styles and economic development in Nevada, the driest state in the nation. Alternative modes of educational delivery will fundamentally influence the structure of higher education. Nevada’s growing population will continue to generate demand for health-care providers.
Joining the Mountain West Conference raises expectations for and demands on the athletic programs. It is a certainty that these and additional unforeseen and unforeseeable circumstances, both positive and negative, will impact the University in the years to come. The strategic plan serves as a guide to the University’s evolution over the next six years and its responsiveness to a dynamic landscape. It will be reviewed, evaluated, and updated annually by Core Theme committees to reflect changing realities.
In the 2013 self-study document prepared for the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), the University identified three interconnected “core themes” that relate to its broad mission. Here, these themes are restated and labeled as Learning, Discovery, and Engagement, recognizing each as a critical component of our broad mission:
Theme 1 – Learning
Prepare graduates to compete globally through high-quality undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the liberal arts, sciences, and selected professional programs.
Theme 2 – Discovery
Create new knowledge through basic and applied research, scholarship, and artistry in strategically selected fields relevant to Nevada and its role in the wider world.
Theme 3 – Engagement
Strengthen the social, economic, and environmental wellbeing of Nevada citizens, communities, organizations, and governments through community outreach and reciprocal partnerships.
In pursuit of fulfilling our mission and its components, the University has established goals and specific activities that will guide our obligations, aspirations, and responses to anticipated forces of change. We have identified metrics by which we will measure our progress.
In addition, seven key drivers further the focus of this strategic plan’s three key themes, and are also fundamental to the corresponding Master Plan. These key drivers are:
- Learning Landscape. Encourage access and innovation in teaching and learning
- Student Experience. Create a small college feel within a large University context
- Innovation Platform. Promote research, collaboration, and entrepreneurship
- Campus Character. Foster a unique identity and sense of place
- Connectivity. Develop integrated, multi-modal mobility
- Campus in the City. Integrate the University and the city
- Growth and Change. Offer near- and long-term development opportunities