Friday, Sept. 18, 2009 | 3 a.m.
Every so often a university will be blessed with good fortune, whether it is the announcement that a faculty member has won a Nobel Prize, the campus has received a major gift from a generous donor or one of its athletic programs has won a national championship.
Another high watermark is reached when an institution of higher education can forge a partnership that will enhance its research capabilities and community involvement.
That is precisely what UNLV achieved last week when it was announced that the university was joining forces with the Brookings Institution, a prestigious Washington think tank, to form the Mountain West Initiative.
As reported by Emily Richmond in the Las Vegas Sun, a sister publication of In Business Las Vegas, Brookings scholars will serve rotating residencies in Las Vegas and exchange ideas with UNLV faculty and staff on issues of importance to the West.
The partnership with a think tank as influential on public policy issues as Brookings is a golden opportunity for UNLV researchers to have more impact in areas related to water, energy, transportation and other problems confronting the West. That is because Brookings scholars have access to many of the most powerful politicians and business leaders in the nation.
Brookings’ involvement with UNLV is a logical follow-up to a report the think tank issued last year, in which it identified Nevada and four other states in the southern Intermountain West as a region that was emerging as a new American heartland. Brookings strongly encouraged those states to band together to solve regional problems with help from the federal government.
UNLV President Neal Smatresk told the Sun: “We’ll become a hub for the Intermountain West states to develop policy. This is an unparalleled opportunity.”
We couldn’t agree more.