Since its beginning in 1957, UNLV's mission has been to fulfill Southern Nevada's need for advanced education. From the beginning, we worked to expand opportunities for Nevada's students and to develop a well-prepared workforce, thoughtful leaders, and engaged citizens.
In the 1960s, we began to offer four-year degrees. In the 1970s, we expanded to master's degrees and some Ph.D. programs. In the 1980s and early 1990s, UNLV began to emerge in another role: as an urban research university — one that supports regional economic development and contributes to a healthy, culturally enriched, and globally aware community.
During the 2000s, this mission was articulated more fully. In 2007, the campus produced its "Focus 50 to 100 strategic plan," and in 2010 added a statement of "Core Themes." We began tracking benchmarks toward achieving our ambitious goals in education, research, and community service.
From 2008-12, budget cuts challenged this vision, but UNLV preserved a solid foundation through targeted cuts. Now, as the region recovers from the Great Recession, we are once again moving forward with a formalized effort to reflect on our mission and achieve our ambitions.
The formal strategic thinking exercise that we called the Path to Tier One was a part of the university's evolution, but one that we believe will also transform UNLV and become a pivotal moment for our city, state, and region. In order to develop a more robust and comprehensive plan, Path to Tier One was reformed and became the Top Tier Initiative.