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Len Jessup talks with faculty and staff during his campus visit Nov. 12, 2014. (Photo courtesy of -- Geri Kodey / UNLV Photo Services)
Len Jessup talks with faculty and staff during his campus visit Nov. 12, 2014. (Photo courtesy of -- Geri Kodey / UNLV Photo Services)

President Jessup Details the Path to Tier One

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UNLV President Len Jessup released details Thursday of how he plans to upgrade the university to Tier One status.

Important steps to reaching Jessup’s ultimate goal include improving research, launching a successful medical school, bettering the student experience, building community partnerships and strengthening university infrastructure.

To be considered Tier One, universities must spend at least $100 million annually on research expenditures, award a yearly minimum of 100 doctorate degrees and have faculty members who are either Nobel Laureates or members of the National Academies.

A committee has already been organized to evaluate the path to becoming Tier One. The committee is developing a data-driven plan that identifies needs, their associated costs and how to procure the resources.

A number of students are involved with the planning. Jessup said that although these panel members have not indicated any signs that the student experience needs improvement, he wants it to be more than mediocre. Jessup’s goal is to make UNLV a school that students rave about–a school that people flock to attend.

“UNLV becoming a Tier One institution is a huge payoff to current and future students, faculty and the Las Vegas community,” Jessup said.

Some of this journey is within UNLV’s control, but the rest depends on investments from the community, state and private partners.

Gov. Brian Sandoval pledged funds for the project in next year’s budget, but it’s not enough.

As a solution to the lack of funding, Jessup recommended starting a capital campaign.  He has already ensured that UNLV has enough staff to raise the desired amount of money. The deans of each college on campus will be keeping Jessup informed on how many dollars it’ll take to raise the Rebels to Tier One.

Jessup envisions UNLV as a university whose creative and scholarly activity has an impact on the community. For example, he hopes that UNLV research will facilitate the start-up of companies. Jessup also wants the medical school to have specialized services for patients who currently have to fly out of Las Vegas for treatment.

With diligent effort, Jessup believes Tier One status can be obtained within 10 to 20 years.

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