The University of Nebraska Board of Regents will meet Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, at Varner Hall, 3835 Holdrege St. in Lincoln. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. and will also be live-streamed at www.nebraska.edu. The meeting is open to the public.
A detailed agenda for the meeting is available here.
Key items for the Board’s consideration include:
The 2023-25 biennial budget requests for the University of Nebraska System and Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (Addenda XI-B-1 and XI-B-2). Under the proposed requests, the university will seek 3 percent increases in state funding for 2023-24 and 2024-25 to help cover core operations. Also included are previously approved funds for the Nebraska Career Scholarships and the UNK-UNMC Rural Health Complex.
NU System President Ted Carter noted that the university’s proposed request is well below current rates of inflation, and below what the university would need to cover basic operations. With a 3 percent annual increase in state funds, the NU System would face an estimated $12.5 million budget gap each year that would need to be closed with some combination of enrollment growth, cuts or tuition increases.
Plans for the UNK-UNMC Rural Health Complex on the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus (Addendum XI-B-3). The new complex, building on a long record of successful collaboration between UNK and UNMC, will significantly expand capacity for students in a range of health fields to train at UNK and remain in rural Nebraska after graduation. The goal is to address urgent needs in rural Nebraska’s healthcare workforce; 14 counties in the state, for example, do not have a primary care physician.
Thanks to approval from the Legislature and Governor, the Rural Health Complex received $50 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding for capital construction, plus $10 million for startup costs. The university has committed to raising $35 million in private funding for construction of the complex, for a total construction cost of $85 million.
During its meeting, the Board will hear a presentation on the Rural Health Complex from UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen and UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D.
“We could not be more excited to be taking another step forward on this remarkable project for our state,” Carter said. “The Rural Health Complex will have a dramatic impact on students, on our workforce and on the well-being of rural Nebraska and our entire state for many generations. We continue to be grateful to our elected leaders for their partnership and investment in Nebraska’s future.”
Three actions related to Carter’s employment and compensation:
1) A 3 percent increase in Carter’s base salary of $934,600 for 2022-23, to $962,638. The base salary increase, Carter’s first as NU System president, is consistent with the 3 percent increase in the university’s merit-based salary pool for the year.
2) The awarding of Carter’s merit-based performance pay for the past year. Under Carter’s employment contract, he is eligible for performance pay worth up to 15 percent of his base salary each year, based on whether he achieves a range of metrics set by the Board.
Carter achieved slightly less than 90 percent of the Board’s performance metrics in the past year, including publication of an updated system-wide strategic plan, growth in research funding, engagement with legislative and gubernatorial candidates, securing ARPA funding for the university, and participation in national higher education organizations. He did not, however, achieve the Board’s metric to grow freshman-to-sophomore retention rates across all undergraduate campuses.
Under the terms of his contract, that makes Carter eligible for 75 percent of his performance pay, or $105,143.
3) An extension of Carter’s employment contract to Dec. 31, 2027. Carter initially signed a five-year contract that ran through Dec. 31, 2024.
Board of Regents Chairman Bob Phares of North Platte said the extension is a vote of confidence in Carter and his achievements during his first 2 ½ years. Phares noted that national surveys show that the average tenure for university presidents and chancellors is declining – and that the Board’s goal is for the University of Nebraska not to be part of that trend.
“Ted Carter has been the right leader at the right time for the University of Nebraska System and our state as a whole. We want to keep him as long as we can,” Phares said. “Leadership stability is good for students and good for the institution. And it sends a strong message to our countless partners across Nebraska who have come to know and trust Ted for his decisive actions, visionary approach and common-sense style.
“The Board is proud to make this statement of support for the leader of one of the most important institutions in the state.”
With the Board’s approval, Carter’s contract extension would include a supplement to his existing deferred compensation agreement under which $340,000 in private funds would be set aside each year in an investment account, beginning in calendar year 2023. For each full year that Carter serves as president, he would receive the compensation plus any investment earnings. He would be eligible to receive the first payment in January 2024. No tax or tuition dollars will fund any deferred compensation for Carter.
Carter’s existing deferred compensation agreement, also privately funded, provides for 11.5 percent of his base salary to be set aside each year and paid out according to a vesting schedule.