02/05/2018 A Message from President Bounds on UNO-UNMC Leadership
A Message from President Bounds on UNO-UNMC Leadership

January 26, 2018

To the Faculty, Staff and Students of UNO and UNMC:

I’m writing to update you on our leadership planning at UNO. After much discussion and an evaluation of the opportunities and challenges ahead, and in consultation with faculty leadership on both campuses, Chancellor Gold and I have decided that he will continue to lead our two Omaha campuses for at least 18 more months. At the end of the 2018-19 academic year, Dr. Gold and I, together with the Board of Regents and in consultation with other stakeholders, will revisit our leadership situation and make a decision on the best path forward.

We have continued to experience great progress at both UNO and UNMC since we put this leadership structure in place last May, and I am grateful to Dr. Gold for assuming this expanded role. Much of our success is a credit to all of you – the colleagues who contributed their time, ideas and candid advice to Dr. Gold’s transition process; the faculty who have continued and undertaken new collaborative projects in teaching and research; and the countless students, staff and faculty who have found efficiencies and partnerships that are advancing our service to our students and the community at large.

“As we work to continue our upward trajectory during this challenging period, it’s clear that stable leadership will be key to our success.”

Chancellor Emeritus Christensen’s guidance and support throughout the transition process has been particularly invaluable to Chancellor Gold and me, as have the collaborative efforts of both campus cabinets. And we would not be in the strong position we’re in today without the leadership of our Faculty Senate Presidents, Dr. Laura Grams and Dr. Ann Anderson-Berry, who have gone above and beyond in bringing our faculty together in new and exciting ways that serve as a model in cross-campus collaboration for the entire university system.

As Chancellor Gold wrote you last week, your work positions us well to maintain our momentum going forward. The reality is that we are simultaneously facing significant fiscal challenges that will require us to think differently about how we operate. Not only does this leadership structure achieve savings in itself, but Dr. Gold has identified a number of other collaborative efficiency opportunities as well. Those efforts will need to continue, not just in Omaha but across all campuses. As we work to continue our upward trajectory during this challenging period, it’s clear that stable leadership will be key to our success. The accreditation process that is actively underway at UNO is further reason to provide continuity of stable campus leadership moving forward.

If you haven’t already, I invite you to read the materials developed by Chancellor Gold’s transition teams. The candor we heard and the insights gleaned were eye-opening and inspiring. Over and over, we heard you ask what more we can do to further strengthen both UNO and UNMC – each a separate campus with a unique and vital role and mission, but in partnership a force for change and opportunity for young people, our community and state, and the world at large. We can’t wait to see what comes of those conversations.

Please continue to reach out to Dr. Gold or me with your ideas and questions. Thank you for all you do for the University of Nebraska, our students and the state.

Hank Bounds
President, University of Nebraska

Date Recipient
01/16/2018 A legislative and budget update from President Bounds
A legislative and budget update from President Bounds

January 16, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing with difficult news.

With the legislative session underway, Governor Ricketts last week announced proposed cuts to the state’s biennial budget, including reductions to the University of Nebraska. Under the Governor’s proposal, our funding for the current year would be reduced $11 million, and next year’s appropriation would be cut $23 million.

The Governor is asking us to shoulder one-third of his proposed cuts – despite the fact that we comprise only 13 percent of the state’s total budget.

These cuts, which come on top of reductions we took last year, would add significantly to a recurring budgetary challenge that we had planned to address with a combination of spending cuts identified by our Budget Response Teams and two years of tuition increases.

“It is clear we can’t wait to plan for additional cuts. We have extremely difficult decisions to make, and a short runway on which to make them.”

I have met with chancellors and chief business and academic officers to begin discussing the best path forward. I need to be candid with you about how an additional cut from the state would impact us.

With our operations lean already after decades of unequal growth in state government in which our funding has not kept pace with other agencies’, and with inevitable cost increases like health insurance and collective bargaining coming in the next budget cycle, we have no choice but to turn to options that could change the face of our University. These include elimination of academic programs, job cuts, restructuring, a retreat from our statewide presence and significant tuition increases, including revisiting the 3.2 percent increase for 2018-19 previously approved by the Board of Regents.

The numbers are not final. The Governor’s budget proposal now moves to the Appropriations Committee and full Legislature for deliberation. The highest priority for the chancellors and me in the months ahead will be doing everything we can to lessen our cuts and the impact on our students, faculty and citizens we serve.

Given the state’s ongoing fiscal challenges, however, the reality is that we will take a cut of some amount. And we cannot expect to capture savings from the Budget Response Teams beyond the $30 million that they have already identified. Some program eliminations and tuition increases are a certainty for us moving forward.

To that end, I have asked campus leadership teams, along with the cabinet at Varner Hall, to initiate processes for making reductions. Academic cuts, of course, require faculty input and we will honor our commitment to shared governance. But it is clear we cannot wait to plan for additional cuts. We have extremely difficult decisions to make, and a short runway on which to make them.

The heartache for me is that we are facing these choices at a time when the work you do has never been more important to the future of our state and its people. Nebraska needs its University, and your vital contributions to our teaching, research and outreach missions, more than ever. And every day I hear from Nebraskans who feel the same.

Those conversations confirm my belief that this University can help lead the way in growing Nebraska out of the current challenges. We are in a remarkable position to join with our partners to continue transforming the lives of students and people here and around the world. As I will remind policymakers, however, we cannot do that unless the state decides that affordable, excellent higher education is a priority for Nebraska.

We will update you frequently on the legislative process and our budget planning. Thank you for all you do.



01/05/2018 President’s Op-Ed: Looking toward continued growth and opportunity in 2018
President’s Op-Ed: Looking toward continued growth and opportunity in 2018

January 5, 2018

By Hank Bounds
President, University of Nebraska

A new year is a time for us to reflect on the progress we’ve made, look ahead and recommit ourselves to our goals.

With thousands of talented students and faculty returning to campus, and important initiatives underway across our University and state that will grow Nebraska for the future, I’m filled with gratitude and anticipation for what 2018 will bring.

The past year was a period of remarkable transformation for our University.

There were challenges, yes – and those aren’t going away. Chief among them is the difficult reality that we are dealing with budget cuts at a time when the role of our public University in growing our state’s economy and quality of life has never been more important. We understand the state’s fiscal situation, but I will continue to advocate for a strong, affordable University that serves all of Nebraska and changes lives here and around the world.

Amid challenges, there was also success, and there was opportunity. There were inspiring stories of impact and partnership that showed me Nebraskans have their eyes on the horizon.

“I hear every day from Nebraskans who are convinced there’s never been a more important time to join together on a plan for our state’s future.”

We celebrated a record-high enrollment – 53,000 future nurses and doctors, farmers and ranchers, teachers and entrepreneurs across our four campuses. That wouldn’t be possible without strong partnerships with the state and private sector that help keep our tuition affordable and the support of students and parents who believe in the power of a University education.

We produced another 11,000 graduates for the workforce – talent on which Nebraska companies rely and who will someday create jobs and businesses that we can’t even envision yet.

We completed the boldest public-private partnership in Nebraska history, the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, a shared venture between the University, private donors, Legislature and Governor, city, county and people of Nebraska. This facility will transform cancer care and research for the 1 of every 2 Nebraskans who will be diagnosed at some point in their lives. The images of the cancer center’s first patients – like a woman named Helen, an adenoid cystic carcinoma patient who got up at 3:30 a.m. to drive from her home near Falls City to receive treatment – are ones I won’t soon forget.

We continued to lead the way in research that matters to Nebraska and the world. Our faculty’s work in water and agriculture, powered by partnerships with farmers and ranchers across our state, is helping to feed a growing global population that will require twice as much food by 2050. The work our faculty are doing to keep our warfighters safe is meeting the needs of our partners at USSTRATCOM and the Department of Defense. And those are just a few examples.

What keeps me up at night is that we are facing fiscal challenges during a period of such momentum. We’re in the process now of cutting our spending by $30 million, a rethinking of the way we do business that has yielded efficiencies that we can be proud of. But we will not close our shortfall without impacting academic programs and losing jobs. And the cuts would be more significant if we had not already raised tuition this year and next. Further cuts would only deepen the impact, limiting our ability to educate the future workforce, offer a wide breadth of programs and have a statewide presence.

The good news is that I hear every day from Nebraskans who are convinced there’s never been a more important time to join together on a plan for our state’s future. They believe, as I do, that we must grow our way out of the current challenges, and that their University plays a vital role.

We’re going to spend 2018 engaging Nebraskans in that conversation. That’s what I’m excited about in this new year.

09/05/2017 President Bounds’ statement on DACA
President Bounds’ statement on DACA

September 5, 2017

Today’s announcement changing the rules on DACA creates significant uncertainty for the hundreds of thousands of young people who have benefited from this program – including students at the University of Nebraska. These youth are hard-working, productive, valued members of our university community. They are exactly the kind of talented workers our economy needs.

The chancellors and I stand firmly in support of our DACA students and are mobilizing whatever resources we can provide to ensure their well-being. Our message to them, as to all University of Nebraska students, is clear: They are welcome here, they are important members of our community, and we are proud of their courage and commitment to their education. We ask Congress to act quickly to remove the uncertainty for these young people who are working hard to pursue the American dream.

Hank M. Bounds, Ph.D.
President, University of Nebraska

11/10/2017 President’s Op-Ed: University research serving those who serve us
President’s Op-Ed: University research serving those who serve us

Nov. 10, 2017

By Hank Bounds
President, University of Nebraska

This Veterans Day, I’m reflecting on the many things that make our country special.

At the top of the list are the men and women who have fought to defend our freedoms – some of them making the ultimate sacrifice to protect the ideals set forth by our Founding Fathers.

We can’t thank our veterans enough. It’s our privilege and responsibility to give back however we can to the men and women who have served our country.

One of the ways we can do that is through research and education that protects the United States and our soldiers from those who would do us harm. Nebraskans can be proud that in this area, their university is leading the way.

I recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to visit some of the nation’s top defense organizations and explore opportunities for continued partnership. From my conversations, it’s clear that the work being done at the University of Nebraska to keep our warfighters and citizens safe – whether from biological, chemical, nuclear, cyber or other kinds of threats – has caught the attention of experts in the nation’s Capital. They’re increasingly turning to our faculty to do the kind of research that will save lives on the battlefield.

We’re in elite company. The University of Nebraska’s National Strategic Research Institute, a five-year-old partnership with our neighbors at USSTRATCOM, is one of only 13 such centers in the country to conduct research directly for the Department of Defense. That means our military partners are depending on University of Nebraska expertise to quickly yield innovations that will help combat the very real threats we face to our national security.

That’s an incredible point of pride for Nebraska, one that is possible because of the support of our partners and the talents of our faculty. For me, it’s humbling to serve alongside faculty whose work has this kind of impact. Here are just a few examples:

  • Our pathologists are working to develop vaccines for infectious diseases like anthrax. The work of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in treating Ebola patients has already garnered international attention and is one reason we were recently selected to host a global infectious disease training center.
  • We’re using social media to understand the psychology of groups like ISIS to gain an edge in the fight against terrorism.
  • Our physicists are developing lasers that can detect nuclear materials hidden within more than a foot of steel.
  • Our engineers are designing better roads and traffic control devices that will help protect U.S. military bases around the world.
  • Research by our food scientists will result in faster, more effective responses to outbreaks of foodborne illness among military personnel.

In all, well over 100 University of Nebraska faculty and students have been engaged in the work of the National Strategic Research Institute since its founding. What’s most exciting to me is that our work is just beginning. We have an opportunity to grow our defense research efforts significantly – doing even more to support the mission of USSTRATCOM, the Department of Defense and the warfighters who put their lives on the line to defend us.

Our goal is for University of Nebraska research to help more of our men and women in uniform come home safely. This is among the most important work of our university. And it’s exactly the kind of work Nebraska’s public university should be doing – bringing our resources to bear to serve citizens and address the urgent challenges facing our state and world.

To Nebraska’s veterans and their families, including the University of Nebraska students, faculty and staff who have served, thank you. We are honored to support you.

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