Nook’s State of the University Address

JOSHUA DAUSENER, Copy Editor

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President Mark A. Nook, seven and half months into his tenure as President of UNI, gave his first State of the University Address on Monday. The annual speech, given in the Lang Hall Auditorium to a crowd of over 100, was one of many “firsts” throughout Nook’s first full academic year as UNI’s president.

Nook’s address began with a lighthearted tone. He cracked several jokes, spoke about several new staff members on campus and several successes that UNI has recently enjoyed. Nook beamed as he went down a list of Panther students, student athletes and faculty that have recently received prestigious awards and honors, as well as those that have excelled in athletics, in the classroom and in the community.

The speech later took a more serious tone as Nook addressed the problems UNI faces going forward, most notably the school’s budget.

“This past year was a challenging year,” Nook said. “On the first day that I got here, they [the state government] were gonna take back $2.5 million dollars from our budget,” Nook said. “Then they didn’t it give back to us this year, and they took away another $855,000 from us.”

Nook emphasized maintaining the quality of a UNI education in the face of budget difficulties, stating, “Enhance and protect quality,” several times.

“Quality is directly tied to resources,” Nook said. “I can’t have excellent faculty on campus. I can’t have excellent support staff, we can’t do all of the things we just talked about, if we don’t have high quality faculty.”

“That means we need to pay them reasonable salaries, offer them appropriate benefits packages,” Nook said. “And we have to have a sufficient number of them to keep our class sizes at a reasonable size, our tutoring sessions at a reasonable size and to keep all of those things happening and maintain that quality.”

Nook then went over UNI’s five-year tuition plan. The plan, created by UNI after a Board of Regents request in the spring, includes tuition rates in the event of three different scenarios for UNI that could play out over the next five years.  

The three scenarios were: the state giving UNI a 1.35 percent increase in funding each year (enough to keep up with inflation), the state not increasing nor cutting funds and additional cuts similar to cuts recently received. The scenarios would produce a 10.5 percent, 20 percent and 25 percent increase in tuition, respectively, by 2022.

Nook also discussed enrollment, upcoming events and an exciting renovation project.

Nook noted that enrollment increased by two students this academic year. A decrease of 99 enrolled undergraduates was offset by an additional 101 graduate enrollments.

Nook also noted that the Industrial Technology Center had been moved to the top of the school’s renovation list and that a 36 million dollar, three-year renovation plan was pending approval with the state legislature.

Other noteworthy events mentioned by Nook included Homecoming, a ribbon-cutting ceremony for new tennis courts north of Dancer and Bender Hall and Wright Hall turning 100 years old in October.

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