The University of Nebraska Board of Regents will hire a search firm and gather public input in its pursuit of a new president for the NU system.

Regents Chairman Tim Clare of Lincoln and Vice Chairman Jim Pillen of Columbus issued a press release Friday through NU’s central administrative headquarters in Lincoln.

The public, NU employees and students may begin to submit their views concerning what the NU system needs in its next president. NU is taking that input by email now at presidentsearch@nebraska.edu.

NU President Hank Bounds, who has been NU’s president for 3½ years, announced last month that he will step down in August and return to the South, where he and his family are from. Bounds said he had been worn down by the hours and obligations of the job.

The NU system includes higher education institutions in Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney and Curtis.

The board also will hold “listening sessions” in the near future so that people may share their opinions on the presidency. Those sessions haven’t been scheduled.

Clare and Pillen expect the board to hire an executive search firm to assist in the hunt for Bounds’ replacement.

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Clare said in the press release: “The University of Nebraska presidency is one of the best jobs in the country. The board intends to conduct a timely national search to find the best possible person for the job.”

The board plans to appoint one or more search committees to help find applicants and nominees for the presidency. Professors, students, staffers and other Nebraskans will serve on the committee. The board soon will seek suggestions for membership on the search committee.

The press release said the board’s four-person executive committee in the near future will recommend an interim NU leader to the full board for a public vote.

The board eventually will name a priority candidate for president, after which a 30-day public evaluation of that candidate will take place.

The NU system enrolls 52,000 students, employs 16,000 faculty members and staffers and oversees a $2.6 billion budget. The president carries out the board’s plans, advocates for NU to the Nebraska Legislature and oversees the campus chancellors and some other administrators in the system.

Rick covers higher education for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @RickRuggles. Phone: 402-444-1123.

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