The University of Nebraska at Kearney is a mid-sized, public regional member of the University of Nebraska system. Founded in 1905, UNK originated in a normal school, the late 19th century’s most up-to-date form of teacher’s education, in which teachers learned their craft with direct, hands-on instruction with real students. At that time, the school had the modest mission of preparing talented teachers for western Nebraska’s public schools. More than a century later, UNK is a relatively small, but unmistakably ambitious, public university dedicated to excellence in undergraduate education, with an eye toward being a major, nationally-recognized comprehensive university shaping Nebraska’s future.
Academic ProgramsUNK is serious about quality education, from 120 majors, as well as two dozen pre-professional programs and just as many graduate degrees. The faculty members are UNK are closely and deeply engaged with students; 99% of faculty teach undergraduate courses, and an 18:1 student/faculty ratio makes it easy for students to find their mentors. It also makes undergraduate research projects possible, and more than a third of UNK students take on real-world research, presenting their work at professional and academic conferences.
Of course, with its roots in a normal school, UNK remains a stronghold of teacher education; around a quarter of Nebraska’s teachers have a degree from UNK, as well as a third of the state’s principals. Many of UNK’s programs have 100% job placement, with Education, Speech Language Pathology, and School Psychology being particularly sought-after. In the 21st century, UNK has met the needs of Nebraska’s rural and non-traditional adult students with online degree programs, earning a top 10 online education ranking from U.S. News & World Report among public regional universities in the Midwest.
Student LifeOn a large, rural campus not far from a small town, student life largely revolves around organized, on-campus activities and events. Students keep themselves occupied with almost 200 student-led organizations and clubs, ranging from professional organizations to special interest clubs, and everything in between (like the International Trombone Association). UNK also has a healthy Greek life, with seven fraternities and sororities each. These groups foster a lively, diverse community of backgrounds and interests on campus, and enrich the learning environment of UNK.
UNK’s mascot, the antelope, is a legendary misnomer – while the pronghorn (which is native to North America) resembles the antelope, there are no antelopes in Loper country – or America. That hasn’t stopped the UNK Lopers from embracing their identity. UNK fields a variety of Division II varsity teams, with basketball and football leading in popularity (and determining Louie the Loper’s costume). However, UNK athletics emphasizes academics, and all of the school’s varsity students maintain a 3.0 GPA.