Las Vegas Sun

August 19, 2014

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Chancellor puts UNLV Now proposal among top issues facing Nevada higher-education

Here is what Dan Klaich, Nevada's higher education chancellor, had to say about the following issues during a meeting Tuesday with the Sun's editorial board (edited for clarity and brevity):

    • UNLV Now mega events center rendering.

      UNLV Now stadium proposal

      I personally think that's the single most important capital project I've seen in my 30 years with the Nevada higher education system. I think it's important for UNLV and Southern Nevada. But I think people are reserving final judgment until they have the financial information on the table. Putting someone like Don Snyder on the project brings an enormous amount of credibility to it. He's handled large complex projects before and he's got a reputation for being a straight talker and he's a banker who understands that the numbers have to make sense.

    • Nevada School of Medicine's presence in Southern Nevada

      We've got to increase the footprint of the medical school here in Las Vegas. We've been struggling with that for a long time. Dean Tom Schwenk gets that. He has a residence here, spends half of his time here and has worked himself into the Las Vegas community. But we've got to expand our partnership with University Medical Center and have a footprint – an actual building – for the School of Medicine in Clark County. But we don't have funding for it yet.

    • Ceding control of community colleges to the local governments

      If we want to take local resources to support community colleges, which is the model used throughout most of the United States, I'm open to that conversation. There's a reason why they're called community colleges. They cater very carefully to the needs of their community and have transfer missions. But just pulling the community colleges out of the system makes no sense at all.

    • North-south tensions over higher education funding

      As a UNR graduate, I'll always be viewed as a northerner. I get that; I'm over that. The fact of the matter is what's good for Southern Nevada is good for Nevada in general. About three-quarters of our economy is in Las Vegas. We're not going to drive the economy of Nevada anywhere than out of Clark County. But the north-south fight is such a distraction that it can't be positive. I've heard about this so much, I'm tired of hearing about it. I think we should think of UNR and UNLV as statewide and regional assets. Geopolitics is nice when you get together for a football game or basketball game, but other than that, it's not helpful.

    • The quality of higher education in Nevada

      I think the quality of higher education is good, but it can be spotty and I think it is up to us to accept the challenge of providing broadband excellence. With what we have been provided in terms of taxpayer support and tuition and fees, we can be proud of the job that we've done, but if anyone thinks we can be satisfied with the job we've done, I don't accept that. I don't think we have many laurels to sit on here.

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