By Jeri Davis, This Is Reno
The Kenny Guinn Center for Policy Priorities may soon be relocating from Las Vegas to the University of Nevada, Reno, campus. The proposal to relocate the Guinn Center from Las Vegas to Reno has been in the works throughout much of 2020. The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents will take up the proposal during its meeting on Dec. 4.
The Guinn Center is an independent, non-partisan think tank comprised of policy experts. Since its founding in 2014, the center has released peer-reviewed reports with policy recommendations concerning a broad range of issues in Nevada, from economic to social. The center was founded by former UNR president Joe Crowley and former Harrah’s Entertainment CEO Phil Satre. It’s top executive is Nancy Brune, PhD, who received her doctorate in political science from Yale University.
In the proposal relocate the center to UNR, it is noted that the move would help the university maintain its status as a tier-one research institution. Additionally, it is thought that relocating the center to UNR could help the university retain classification as an “R1” institution under the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. This “R1” designation is the highest under the classification system, reserved for institutions that produce the greatest amounts of research.
UNR Executive Vice President and Provost Kevin Carman said that both the University and the Guinn Center could benefit from the formal affiliation.
“The affiliation will build upon our previous collaborations with the Guinn Center,” Carman said. “University faculty and students will provide expertise on a broad range of public-policy issues that are critical to the State of Nevada and Guinn Center research will provide research and learning opportunities for faculty and students.”
Over the last six years, many of the Guinn Center’s policy reports have attracted media attention—both locally and nationally—and its recommendations have been used to inform legislation and policies.
The move to UNR would be a costly one. However, the report requesting the relocation notes that philanthropic support in excess of $250,000 has already been secured for the transition. If approved, UNR will provide office space for the Guinn Center on its campus. It will not, however, fund the center.
The Guinn Center is funded largely through grants. Over the course of its existence, the center’s revenue has grown consistently—from $81,814 in 2014 to more than $800,000 in 2020.
In response to this article, Guinn Center Executive Director Nancy Brune said that a full organizational move to Reno isn’t happening, but didn’t rule out offices at both ends of the state. “We have ALWAYS been a statewide organization. And while our main offices have been in Las Vegas, we have had permanent staff in Reno,” she wrote. “If we are able to affiliate with UNR, we will have physical offices in both Las Vegas and Reno.”
Updated: This story has been updated to add comment from UNR’s Kevin Carman and to correct the date NSHE will take up the proposal.