UNLV President Whitfield marks his first year on the job with optimism



UNLV President Keith Whitfield delivers his first State of the University address in January.

UNLV President Keith Whitfield is an optimist. Not only does he see positives in how the university handled the pandemic, but he also holds out hope for the Rebels football team.

The university's 11th president has been on the job for a little more than a year, and much of that time has been spent dealing with the pandemic. That includes fine-tuning in-person education for the fall term.

“We were going to try to do 80% in person, 20% remotely,” he told State of Nevada. “With this delta variant, we thought it was most safe, most prudent to go and pull back a little bit; so now we're at 60/40 —  60% in person, 40% remote.”

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Whitfield commended the faculty for adapting to remote learning on the fly during the worst of the pandemic last year, saying “we've tried to be pretty nimble.”

“Professors are really smart, and they're really inspiring,” he said. “This was an interesting challenge for a lot to try to take that same content that you might have taught for 10 years and to present it in a different way.”

Today, as the university transitions to a new normal, Whitfield wants to make use of the lessons learned —  something he called “a great thing for the university” — and create more of a permanent online presence for UNLV.

“We are working on building some more online courses, and even actual programs,” Whitfield said. “Something that we're seeing come out of the pandemic is that more people want to have online experiences, but we're still going to be a brick and mortar place.”

Whitfield also said he sees the UNLV football team moving in a positive direction, even as head coach Marcus Arroyo has yet to win a game in his two seasons at the helm.

“I believe in our coach, Whitfield said. “If you talk to him, you actually want to get on the field and play for him.”

Whitfield said UNLV remains committed to the program and that memories created on college football Saturdays are important no matter the final score.

“People remember many seasons here that they may not have wanted to remember,” he said, “but it's funny that they remember them nonetheless.”


Keith Whitfield, president, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

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