Man with graying hair stands in front of a seal that reads "University of Nevada, Reno." There is a podium in front of him made of a dark oak. He wears a suit with a light blue tie.

Isaac Hoops / Nevada Sagebrush
President Sandoval gave his first State of the University address on Sept. 28. There he announced that he is drafting a strategic five-year plan to chart the course for the future of the university.

Brian Sandoval, president of the University of Nevada, Reno, announced in his State of the University Address that UNR is drafting a strategic five-year plan. The plan is being created to span over the years of 2022 to 2027.

An email was sent to the university community on Sept. 29, the day after the State of the University, to inform the greater public about the strategic plan. The email also stated that the plan will help the university population “find our true north.” 

The first draft is expected to be submitted by Jan. 1, with the finalized draft coming into fruition sometime in March. 

The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents required the university to create this five-year plan and chart a course for the future. The previous plan spanned the years 2015 to 2021.

In order to create a draft, UNR is holding a series of listening sessions for students, faculty and staff to give their input and address concerns that need to be solved.

Sandoval encouraged those unable to attend any sessions to submit a True North Form to ensure that their voices are heard. 

“In terms of the process, the goal is to get as much input as we possibly can,” said Sandoval. “As President Stubbs said, ‘a university should never grow old.’”

Currently, eight public listening sessions have taken place aimed at the faculty and staff of the university’s colleges and schools. However, the listening sessions for the colleges of Business, Engineering and the University Libraries took place before the regular academic instruction period started and before the sessions were announced to the greater public.

“This was only to make sure that we had enough time to get those listening sessions in and make sure that we get to every college and school,” said Sandoval. ”The College of Business had great attendance and that was the week of NevadaFIT.”

While the five-year plan is mandated within the NSHE Code, the university has run into some roadblocks while drafting the plan—the biggest one being the most recent budget cut the university endured.

When the university submitted its budget for the fiscal year, they were required to turn it in with a 12 percent budget cut. The university only received a 40 percent return on federal funding—these factors combined created an $8 million budget decrease.

On top of that, the state only recognizes students who are taking the equivalent of a full-time course load, and currently that percentage is down by 1.5 percent. This led to the loss of approximately $1.5 million, according to Sandoval.

To solve this issue, Sandoval proposed a goal of 23,000 students by 2025 and 25,000 students by 2030 in order to increase funding.

As for the listening sessions, many ideas and goals have been suggested by faculty and staff that Sandoval is taking into consideration.

“There were some great ideas that came out of our Science forum,” said Sandoval on the College of Science listening session. “One of which was to become a much more sustainable campus with a zero carbon footprint. Somebody else mentioned that they would love to see more museum exhibits and artifacts spread out.”

Many of Sandoval’s goals were mentioned in his State of the University address. Some of these include the acquisition of Sierra Nevada University, maintaining Carnegie R1 status, becoming a part of the American Association of Universities and applying for Hispanic Serving Institution status.

Sandoval added he wishes to expand the university’s online education to fulfill students’ needs. 

He stated he plans to model an online curriculum after institutions like Brigham Young University, Arizona State University and the University of Utah. 

“I don’t want to be the best-kept secret anymore,” Sandoval said during the College of Public Health listening session. “I want to be the number one choice for students.”