LINCOLN, Neb. — The chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has called for his institution to grow and get stronger during his first State of the University address.
Chancellor Ronnie Green complimented and challenged the university during his one-hour presentation to about 600 faculty members, staffers and students Thursday. He also set lofty goals for improving enrollment, diversity, research, retention and other factors by 2025.
“We have a responsibility to lead and we have a responsibility to move to higher levels as we move forward,” Green said.
Green said he’d like there to be 35,000 students at the university, up from the current enrollment of nearly 26,000. He also wants 20 percent of the student population to be underrepresented minorities, up from the current 14.3 percent.
Green said he wants the university’s first-year retention rate to increase from 83 percent to 90 percent.
He also aims to increase total research expenditures to $600 million, up from $285 million in 2015.
“I think the time is right for us as we move forward to develop a living, breathing, working strategic plan,” he said. “I believe (it is) valuable and important to achieve these goals we have ahead, and 2017 will be a seminal year for us to do that.”
Green became chancellor in May, succeeding Harvey Perlman. He was previously vice chancellor of the university’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and served as senior vice chancellor for academic affairs during the 2015-2016 academic year.
Mark Balschweid, head of the department of agricultural leadership, education and communication, said he knows Green and has worked for him.
“He’s not afraid to set ambitious goals,” Balschweid said.
Linh Phu, a graduate student in the audience, said she was pleased with what she heard from Green.
“You can see he’s going to be a great leader for us,” Phu said.