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2008.08.13 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

UNO is First in Value-Added Education

Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) contributes more to the learning gains made by students than any other institution that participated in a recent national examination, including schools such as Duke University, the University of Texas, the University of Michigan, University of North Carolina and Arizona State University.

The Council for Aid to Education in New York, which administers the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA), recently reported that UNO does the best job among 176 participating colleges and universities in improving students’ intellectual abilities from their freshman year to their senior year.

“The CLA results reflect our long-time strategic goal to make UNO a learner-centered university,” said John Christensen, UNO’s chancellor. “These results show that a UNO education is an investment that pays a significant return to students and to the stakeholders who support the university.”

The CLA is an essay test that measures a university’s contribution, or value added, to skills such as critical thinking and communication. The CLA has tested 110,000 students at more than 370 higher-education institutions across the country.

“The CLA requires students to use higher-level critical thinking and analytical skills, the very skills most needed to succeed in today’s world,” said Terry Hynes, UNO’s senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs. “These results are a tribute to UNO’s extraordinary faculty who helped students develop these skills and to our students who invested the time and effort needed to benefit fully from their UNO education.”

At UNO, the CLA was administered to 225 randomly selected freshmen during the fall 2007 semester and 98 randomly selected seniors during the spring 2008 semester. The exam, offered on a voluntary basis, took students between 90 minutes and three hours to complete.

UNO students from a number of disciplines participated in the CLA, which had no impact on student grades. Outside evaluators, who were mostly faculty members at other universities across the country, anonymously graded the 323 UNO exams.

UNO faculty will use the CLA results to improve the university’s curriculum and better understand how students learn.

Editor's note: For more information on the CLA, visit www.cae.org/cla or contact Wendy Townley, UNO University Relations, at wtownley@unomaha.edu or (402) 554-2762.

* *

UNO will celebrate its 100th anniversary beginning October 8, 2008. This celebration will recognize the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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