University of Nebraska issues presidential profile; seeks ‘dynamic, innovative and visionary new leader’
Today the University of Nebraska released a presidential profile that details 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.

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, including the Board, faculty and students from all four NU campuses, and the public – 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.

“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. A summary of other key characteristics the Board seeks in the next president follows. The full list and narrative are available in the presidential profile, which is posted on the NU website.

  • Demonstrated capacity for strong and effective leadership with a collaborative, consultative, and facilitative style;

  • Ability to formulate, articulate, and implement a shared vision for public higher education;

  • Proven professional accomplishment in a complex environment and ability to implement change;

  • Entrepreneurial and innovative skills and the proven ability to build and leverage external alliances and to develop strategic opportunities and partnerships;

  • Success in institution or program building that integrates and leverages diverse disciplines, approaches, and interests;

  • Demonstrated understanding of finances and a track record of effectively managing human, fiscal, and capital resources;

  • Proven ability to manage, enhance, and diversify funding;

  • Outstanding record of effectively managing, influencing, motivating, and empowering others;

  • Demonstrated success in fostering diversity and inclusivity;

  • Support for academic freedom and shared governance and a commitment to transparent decision-making;

  • Effective interpersonal and communication skills including ability to establish strong, purposeful relationships;

  • Demonstrated great character, personal and moral values, integrity, and ethics;

Key opportunities and challenges facing the next president include:

  • Crafting a clear vision and roadmap to lead the university into the future after bringing together diverse perspectives from internal and external stakeholders.

  • Serving as a compelling and effective ambassador for the University of Nebraska. The next president must be committed to the success of the university-wide institutes – the Rural Futures Institute, Buffett Early Childhood Institute, National Strategic Research Institute, and the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute – as well as the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, Nebraska Innovation Campus, and other important initiatives yet to be created.

  • Leading and managing a large, complex enterprise.

  • Setting strategic direction for sustained growth of resources needed to achieve the university’s aspirations, including making the case for increased state support among competing priorities. Leading efforts to expand revenues while also containing costs will be a significant priority for the next president.

  • Further advancing the inclusivity of an increasingly diverse institution.

  • Ensuring an affordable and accessible higher education for Nebraskans, while also keeping academic standards high so that the university is the top choice for public higher education among the people of the state.

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.

Acceptance of applications, inquiries and nominations will continue until the position is filled. Confidential inquiries, nominations, referrals, and resumes with cover letters should be sent to:

David Bellshaw, Bernard Jones, and/or Lindsay Gold
Isaacson, Miller
1000 Sansome St., Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94111
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Information related to the presidential search can be found here.

Contact: Melissa Lee
Director of Communications
University of Nebraska
(402) 472-7127
(402) 580-3297 (cell)
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