Gov. Dave Heineman says he has applied for the presidency of the University of Nebraska.
Heineman made the announcement Wednesday during a press conference at the state capitol.
The position came open in April with the departure of university President J.B. Milliken, who left to become chancellor of the City University of New York. Heineman is leaving the governor's office in January because of term limits.
The university is conducting a national search for applicants, and will announce four finalists before making their selection.
Heineman, a Republican, says he reached out to several regents and spoke Milliken to notify them that he was seeking the job.
Heineman says he would focus on keeping tuition affordable and increasing research activity if he's chosen. Heineman is leaving office in January.
RELEASE FROM GOV. HEINEMAN
Today, Gov. Dave Heineman announced his intention to apply for the position of President of the University of Nebraska by sending a letter to the Board of Regents.
“Yesterday, I notified the University of Nebraska Board of Regents of my intention to pursue the position of President,” said Gov. Heineman. “One of Nebraska’s greatest assets is the University of Nebraska. The next President will have an opportunity to build upon President Milliken’s successes and to lead the University of Nebraska to an even more successful future.”
In his letter, Gov. Heineman stated, “Nebraskans know the value and the importance of access to a high quality, affordable higher education.”
Gov. Heineman outlined his priorities for the University of Nebraska if he were President. “First we should continue to offer affordable tuition rates for students. I worked with President Milliken and the Legislature to fund a two-year tuition freeze for Nebraska students. Reaching student enrollment goals is critical to the University’s financial stability.”
“I worked closely with President Milliken and the Legislature to increase state funding for the University of Nebraska when most states were cutting funding to their higher education institutions. We secured $25 million for Innovation Campus in Lincoln, $50 million for the Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha, $15 million for an allied health professions college at UNK and $6 million for a veterinary diagnostic lab at UNL.”
“I would like to expand the University of Nebraska’s research activity, capabilities and opportunities. The potential for funding educational research is enormous. I am prepared to work with our federal partners and our donor community to increase research funding.”
Gov. Heineman praised the faculty at the University of Nebraska campuses. “It is essential to the success of the University of Nebraska to recruit and maintain outstanding faculty, and to encourage increased faculty development opportunities. Faculty are one of the most important assets of the University and the key to academic excellence. I look forward to partnering with them to enhance the University’s academic reputation.”
“Nebraska can be a national leader in several targeted areas of research through its investments in the Buffett Early Childhood Center, the Daugherty Water for Food Institute, the Rural Futures Institute, the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, Innovation Campus, and the National Strategic Research Institute. These initiatives create excellent partnering opportunities with the private sector and they are important to job creation, growth and retaining our young graduates.”
Gov. Heineman expressed his support of the University of Nebraska Foundation and pledged to work with them to achieve greater results. “Nebraskans want to invest in the University of Nebraska because we know that an outstanding higher education is the key to our sons’ and daughters’ future.”
Finally, the Governor stressed the importance of the University’s involvement in Nebraska’s P-16 Initiative. He outlined its success. “Our team effort in partnership with schools, colleges, and educators has resulted in increased high school graduation requirements, the second highest high school graduation rate in America and a top 10 college-going rate. We are also focused on increasing the graduation rates of Nebraska’s colleges and universities.”
Howard L. Hawks, Chairman of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, this morning issued the following statement:
“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.”