Douglas A. Kristensen, J.D.
Momentum at the University of Nebraska at Kearney continues to build, and the hard work of our faculty and staff are evident throughout campus. As we watch the progress taking place before our eyes, it is clear that every step forward increases UNK’s impact on students, the community, the state and the region.
Few things are as important to our future, or more critical to rural Nebraska, than quality health care, and last spring, we were very pleased to announce an exciting partnership with the University of Nebraska Medical Center to increase education and training in nursing and the allied health professions. A new $19 million facility will be created adjacent to Bruner Hall of Science to house the programs and will include a clinical simulation laboratory, anatomy and physiology laboratories, and technology for state-of-the-art distance education. All will be dedicated to enhancing and expanding four-year and graduate nursing opportunities, and delivering new programs in the fields of clinical laboratory science, diagnostic medical sonography, physician assistant, physical therapy and radiography.
UNK is also an important part of the arts community in Nebraska, and we were pleased to hire Dr. Deborah Freedman last year. Dr. Freedman is the first to hold the Ronald J. Crocker Chair in Orchestra and is the new director of the Kearney Symphony Orchestra. KSO enriches the cultural landscape in central and western Nebraska with performances throughout the fall and spring seasons.
This summer, UNK joined the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA), an athletic conference that includes universities in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska. The Lopers will find new competition in the MIAA as they continue their outstanding record of success. And with athletic competition, we look forward to building new research and academic collaborations.
In the midst of these new developments, our focus on excellence in education and original scholarship remains the same. Our faculty devote considerable time to research and creative activity, and are experts in their disciplines. But professors also create opportunities for students to engage in their own research outside of course requirements. Across campus, 25 percent of our students conduct original research and are involved in creative projects, with the College of Natural and Social Sciences leading the way at more than 60 percent. Students in Fine Arts and Humanities are close behind at 35 percent. Such opportunities are powerful learning experiences for students as they prepare for their futures, and our growing enrollment numbers reflect that they understand the value of the UNK experience.
Every year we attract talented new faculty to join the ranks of scholars who lead the institution. This issue of New Frontiers focuses on some of the contributions they are already making. We hope you enjoy reading about them, and we invite you to visit UNK and see for yourself the strides we are making.