KRVN Chat with the Chancellor
Ronnie Green chats about the economic impact that UNL brings to the state; an $11.85 million grant from the National Institute of Health to establish a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence; a discussion of “first generation” college Students; and the top 2-3 things on his agenda this summer.
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[00:00:00.220]Brandon Bennetts with the Rural Radio Network,
[00:00:01.970]and our weekly Chat with the Chancellor here
[00:00:03.350]in the Summer 2019 semester.
[00:00:05.360]Once again, joined by a special guest,
[00:00:06.930]Dr. Ronnie Green, the Chancellor at the
[00:00:08.350]University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
[00:00:10.290]Chancellor, back in 2016 Trip Umbach
[00:00:13.200]a national leading consultant with expertise
[00:00:15.140]in economic impact studies
[00:00:16.630]showed the University of Nebraska system's
[00:00:18.600]annual economic impact for the state
[00:00:20.270]was 3.6 billion dollars and since then
[00:00:23.190]the NU system has said that for every one dollar invested
[00:00:25.790]it returns six dollars for the state.
[00:00:28.180]Back at the March Board of Regents meeting,
[00:00:29.880]Umbach upped those figures
[00:00:32.220]to an economic impact statewide of 4.5 billion dollars
[00:00:35.680]and seven dollars for every one dollar invested.
[00:00:38.910]What specific numbers can you share with us
[00:00:40.880]about UNL's increase on its economic impact as well?
[00:00:44.570]Well Brandon you had mentioned that back three years
[00:00:47.240]ago wheen this original study was done
[00:00:49.820]to look at economic impact of the university
[00:00:52.270]at the system level across all of the state,
[00:00:54.860]at that time, in that study,
[00:00:56.536]the University of Nebraska at Lincoln
[00:00:58.760]was just under two billion of that total,
[00:01:02.195]1.9 billion at that point in time,
[00:01:04.569]and as you mentioned, that has been
[00:01:07.330]updated here recently this spring,
[00:01:10.340]to look at the data now in 2019 for the university.
[00:01:14.880]And that total now is 4.5 billion at the system level.
[00:01:18.433]2.2 billion of that coming directly
[00:01:20.966]from and through the University of Nebraska Lincoln
[00:01:23.700]supporting 18,500 jobs that are direct employment
[00:01:28.180]of both our faculty and our staff,
[00:01:30.430]plus employment that's created in the economy
[00:01:32.880]as a operation of UNL across the state
[00:01:36.090]on the campuses in Lincoln, as well as across the state.
[00:01:39.500]The flagship land-grant research intensive campus
[00:01:42.670]is a key driver for the state's economy.
[00:01:45.660]We've known that for a long time.
[00:01:48.250]You know we've celebrated our 150th anniversary this year
[00:01:50.973]that we talked about previously on your program,
[00:01:54.170]and have continued to create that talent and expertise
[00:01:57.260]for all sectors of Nebraska's economy
[00:01:59.570]as well as sparking innovation through the research,
[00:02:02.170]and the dividends from that research that we do
[00:02:04.490]out in the economy in the state.
[00:02:07.060]So very, very happy about that
[00:02:08.890]to know that now today in 2019
[00:02:11.655]on our own numbers at UNL, about $7.8 returned
[00:02:16.840]for every dollar if state dollars invested
[00:02:19.660]in the university on an annual basis
[00:02:21.730]in these Trip Umbach data.
[00:02:23.820]Dr. Green, last month UNL announced
[00:02:25.840]an 11.85 million dollar grant
[00:02:28.890]from the National Institute of Health to establish
[00:02:31.130]a center of biomedical research excellence on campus,
[00:02:34.440]and then just earlier this week
[00:02:35.780]the campus also announced a major gift
[00:02:37.610]to build a brand new student learning commons on campus.
[00:02:41.240]Tell us about the new center
[00:02:43.130]for biomedical research excellence
[00:02:44.610]and the new student learning commons coming to the campus.
[00:02:48.300]We, as a major research institution,
[00:02:52.380]at the university, have about 320 million dollars a year
[00:02:57.420]in research activity that we conduct
[00:03:00.030]and carry out through the UNL system.
[00:03:02.470]And we were very pleased here just recently
[00:03:05.350]to announce a new major grant
[00:03:07.270]that came in to the university.
[00:03:09.770]11.85 million dollar grant that is establishing a new center
[00:03:14.480]for biomedical research excellence.
[00:03:16.390]We refer to these as COBREs, that is,
[00:03:19.090]part of the National Institutes of Health
[00:03:20.999]in the Federal Government.
[00:03:23.070]And then this particular one,
[00:03:24.720]it's to establish a new COBRE in rural drug addiction,
[00:03:29.420]so a center for rural drug addiction research.
[00:03:33.260]It's a five year grant.
[00:03:35.000]It'll support cutting edge research
[00:03:36.800]and understanding the extent and nature of rural addiction.
[00:03:41.010]It'll work to develop evidence-based
[00:03:42.880]treatment methods for rural addiction,
[00:03:45.250]and it'll also do outreach and policy efforts
[00:03:47.870]to help reduce addiction to drugs in rural regions
[00:03:51.310]and overdoses that occur from those.
[00:03:53.970]It's important that it's being done here,
[00:03:56.350]because the patterns of drug use addiction in the Midwest
[00:03:59.760]are different from those that we observe on the coasts
[00:04:02.860]or the previous rural drug addiction center
[00:04:05.610]that was developed in Appalachia,
[00:04:07.320]in particular on the East Coast.
[00:04:09.500]And this will be the only major research center
[00:04:12.400]that focuses specifically on rural drug addiction
[00:04:15.670]in the Midwest, and the unique aspects of that
[00:04:18.766]in this part of the country.
[00:04:21.000]Brings together researchers from psychology,
[00:04:23.810]from sociology, from biology,
[00:04:26.220]all of the social and behavioral research sciences
[00:04:29.770]across our campus, being led by Kirk Dombrowski,
[00:04:33.060]who is a world leading sociologist
[00:04:35.060]in our department of sociology.
[00:04:36.680]So very, very happy about that.
[00:04:38.470]It's the fifth of these COBRE centers.
[00:04:41.630]It has been established at UNL over the last 15 years.
[00:04:46.210]We have a COBRE center,
[00:04:47.500]it's Nebraska Center for Virology.
[00:04:49.480]We have a Redox biology center.
[00:04:51.960]We have an obesity diseases research center.
[00:04:54.640]We have a biomolecular communications and signaling center
[00:04:58.350]that were previously established under
[00:05:00.400]the same network of NIH,
[00:05:01.960]so we're excited about and pleased
[00:05:04.160]that we're going to be bringing research results
[00:05:06.360]in this important area for the Midwest,
[00:05:09.050]moving forward through this new COBRE.
[00:05:10.770]And then you also mentioned
[00:05:12.004]that just in the last few days
[00:05:14.320]we made the announcement that the work has begun
[00:05:17.850]on the new East Campus Learning Commons
[00:05:20.510]on East Campus of UNL at Lincoln,
[00:05:23.360]in what's been our C.Y. Thompson Library,
[00:05:26.110]one of the main buildings on East Campus
[00:05:28.010]that was built in the 1960s,
[00:05:30.320]and we have been successful in raising funding
[00:05:33.270]to support a complete renovation of that facility
[00:05:36.730]into a new student learning commons
[00:05:38.770]for all of East Campus,
[00:05:40.460]for the ag and natural resources programs,
[00:05:43.190]the human sciences programs,
[00:05:44.860]the College of Law, College of Dentistry,
[00:05:47.430]the vet med programs that all
[00:05:49.320]are located on our East Campus.
[00:05:51.650]Exciting about that.
[00:05:52.960]Supported by major donations
[00:05:55.340]from the Bill and Ruth Scott Foundation in Omaha,
[00:05:58.870]as a lead gift in that effort,
[00:06:01.060]as well as the Dinsdale Family
[00:06:03.990]who have been strong supporters
[00:06:05.970]of the University's Strong Leaders in Agriculture
[00:06:08.730]and the banking, the Pinnacle Bank
[00:06:10.410]is part of the Dinsdale Families.
[00:06:12.870]And so we're very excited that this will be named
[00:06:15.420]the Dinsdale Family Learning commons,
[00:06:17.930]and that work is underway.
[00:06:19.844]It started just this past week.
[00:06:22.060]It'll be playing out now over the next 18 months
[00:06:25.000]for our students to have a new facility on our campus
[00:06:28.270]here in the next couple of years.
[00:06:30.160]Chancellor Ralph in here about the number of
[00:06:32.000]first generation college students on a campus
[00:06:34.870]and since you and I are both
[00:06:36.520]first generation college students,
[00:06:38.180]I know it's a topic that's near and dear to both our hearts
[00:06:40.860]so let's dig into that idea a little bit.
[00:06:43.170]So first, how many students on the Lincoln campus
[00:06:46.510]are considered first generation,
[00:06:48.490]and what are some of those innovative ways
[00:06:50.290]the university is working to help
[00:06:51.510]those first generation students be successful?
[00:06:54.720]Well Brandon, it is near and dear to my heart
[00:06:56.750]and I know it is to yours as well, as you mentioned.
[00:06:59.100]I'm very fortunate to have been a first gen student myself.
[00:07:03.190]In my own family, my father
[00:07:04.630]had an eighth grade school education.
[00:07:07.080]My mother had a high school education,
[00:07:09.130]and I was very, very fortunate to have been able
[00:07:12.680]to attend the land-grant university
[00:07:14.450]in my home state in Virginia, at Virginia Tech.
[00:07:17.530]And as part of our land-grant heritage
[00:07:20.430]we take very, very seriously as part of our mission,
[00:07:23.810]the access to the highest quality education
[00:07:26.500]for the University of Nebraska.
[00:07:28.220]So when this past year for us at UNL,
[00:07:33.030]I'm very proud of the fact that we
[00:07:34.900]continue to see increasing numbers of students
[00:07:37.570]who are the first in their families
[00:07:39.360]to be able to pursue a four year degree.
[00:07:42.740]This past year in fall of 2018,
[00:07:45.370]we had 5,471 of our 20,800 roughly
[00:07:50.630]undergraduate students who were in that first gen
[00:07:53.870]in their families, to attend a university
[00:07:56.910]and pursue that education.
[00:07:58.500]It's about 26% of our undergrads that are first gen.
[00:08:02.960]And that number, as we've seen
[00:08:04.620]over the last several years has continued to go up.
[00:08:08.210]It's gone up couple of percentage points
[00:08:10.350]every year in our freshman class.
[00:08:12.870]So excited to see that,
[00:08:14.043]that we have the access to a Big 10 education
[00:08:17.380]for students who are the first in their families.
[00:08:20.560]And we believe and know from our own data
[00:08:22.825]that that is more possible and we're seeing
[00:08:25.830]a larger share of that in our student population
[00:08:29.240]than what we see in our Big 10 peers.
[00:08:31.280]We're very proud of that.
[00:08:32.930]We continued to build our support
[00:08:35.740]for our first gen students.
[00:08:37.310]You know I remember very well when I went to college
[00:08:40.540]not knowing as much about that experience,
[00:08:43.290]or having that experience in my family,
[00:08:45.960]needed to learn things that others already knew so to speak.
[00:08:50.180]So we have worked hard, and continued to build
[00:08:53.440]programs to support students success
[00:08:55.600]of our first gen students through things
[00:08:57.420]like our First Huskers Program
[00:08:59.430]where those students commit
[00:09:01.117]in that program to coming in early,
[00:09:03.730]ahead of their first semester their freshman year.
[00:09:07.230]And in that week prior as a group,
[00:09:10.310]they're supported, they're guided in their transition.
[00:09:13.060]And they take a course together
[00:09:14.860]then together following that during that fall term.
[00:09:18.280]And they become a cohort together
[00:09:20.360]to help them get that first leg up in their studies.
[00:09:24.330]We have weekly lunches with faculty
[00:09:26.620]and staff with our first gen students.
[00:09:28.263]I often attend those myself.
[00:09:30.610]And we also have what's called an I'm First symposium.
[00:09:34.560]It's held on campus in April.
[00:09:36.510]It brings together first generation high school students
[00:09:39.790]who are coming to our campus and learning
[00:09:42.000]about what it will be like for them
[00:09:44.460]to explore and come into higher
[00:09:46.620]education here on the campus.
[00:09:48.950]Very, very proud of the fact that just recently,
[00:09:51.780]this last month we were named at UNL
[00:09:54.900]to the inaugural cohort of what's known
[00:09:57.070]as First Ford Institutions that excel
[00:10:00.030]at first gen instruction in education.
[00:10:03.520]That put together by the Center
[00:10:05.500]for First Generation Student Success.
[00:10:07.700]And it recognizes this commitment that we have
[00:10:10.540]to improving the experiences and the outcomes,
[00:10:12.980]and the ultimate graduation success
[00:10:15.200]of our first gen students.
[00:10:16.470]So very near and dear to my heart just like you said.
[00:10:19.550]The priority for us that we are extending that access.
[00:10:24.180]And in growing ways, extending that access
[00:10:27.200]for students who are the first people
[00:10:29.020]in their families to be able to pursue,
[00:10:31.710]and be successful with a higher education.
[00:10:34.660]Brandon Bennetts with the Rural Radio Network
[00:10:36.190]in our weekly chat with the Chancellor
[00:10:37.750]here in the summer 2019 semester,
[00:10:39.840]this week once again joined by a special guest,
[00:10:41.735]Dr. Ronnie Green, the Chancellor
[00:10:43.440]at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
[00:10:45.100]Dr. Green summer is a time when things
[00:10:46.710]slow down on the college campus,
[00:10:48.150]but they certainly don't stop.
[00:10:49.300]As you and your administrative assess
[00:10:50.889]the year that was and look forward to the upcoming
[00:10:53.380]school year what are the top two or three
[00:10:55.320]things on your agenda for the UNL campus this summer.
[00:10:58.260]And will that include a barnstorming trip
[00:11:00.630]around the state much like you did last summer?
[00:11:03.280]Well Brandon, you know this summer,
[00:11:04.447]first and foremost we're getting ready for the fall right.
[00:11:07.650]So we've got another school year coming here soon.
[00:11:10.630]And our students will be back in force
[00:11:13.010]in August before we know it.
[00:11:14.570]And so there's always the continual
[00:11:16.720]turn and planning, and getting ready
[00:11:18.390]for the next cycle that's occurring on a regular basis.
[00:11:21.480]But we have a number of other big things
[00:11:23.040]that are happening too at the same time.
[00:11:24.830]We are in the midst of finishing
[00:11:26.113]a five year strategic plan for UNL
[00:11:29.120]that will be rolling out this coming year.
[00:11:32.190]So we're putting the finishing touches, if you will,
[00:11:34.860]on that process this summer.
[00:11:37.040]We're working on refining our budget this summer.
[00:11:40.030]And so all of those kind of things are happening.
[00:11:42.760]But then also as you mentioned,
[00:11:44.340]I do have the opportunity to get out
[00:11:46.055]across the state a lot throughout the year,
[00:11:49.030]but especially in the summer.
[00:11:50.590]And so I've already had a chance to do
[00:11:52.780]that several times even going into fields like,
[00:11:56.250]summer is officially starting this week,
[00:11:58.551]you know in this past few days.
[00:12:00.810]But I've already been able to be out
[00:12:03.300]in Scott's Bluff in May.
[00:12:05.190]We had a, just after school, finished the session
[00:12:08.230]and graduation, we had a 150th anniversary
[00:12:11.260]of the university event with our colleagues
[00:12:13.480]and friends out in the panhandle.
[00:12:15.110]And that was a special celebration.
[00:12:17.190]Was out with athletics, and a number of our coaches
[00:12:20.260]here at the end of May in North Fork, Fremont and Ashland,
[00:12:23.800]with that team and seeing a lot of our supporters
[00:12:26.390]of the university through the Big Red Blitz that week.
[00:12:29.640]Earlier this month the Cattleman's Ball
[00:12:31.830]for the Cure for Cancer that supports
[00:12:34.000]the University of Nebraska Medical Center's
[00:12:35.890]Cancer Research Center, and the Buffet Research
[00:12:38.270]Center for Cancer out in Wauneta in southeast Nebraska.
[00:12:42.750]And was very privileged to be able to attend
[00:12:45.070]that and be involved in that as we do every year
[00:12:47.290]to help that effort move forward.
[00:12:49.460]Just a little over a week ago was out
[00:12:52.460]in North Platte for Nebraska Land Days,
[00:12:55.050]again as part of our 150 celebration,
[00:12:57.460]and being able to visit with colleagues there.
[00:13:00.150]Then I'll be in Columbus coming up
[00:13:01.580]here in August for a similar event.
[00:13:03.900]Then of course, state fair's coming up very rapidly.
[00:13:06.490]It'll be here before we know it
[00:13:08.040]in late August and September.
[00:13:09.570]So always interested to be out in the state,
[00:13:12.610]and to be able to visit not just
[00:13:14.300]with alumni of the university,
[00:13:16.140]but with the citizens of Nebraska as well.
[00:13:19.680]I'm always reminded on those trips
[00:13:21.950]about how much Nebraskans care deeply about education,
[00:13:25.180]care deeply about higher education,
[00:13:27.330]about how interested in, and deeply invested
[00:13:29.760]they are in our university.
[00:13:31.620]So it's been an exciting summer already.
[00:13:33.650]And have more exciting summer to come up.
[00:13:36.000]Dr. Green, the last word is yours.
[00:13:38.330]What else is goin on on the campus at UNL
[00:13:40.560]here midway through the month of June.
[00:13:42.900]You know Brandon in talking about
[00:13:44.400]being out in the state, I also have been
[00:13:47.410]like many of us, just impressed
[00:13:50.240]with the tremendous resilience that the people
[00:13:54.040]of our state have had in the face
[00:13:56.080]of what's been a pretty trying spring
[00:13:57.775]with the flooding that we had
[00:14:00.460]back earlier in the spring in March,
[00:14:02.740]and the response to that, and the canal, the recovery
[00:14:06.560]that is going on in so many areas of the state.
[00:14:09.240]That we've just seen amazing resiliency and grit
[00:14:12.880]of our people in the state.
[00:14:14.597]And I just have to kinda pause
[00:14:16.580]and say something about that.
[00:14:18.560]The Nebraska extension in the university
[00:14:22.120]has certainly been heavily involved
[00:14:24.380]in many of the community's most hard hit
[00:14:27.770]by the flooding and the bomb cyclone earlier in the year,
[00:14:30.990]and that continuing recovery is ongoing.
[00:14:34.540]And the generosity that we've seen as well.
[00:14:37.137]I mentioned the Cattleman's Ball,
[00:14:39.146]that is always an awesome event,
[00:14:42.820]to see that even in the face of the kind of year
[00:14:45.720]that we've had in this state.
[00:14:47.300]And I know a lot of your listeners,
[00:14:49.300]just the weather conditions of being
[00:14:51.160]in the fields this year, and getting crop in,
[00:14:54.320]and being able to move forward
[00:14:56.010]with the weather that we've had,
[00:14:58.200]to see the generosity that people have.
[00:15:00.790]To be able to step away from their own adversity
[00:15:04.970]and to see the success the Cattleman's Ball
[00:15:07.530]had in the midst of that is pretty amazing.
[00:15:10.140]It's pretty awesome.
[00:15:11.580]Just a phenomenal example of Nebraskan's
[00:15:13.830]givin' of themselves in the pursuit
[00:15:16.370]of something like research to combat cancer.
[00:15:19.550]So just heartwarming in those ways.
[00:15:22.720]And it's just an indication of Nebraskan's,
[00:15:25.210]see what's possible, and we can work
[00:15:27.130]together to do big things.
[00:15:28.730]They see our university as a way of leading
[00:15:31.930]research and education, and it's just a privilege
[00:15:34.810]for me to serve in the role that I have
[00:15:37.380]in leading UNL in knowing that.
[00:15:39.530]So couldn't stop without sayin' kudos
[00:15:42.220]to the people of Nebraska for the grit
[00:15:44.660]and resilience that we see being shown every day.
[00:15:48.120]That was Dr. Ronnie Green,
[00:15:49.220]the Chancellor at the University of Nebraska Lincoln,
[00:15:51.110]once again joining us as a special guest
[00:15:52.730]here on our chat with the Chancellor
[00:15:54.360]in the summer 2019 semester.
[00:15:56.465]With the Rural Radio Network this is Brandon Bennetts.
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