Regents release profile for prospective NU president

by Melissa Lee, University of Nebraska | June 12, 2014

Image with caption: Board of Regents Chairman Howard Hawks

Board of Regents Chairman Howard Hawks

The University of Nebraska released a presidential profile this week detailing the qualities and experience the Board of Regents is seeking in the next NU president and the key challenges and opportunities that person will face in leading the university.

Chief executive officer

The president of the University of Nebraska is NU's chief executive officer, an ex officio member of the faculties, and responsible to the Board of Regents for the vision and effective operations of the institution. The president provides leadership for the university in achieving its objectives and is responsible for overall administration.

The next president succeeds President Emeritus James B. Milliken, who stepped down in May after a highly successful decade leading NU to become chancellor of the City University of New York. James Linder, M.D., is serving as interim president during the search process. The board is being assisted by Isaacson, Miller, a leading national executive search firm, in the presidential search, as well as two presidential search committees comprising a total of 34 individuals who represent key university constituencies.

The profile was developed by the university with assistance from the search firm Isaacson, Miller, which conducted interviews with members of the Board of Regents, university administrators, and members of the two presidential search committees in order to develop a full picture of the leadership opportunity and what kind of president the university seeks. It was informed by input from nearly 400 Nebraskans who have shared their feedback via the university's president search website, plus collective input from NU student governments and faculty senates.

The Presidential Search Outreach and Advisory Committee -- whose 21 members represent a range of key university constituencies -- reviewed and provided feedback on the initial lists of qualities, challenges and opportunities. That was followed by a final review and approval of the presidential profile by the board's Executive Committee.

The list of characteristics the board seeks in the next president is available in the presidential profile, which is posted on the NU website.

"When we began our presidential search, we developed a detailed process to identify the best person possible to continue the University of Nebraska's momentum in serving the people of the state. Release of the presidential profile was the next step in that process and I am pleased with our progress," said Board of Regents Chairman Howard Hawks.

"Our ideal candidate will have a deep understanding of and experience in higher education and proven success in leading a major organization. She or he must have a record of success in intellectual and academic performance. And, the next president must be passionate about the key role the University of Nebraska plays in ensuring the state's overall success through teaching, research and service. We are grateful to the many Nebraskans who took the time to share their thoughts on this important process. Their feedback is invaluable."

The board is hoping to recruit someone willing to serve as president for at least five years, ideally up to 10.

Hawks said strong preference will be given to candidates with credentials sufficient for appointment as a tenured university professor, including an earned Ph.D. or other relevant terminal degree, teaching experience and a personal record of research and scholarship.

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