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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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.
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Nov. 2014: Hank Bounds, 47, Commissioner of higher education at the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, is named as one of four finalists to replace President J.B. Milliken as president of the University of Nebraska system. Milliken had stepped down to take a position as chancellor of the City University of New York.
Jan. 2015: Bounds, center, is selected by regents as the next president.
April 2015: Bounds begins work in Nebraska under a three-year contract paying a $480,000 base salary plus $20,000 supplemental compensation. He launches a 6-day listening tour across the state.
Jan. 2016: Bounds requests an outside survey examining performance of University of Nebraska-Lincoln Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst. Eichorst, whose controversial moves include a surprise 2014 hire of Mike Riley as UNL football coach after an abbreviated search, publicly says he welcomes the review.
April 2016: Bounds names Ronnie Green as chancellor of UNL.
Sept. 2016: Regents vote unanimously to give Bounds a 6.3 percent raise to $510,400.
September 2016: After UNO's arena finishes its first year in the red, Bounds pledges $2.3 million in NU system reserve funds over six years to help the school meet bond obligations.
December 2016: Bounds signs a petition of higher education leaders in support of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.
Jan. 2017: Bounds confirms he has told University of Nebraska at Omaha administrators that he will review any new expenditures of $10,000 or more that aren’t standard costs such as utilities, health insurance and other normal payouts. Bounds said the state’s budget bind and particularly tight financial margins at UNO precipitated the move. It comes as the university has an active search to replace retiring Chancellor John Christensen.
March 2017: Amid budget cuts forced in part by reduced state appropriations, working groups appointed by Bounds come up with budget savings across the university.
April 2017: Bounds announced the search for John Christensen’s replacement was on hold because the right person hadn’t been found. Bounds inserts Jeffrey Gold, University of Nebraska Medical Center chancellor, as UNO’s interim chancellor, most likely for two years or more. Gold also continues to lead UNMC.
Sept. 2017: Bounds reveals embattled football coach Mike Riley received a one-year contract extension through the 2020 season. Bounds also said that in August, Green had requested a one-year extension for Eichorst, but Bounds told him “let’s visit that in December.”
Sept. 2017: Eichorst is fired days after the Huskers suffer an embarrassing football loss to Northern Illinois. Bounds and Green say they weren’t satisfied with the results across all sports — not just football. Bounds deflects questions of Riley's status, saying “this is not about Mr. Riley right now.”
October 2017: After a search in which Bounds takes active part, Bill Moos is selected as the new UNL athletic director. By end of season, Moos fires Riley and names Scott Frost as new coach.
June 2018: Regents give Bounds a contract extension that will carry to mid-2023, but it does not include a raise.
Sept. 2018: Bounds begins serving on the board of The Buckle, the Kearney-based teen retailer.
September 2018: Bounds says he was "shocked and deeply saddened" by a state senator's column criticizing UNL's plan to hire a diversity vice chancellor, saying, "I've seen time and time again" the importance of diversity.
October 2018: Bounds says his office will analyze campus recruiting strategies after the overall NU enrollment drops by 1 percent.
Dec. 2018: Bounds names Gold as the "priority" candidate — and only candidate — to serve as UNO chancellor while continuing to lead UNMC, effectively making the dual role permanent.
February 2019: In joint statement with Green, Bounds releases a statement of "full support" for Moos.
March 2019: Bounds urges Legislature to fully fund NU's state appropriations request to to make the university more competitive.
March 2019: Bounds announces his resignation.