KRVN Chat with the Chancellor
Ronnie Green talks about an annual magazine UNL publishes entitled “Strategic Discussions for Nebraska” produced by a team of UNL students; UNL announced last month that it just cracked a very important Top 25, a “Best for Veterans” ranking and the programs and support systems that UNL has which earned them this distinction; a new and unique partnership with Grand Island Public Schools to help them achieve postsecondary educational success and what UNL does to recruit, retain, and support first-generation students.
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[00:00:00.150]Brandon Benitz with the Rural Radio Network
[00:00:02.040]and our weekly Chat with the Chancellor
[00:00:03.560]here in the Fall 2018 semester.
[00:00:05.810]This week we're once again joined by a special guest,
[00:00:08.110]Dr. Ronnie Green,
[00:00:09.270]the chancellor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
[00:00:12.010]Dr. Green, annually since 2008
[00:00:14.310]UNL has published a magazine entitled
[00:00:16.120]Strategic Discussions for Nebraska
[00:00:18.430]and this year's publication was produced by
[00:00:20.550]a team of UNL students in the Spring 2018 semester
[00:00:23.700]during their capstone course
[00:00:25.660]within their major
[00:00:26.660]of agriculture and environmental sciences communication.
[00:00:30.330]First of all,
[00:00:31.163]tell us about this publication in general
[00:00:33.150]and this issue
[00:00:34.740]of the magazine specifically
[00:00:36.290]and then also walk us through
[00:00:37.670]how this publication communicates
[00:00:39.750]research based science
[00:00:41.240]so that it could be understood
[00:00:42.540]by the general public.
[00:00:43.890]Well Brandon, we're very proud
[00:00:45.610]of the Strategic Discussions for Nebraska platform
[00:00:48.790]that was first enabled
[00:00:50.770]coming into the university in 2007.
[00:00:53.670]Its first issue was produced in 2008
[00:00:56.880]from support of the Bob and Ardis James family.
[00:01:00.780]They're also the family that built the Quilt Center,
[00:01:03.510]The International Quilt Center on our campus.
[00:01:06.050]Bob, a native of Ord, Nebraska.
[00:01:08.340]Very successful businessman throughout his career
[00:01:11.040]in New York that's contributed back to Nebraska
[00:01:13.430]in so many different ways.
[00:01:14.710]And Strategic Discussion is one of those
[00:01:16.750]where this platform is designed
[00:01:19.510]to be an experiential learning process
[00:01:22.410]for our students in ad communications
[00:01:24.920]to have the opportunity to
[00:01:26.960]work around a thematic
[00:01:28.900]topic area through the course of a semester
[00:01:31.930]in this capstone course that you referred to
[00:01:35.300]to develop communications around
[00:01:37.720]strategically important topics
[00:01:39.700]related especially to agriculture and even more broadly
[00:01:42.880]for our state.
[00:01:44.330]So, the 10th issue
[00:01:46.010]this produced this past spring.
[00:01:48.460]These issues have ranged over time
[00:01:50.470]from everything to do with
[00:01:51.970]things like one health,
[00:01:53.280]across human health and livestock and plant health,
[00:01:57.810]coming in to the state and its importance
[00:02:00.570]on agriculture, to the beef industry and the meat industry
[00:02:04.000]and high tech work around that area.
[00:02:06.690]Wide range of topics over these 10 years.
[00:02:09.792]This year's issue of a topic of particular importance
[00:02:13.770]on science literacy.
[00:02:15.570]In using research based facts
[00:02:17.880]to make real world decisions
[00:02:20.010]especially related to the agricultural sciences
[00:02:23.360]and the natural resources areas
[00:02:25.170]that we have such strength in
[00:02:26.740]in our teaching, research, and extension programs
[00:02:29.150]in the Institute of Ag and Natural Resources.
[00:02:31.950]So this particular
[00:02:33.530]issue is focused on
[00:02:35.290]how to become more science literate.
[00:02:38.200]The importance of science literacy
[00:02:40.210]around the technologies that we use and apply everyday.
[00:02:43.610]Sorting out fact from fiction,
[00:02:46.110]so to speak.
[00:02:46.943]You know, we live in a world that has so much information
[00:02:48.860]coming at us all the time
[00:02:50.530]and unfortunately, a lot of the information out there
[00:02:53.660]is not accurate.
[00:02:55.070]And I can point to lots of examples of that even
[00:02:57.780]day to day in agriculture.
[00:02:59.120]GMO crops, for example.
[00:03:01.210]Or use of vaccines.
[00:03:03.050]Where there's information that is put out in the public
[00:03:05.850]that is not accurate
[00:03:07.350]related to these technologies that all are beneficial,
[00:03:10.780]safe, and efficacious and move us forward.
[00:03:13.280]But being literate
[00:03:14.440]about that science and knowing how to use it appropriately.
[00:03:17.370]So, very proud of this publication this year
[00:03:19.827]and the group of students who produce it
[00:03:22.360]and the support of the James family over time
[00:03:24.760]for bringing this platform for information to our state.
[00:03:29.030]Chancellor Green, when people think of
[00:03:30.620]top 25 rankings
[00:03:32.120]they often default to
[00:03:33.520]sports rankings, but in this case
[00:03:35.780]UNL announced last month
[00:03:37.100]that it had just cracked an even more
[00:03:38.640]important top 25 ranking.
[00:03:41.373]in best campus for veterans.
[00:03:44.340]Walk us through
[00:03:45.280]the programs and the support systems
[00:03:47.310]that the Lincoln campus has
[00:03:48.780]that earned them
[00:03:49.640]this top 25 distinction.
[00:03:52.040]Well, we're very proud Brandon,
[00:03:53.410]to have been listed in that ranking here recently
[00:03:56.250]by Military Times as a best for vets campus in the country.
[00:03:59.950]Along with our colleagues, and I should point out also and
[00:04:02.710]congratulate the University of Nebraska at Omaha,
[00:04:05.010]which also has had a long reputation in this area
[00:04:07.620]and was actually the top in the rankings
[00:04:09.650]of the universities in that list.
[00:04:12.390]We were ranked second best amongst the Big Ten institutions
[00:04:16.160]with Rutgers just ahead of us
[00:04:17.830]and our Big Ten peers.
[00:04:19.870]137 of the 500 universities that participated
[00:04:23.650]in Military Times' survey made these final rankings.
[00:04:26.640]So, we're quite honored and feel very good about being
[00:04:29.410]in that top 25 list.
[00:04:31.670]We've really emphasized
[00:04:33.450]in recent years on our campus
[00:04:35.800]the building of a military and veterans success center
[00:04:38.970]that is in our union on the main campus
[00:04:42.760]that offers a real range
[00:04:44.310]of student veterans support services.
[00:04:46.410]Everything from quiet study spaces
[00:04:48.330]to computer access for our students that is handy for them,
[00:04:51.870]to one on one counseling
[00:04:53.390]on an as needed basis,
[00:04:55.000]to assistance with military benefits.
[00:04:57.160]And of course our veterans come to us with some degree
[00:05:00.170]of benefits to help them and their education
[00:05:02.950]and their higher education.
[00:05:04.520]So it's really built
[00:05:05.730]to be a success center for them academically
[00:05:09.050]and it's very, very widely used
[00:05:11.470]by the students that we have that are military affiliated
[00:05:14.812]at the university.
[00:05:16.140]Currently, we have 1,244 of our students who are
[00:05:19.670]military affiliated at UNL.
[00:05:22.547]201 of those students are active duty
[00:05:24.910]in the guard and in the reserves.
[00:05:26.620]214 of our students currently are veterans.
[00:05:29.910]And then we have over 800
[00:05:31.580]students who are military dependents
[00:05:33.780]that are children or spouses
[00:05:35.480]of members of the military.
[00:05:37.070]So, very proud of this
[00:05:39.020]ranking and of the support and success
[00:05:41.530]that our veterans and military dependents are getting
[00:05:44.710]here at the university
[00:05:45.920]as they pursue their studies.
[00:05:47.270]And particularly even in these last few weeks.
[00:05:49.510]You know, as we're celebrating Thanksgiving this week,
[00:05:52.340]just a couple of weeks ago
[00:05:53.710]the nation celebrated and tributed
[00:05:56.840]our veterans through our normal Veteran's Day
[00:05:59.210]but this was a particularly special one
[00:06:01.690]in that it marked the 100th anniversary of the end of
[00:06:04.670]World War I
[00:06:05.840]and Armistice Day.
[00:06:07.490]We took time to pause and really think
[00:06:09.900]and remember that
[00:06:11.790]and remember our veterans in an even
[00:06:14.099]more significant way because
[00:06:16.800]even on our campus
[00:06:18.520]Memorial Stadium it's such a
[00:06:20.600]an icon here in our state.
[00:06:23.290]Memorial Stadium was actually built
[00:06:25.800]in 1923 in recognition of
[00:06:29.260]the veterans of World War I.
[00:06:31.600]And of that great war then Armistice Day
[00:06:34.410]ended and we felt very strongly about reaffirming that
[00:06:38.130]in the stadium.
[00:06:39.180]Placed new plaques
[00:06:40.610]on the original walls of the east side of the stadium
[00:06:44.000]honoring the 113 students from
[00:06:46.240]the University of Nebraska who served in World War I
[00:06:49.390]along with General Pershing.
[00:06:51.140]Course, well-known and well-renowned
[00:06:53.480]who was part of our military science program
[00:06:55.810]here at the university in the late 1800's.
[00:06:57.980]So, very proud of what we're doing with our
[00:07:00.300]veterans and our military supported students
[00:07:02.390]and certainly I'm
[00:07:03.290]proud of that ranking for the university
[00:07:05.340]both at UNL and UNO.
[00:07:07.250]Brandon Benitz with the Rural Radio Network
[00:07:09.100]and our Weekly Chat with the Chancellor
[00:07:10.560]here in the Fall 2018 semester.
[00:07:12.500]Once again, joined by a special guest,
[00:07:14.120]Dr. Ronnie Green,
[00:07:15.100]the chancellor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
[00:07:17.660]Dr. Green, you recently announced the unique partnership
[00:07:20.090]with the Grand Island Public School system
[00:07:22.160]to students and families
[00:07:23.610]towards post secondary educational success
[00:07:26.240]and then 10 days later
[00:07:27.820]you tweeted a picture of you sharing a lunch with some
[00:07:29.900]first generation students on the UNL campus.
[00:07:32.210]So out of that, two questions.
[00:07:34.120]First, walk us through this partnership
[00:07:36.730]with Grand Island Public Schools
[00:07:38.360]and how it will serve as a template
[00:07:40.440]for other partnerships to come.
[00:07:42.690]And then, secondly,
[00:07:43.860]what does the UNL campus do
[00:07:45.870]to recruit, retain, and support first generation students?
[00:07:49.890]Well, Brandon, we were very, very happy
[00:07:52.140]here it is back in October,
[00:07:53.700]I think in late October,
[00:07:55.090]being part of an announcement of
[00:07:57.250]a great opportunity
[00:07:59.110]and partnership with the Grand Island Public School system
[00:08:01.970]who were awarded a $6 million federal,
[00:08:04.700]it's called GEAR UP, grant.
[00:08:06.570]GEAR UP actually is an acronym, it stands for
[00:08:09.250]Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness
[00:08:11.610]for Undergraduate Programs.
[00:08:13.680]We started working with the Grand Island Public Schools
[00:08:16.880]12 years ago in 2006
[00:08:19.670]through what's called
[00:08:20.650]the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy.
[00:08:22.840]There were two high schools,
[00:08:24.290]Grand Island Senior High
[00:08:25.870]and Omaha North
[00:08:27.100]that were the original two schools
[00:08:28.940]that were working with UNL and this college prep academy
[00:08:33.070]starting with eighth grade students
[00:08:35.040]and working with them throughout their high school career
[00:08:38.420]to get them ready to be successful in college
[00:08:41.290]where, if they
[00:08:42.740]went through this program and were successful
[00:08:45.320]and committing to and being part of it through high school,
[00:08:47.880]that they would come with scholarship support
[00:08:50.120]to UNL as undergraduates
[00:08:52.460]for their college careers.
[00:08:54.180]So, several sets of those students now have come through
[00:08:57.040]from those two high schools.
[00:08:58.370]We're very proud of that.
[00:08:59.480]Recently added on High South
[00:09:01.320]and Winnebago High School programs
[00:09:03.730]to that college prep academy.
[00:09:05.350]It's been a big part
[00:09:06.340]of our efforts for some time.
[00:09:08.290]This GEAR UP grant though,
[00:09:09.810]with the Grand Island Public Schools is a big deal.
[00:09:12.920]It's part of a Department of Education grant
[00:09:15.540]from the federal government
[00:09:17.010]that is designed to increase
[00:09:18.590]the number of low income students
[00:09:20.370]who are prepared to
[00:09:21.700]and then go on to succeed
[00:09:23.550]in post secondary education
[00:09:25.300]and for Grand Island,
[00:09:26.800]this will involve
[00:09:28.020]more than 1,000 of their current
[00:09:29.890]sixth and seventh grade students and will follow them
[00:09:32.430]as a cohort through their educational experience
[00:09:35.330]in Grand Island
[00:09:36.350]and then in to their first year of college
[00:09:38.500]wherever they end up going,
[00:09:39.810]whether it be to us,
[00:09:41.200]to part of the University of Nebraska
[00:09:43.760]or to other institutions of higher education.
[00:09:46.970]It's a total seven year combination of federal funds.
[00:09:50.660]Grand Island Public Schools are contributing in kind
[00:09:53.380]just over $1 million.
[00:09:55.970]locally that are in Grand Island are contributing a match
[00:09:58.660]of over $6 million.
[00:09:59.600]We're part of that match at UNL as well
[00:10:02.170]for a total of over $13 million
[00:10:03.935]that will go into this program.
[00:10:06.400]Where these students will get kind of 360 degree support
[00:10:10.810]through that process of high school
[00:10:13.420]including in to their first year as a freshman
[00:10:16.610]that will help them with academic support,
[00:10:18.690]for professional development.
[00:10:20.770]A big part of it is around financial literacy
[00:10:24.270]and be better equipped financially
[00:10:27.210]to plan for their education
[00:10:29.240]and plan for how
[00:10:31.110]to fund their education.
[00:10:33.060]So very, very exciting
[00:10:34.290]to see that happening with a wide range of partners
[00:10:37.170]both from Grand Island and private industry
[00:10:40.030]in education and the city
[00:10:41.810]along with the state of Nebraska as well.
[00:10:44.560]So exciting to see it happen
[00:10:46.320]and to be part of that.
[00:10:47.790]And then you also mentioned
[00:10:49.050]Brandon, first gen.
[00:10:50.480]Many of these students
[00:10:51.900]that will go through this effort in Grand Island
[00:10:54.440]this next series of years,
[00:10:55.810]many of those students will be
[00:10:57.510]first gen students in their families
[00:10:59.980]to be able to pursue higher education.
[00:11:01.950]I'm a first gen student in my family
[00:11:03.950]and I had that opportunity through my own
[00:11:05.840]land grant university in my home state in Virginia.
[00:11:08.940]We currently at UNL
[00:11:10.960]are upwards of 25% of our student body
[00:11:14.010]is made up of students who are the first in their families
[00:11:16.860]to have the opportunity to complete
[00:11:18.750]a four year degree.
[00:11:20.420]That number has continued to go up
[00:11:22.470]over the last number of years for us.
[00:11:25.270]And we've continued to add to and put support
[00:11:27.980]around those students
[00:11:29.480]through what was called our First Huskers Program
[00:11:32.210]where those students commit to coming in early
[00:11:34.950]to their first year or their freshman year.
[00:11:37.230]Having added support put around them as a cohort
[00:11:40.670]in that week before classes
[00:11:42.530]and then they take a class together
[00:11:44.870]during the first semester that we're completing now
[00:11:47.500]for our freshmen class this year
[00:11:49.450]to help elevate their ability to be successful
[00:11:52.290]without having a lot of the background
[00:11:54.680]that many other students come in with
[00:11:56.530]who have family members who have gone through that
[00:11:58.700]educational system in the past.
[00:12:01.160]Had lunch, as you mentioned,
[00:12:02.370]here not too long ago.
[00:12:03.410]We have weekly lunches
[00:12:04.690]where students can come and meet with faculty and staff
[00:12:08.930]who are first gen themselves,
[00:12:11.020]and share experiences and learn from
[00:12:14.020]and be supported by so many of our faculty and staff
[00:12:17.320]who are first gen educated themselves.
[00:12:19.810]So, very excited about what we're seeing happen
[00:12:22.100]in that respect.
[00:12:22.940]And then just
[00:12:23.773]a week ago
[00:12:24.710]we were in Omaha for what we now call our
[00:12:28.360]Nebraska Achievement Recognition Program
[00:12:31.120]and across the Greater Omaha school system.
[00:12:34.220]Omaha Public Schools, Millard Schools,
[00:12:36.450]Bellevue, Papillion, Gretna,
[00:12:38.710]the Greater Omaha area, if you will.
[00:12:41.200]And we had 1,700 students and their families,
[00:12:44.140]about 600 students and their families making up that number,
[00:12:48.330]who were with us on Sunday
[00:12:50.110]to be recognized for their academic achievement,
[00:12:53.660]who have all applied to and been admitted to
[00:12:56.070]the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
[00:12:58.700]and supporting them with scholarship support
[00:13:01.410]in many of those cases
[00:13:02.680]with offers of scholarship support
[00:13:04.600]and of that group of students
[00:13:06.770]roughly half of them
[00:13:08.420]were first gen
[00:13:09.950]or students that are first gen in their families.
[00:13:12.890]We had special programming with them
[00:13:14.727]and with their families there on Sunday.
[00:13:16.950]So, I'm particularly excited to see
[00:13:19.140]that we are seeing an increase
[00:13:21.570]in first gen students coming to us
[00:13:23.900]and that we continue to have that access.
[00:13:26.350]Part of our mission of the access to the power
[00:13:28.720]and the transformative power of higher education
[00:13:31.010]for these emerging first gen students in our programs.
[00:13:35.000]Dr. Green, the last word is yours.
[00:13:37.880]Your thoughts on what's going on around campus
[00:13:40.100]here on this Thanksgiving week.
[00:13:42.430]You know Brandon,
[00:13:44.410]when we gather and we pause and we take time to give thanks
[00:13:47.740]for all the blessings that we have in life
[00:13:50.070]and we have many,
[00:13:51.390]as I think we all know,
[00:13:52.940]I'm very grateful, obviously, for this great university
[00:13:56.570]that we have for world leading faculty and staff.
[00:14:00.060]Over 6,000 of them that we have on our campus
[00:14:03.140]making the impact in the lives of our students
[00:14:05.530]and the public through the research
[00:14:07.890]and the creative activity all around the world.
[00:14:11.580]Particularly thankful that,
[00:14:13.150]I've been thinking about this a lot,
[00:14:15.070]going in to the year of 2019
[00:14:17.530]that's now just around the corner,
[00:14:20.280]that the University of Nebraska
[00:14:22.250]for the last 149 years, nine months, and nine days,
[00:14:27.760]I think is the right number,
[00:14:30.000]has been serving the needs of this state
[00:14:32.540]by being one of the best land grant universities
[00:14:34.930]in the world
[00:14:35.780]and I'm profoundly grateful for that.
[00:14:38.240]And profoundly grateful for
[00:14:40.520]the opportunities that we have
[00:14:42.640]ahead as that number would point to in 2019
[00:14:46.260]as we celebrate our 150th anniversary
[00:14:48.950]of serving the state of Nebraska,
[00:14:51.070]the current, nearly 26,000 students we have
[00:14:54.980]studying with us
[00:14:55.857]who are stretching their strengths,
[00:14:57.500]who are seeking out
[00:14:59.170]how to change the world
[00:15:00.093]and how to make the world a better place
[00:15:02.990]during their lifetimes,
[00:15:04.230]to succeed in the future.
[00:15:06.300]So I am profoundly grateful
[00:15:08.300]for this university and for its people and for its impact
[00:15:12.410]in the past and in the future and
[00:15:14.510]I hope everyone's had a wonderful Thanksgiving
[00:15:16.569]wherever they are.
[00:15:18.360]That was Dr. Ronnie Green,
[00:15:19.570]chancellor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
[00:15:21.650]Joining us once again
[00:15:22.710]as a special guest on our Weekly Chat with the Chancellor
[00:15:25.450]here in the Fall 2018 semester.
[00:15:28.210]With the Rural Radio Network,
[00:15:29.670]this is Brandon Benitz.
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