By Lukas Eggen
Ely Times Staff Writer
University of Nevada, Reno President Marc Johnson gave his annual State of the University address, where he laid out plans to double the national impact of university research and to increase enrollment by more than 3,000 by 2021.
As the university looks to grow and increase its reputation both locally and nationally, it’s a time for the university to make big strides to help students and faculty going forward, Johnson said.
“This is a very special moment,” Johnson said during his address. “I’m very confident we can re-balance and grow together.”
The current enrollment at the University of Nevada is 18,776 and is projected to grow to 22,000 by 2021. If projected growth is met, Johnson said the increased revenue will allow the university to hire at least 120 new faculty members in the next six years. That, in turn, will help the university decrease its professor-to-student ratio from 22-to-one to closer to the national median of 18-to-one for land-grant universities.
“It is imperative that we strike the best balance for faculty for time spent in the classroom and time spent pursuing scholarship and research,” Johnson said. “The best universities are able to strike this professional balance so faculty members have the time to excel in the classroom and in their arena of research and scholarly work. It is also important to remember that we are doing this as we continue to stress the remarkable student experience that our students have during their time at our university.”
While Johnson said the university faces a long road to recover from funding cuts enacted in 2009, increasing enrollment by 360 students per year over the next eight years remains a key to the university continuing to expand.
“If we wish to meaningfully expand our budget, build out the campus and provide the board support that will benefit all areas of the university, the conversation must start with a commitment to attracting more students, both undergraduate and graduate,” Johnson said.
In the research arena, Johnson said the university is working to have the university to receive the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching “very high” research classification. The university does have classifications in other Carnegie categories like Arts and Sciences/Professions balanced, comprehensive doctoral granting with either a medical school or veterinary school.
“We have the same designations except for the ‘very high’ research category,” Johnson said. “We will soon be the size of Oregon and Oregon State.”