Dear UNO Community,
When I agreed to take on leadership of UNO last spring, I knew we would have many opportunities to grow the already strong relationships between UNO and UNMC.
While both universities have a distinct historic legacy and have distinct missions and strategies, we do share common values of excellence, collaboration and service. These core values – paired with each campus’ unique strengths and resources – positioned us to benefit even more significantly from each other’s excellence, now and into the future.
At the start of the summer, I asked leaders from both campuses to identify solutions in five specific areas for collaboration: student enrollment, faculty appointments, research collaborations, research data sharing and several areas of University support services.
Today, I’m writing to share the progress we have made together as well as highlight some work building on our core values that has already begun in these key areas:
Seamless Student Enrollment
Beginning this fall, all UNO and UNMC students will enjoy new enrollment service features. As an example, students can now access all portal services to both institutions (MavLINK and MyRecords) with a single sign-on from either portal. Students who are already enrolled in joint programs between UNO and UNMC will also experience enhanced services, such as a single point for registration, student accounts and combined transcripts.
We have also focused on a broad spectrum of other student services that will bring the highly student centered programs of UNO and UNMC closer together.
Courtesy and Joint Faculty Appointments
Courtesy and joint faculty appointments will continue to be available to facilitate collaborative education and research. Both campuses are identifying faculty who might be encouraged to consider a Courtesy appointment in another department or college.
Faculty within the UNO and UNMC Graduate College, part of our University wide system, should know they have the same privileges at both UNO and UNMC, including supervising research, teaching graduate courses and serving on thesis/dissertation committees.
Combined processes have been put into place to encourage and facilitate research collaboration. This includes priority status for all administrative, application and grant management services as well as facilitated access to core laboratory research services on both campuses.
Research collaborations will be managed through the appropriate campus offices of both universities (Office of Research and Creative Activity at UNO, and Sponsored Programs Administration at UNMC) using established federally-approved processes where a grant is either awarded to one institution with a subcontract to the other or awarded to both in cases with multiple principal investigators.
Secure Research Data Sharing
Secure tools for data sharing will continue to allow valuable research collaborations. Our IT teams at UNO and UNMC know this is a priority and are able to implement the right strategy depending upon your specific research needs. Possible solutions include a Box folder, Office 365 folder, access to a folder on a secure data server, or defined access to a hosted database, such as REDCap.
The IT office of either campus or the UNMC Research IT Office, which hosts Box and REDCap at UNMC, can assist investigators in finding the right mechanism in a timely and effective fashion. Infrastructure is in place to address future data sharing needs beyond research as requirements are identified.
Re-Imagining U is a joint program that has been initiated between UNMC and UNO to enhance leadership development and continue to strengthen our workforce. This program, which is available to all of our employees and leadership team, focuses on the development of employees’ skills building, leadership capability, strategic planning, communication, as well as enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion.
The Mavericks are Omaha’s team. This year, UNO’s Athletics department is making it easier for UNMC faculty, staff and students to get in on the fun. UNMC faculty and staff will now qualify for the same season ticket discount as UNO faculty and staff. As part of a pilot program, all UNMC students will be able to get into any UNO athletic events free of charge when they present their UNMC student ID. I hope to see many members of the UNMC community taking advantage of this great opportunity. GO MAVS!
As we bring synergy to our Business and Finance logistical activities, there are many areas that will facilitate collaboration of all members of the campus communities. We are actively developing additional strategies using public transportation, shuttles and parking permits to strengthen connections between UNO and UNMC.
Faculty and staff members of the UNMC Wellbeing Coordinating Council and UNO’s Wellness Coalition are in the early stages of developing program collaborations between institutions in an effort to leverage expertise and improve health outcomes for both campus’ students, staff and faculty.
Nebraska Medicine staff have also begun partnering with UNO Health Services leaders to identify opportunities to enhance support for students, faculty and staff.
UNO’s Housing and Residence Life Office has begun partnering with the College of Dentistry to provide housing support for resident students working in the Omaha area.
I am very grateful to the campus leadership at UNO and UNMC for their dedication in moving these five areas forward. As strong as our collaborations are, I know we can achieve even more together. The above list is only a very small part of a myriad of ongoing collaborations. Future opportunities are only limited by our imagination. As we begin a new academic year, ask yourself: what can we achieve this year?
If you have ideas to strengthen our universities’ relationship in order to better fulfill our missions, take action. Talk to your supervisor, chair, dean or email me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I cannot wait to see what we will accomplish together on behalf of students, the entire university family and all of the Nebraska communities we serve.
Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D.