The University of Nebraska has made a remarkable commitment to advancing early childhood research and practice. The Buffett Early Childhood Institute believes strongly in strengthening those efforts and is committed to supporting and collaborating with early childhood faculty across disciplines and campuses.
Buffett Institute Endowed Community Chairs
The Buffett Institute is establishing four endowed community professorships on the NU campuses. Each professorship focuses on different aspects of early childhood development and reflects the interdisciplinary commitment of the Buffett Institute. The individual who holds this title is campus-based (Kearney, Lincoln, Omaha, and Medical Center), reporting to the chair of his or her home academic unit. Additionally, the holder of the endowed professorship will commit one-quarter of his/her professional effort to working with the Buffett Institute during the academic year. MORE
Buffett Institute Graduate Scholars
The Buffett Early Childhood Institute Graduate Scholars program awards 1-year grants—each worth up to $25,000 annually—to a maximum of three doctoral students every year. The program is designed to foster the growth of diverse, exceptional graduate students conducting research about young children and their families, with particular attention to children placed at risk as a consequence of poverty and social and environmental circumstances. The Buffett Institute Graduate Scholars program is the first financial support program for doctoral students who have reached Ph.D. candidacy at the University of Nebraska that focuses on young children and their development. MORE
Buffett Institute Graduate Assistantships
The Institute has been providing research assistantships to graduate students at UNO and UNL since 2015. Students have contributed research and technical support for special projects, including the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Survey, Community Risk Indicators Project, and Buffett Institute-sponsored conferences and seminars. Students are mentored by Institute leaders and gain valuable research experience, including grant and manuscript development, research-style presentations, and study design and analyses.
Buffett Institute Collaboratorium
Located on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Campus in Teachers College Hall, the Collaboratorium serves as a setting for multidisciplinary conversations about early childhood development that draw faculty and students from a range of different colleges and areas of interest on the UNL campus, as well as early childhood practitioners. The room is equipped with state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment to facilitate meetings between early childhood researchers and practitioners across the state and nation. Additionally, the Collaboratorium provides space for advanced graduate students and postdoctoral appointees to work together. To inquire about use of the space, please contact Traci Roberts.
Collaboration With University of Nebraska Faculty
The Buffett Institute is partnering with University of Nebraska faculty and staff to strengthen our programmatic work:
- The evaluation team for the Superintendents’ Early Childhood Plan includes faculty from the Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools (CYFS) at UNL and the Interdisciplinary Center for Program Evaluation of the Munroe-Meyer Institute at UNMC.
- Professional development activities for the Superintendents’ Early Childhood Plan are guided by an advisory committee that includes UNO associate professor Debora Wisneski; Wisneski also serves on the work group that guided the design and continues to oversee the implementation of the Superintendents’ Early Childhood Plan.
- The Institute formed a research partnership with UNL professor Julia Torquati and the UNL Bureau of Sociological Research to develop and administer the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Survey.
- Leadership and faculty from UNK, UNL, UNMC and UNO participated in an advisory committee for the Buffett Institute/Gallup Survey on Early Care and Education in Nebraska.
- The Institute is working with UNL and UNMC faculty, along with the Nebraska Department of Education, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, and private agencies and foundations, to develop the Nebraska Early Childhood Integrated Data System and an accompanying report.
- The Institute's research and development staff is working with the Munroe-Meyer Institute's Jolene Johnson and Barb Jackson on the Nebraska Evaluation Network Team, a project funded by Nebraska's Preschool Development Grant.
- The Institute is working on Learning Landscapes with Raise Me to Read, the Metropolitan Omaha Educational Consortium, and UNO.
- The Institute helped in the development of COVID resources, including the Beautiful Day web platform with UNL professor Julia Torquati.
- The Institute's Dalhia Lloyd serves as a committee member on the Racial Literacy Roundtable Leadership Team, College of Education and Human Sciences at UNL.
- Institute leaders have collaborated on research grants, mentored students, and served on faculty search committees across the University of Nebraska system.
- Numerous NU faculty serve as presenters, reviewers, and co-designers for professional learning sessions.
- The Institute partnered with University of Nebraska Online to become one of the first users of the NUConnect system for online learning and collaboration.
- Participants in professional learning cohorts can qualify to earn college credit through UNO.
- Amy Schmidtke, associate director of professional learning, serves as an adjunct early childhood faculty member in the Department of Teacher Education at UNO.
University of Nebraska Research Partnerships
Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Survey
The survey, which provided the most comprehensive overview to date of the state’s early childhood workforce (birth to Grade 3), was an initiative of the Buffett Institute’s Early Childhood Workforce Development Program and was administered in conjunction with UNL’s Bureau of Sociological Research. Findings of the survey were presented Sept. 6, 2017, at UNL.
Child Care Evaluation Grant
Greg Welch, associate director of research and evaluation at the Buffett Institute, is leading a multi-campus University of Nebraska team that has received funding to evaluate and inform childcare quality. The project, housed in UNL’s CYFS, will pinpoint the minimum thresholds of childcare quality needed to promote positive development and prevent negative outcomes for children birth to age 5. The funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families.
Early Childhood Education as Economic Infrastructure Grant
The Institute is examining early childhood education as economic infrastructure with partners in the Bureau of Business Research (UNL), the Nebraska Business Development Center (UNO), the Center for Public Affairs Research (UNO), and Nebraska Cooperative Extension (UNL).
University of Nebraska Conference Sponsorships and Co-Sponsorships
- 2015 Strengthening the Learning and Development of African American Children (UNO)
- 2015 Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce in Nebraska conference (UNL)
- 2016 CYFS Summit on Research in Early Childhood (UNL)
- 2016 Celebrating Young Children Conference (UNO)
- 2016 Conference on Bullying Prevention (UNL)
- 2018 CYFS Summit on Research in Early Childhood (UNL)