A College Town Too

by Rayna Collins

Lincoln isn’t just the capital of Nebraska—it’s a college town too. From it’s excellent smaller private and public institutions to the University of Nebraska’s flagship university, Lincoln provides higher learning opportunities to expand knowledge, skills and career opportunities. 

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is the largest university in Nebraska. It began as a land-grant college in 1869 and now boasts a 26,079 student enrollment. Their most recent graduating class was the largest in their history with more than 500 first generation college students. A national leader in academics as well as athletics, UNL, a part of the Big Ten Conference, recently added the School of Computing to the College of Engineering and is recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as a Doctoral/Highest Research Activity university.

UNL is also nationally known for the University of Nebraska Press, the Sheldon Museum of Art—a major collection of American art—and the Prairie Schooner literary magazine.

The University has three campuses in Lincoln. The main campus is located in the heart of downtown Lincoln, and the beautiful East Campus as well as the new and always growing Innovation Campus are only a few minutes away. They all support Lincoln’s youthful energy with well over 150 majors and 100 graduate programs for students to choose from. In fact, UNL was one of the first institutions west of the Mississippi to award doctoral degrees. The first was granted in physics in 1896. 

A place of high ambition, the university boasts a number of notable alumni, including investor, philanthropist and Nebraska resident, Warren Buffet; former television talk show host, Johnny Carson; author Willa Cather, and Jeff Raikes, former CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

The Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences Program (UCARE) is a unique, independent study program at UNL, and the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management is one of the reasons Lincoln’s ‘silicon prairie’ is flourishing.

Starting with a $20 million grant from the Johnny Carson Foundation, the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts teaches innovative technology to solve human problems, to entertain, and to tell stories that inspire. 

UNL is also an important source of Lincoln’s cultural enrichment and entertainment including concerts, films, museums, theatre productions and other events. The University also benefits the state’s 93 counties with research-based information through the cooperative extension service and continuing studies program, as well as campuses in Omaha and Kearney. U.S. News and World Report ranked UNL as one of the Top 150 liberal arts colleges in the country. You can find more information at unl.edu

Union College

Founded and operated by the Seventh Day Adventist Church in 1891, the picturesque, 50-acre campus of Union College is located in Lincoln’s historic College View neighborhood. More than 900 students of diverse faith backgrounds attend the college, hailing from around the world and coming together in Christian values.

Offering more than 50 majors, the college has particularly strong programs in nursing, teaching, science and business. They also offer a unique bachelor’s degree in International Rescue and Relief. Union College consistently places in the top 40 in its regional category in the U.S. News and World Report. Visit www.ucollege.edu to learn more. 

Nebraska Wesleyan University

Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln is home to nearly 2,000 traditional undergraduates and hundreds of adult and graduate students from across the country and around the world. NWU students thrive on a close-knit, supportive campus in a vibrant college city. At NWU, one hundred percent of students engage in internships, research, service learning or study abroad. And the Nebraska Wesleyan experience transforms each student to lead a life of learning, service, leadership and success in a global society. 

NWU features more than 130 majors, minors and preprofessional programs as well as master’s degrees in athletic training, business administration, nursing and social work. Nebraska Wesleyan ranks 24 in U.S. News & World Report’s top regional universities in the Midwest. Learn more at nebrwesleyan.edu

Southeast Community College

The Southeast Community College (SCC) Lincoln Campus serves more than 9,000 students seeking transfer courses and career/technical education. SCC also has campuses in Beatrice and Milford. SCC operates on a semester academic calendar, which means better alignment with Nebraska high schools and four-year colleges and universities to which SCC students transfer.

A major focus for SCC is producing more graduates to fill employers’ needs. The expansion of the college’s facilities and programs will put more students into the workforce as qualified technicians in a variety of areas, including agriculture, business, computers, culinary, community services, public safety, health care, construction, manufacturing, and transportation.

The largest campus is on the east edge of Lincoln where the college recently embarked on a $30 million renovation and expansion. And there is another campus in the heart of downtown Lincoln. SCC also serves 15 counties located in southeast Nebraska. SCC operates learning centers in Falls City, Hebron, Nebraska City, Plattsmouth, Wahoo, and York. Classes at those sites are both credit and non-credit. The Continuing Education Division offers classes and workshops related to business, careers and professional development, trades and industrial technology, health care, computers and technology, adult education, personal interest, and traffic safety and licensing. SCC also offers customized training to businesses and industries, both large and small, throughout the 15-county area. Additionally, many of SCC’s associate degree-level credit programs are transferable to major universities, providing a more flexible and affordable education.

Ninety-three percent of recent SCC graduates found work or continued their education, and of those who are employed, 89 percent are working in Nebraska. Get more information at www.southeast.edu.

Bryan College of Health Sciences

Known for outstanding healthcare education, the Bryan College of Health Sciences takes pride in providing clinically based programs in nursing and allied health as an affiliate of Bryan Medical Center. The college offers undergraduate degrees in nursing and health professions, graduate degrees in nurse anesthesia, and a number of certificate options. Visit www.bryanhealthcollege.edu for details.

Doane University

It is well-known that the landscape of higher education is changing. More students are looking for alternatives to the options that have been available historically. Those options include flexibility for working students, credentials other than bachelor’s degrees, an educational experience that is engaging, and curriculum that is immediately applicable.  One local university that is actively working to meet the changing needs of students and employers is Doane University. 

With campuses in near by Crete plus Lincoln, and Omaha, Doane University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as certificates and micro-credentials for students who are interested in focusing on one specific area and earning a credential in under a year. Classes in Lincoln and Omaha are held in the evening to meet the needs of students who work during the day. Doane offers online classes for students who cannot commit to meeting during a specific day and time every week.  Those students can work on their classes when it works best for them. 

One of the hallmarks of a Doane University education is the relationships that students have with their faculty. With small classes sizes, faculty work closely with students and are accessible for questions and conversations. Faculty continually update their courses and find new ways to create dynamic and engaging educational experiences. 

One of the values of Doane University is innovation.  Innovation is central to the approach they take to ensure their programs are relevant and meeting stakeholder needs. For example, the College of Business recently developed a certificate in agribusiness that is geared toward students who work in the agricultural industry but who do not have a background in agribusiness. This program was industry-informed, resulting from conversations with members of Doane’s Agricultural Advisory Board as well as feedback from local businesses and organizations. Dr. Jennifer Bossard, Dean of the College of Business says, “We are always open to exploring new ideas for programs and courses. We are not afraid of tackling problems or challenges. In fact, we are excited about the opportunity to be a part of the solution.” 

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