AAU ouster has no effect on Nebraska's CIC membership

AAU ouster has no effect on Nebraska's CIC membership

The head of an academic group that includes the Big Ten says that the University of Nebraska's removal from a top research coalition won't affect its status here.

Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman wrote a mass email Friday after the Association of American Universities voted to discontinue Nebraska's membership.

"We have known we were at risk of this for ten years, and successfully fought off a similar threat in 2000. I had hoped our extraordinary accomplishments and steep trajectory would have made us less vulnerable, but the AAU's approach to the review made this result inevitable. There was really nothing more you could have accomplished to forestall this result," he wrote.

Perlman said the AAU has rankings in four criteria: research expenditures, National Academy members, faculty awards and research citations. Nebraska was ranked last among AAU institutions.

Nebraska is set to join the Big Ten this summer.

Barbara McFadden Allen, director of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, said the AAU decision will have no bearing on her group, an academic coalition of the Big Ten plus the University of Chicago. The coalition is based in Champaign.

"We're looking forward to welcoming Nebraska July 1," she said Monday.

AAU membership is not the be-all and end-all of criteria for conferences and coalitions.

Notre Dame, once mentioned for possible Big Ten inclusion, is not an AAU member.

"There is within AAU a group of institutions who believe the organization should be smaller and that the rankings are an appropriate measure of institutional quality. We are not the only institution to be affected and if AAU continues with this effort others will be vulnerable," Perlman wrote.

"In the end, while we received strong support from almost all of our Big Ten colleagues, all of our former Big 12 colleagues, and other public research universities, it was not sufficient."

Perlman concluded that "I do not see this development in any way impacting our momentum or diminishing our accomplishments."

"Although there is some reputational advantage to AAU membership, it is difficult to identify specific ways in which our membership was essential or influential in our current success," he wrote.