Statement from President Bounds on the Appropriations Committee’s final 2017-19 budget recommendations
Statement from President Bounds on the Appropriations Committee’s 2017-19 budget recommendations
April 21, 2017
Members of the Appropriations Committee share our goal to grow Nebraska and I appreciate their hard work. We know this is a difficult year and the University of Nebraska is prepared to make necessary cuts. We also have remarkable opportunities to work together to build a strong future for our state. Nebraska’s continued support for its public university even during difficult times will send the right message to the young people who are our future workforce, the private sector partners who have invested so generously, the talented doctors and researchers we want to attract and retain, and the Nebraskans who have depended on an affordable and high-quality university for almost 150 years.
2016 Presidential Calendar
2016 Presidential Calendar
National Association of System Heads Meetings
8:30 a.m. | Baltimore, MD
Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities Council of Presidents Meeting
7:45 a.m. | Alexandria, VA
9 a.m. | Princeton, NE
NU Retirees Luncheon
11:30 a.m. | LaVista, NE
University-wide Teaching, Research and Engagement Awards Luncheon
Noon | Omaha, NE
Lincoln East High School Senior Breakfast
7 a.m. | Lincoln, NE
Innovation in Pedagogy & Technology Symposium
1:30 p.m. | Lincoln, NE
9:30 a.m. | Lincoln, NE
3 p.m. | Omaha, NE
UNK Honors Breakfast
8 a.m. | Kearney, NE
UNK College of Business & Technology Honors Convocation
5:30 p.m. | Kearney, NE
Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture Commencement
1:30 p.m. | Curtis, NE
Global Water for Food Conference
All Day | Lincoln, NE
UNL Chemistry Alumni Reunion
9:30 a.m. | Lincoln, NE
University-Wide Entrepreneurial Awards Luncheon
Noon | Omaha, NE
UNO Student Government Banquet
6:30 p.m. | Omaha, NE
Education & Workforce Roundtable Steering Committee Meeting
8 a.m. | Lincoln, NE
Presidential Investiture Ceremony
10 a.m. | Lincoln, NE
University-Wide Departmental Teaching Award Luncheon
NOON | Omaha, NE
College of Dentistry Professionals Day
9:30 a.m. | Lincoln, NE
9:30 a.m. | Kearney, NE
“Commit to Complete” Lincoln High School Visit
10:30 a.m. | Lincoln, NE
Buffett Early Childhood Institute/Gallup Announcement
8 a.m. | Lincoln, NE
Board of Regents Meeting
8:30 a.m. | Lincoln, NE
Greater Nebraska Superintendents Meeting
9:30 a.m. | Lincoln, NE
NU Appropriations Committee Hearing
9 a.m. | Lincoln, NE
UNO Young Alumni Academy Meeting
6 p.m. | Omaha, NE
Leadership Nebraska Luncheon
Noon | Lincoln, NE
Ag Builders of Nebraska Meeting
10 a.m. | Lincoln, NE
Testimony of University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds Appropriations Committee – February 27, 2017
Testimony of University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds
Appropriations Committee – February 27, 2017
Chairman Stinner and members of the Appropriations Committee, I am Hank Bounds (H-A-N-K B-O-U-N-D-S) and I am president of the University of Nebraska. Thank you for the opportunity to be with you. I join Regent Whitehouse in asking you to support your university at a level at which we could continue to provide affordable, high-quality education that serves students and grows Nebraska’s economy.
You’ve heard from me a number of times over the past few months regarding the university’s budget, so I will keep my remarks brief. Other Nebraskans who have contacted you to voice their support add a fresh perspective to our discussions. These Nebraskans represent a diverse range of stakeholders: Students, staff, leaders in the private sector, agriculture and in the community.
They will all echo a similar theme. And that is that the State of Nebraska, its economy and its people depend on an accessible, excellent public university as much today as they did when this institution was founded almost 150 years ago.
“The University of Nebraska represents the single most important economic development engine in the state. We provide a remarkable 6-to-1 return on every dollar you invest in us. ”
In the century and a half since, the state and its university have built a strong record of successful partnership. This committee deserves a good deal of credit. Because of our partnership, today the University of Nebraska represents the single most important economic development engine in the state. Our enrollment is at an all-time high and we are working to supply even more skilled graduates for Nebraska’s workforce. We provide a remarkable 6-to-1 return on every dollar you invest in us. Our research is improving quality of life and expanding entrepreneurial activity across the state. Nebraska is now associated with global leadership in treating cancer and infectious disease, feeding a growing population, and keeping our men and women in uniform safe.
We are not satisfied. The chancellors who are here with me today would tell you that we think we can do much more to grow our state and transform lives here and around the world. We have ambitious goals for the future. We will need your continued partnership to achieve them.
I know the state is facing fiscal challenges. And I believe each state agency must do its fair share in helping you navigate this downturn. The university takes seriously our responsibility to work with you to make necessary cuts. That’s why last fall I directed the campuses to begin exercising great fiscal restraint. And it is why we have put together a thoughtful plan for finding permanent cuts in university operations.
That process is now underway, with 10 budget-reduction task forces developing recommendations for final consideration by me and the chancellors later this spring. It’s too early to speculate on specific cuts and I expect many of them will have a long runway for implementation. I do know that these cuts are going to be painful and that they are going to impact real people and real services across our campuses and the state. And, depending on the final budget that you and the full Legislature approve, these cuts will not shield us from having to consider deeper reductions to our academic enterprise and significant tuition increases for students and families.
I have been candid with the university community and all Nebraskans that at the funding levels proposed by the Governor for the next two years, both of those options would be on the table. Under this committee’s preliminary budget plan, that would not change. In either scenario, when our rising costs are factored in, the university would have to close a budget gap of more than $50 million by summer 2019.
A cut at that level would put at risk our affordability for Nebraska’s young people. It would limit our efforts to grow Nebraska’s economy and meet the needs of a rapidly changing workforce that increasingly requires more college graduates, not less. It would harm our ability to successfully recruit and retain talent in what I believe is the most competitive marketplace of our lifetimes. The chancellors can share real stories about how difficult it is to attract talent even in good economic times. A lack of state support for the university makes us an unattractive destination for the brightest talent who we want to educate our young people, create new jobs, and treat patients at the medical center.
And it would send the wrong message to private sector donors who have seen the state’s willingness to invest in its university and have partnered accordingly.
Quite simply, the steps we would have to take to close a $50 million gap could do enough damage to our momentum that it would take us a decade or longer to recover.
I am asking you to fund the University of Nebraska at a level that would do the least amount of damage possible. As Regent Whitehouse explained, maintaining the university’s 2016-17 appropriation through the next biennium would still require us to find tens of millions of dollars in cuts, given our rising costs. But flat funding, plus the support for UNMC’s transformational iExcel project that was part of the intent language of the 2015-17 biennial budget bill, would allow us to keep tuition increases to the single digits, versus the double-digit increases that we would be forced to consider under the current recommendations. That’s $10 million more per year than your initial recommendation – support that would spare students and families from having to shoulder double-digit tuition increases that we know from past experience can drive our enrollment down. There are university students sitting behind me who can tell you firsthand what those kinds of increases would mean for a typical 20-year-old.
I know your goal is to be fair and equitable to state agencies in making these difficult decisions. Using the start of the current biennium as a baseline, flat funding for the university would still put us behind a number of other agencies and overall state spending in terms of growth. Given our commitment to accessibility for Nebraskans, so far we have elected not to make up that gap with tuition. We have increased tuition by 1.75 percent and 2.5 percent the past two years, the lowest amounts in decades. We can only go so long without considering much larger increases, however, considering that tuition revenue and state appropriations are the only funding sources for our day-to-day budget.
Furthermore, any gap is exacerbated by the funding trends of the past several decades. The university receives 13 percent of the state budget today, compared to 21 percent 30 years ago. State support to the university has not kept pace with inflation or our enrollment growth. If there were any easy cuts, we made them a long time ago.
I’m even more concerned about our limited resources when I look at trends with regard to our bank balances. The university does have cash on hand. But the measurement that matters is days of cash. And Nebraska is trending in the wrong direction. We have 160 days of cash on hand, down from 180 just a few years ago. And our bank balances are far lower than, for example, Penn State, with 364 days of cash, Michigan with 305 days of cash, and Ohio State with 267 days of cash.
In fact, when we look at Big Ten peers and surrounding states, the only other state trending downward like we are is Kansas.
Senators, let me reiterate our pledge to be a partner to you in managing the current fiscal challenges.
But I hope you will consider the fact that the University of Nebraska can also be your closest partner in growing Nebraska out of this downturn.
When you invest in the university, you get a long-term return unlike that yielded by any other entity. You get solutions for the most pressing needs facing our state.
Look around this room. We know that half of us will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in our lifetime. When you invest in the university, you’re investing in an institution that’s building a world-class cancer center that will attract the best and brightest talent to our state and create thousands of new jobs.
We know that the world’s population will soon reach 9.6 billion and that we will need to produce twice as much food to feed those people. When you invest in the university, you’re supporting research that is driving agricultural innovation here and around the world.
We know that in the decade ahead, a significant number of Nebraska’s Baby Boomers are going to age out of the workforce. In the same time period, the number of 18-year-olds in our state will grow. When you invest in the university, you’re helping us remain affordable so those young people can enroll and earn a degree, joining the 10,000 graduates we already produce each year to keep our workforce strong.
We know that the success of Nebraska depends on the success of our rural communities. When you invest in the university, you’re creating a ripple effect in all 93 counties. The university has a presence in each – whether a research center, an extension program, a nursing division, or a student or alum contributing to a vibrant quality of life.
I could go on. When you invest in the University of Nebraska, you invest the future of our state. The Legislature and this committee in particular have a long history of doing that, and I am grateful and proud of the results. I hope our partnership can continue, because I think Nebraska’s best days are ahead.
Before I turn it back to you, I want to thank the Committee for your recommendation to spend revenue bond surplus funds for two important projects on our campuses: The demolition of Cather Hall, Pound Hall and the Cather-Pound Dining Center at UNL, and University Village roof repairs at UNO.
Thank you for your time, and now I would be pleased to answer your questions.
Budget Questions, Comments and Ideas
President Bounds and the chancellors encourage University of Nebraska faculty, staff, and students to share their questions, comments and ideas on the budget process. Examples of innovation, savings or process improvements that have already been implemented are also welcome. Please fill out the form below to share your ideas.
For the most current information about NU's budget, please visit: https://nebraska.edu/president/budget-info-2017-19.html.
*Indicates required information
Thank you for submitting a cost savings or process improvement suggestion. I appreciate your feedback. I will make sure your comments are passed this on to the appropriate Budget Response working group, so they can review it and consider its inclusion in their proposal.
University of Nebraska building renewal plan would invest in facilities for quality education, competitiveness
University of Nebraska building renewal plan would invest in facilities for quality education, competitiveness
The University of Nebraska and the state would continue a long and successful partnership to maintain the quality and functionality of NU buildings under a 12-year capital plan announced today by President Hank Bounds.
Click photo to enlargeNU President Hank Bounds speaks
to the 600-plus University of Nebraska
retirees, representing all four campuses
and a range of academic disciplines, who attended
the annual retiree luncheon May 27 in LaVista.
A thank-you to NU retirees
LaVista | May 27, 2015
You might be surprised to know that the biggest event of the year – by far – for the University of Nebraska president’s office is our annual luncheon for NU retirees. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with more than 600 retirees who collectively gave countless years of service to the university over their careers.
Our retirees are a diverse group: former faculty and staff, representing all four university campuses and a wide range of academic fields. Some retired within the past year, while others left the university many years ago. What they share is a passion for the mission of the University of Nebraska to impact the lives of our students and people in our state and around the world. These former employees laid the groundwork for the momentum we enjoy today and I am grateful for their contributions – which certainly make my job a little easier!
I enjoyed the opportunity to share a few comments about my vision for the university to be a giant in higher education, doing even more to serve Nebraskans and others. I talked about the transformative power of higher education through a personal lens, recalling my upbringing on a small Mississippi farm where going to college seemed almost an impossible dream. College changed my life and I know it can change the lives of others.
As I told our retirees, the University of Nebraska has the potential to be a global leader. We need to pick a few areas where we think we can be the best – water and agriculture, early childhood, national security – and then focus our efforts accordingly. I like to say a rising tide lifts all boats. When we lead the global conversation in key areas, the entire university will benefit.
I sincerely thank University of Nebraska retirees for their ongoing engagement, interest and contributions to the university. Without them, we wouldn’t be in the position we are today. I hope they share my excitement for the future and that they will continue to support Nebraska’s public university. Our best days truly are ahead of us.
Click photo to enlargeNU President Hank Bounds addresses guests
at the May 20 Nebraska Breakfast in
Washington, D.C. Members of Nebraska’s
congressional delegation are seated to his left.
Nebraskans on Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C. | May 18-20, 2015
What an honor to visit our nation’s capital and spend time with members of Nebraska’s congressional delegation. I and members of the Board of Regents who joined me in Washington thank our representatives for meeting with us and engaging in productive and collaborative discussions.
I want the University of Nebraska to dream big – and I was thrilled that our congressional delegation displayed the same enthusiasm for our potential for leadership in areas like medicine, agriculture, national security and other areas that matter to our state and the country. Working together with our federal partners, I am confident the university will continue our upward trajectory. My vision is for the University of Nebraska to be a giant in higher education, and Congress – which makes vital investments in research and student financial aid – will play an important role in our success.
One of the highlights of my trip was when Congressman Jeff Fortenberry graciously yielded his time to me at the Nebraska Breakfast, the weekly breakfast our delegation hosts for constituents visiting the capital. By the time I wrapped up my remarks, we had run out of time for the Congressman to walk us through his presentation on the nation’s budget! I’ll make time for that on my next visit – and greatly appreciated the opportunity to say a few words about my excitement for the future of the university.
Meetings with other members of our delegation – Sen. Deb Fischer, Sen. Ben Sasse, Rep. Adrian Smith and Rep. Brad Ashford – were equally productive and engaging.
We also had the opportunity to meet with some key thought leaders in higher education, including Terry Hartle, senior vice president in the Division of Government and Public Affairs at the American Council on Education, with whom we discussed issues related to affordability, campus safety and financial aid. We met with Tony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, who provided excellent insights into our role in preparing the skilled employees who are more in demand every day.
Thanks again to Nebraska’s congressional representatives for all they do on behalf of the people of our state. I’m excited to return to Capitol Hill soon.
Click photo to enlargePresident Hank Bounds makes remarks at
lunch during TEDxLincolnWomen, held May 28
at Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln.
TEDxLincolnWomen – inspiring women and girls here and around the world
Lincoln, NE | May 28, 2015
I was pleased to be a part of today’s sold-out TEDxLincolnWomen event at Nebraska Innovation Campus. The theme of “Momentum” perfectly fit our venue – the university’s research and development campus that will soon be bustling with activity by students, faculty and private sector workers. I joined 400-plus guests in listening to local leaders talk about the significant impact that women and girls can have in the world. We heard from Krupa Savalia, an M.D./Ph.D. scholar and former student regent from UNMC, about working with life’s unexpected outcomes.
Krupa is one of our best and brightest – exactly the type of student we want attract to the university – and it was a joy to hear her speak. Councilwoman Leirion Gaylor Baird talked about the intriguing link between physics and city planning – showing that Lincoln’s success and development is no accident. Climate activist Kim Morrow shared her thoughts on being a moral leader and climate advocate, and Prairie Schooner managing editor Ashley Strosnider explained why it matters who decides what you’re reading.
The focus on women’s ability to make an impact was timely and relevant. Women control $20 trillion in annual consumer spending, and are out-pacing men in educational attainment. Women and girls really can change the world…a fact made clear by today’s speakers. I left TEDxLincolnWomen feeling even more inspired and excited about the future of the university, our city and our state. We’ll need the talents and ideas of all members of our community to keep our momentum going. I am convinced our best days are ahead of us.
NCTA: Open access, high quality & Nebraska-focused
Curtis, NE | April 14, 2015
Welcome to Curtis, Neb...where you can drink a glass of the best-tasting rural water in the country and ride your horse anywhere as long as you stay off the golf course. I’d been looking forward to my visit to the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture for quite some time, and the tour and luncheon with faculty, staff and students arranged by Dean Ron Rosati and his team didn’t disappoint.
NCTA plays a unique and important role within the University of Nebraska, offering affordable two-year programs that meet the needs of our state’s agricultural workforce. New and innovative academic programs are underway, including those in irrigation technology and urban agriculture, and the college’s growth – both in terms of enrollment and its physical presence – is impressive. Taken together, there’s a real sense of momentum and possibility on campus that came alive for me as I listened and learned from students and employees. Students showed me what they’re learning in horse training, equine care and animal handling courses, and I got a firsthand look at the work being done by talented faculty and staff…including a surgery on a cat who’d eaten a penny! While I was touring, it was bathtime for a large snake named Monte. I passed…this time.
With my own background in agriculture, I understand well the vital role agriculture plays in ensuring Nebraska’s continued economic strength. The 380-plus students enrolled at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture should be congratulated for choosing to pursue their education in a field where the jobs are good and demand is high. NCTA is enjoying great success in meeting workforce needs and forming mutually beneficial partnerships with industry leaders, including the Nebraska Cattlemen, Farm Bureau, Corn Growers Association and the Wheat Board, that advance Nebraska agriculture. This campus is on an exciting trajectory. I can’t wait to return!
On top of the world…
North Platte | April 13-14, 2015
What a treat to end Day 2 of my Nebraska tour with dinner at the beautiful Golden Spike Tower, which offers a panoramic view of the world’s largest railyard. The scenery was stunning, the food was delicious, and the conversation with university stakeholders was rich and engaging. My thanks to those who participated, including the Chairman of the Board of Regents, Bob Phares, who hosted us in his hometown.
The next morning, to kick off Day 3 of my tour, I had breakfast with faculty and staff from our West Central Research and Extension Center. WCREC was created more than a century ago to study water – and we’re still doing that today (along with many other disciplines). In fact, in 2015 our focus has never been more important. The world needs someone to lead the conversation about using our water resources more efficiently and productively, and I believe the University of Nebraska can be that leader. We need to own the global conversation on water. From what I saw in North Platte, we are in a great position to do that. I had the opportunity to hear from several faculty members about their research in beef nutrition and reproduction, entomology and other areas critical to the success of Nebraska agriculture. I even got to tour WCREC’s wind tunnel, which fosters important research related to pesticides, weather and more.
I’m grateful to the faculty and staff who joined me for dialogue, and in particular to those who took time to show me around WCREC and give me a taste of their research. The West Central Research and Extension Center, the university’s “front door” in West Central Nebraska, is meeting important needs in this part of the state and I am impressed with what I saw. The work being done here could not be more timely or locally and globally relevant.
Next stop: the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis!
Lexington & Gothenburg | April 13, 2015
After leaving Kearney, we were back on the road, heading west toward North Platte. En route, we made a quick stop at KRVN radio in Lexington for a meet-and-greet with the news team and community leaders. I had a great time visiting with news director Dave Schroeder, checking out the station and meeting people who care about their university and its role in serving agriculture in particular. You can see more from my KRVN visit here.
Next, we visited the Monsanto Water Utilization Learning Center in Gothenburg. Located on a 324-acre research farm, the learning center is focused on helping farmers achieve their yield and productivity goals with an emphasis on water use. It fosters important research in water and agriculture and also serves as a learning center for members of the media, the public and others interested in these critical topics. The sustainable use of water for agriculture, of course, is a high priority on the University of Nebraska’s research agenda and one in which we are positioned to take a global leadership role, through our Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute and other efforts. Seeing the Monsanto center made me more convinced than ever that Nebraska can make a real difference in meeting the world’s water and food needs.
A jam-packed Day 2 continues!
Kearney, NE | April 13, 2015
It’s a great time to be a Loper. That much was clear during my visit to the University of Nebraska at Kearney today, where faculty, staff, students and stakeholders gave me a very warm welcome. And I loved being greeted by the Archway on my drive into town! There’s a real sense of energy and momentum on the UNK campus, and for good reason. UNK is doing more than ever to serve the Kearney community and the region – meeting student needs, producing talented graduates, driving the economy and enriching the quality of life for Nebraskans.
The campus is an educational and economic hub for rural Nebraska. Many Lopers come from rural communities, not unlike the one I grew up in back in Mississippi, and are the first in their family to go to college. That 70 percent of UNK undergraduates receive financial aid is a testament to the campus’ commitment to access. The education that these students receive when they arrive on campus is second to none, thanks to talented faculty whose first priority is serving students. And we are working hard to expand their opportunities even further. The Health Science Education Complex, a joint effort of UNK and UNMC opening later this year, will make way for many more nursing and allied health students who can help meet critical workforce needs in rural Nebraska. Discussions are underway between UNK and UNL for joint engineering programs that will create a more robust pipeline of STEM workers for our rural communities. Both of these are excellent examples of cross-campus collaboration that demonstrate that the University of Nebraska really is one university.
The campus’ footprint is expanding, too. The new University Village, a public-private, mixed-use development which will transform the way UNK interacts with the Kearney community, represents an exciting opportunity for UNK to enhance its role as a hub of regional economic growth. The Board of Regents recently approved the anchor project for University Village, a student residence complex, and it will be exciting to see this development get underway.
Many thanks to Chancellor Kristensen for hosting me on his campus today, and to all the students, UNK colleagues and community members who joined me for an engaging discussion about UNK’s opportunities for the future – and how we can share the story of UNK’s success even more widely. Next year, UNK will celebrate its 25th anniversary of becoming part of the University of Nebraska system. I can’t wait to see what kinds of success stories we’ll be telling in another 25 years. UNK’s future is bright!
Raising Nebraska, and Nebraskans
Grand Island, NE | April 13, 2015
What a way to start Day 2 of my Nebraska tour. The Raising Nebraska site in Grand Island – a collaborative effort of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the State Fair – was unlike anything I’ve seen. I hope every Nebraskan will take the opportunity to visit this facility to learn how food gets from the farm to our tables. The exhibits are interactive, fun and educational. I got to “walk” my 1,500-mile travel route on an interactive map…a less demanding experience than driving it! An engaged and impressive group of community leaders and university stakeholders joined me and our Regent host, Kent Schroeder, for breakfast at Raising Nebraska and we had a productive dialogue about the university’s momentum and opportunity.
My next stop was Grand Island Senior High School, where I talked to sophomores about the power of higher education to change their lives. This is a topic that’s close to my heart. I’ve been fortunate to experience a transformation in my own life because of education and now I want all young people to have that same experience – whether it’s at the University of Nebraska, our excellent state or community colleges (like Central Community College in Grand Island), or some other institution. The point is that students should work hard, find a school that meets their needs, and take the opportunity to discover their passions. I was fortunate to be joined at Grand Island Senior High by Kayla Lindell, an alum who’s currently a sophomore at UNK studying middle education. Kayla is the first in her family to go to college, an impressive young woman with a bright future, and her story was a great inspiration to the students in the auditorium. I thank Kayla for returning to her alma mater today to share her experience, as well as GISH Principal Jeff Gilbertson and his staff for hosting us.
Before I hit the road for Kearney, I stopped by the Grand Island Independent to meet with editorial leaders and staff. We had a great dialogue about some of the current issues in the community and my initial priorities for the university. My thanks to publisher Don Smith and his team for welcoming us into the newsroom.
Amazing how a short time in one community can introduce me to so many important stakeholders: community leaders, university friends and alumni, current and prospective students, members of the news media. It was time well spent. I look forward to returning soon – hopefully with my family to the State Fair in a few months!
A dialogue with Nebraskans
Fremont & Columbus | April 12, 2015
After leaving Mead, we were back on the road to Fremont, where I was welcomed by a great crowd (and delicious treats from Alotta Brownies) at the beautiful Gallery 92 facility. I shared my thoughts on what attracted me to the NU presidency – starting with the deep connection the people of Nebraska have to this institution – and our responsibility to do even more to grow enrollment, help students graduate on time and with less debt, conduct research in relevant areas like water and agriculture, and continue the good work of Nebraska Extension in serving people across the state. I’m glad I came prepared with my pen and notepad, because our friends in Fremont gave me thoughtful ideas on how the university can be even more successful going forward.
Next up was Columbus, where the stunning Evans House hosted us for a roundtable discussion with local business and education leaders followed by dinner with university stakeholders. Our roundtable, which focused on opportunities and challenges Columbus is facing in growing its economy, provided me with some important insights. I learned, for example, that there are hundreds of available jobs in Columbus… we just need to make sure we’re producing talented workers who can fill those jobs. The University of Nebraska should be playing a leading role, building on the work of our colleagues in K-12 and partners in the community college system to produce skilled graduates who can meet workforce needs in our communities. I’m grateful to the Columbus leaders who took time on a Sunday evening to have a candid discussion with me. I look forward to continuing our dialogue about how the university can support their efforts to build a competitive economy and increase educational attainment in Columbus.
After dinner, we hit the road again, bound for Grand Island. On the way, I witnessed a gorgeous sunset… a reminder of how blessed I am to call Nebraska my new home. Tomorrow I have a full day of sessions with stakeholders, faculty, students, community members, the news media and others, including a visit to the University of Nebraska at Kearney and a stop at a local high school. I can’t wait to meet with current and prospective students, who are the primary reason I do what I do.
Thanks to new friends in Fremont and Columbus for such a warm welcome on Day One of my Nebraska tour, and a special thanks to Regent Jim Pillen of Columbus for hosting our activities and keeping the conversation lively. On to Day Two!
Solving the ag challenges of tomorrow, with research today
Mead, NE | April 12, 2015
And we’re off! Today I began a six-day road trip across Nebraska that will help me get to know the state I now call home. Over the next week, I’ll visit roughly 20 Nebraska communities to talk to a diverse range of citizens about how we can work together to build an even stronger university. I have lots of ground to cover in the days ahead, but I’m energized by the opportunity to listen and learn from people who care deeply about the future of their university – faculty and students, agricultural and business leaders, donors and alumni, farmers and ranchers, and community members across this great state. Their passion for, and investment in, this university is inspiring.
It was fitting that I began my tour at our Agricultural Research and Development Center in Mead – the site of important research in crop production, horticulture, beef, forestry, climate and other areas tied to our goal to sustainably meet the global food, fuel and water challenges of the future. The University of Nebraska can and should be a leader in this effort. My tour of the facilities and dialogue with ARDC faculty and staff told me we’re headed in the right direction. Many thanks to Mark Schroeder, director of the center, and Dave Varner, interim director of the Southeast Research and Extension Center, along with many others, for showing me around and giving me a firsthand look at the work being done in Mead. I especially enjoyed the chance to get outside and see the feedlot research that Galen Erickson is conducting. I also got to check out the Mobile Science Lab – a classroom on wheels that serves the community. Innovative and fun! It’s just one example of the work of Nebraska Extension, whose role I believe has never been more important. Our Extension educators are helping farmers, ranchers, teachers, business owners and many others across Nebraska be more productive and efficient, and they play a vital role in the success of our communities. I thank them for what they do. We were joined for lunch by a number of NU stakeholders, including Sen. Jerry Johnson, and I appreciated the opportunity to dialogue with them about the opportunities and challenges they see for the university.
I’m honored to be joined on my Nebraska tour by Ronnie Green, vice president and vice chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and several members of his team. It became clear to me early on how highly Nebraskans regard the work of IANR, and I am fortunate to have Ronnie and Co. along to show me the ropes…and make sure I don’t get lost.
My Nebraska tour is off to a wonderful start. Thanks to my Agricultural Research and Development Center colleagues, and our local Regent, Rob Schafer, for hosting me today. I look forward to seeing you again soon. Next stop: Fremont!
Meet Hank Bounds
Getting to Know Nebraska Tour with New University of Nebraska President Hank M. Bounds
During his first week as president of the University of Nebraska, Hank Bounds plans to travel the state on a "getting to know Nebraska tour." With stops in communities all across Nebraska, Dr. Bounds' itinerary is intended to showcase the diversity of the state and introduce him to a large number of people who care deeply about the future of Nebraska and its only public university.
He will meet with business, civic, education and ag leaders and will visit several high schools, community colleges and state colleges in addition to university campuses and research and extension facilities.
Dr. Bounds will be accompanied on the April 12-17 trip by Ronnie Green, vice president for agriculture and vice chancellor of the Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Brian Hastings, president and chief executive officer of the University of Nebraska Foundation. Members of the Board of Regents and friends of the university will host meetings and events in more than a dozen communities over six days.
We are pleased you will also be a part of Dr. Bounds' first week experience, and invite you to get to know him—as he gets to know Nebraska.
Please click on the links below and tell us which events you will be able to attend.
Getting to Know Nebraska Tour
12:00 PM | AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER
2:00 PM | Gallery 92 West
5:30 PM | The Evans House
7:30 AM | Nebraska State Fair, Raising Nebraska site
12:30 PM | University of Nebraska at Kearney, Nebraskan Student Union
6:30 PM | Golden Spike Tower
5:30 PM | Buffalo Point Steakhouse & Grill
7:15 AM | Farm and Ranch Museum
6:30 PM | Chadron State College, Student Center
7:00 PM | Norfolk Country Club
12:30 PM | Nielsen Community Center
6:00 PM | Lied Lodge
Interim President Linder Speeches & Statements
Husker Football Halftime Interviews With President Linder
Husker Volleyball Halftime Interviews With President Linder
May 28, 2014: Statement from Board of Regents Chairman regarding the governor’s candidacy for president
“The Board of Regents has an established process in place for recruiting and selecting the next president of the University of Nebraska which involves equal treatment and consideration of all individuals who wish to be considered for the position. My colleagues and I, as well as the other members of the presidential search committees, will respect and maintain the confidentiality of the search process until four finalists are publicly identified in accordance with Nebraska law.
“Our immediate focus is on attracting a deep, rich and diverse pool of applicants from throughout the country. It would be most unfortunate for the citizens of the state if any particular person’s interest in the position resulted in undermining the legitimacy of the search and kept any highly qualified individuals from applying for the presidency.
“Let me be very clear. This is a fair and competitive process and the Board of Regents seeks and welcomes the candidacy of any person, including the governor, who believes he or she has the qualifications and experiences necessary to effectively lead the University of Nebraska. Our objective is to seek, vet, and hire the most qualified candidate.
“Now that the governor has publicly announced his candidacy for the position, his current requests for one-on-one meetings with the members of the Board of Regents, chancellors and other administrators, and search committee members are inappropriate and will not be honored. To do so would present a problem of fairness and it is not practical to track and offer comparable opportunities to all candidates.”
May 22, 2014: Statement from Board of Regents Chairman Howard Hawks regarding the presidential search
“The Board of Regents has launched a national search to identify and recruit the most highly qualified and capable candidates for the position of president of the University of Nebraska. Although it is still quite early in the process, we are pleased with the significantly growing national interest already being shown in the position. Our goal, with the assistance of our search consultants, is to build as deep, rich and diverse a pool of applicants as is possible from throughout the country.
“There has been a level of attention given to public comments made by Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman this week regarding his possible interest in being considered for the presidency. Obviously, the Board of Regents would welcome the governor’s application for the position, just as we will the candidacy of any other individual who believes he or she has the qualifications and experiences necessary to effectively lead our university system and to continue its positive momentum and trajectory.
“We have every expectation that this nationwide search will attract a wide range of candidates from varied backgrounds. Should the governor decide to apply for the position, his candidacy would be considered and evaluated like that of any other applicant. This will be an open, fair and competitive search for the best person possible to lead the University of Nebraska. The search process is designed to be confidential until four finalists are publicly named, in accordance with Nebraska statutes. On the other hand, it is obvious that potential candidates may choose to reveal their interest.
“In my view, it would be inappropriate for the Board of Regents to comment or to speculate regarding the possible candidacy of any individuals. It is in the best interest of the University of Nebraska that the confidentiality of the search process be respected and maintained. The Board of Regents does not intend to reveal the names of any nominees or applicants for the position until four finalists are publicly identified.
“We look forward to having a large and robust pool of applicants from which to choose the best candidate to be the next president of the University of Nebraska.”
Interim President James Linder
James Linder CV
For nearly 150 years, we have served the people of the state through affordable access to excellent education, research that grows the economy, and outreach in all 93 counties. We are proud to be the state’s only public university, rooted in the land-grant traditions of service and accessibility.
In the 21st century, our mission is more important than ever. Our focus on serving Nebraskans first remains, but today we are globally engaged, providing rich opportunities for students and faculty on our four campuses to help address the complex challenges facing Nebraska and the world: water and food security, disease, hunger, poverty, human capital development. Our faculty are widely recognized for their work in agriculture, public health, early childhood education, rural issues, national security and defense, cancer research and care, engineering and information sciences, and other important areas.
Our first priority is affordable excellence – and we’re proud of our record. Each of our campuses provides high-quality education for a great value. Our investments in financial aid have never been higher. At a time when demand for college-educated workers in Nebraska is expected to grow significantly, we are more committed than ever to expanding access to education to all who can benefit from it.
The University of Nebraska focuses the energies and ideas of 50,000 diverse students and 13,000 talented faculty and staff for the benefit of the state. Our campuses – which have been transformed in recent years with new facilities for student life, research and education – are hubs of innovation, creativity, cultural activity and economic growth. This is an exciting time in the university’s history, and I am grateful to be a part of it. As a Nebraskan myself and a member of the faculty for more than 30 years, I take great pride in the vital role the university plays in ensuring the state’s success. I believe that role has never been more important.
I invite you to contact me with your comments or questions, and to visit our campuses to witness our momentum firsthand. Thank you for your interest in the University of Nebraska.
James Linder, M.D.
Interim President Linder
Dr. Linder is very familiar with the university, having served in faculty and administrative positions at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and in the Office of the President on a full- or part-time basis for more than 30 years. Currently, he is senior associate to the president for innovation and economic competitiveness and president of the University Technology Development Corporation. He also recently chaired the successful search for the new UNMC chancellor.
Dr. Linder holds an appointment as professor of pathology and microbiology at UNMC, where he received his medical degree and has served on the faculty since 1983. During that time, 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. He also has extensive experience in the private sector.
Dr. Linder is widely published and holds multiple patents. He and his wife, Karen Linder, founded and manage Linseed Capital, which supports early-stage startup companies in the Midwest.