Trustees | Trusteeship

The 10 question test for UNR’s President

RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL   |  March 6, 2015 by Siobhan McAndrew

Even college presidents take tests.

University of Nevada, Reno President Marc Johnson will answer 10 questions at the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents meeting in Las Vegas Friday.

UNR is one of the first of the system’s eight public institutions in the hot seat after Regents, the governing body of Nevada’s higher education system, decided it will take a close look at the data of its colleges.

Johnson will spend about 45 minutes talking about tuition increases, spending, building utilization, administrator and athletic salaries, teaching loads and student performance on tests based on ten questions from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.

The council is an independent, non-profit that stresses academic standards and accountability. Other universities have used these questions to measure success and set goals.

“We are an improving institution,” he said, saying the conversation will be frank about the challenges of budget cuts.

“I’m proud that our attraction to students is at an all time high and we are still growing,” he said.

He will cite record improvements including enrollment, freshman to sophomore retention, test scores, graduation rates, philanthropic giving and connections with the community.

“We are hitting on all eight cylinders but that doesn’t mean we have been invested in,” he said.

Johnson will first answer questions about tuition costs. He will show how registration fees rose during the “Great Recession” while state funding dropped and programs were closed.

He will show statistics on a 31 percent increase in undergraduate fees from 2010 to 2015 and a state general fund allocation of $186 million in 2010 to $148.7 million in 2015.

10 questions for UNR President Marc Johnson:

  • Tuition over the last five years: has it exceeded the annual consumer price index. Has it increased as a percentage of median household income?
  • The ratio of administrative vs. instructional spending over the last 10 years. Has the growth of administrative spending exceeded that of instructional spending?
  • What is UNR’s building utilization, Monday through Saturday, and during the summer?
  • What are the salaries of top administrators and athletic department personnel? How have the salaries for these positions changed over the last 10 years?
  • How many courses and credit hours do faculty, tenured, tenure track and adjunct teach per year?
  • How do students perform on national tests? GRE and licensure exams?
  • What do the results of the National Survey of Student Engagement show about our institution?
  • What are the four-year, five-year and six-year graduation rates of our first-time, and full time students for the last five years? If full time students aren’t graduating in four years, why not?
  • What was the most recent campus climate survey on academic freedom and intellectual diversity? (UNR has done climate surveys on moral, diversity, safety and sexual conduct but not on academic freedom of intellectual diversity)
  • How to we choose for ourselves board professional development and independent sources of information on national trends. (This question will be directed to the Board of Regents.)

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