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Klaich brings formula discussion to faculty

Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich spoke to the UNLV Faculty Senate on Tuesday regarding his proposal to remake the state NSHE funding formula.

The legislative committee on Funding Higher Education will meet on Feb. 29 to continue discussing how to revise the current model, which Klaich has acknowledged is widely perceived to be too confusing to understand.

The extant system, which is more than a decade old, distributes student tuition and fee revenue and state support dollars in a way that statistically disadvantages Southern Nevada schools compared to their northern counterparts.

Because the formula Klaich has proposed would reward schools for producing more graduates, faculty representatives raised questions about the potential for grade inflation to skew student success statistics.

Klaich assured the group that his ideas are aimed at promoting quality among degree holders, not only more graduates.

Still, he said that increased graduation rates are key.

He also responded to concerns about the way his plan would allot money based on a “weighted credit hour.” The proposal would see state support distributed to lower-division, upper-division masters and Ph.D. courses according to their relative estimated costs.

Klaich has maintained that his plan would allow each NSHE institution to keep the money they bring in from in-state students, but his proposal has taken fire from groups including CSUN and the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, Reno because it does not include a provision that would keep non-resident student tuition dollars at the school where they are received.

Klaich said that he expects the committee to come to a decision in time for NSHE to compile its annual budget request for the state in September.

 

UNR looks to rezone, sell farmland

The University of Nevada, Reno seeks to rezone and eventually sell 104 acres of agricultural farmland, located in a flood plain along the Truckee River.

The land is slated to be converted into a business park.

Besides the business park, the university is unsure of plans for the rest of the farm land, but they have co-sponsored a study to turn the area into wetlands as a possible use.

The  land is slated to be rezoned is 10 percent of University Farms, the universities agricultural college’s experimental station.

UNR has sold off land in order to supplement the university’s budget before. The previous time was during the Great Depression.

The first piece of land in this round of sales was sold in 2005. During the March hearing, the university will seek to use some of the proceeds to pay off a debt to the fire academy in Elko.

The agricultural college has already suffered significant losses due to budget cuts over the last four years, and some students have had to travel out of state to complete their degrees.

The remaining farmland currently has only three research projects: a vaccine for cows against tick-borne disease, stem cell research for sheep to grow human-like livers and a bull productivity study.

University officials hope that the land sale could benefit all of UNR.

The sale is unpopular with the students, the locals and the farming community. In December, several hundred students protested the rezoning of the land into a business park at Reno City Hall.

The rezoning of the 104 acres comes before the Reno City Council on March 14 at 6 p.m.

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