On Thursday, Sept. 5, the UNO campus marked a new stage in its history as the Maverick community came together to celebrate the investiture of Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., and the bright future ahead for all of those who come to UNO to pursue their education.
As one of the university's four strategic goals, Student Centeredness is at the heart of this exciting future for UNO. This includes the Completion Imperative, through which we collectively seek to reduce barriers so our students can be supported through a series of specific and targeted efforts to help them matriculate from enrollment to graduation.
Last month, members of the campus community came together at the Strategic Plan Steering Committee meeting to report on a year's worth of work tied to the Completion Imperative. This included several major programmatic ideas that Chancellor Gold announced during his investiture remarks, which are set to get underway in the coming weeks and months:
Expanded Access to General Education Options
We are working with specified schools and departments to help faculty develop online course offerings of critical general education courses to help expand our capacity and provide access to a wider number of students. This includes areas like mathematics, speech, English composition, and more.
The UNO Summer Bridge Program
Often times the difference between a student succeeding or not being retained can be attributed to a lack of structural support. To help provide that support at the earliest possible time, we are piloting the UNO Summer Bridge Program in Summer 2020. This effort will allow our most academically at-risk students access to general education courses as well as mentoring from peers and academic advisors at the earliest possible stages of their first full year as a Maverick.
Each year, roughly 800 students at UNO have not declared a major, which often means they may feel they don't have a college 'home'. Research shows these students, who are not immediately engaged with a major and faculty, are at much higher risk of not graduating. This is why we are re-introducing the Interdisciplinary Studies (INDS) program within the College of Arts and Sciences, to which those students without an academic major will be assigned. This new major is designed to allow students to declare “areas of interest” and explore programs across all the colleges.
Enhancements to Academic Advising
As we continue to grow our incoming first-year student numbers, we also need to grow our own academic support resources. To ensure our first-year students are successful, we will enhance our current staff of academic advisors by adding three new full-time positions to the Academic and Career Development Center; three new full-time advisors to the College of Arts and Sciences; and identifying a campus-wide academic advising coordinator to ensure a consistency of experience for all students, regardless of their area of study.
While these are just some of the initiatives underway as part of UNO's larger Completion Imperative, and many of them are just in their beginning stages, they are examples of how, with innovative, Maverick thinking, anything is possible.
More information on the Completion Imperative, and how you can be involved, can be found on the UNO website at unomaha.edu/news/the-completion-imperative.php.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.