2014-15 Vision

What will UNLV look like as a Tier One university?

We will join the elite class of what is now only 108 institutions, or only 2.3 percent of all higher education institutions in the nation. We will be classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Research (Very High) university — the highest designation that an institution can receive. And, most important, we will be one of the major academic, research, and cultural engines fueling our diverse and growing metropolitan region.

Pie chart showing only 108 out of 4,633 universities receive Tier One acknowledgement
Credit: University of Houston
Why is UNLV seeking Tier One?

Why does UNLV aspire to such a goal? Our community needs it. It's a simple answer, but an ambitious path.

Southern Nevada needs a high-performing, community-engaged, research-intensive university that is:

  • Educating the region's diversifying population and workforce.
  • Driving economic activity through increased research and community partnerships.
  • Leading innovation in our most important sectors, including health/medical, renewable energy, sustainable materials and natural resources, gaming/entertainment, aerospace and information technology.
  • Addressing the social and infrastructure issues that a 21st century metropolitan region faces.
  • Attracting and retaining top students and faculty members.

As we continue on the Tier One path, UNLV will grow its faculty size and the accompanying research output, retain and graduate more undergraduate and graduate/professional students, and nurture and elevate its strongest programs.

These efforts will be transformative for our university and our region. We will join the ranks of the nation's top research universities. We will yield huge returns on state and community investments. And we will attract infusions of the federal research dollars, which in turn generate further economic activity and bolster academic programs.

What will Tier One mean to our students, our alumni, our faculty and staff, and our community?

As a Tier One university, UNLV will be able to attract more of the best students and faculty members. With more faculty, we will have more professors teaching courses in the right order and at a variety of times so we can better meet student needs and significantly improve our graduation rate. Our graduate students will have more opportunities to be mentored, conduct research, and earn the grants and stipends that support their work. Increased grant funding also means that we will be better able to invest in our staff and our facilities.

The better we are as a university, the more doors will open for our students and alumni. UNLV will have built a national academic brand that enhances the value of every degree that it awards, fostering a pride and bond among alumni that will deepen a supportive network throughout lifetimes and across the globe.

The benefits to Las Vegas, Southern Nevada, and the entire state are tremendous. Major urban research universities are proven economic engines. They generate millions in research grants with strong multiplier effects, a highly educated and flexible workforce, start-up companies, better paying jobs, diverse industries, and a higher quality of life for the surrounding community.

How is UNLV going to reach Tier One status?

UNLV aspires to be one of the country’s best public research universities and is carefully evaluating the benchmarks it needs to attain to reach this goal.

During the 2014 academic year, the university formally analyzed its current situation and what steps to take to begin our Path to Tier One. We formed two campus committees — the Tier One Executive Committee and the Tier One Initiative Committee — to lead and inform this process. UNLV also hired Academic Leadership Associates, LLC as consultants to facilitate the planning process.

How can I help UNLV become a Tier One university?

Engaging with the university is the first step. If you’re a student, get involved in campus activities in addition to your classes. If you’re an alumnus or alumna, keep in touch with fellow graduates and be active with the Alumni Association. If you’re a parent or a local member of our community, visit campus and see the wealth of resources available for you, your children, and the entire Las Vegas metropolitan area. If you’re a sports fan, cheer on UNLV’s student athletes.

UNLV is a well-rounded and vibrant university. Be our ambassadors and share our success stories. Let your friends and elected officials know just how important UNLV is to Nevada and beyond.

We invite you to be part of the discussion and to join us on the Path to Tier One.  Read more about our path and send us your feedback.