Board of Regents
James B. Milliken
Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska
Report from the March 2014 meeting of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
Regents honor Milliken’s highly successful decade as NU president
When he returned to the University of Nebraska almost a decade ago, President James B. Milliken set a goal for the university to renew its focus on its relationship to the people of the state, and on how it could best serve Nebraska through teaching, research and engagement.
Now, as he prepares to conclude his tenure as NU president to become chancellor of the City University of New York, Milliken said that goal “has made all the difference.”
“Over the last 10 years, a talented faculty and staff, led by able campus leaders, has accomplished more than I had thought possible,” Milliken said during the Board of Regents’ March meeting, where the Board recognized his successful service as NU’s sixth president.
“It’s a privilege under any circumstance to serve as the president of a great public university,” Milliken said. “As a native Nebraskan and a graduate of this university, the opportunity to serve the state and the university has been an extraordinary honor and a humbling experience.”
The Board’s resolution honoring Milliken highlighted a number of key achievements the university has experienced under his leadership, including:
“In the end, the success that all of us have had on behalf of the university depends on how well we tap into the sense of expectation, the optimism and the hope of Nebraskans for their state and for this university,” Milliken said.
He noted that Nebraska faces key challenges for the future, such as shifts in the state’s demographic profile and tight resources at a time when the university will be expected to do even more to educate citizens, conduct competitive research and serve the state. But he said that since he became president, it has been clear to him that Nebraskans care deeply about their university and recognize that for many it is the key to upward mobility and that it helps to ensure a high quality of life for the state.
“The solution to Nebraska’s challenges is not simple, but it is clear,” Milliken said, quoting the speech he delivered at his installation ceremony. “We must invest in the people of Nebraska in order to build our economic competitiveness. We’re not a large state and certainly not a wealthy one, but we have the power to determine our own destiny by educating people who have the vision and talent to compete in a knowledge-based global economy. I believe that education and specifically the University of Nebraska is the key to Nebraska’s future.”
Board appoints Dr. Jim Linder as interim University of Nebraska president
The newly appointed interim president of the University of Nebraska has decades of relevant experience that will serve the university well during the national search for a permanent successor to current President James B. Milliken.
The Board of Regents approved the appointment of James Linder, M.D., of Omaha as interim president during its March 21 meeting. Linder, who is spending the month of April working alongside Milliken to ensure a smooth transition, will become interim president effective May 3.
“The Board of Regents considered several outstanding candidates for interim president, and Jim Linder emerged as our consensus top choice to lead the University of Nebraska during this period of transition,” said Howard Hawks, Chairman of the Board of Regents. “Dr. Linder is very familiar with the university, having served in faculty and administrative positions at UNMC and in the Office of the President on a full- or part-time basis for more than 30 years. He has a wide range of related experience in teaching, research, and external engagement which will serve the university well while we complete the search for the next president.”
Linder most recently served as senior associate to the NU president for innovation and economic competitiveness and president of the University Technology Development Corp. He also holds a faculty appointment as professor of pathology and microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. In addition to his NU employment, Linder serves as chief medical officer of Roche Diagnostics Hematology of Boston.
“I have great pride in the University of Nebraska, so I am deeply honored to serve as interim president,” Linder said. “I have learned a great deal by working with President Milliken and understand the priority of maintaining the momentum that has built on each campus, and in our university-wide institutes. At the same time, until a new president is selected, the university must be ready to pursue new opportunities that arise.”
Milliken said: “Three years ago I asked Jim Linder to lead our university-wide efforts to promote innovation, public-private partnerships, technology development and commercialization, and he has exceeded my high expectations. He did the same when I asked him to lead the UNMC Chancellor search, which he did with grace and wisdom. His experience in both the university and the private sector has demonstrated his creativity, discipline and leadership. He recognizes the importance of the University of Nebraska to the future of the state, and I have every confidence in his ability to lead this great institution during this period of transition.”
Linder earned his undergraduate degrees in biochemistry and microbiology from Iowa State University, and his M.D. from UNMC. After residency training in pathology at Duke University he returned to NU, where he has been on the faculty since 1983. He has held a number of administrative positions, including vice chair of pathology, director of surgical pathology and cytopathology, associate dean for academic affairs, interim dean of the College of Medicine, associate vice chancellor for research and CEO of UNeMed Corp. He also chaired the recent search for the new UNMC chancellor.
Linder has extensive experience in the commercial sector, serving as a corporate officer and chief medical officer for Cytyc Corporation of Marlborough, Mass., a leading manufacturer of diagnostic products and surgical devices, from 1995 through 2007. In 2009 he cofounded Constitution Medical Inc. of Boston to develop the Bloodhound™ Integrated Hematology System; this company was acquired by the Roche Group in 2013.
Linder has authored more than 150 articles, book chapters and educational materials, five textbooks, and is a member of several journal editorial boards. He holds multiple patents. He and his wife, Karen, together founded and manage Linseed Capital, which supports early-stage companies in the Midwest.
Linder is expected to remain interim president until the search for Milliken’s successor is successfully completed and a permanent president begins. Linder will not be a candidate for the permanent position.
Regents appoint presidential search committees
Both committees, the Presidential Search Outreach and Advisory Committee and the Presidential Search Screening and Selection Committee, are comprised of representatives of key constituencies with which the NU president interacts, including students, faculty and administrators, supporters and donors, the public, and members of the Board of Regents.
The Board of Regents is interested in Nebraskans’ input on the NU presidential search.The committees will work with consultants from Isaacson, Miller, the executive search firm that has been retained by the Board, to help identify, recruit, assess and recommend candidates for the university presidency.
The Board invites feedback at www.nebraska.edu/presidentsearch
“The Board of Regents is interested in increasing the involvement of key stakeholders in the process that will lead to the identification and selection of the next president of the University of Nebraska,” Board of Regents Chairman Howard Hawks said. “This is a critical leadership position, not only for the university but for the entire State of Nebraska, and the search will benefit from enhanced participation by more constituency representatives.”
The Presidential Search Outreach and Advisory Committee will work with the search firm to solicit stakeholder input on issues facing the university and qualities the university should seek in the next president, conduct a broad and inclusive search, seek nominations and applications for the position, and determine how well potential candidates meet criteria that will be established by the Board.
The Presidential Search Screening and Selection Committee will review and evaluate application materials, select and interview leading prospects, conduct and/or review reference checks, and recommend to the Board of Regents no fewer than four candidates who agree to become public finalists for the position. Final selection of the next president will be made by the Board of Regents following university visits and public forums by the finalists that will provide opportunities for Nebraska citizens and university constituents to meet the candidates and provide feedback to the Board.
The Presidential Search Outreach and Advisory Committee will be co-chaired by Regents Tim Clare of Lincoln and Bob Phares of North Platte. Other members are:
The Presidential Search Screening and Selection Committee will chaired by Regent Howard Hawks of Omaha. Other members are:
The Outreach and Advisory Committee will work over the spring into the summer. The Screening and Selection Committee likely will begin its work in the summer and continue into the fall.
Regents briefed on budget planning
The Board of Regents will make a number of key decisions related to the University of Nebraska’s budget in the coming months, including approval of the 2014-15 operating budget and approval of a 2015-17 biennial budget request. During its March meeting, the Board was briefed on key items of consideration. Among them:
The University of Nebraska currently makes up about 13 percent of the total state budget, down from 21 percent two decades ago. State appropriations to NU have grown at a slower rate than those to other state agencies and the overall state budget. The university has made $78 million in budget reallocations since 2000 in order to meet its financial obligations while also keeping tuition increases moderate and predictable and investing in priorities.
The university also has initiated a capital planning process with Sasaki Associates, a leading consultant in master planning, in order to determine and prioritize its capital needs in a way that is data-driven and transparent to stakeholders. NU buildings represent nearly three-quarters of the state’s total building assets.
NEWS BRIEFS:During its March meeting, the Board of Regents:
The Board of Regents is guided by a Strategic Framework that lays out specific, measurable goals in key areas such as affordability, enrollment, graduation rates, research, engagement with the citizens of Nebraska, and cost-effectiveness. The university regularly reports its progress in each of these areas to the Board; detailed metrics and the university’s updated progress reports are available here.