Go Big Green
Lianna Prill and Steven Mah
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln may be red, but its new chancellor is Green.
NU President Hank Bounds named Dr. Ronnie Green the twentieth chancellor of UNL on April 6, 2016, after Harvey Perlman’s fifteen year run.
“We had to make certain we selected the right person that could come in at a really special point in the history of this institution and move it forward,” Bounds said at the news conference. “We selected the right person.”
UNL professor and Faculty Senate President Dr. John Bender said this hiring will affect Green’s former roles. Green is the UNL Interim Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Harlan Vice Chancellor of Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources of the University of Nebraska System. “That’s going to be a tall order,” he said.
Senior Aakriti Agrawal said his familiarity is a bonus. “Dr. Ronnie Green has a lot of experience with working with students and working with faculty and just people from different countries,” Agrawal said. “He’s very familiar with the university and so I think that’s going to be very helpful as well and very beneficial for everybody involved because you can jump straight into the role instead of spending a lot of time to meet everybody and get used to campus.”
Bender said the selection process was largely controlled by the search firm Isaacson, Miller. It “went fairly expeditiously, considering the fact it is a big process,” he said.
Bender also touched on how future searches will only publicly announce priority finalists because of LB 1109. He said the public nature of the search deterred many good people from applying and everyone benefits from the public process and the public scrutiny that goes with it. Bender said he likes to see at least three finalists released to the public before a decision is made.
One of Green’s goals will be establishing a high and consistent graduation rate, and making sure students can graduate in four years. In his introductory press conference, Green pointed out that 67 percent of UNL students graduate within six years, and he hopes that number will increase to 80 percent.
“Every additional semester that a student spends in school adds to that debt,” Green said. “So we’ll be working very hard on that metric alone in the coming years.
Green said he planned to address the graduation issue with the way faculty and staff deliver the curriculum and advisors requiring students to take at least 15 credits each semester. Green said he wants to implement the new requirements with the Commit to Complete initiative–a program recently launched by the university.
Even though Green has numerous plans for UNL’s future, he understands he cannot do it alone.
“I’ll just again say what a privilege and an honor that it is to serve this institution. We look forward to the great days ahead and I’m gonna need every one of you pulling on the team with us and I know that will happen,” Green said. “Thank you for the opportunity.”
To view Ronnie Green’s acceptance speech go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOenZ5E6Jkc&feature=youtu.be