Some of the many highlights from the last two years include:
- Top Tier Strategic Plan: UNLV launched a transformational Top Tier Strategic Plan, which is focused on reinventing the university as a high performing, highly community-engaged, urban research university. It is leading us to become a Carnegie R1 university academically and a major Power-Five contender athletically within a decade.
- Increasing Enrollment: UNLV has more than 29,000 students with a goal of reaching 40,000 by 2025. This year, we enrolled one of our largest freshman classes (approximately 4,000), with overall new student enrollment up nearly four percent. Additionally, our retention rate is up three percentage points.
- Academic program expansion: UNLV implemented an enrollment growth plan that heavily incentivizes the various colleges and schools within the university to expand and/or launch high-demand programs by allowing them to capture a share of any net new tuition generated. This will result in the growth and/or expansion of many programs such as physical therapy, healthcare administration, teacher training, engineering, and information systems.
- Campus Improvements: UNLV saw significant expansion of the campus through a variety of entrepreneurial public-private-partnership models including the purchase of the 42-acre parcel on Tropicana, development of a 100-plus acre Research Park with the Gardner Company, renovation and construction of the U District that will ultimately triple student housing on campus, and completion of the $72.5 million expansion of the nation’s best performing university-based event center – the Thomas & Mack Center. These are only a few of the significant, creative public-private-partnership construction projects both on campus and off.
- Economic Development Efforts: UNLV has seen significant transformation and growth in our tech transfer and economic development efforts. We tripled the size of the team and established offices at the Innovation Center, the Switch business incubator, which has led to a significant increase of invention disclosures, licensing and start-up activity, patenting, and related revenues.
- Making Fundraising History: Private giving to UNLV topped $75 million last year, and a two-year total of $150 million is the greatest fundraising activity since the conclusion of the university’s last capital campaign in 2009. This has resulted in transformational gifts that support a variety of initiatives such as new scholarships, literary and writing programs at the Black Mountain Institute, and many construction projects such as Hospitality Hall, the Rebel Baseball Clubhouse, and the largest gift in the history of UNLV Athletics of $10 million for construction of the Fertitta Football Practice Facility. These are just a few of the many philanthropic contributions that will greatly impact our students, faculty, and facilities for years to come.
- UNLV School of Medicine: The past two years have been monumental for the UNLV School of Medicine. We received full funding from the State Legislature and Governor; raised $13.5 million for four-year, full ride scholarships that will cover the entire first cohort and nearly half of second, third and fourth cohorts; launched the privately funded UNLV Medicine Ackerman Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment Solutions; secured nine acres from Clark County for the medical school’s initial campus; and earned LCME preliminary accreditation this fall that allows us to begin recruiting and admitting students. We currently have a pool of approximately 800 applicants to draw from for the inaugural class, many from Nevada.
- Diversity Initiatives: For the second year in a row, UNLV has been ranked by US News & World Report as the second most diverse campus in the country, and the university achieved the U.S. Department of Education threshold for a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). We also created a new cabinet-level chief diversity officer position, and have implemented a number of other diversity and inclusion improvements. One effort that you will see next year is the formal opening of The Intersection in the Student Union. The Intersection is an academic multicultural resource center that will develop programs and services to support the success of UNLV first-generation college students, students of color, faculty and staff.
- 2016 Presidential Debate: UNLV partnered with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to secure and deliver on campus the final 2016 Presidential Debate. UNLV had thousands of media on campus from around the globe, more than 1,000 students signed up to volunteer, and faculty delivered a dozen new debate-themed courses. The debate had more than 70 million viewers (third highest ever), which generated $114 million in publicity for the university and Las Vegas.
- Interdisciplinary Growth: UNLV launched several new interdisciplinary research centers including the International Center for Gaming Regulation, the Nevada Institute of Personalized Medicine, and the National Supercomputer Institute.
- New Research Partnerships: Creation of several new research partnerships with companies including Tesla, Faraday Future, Lockheed Martin, DuPont Industrial Biosciences, the Brookings Institution, and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. We’re also developing a stronger collaboration with the Desert Research Institute. Last year, UNLV became among the best-connected universities in the country and installed a top university supercomputer through partnerships with Switch and Intel.
- New Office of Compliance: Created the Office of Compliance and built a new team that manages all issues relating to EEO/AA, Title IX, ADA, Clery Act, and any complaints of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment.
- Football Stadium: The Campus Improvement Authority Board has been working over the last few years to study the feasibility of and financing alternatives for a large events center or stadium. As part of this, UNLV has participated in the Governor’s Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee to secure the successful approval of a $1.4 billion expansion and renovation of the Las Vegas Convention Center, as well as a $1.9 billion domed NFL stadium that UNLV will use for its home athletic games. This was an extraordinary effort and required approval from the gaming industry, city and county leadership, the Nevada legislature, and the signing into law by the Governor.
- Community Engagement: To stimulate economic development, expand initiatives with our partners, and position the university’s strengths around the world, UNLV established the Office of Community Engagement in June 2016. This office serves as a vital component in meeting our top tier goals and a number of action plans are now being developed.
The list certainly doesn't include everything – there are many honors, awards, and rankings for colleges, programs, faculty, students, and staff that also deserve recognition. It is concrete evidence that UNLV is evolving, growing, and providing opportunities to make real change in different, daring, and diverse ways.