Chancellor Lee – Celebrate the journey, embrace the future

Read more from Chancellor Lee in her first campus international newspaper

In my first message as UNO Chancellor 90 days ago, I spoke about the undeniable power that emerges from this university, and how it attracts and motivates people of all backgrounds to do amazing things.

That power has enabled the campus to develop an impressive research portfolio in a wide range of fields, including biomechanics, anti-terrorism, cyber security, criminal justice, art, and more. It has produced many and growing community partnerships through initiatives such as the Vocational Currency, Service Education Academy, and Community Participation Centers (CIPI). It also equips two-thirds of Omaha’s public school teachers with at least one UNO degree to support our city’s K-12 students.

I am writing to you today, after countless meetings with students, faculty, staff, alumni, community partners, and stakeholders, as well as on-campus hearings – that it is time to use that power and take our university and community to a new level. Heights. We have the potential to become more and more powerful not only on the local stage but also across the state and around the world.

This is how we do it together.

First, tell the story of the university competently and advocate for the mission in the halls.

Stories are powerful. They attract attention, build communities around a set of ideas, and inspire action.

Everything we expect to achieve as an institution begins with the ultimate goal of recruiting and retaining special students, teachers and staff, and telling our story. That is why our University Communication Office (UCMM), headed by Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Makayla McMorris, is tasked with developing and implementing an over-the-top communication strategy that addresses our vision and motivates others. Be part of this community. This strategy will revitalize the UNO brand and affect each of our target audiences and stakeholders in an engaging, informative, and motivating way. Everyone at UNO is given a playbook to tell stories in their lives. UCOMM is laying the groundwork for that story and how we share it.

To make the most of this story, we will grow our state and community relations team in the Chancellor’s Office. With a clear and concise message, a stronger team can effectively advocate for UNO in city halls, community boards, state legislatures, development and donor groups, and more. You can also build new partnerships with community and organizational groups, strengthening many of the existing ones.

Second, we drive cultural transition across the country on topics such as student safety, diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion.

If we all have the peace of mind to learn, teach, and work to the best of our ability, there is no limit to what we can accomplish together. Unfortunately, this is an area where all higher education institutions are struggling to grow. A 2019 AAU survey found that 1 in 4 undergraduates have experienced some form of sexual misconduct in college. According to the 2019 report, there is an increase in incidents targeting students of color and gender.

If we dedicate ourselves to making our campus safer, more welcoming, we can be a catalyst for change in our state and across the country. This can be difficult, but it is never easy to do. We have already started a national search for the Chief Diversity Officer. Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Dr. Sacha Copp, is leading the search with a variety of investigators and staff.

The role of the individual will be a great reason to drive a cultural transition that will make UNO a safer, more welcoming campus environment and a more just community.

Achieving our ultimate goal in these gaps requires that we be comfortable in certain situations.

There is always tension or tension in the daily exchanges of ideas on college campuses, board rooms, and meeting places. To build our students’ lifetime success and prepare them for leadership opportunities during graduation, we must all adopt a “metal-to-metal” mentality around difficult conversations in our campus and community. I consider it our goal to develop a safe environment that is dear to our heart.

I truly believe that if we encourage our students to think and feel confident, they can create a space for others to exchange and exchange new and different ideas.

Third, we disrupt the traditional student-university relationship to better support the modern student.

For a long time, the relationship between students and their university was marketing. Students pay, receive education, and earn a degree by working hard and deciding. This is unacceptable for student success institutions such as UNO.

To meet the needs of our region’s manpower needs, we need to move from the marketing model to “If you have the courage to invest in the future, we will do everything in our power to ensure your success.”

We say we are here to make sure you get a degree in low debt and get into your favorite profession. We discuss “choke” courses to keep student travel smoothly. We work to enhance every aspect of the UNO campus experience to make it a dynamic, supportive and engaging environment that inspires students on their journey. We combine high-tech data and analytics to identify issues and address them in a holistic way, from person to person. We embrace lifelong student perspectives and provide opportunities for students to acquire the skills they need to excel in improved workforce through creative degree programs, certifications and certifications. As working parents, we make physical and online education more accessible to individuals who want to change careers, active members of the military, and more. We are here to turn transactions into relationships

Finally, we must believe in ourselves and our process.

Trustworthy organizations are successful organizations. By setting goals, measuring our success, and communicating openly with stakeholders, we become an organization that builds trust in our campus and in the community at large. That trust will help us improve our strategies to meet the needs of our students and our community.

I hope this preview of our journey will inspire you in the same way that you inspired me. As I hear and learn from everyone in the Maverick community about their needs, goals and aspirations, this vision of the UNO’s future will continue in the coming months.

I plan to share a clear, detailed, coordinated university plan for these four principals during my university and investment preparation in March – and I hope you will join me in honoring our future together.

As much as things can change in the future, there is no shortage of skills, both inside and outside the classroom.

your sincerely ,

Joan Lee, PhD, CFA

UNO Chancellor

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