Nearly a month after Hank Bounds announced he would be stepping down as University of Nebraska president this fall, members of the Board of Regents have launched the search for his successor.

Listening sessions will soon be scheduled to give members of the public a chance to tell regents what they hope the next NU leader possesses in terms of characteristics, qualities and skills.

Regents are also asking students, faculty, staff and all Nebraskans to submit their ideas and comments at presidentsearch@nebraska.edu.

"The University of Nebraska presidency is one of the best jobs in the country," Board Chairman Tim Clare said in a statement Friday. "The board intends to conduct a timely national search to find the best possible person for the job.

"A successful search requires a good process, guided by feedback and engagement from Nebraskans across the state who care about the continued success of their university," he added. "We're excited to begin a conversation with Nebraskans about how we keep that momentum going."

The regents will hire a search firm and appoint one or more advisory committees to aid in the effort.

During its last presidential search, in 2014, NU consulted with national firm Isaacson, Miller and appointed two committees.

The Outreach and Advisory Committee worked alongside the search firm to "solicit stakeholder input" during the early stages of the search.

And the Search Screening and Selection Committee reviewed applications, interviewed leading candidates and selected four finalists that went before the Board of Regents for public interviews.

The search process was changed by the Legislature since then, however. Now, the Board of Regents will publicly name a single "priority candidate" at the end of the search.

That individual will be subject to a 30-day vetting period requiring the candidate to visit each of NU's campuses and hold public forums for students, faculty, staff, members of the public and the media.

After the end of the 30-day vetting period, the Board of Regents can then ratify the selection.

Clare said the regents' Executive Committee — which includes Clare of Lincoln; Jim Pillen of Columbus; Rob Schafer of Beatrice; and Bob Phares of North Platte — is also considering who to appoint as NU's interim leader.

When a potential interim president is identified, the university said, the appointment will be brought to the full board for a public vote.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7120 or cdunker@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS.


Higher education reporter

Chris Dunker covers higher education, state government and the intersection of both.

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