Board of Regents - 10.25

Interim President of the University of Nebraska system Susan Fritz talks to Regent Howard Hawks during a University of Nebraska Board of Regents meeting in Varner Hall on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents is poised to confirm Walter “Ted” Carter, Jr. as the next president of the University of Nebraska system and approve new academic programs for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln at its meeting on Thursday.

If confirmed, Carter would replace former NU president Hank Bounds and succeed current interim president Susan Fritz.

According to a draft of Carter’s employment contract included in Thursday’s agenda, Carter’s annual base salary would be $934,600, among the highest when compared to other base salaries in the Big Ten, with benefits including vacation, disability leave, retirement contributions and health insurance. 

The agenda lists multiple president specific benefits, including deferred compensation each year at 11.5% of the base salary and an all-expenses paid official residence funded with support from the University of Nebraska Foundation. At the end of each full year of employment, he would be eligible for performance-based merit pay of up to 15% of his base salary, of which qualifications for said merit pay will be determined no later than July 1, 2020.

If confirmed, Carter would first assume the role of president-elect beginning Dec. 16 in order to learn more about the NU system and better transition before becoming president on Jan. 1, with his term ending Dec. 31, 2024, according to the contract draft.

At 9 a.m. on Thursday, the Board of Regents will also vote on UNL room and board rates for the next three academic years, addendums to approve a construction contract for the Mabel Lee Hall replacement, a program statement for an expansion to Barkley Memorial Center, the official naming of a new UNL building, new degree programs and a new academic college at UNL.

On Nov. 20, 2014, the Board of Regents approved a 3.5% annual increase of double-occupancy room and board rates for academic years ending by 2019-20. The proposed residence hall room and board rates in the agenda for academic years 2020-21 through 2022-23 at UNL would still increase but only by 3% for renovated traditional-style halls with all other rates related. The 2020-21 academic year rate would begin at $12,185 for a room in a traditional-style hall with an all-access meal plan.

The rate increases would help cover cost increases for employee compensation, utilities, food, supplies and other operating expenses, according to the addendum.

The Mabel Lee Hall replacement project is sponsored by William Nunez, UNL vice chancellor for business and finance. The addendum would approve a construction contract for the replacement before a public bid held in mid-December to raise additional funds for the project in conjunction with a design-bid-build model for construction. According to the agenda, the project has a total of $46 million and will use state and private funds.

According to the agenda, the Barkley Memorial Center, which houses programs in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders, is looking for approval of a program statement for an expansion to accommodate a growing community of staff, students and visitors.

Construction would begin November 2020 and is proposed to be completed by June 2022 with an on-going fiscal impact of $78,000. The $10 million project would be funded through trust funds and would include renovation and reconfiguration of existing spaces, provide upgrades, add a 12,000 square foot addition, resolve security concerns and improve overall wayfinding, according to the addendum.

Nunez is also sponsoring an addendum to approve naming the new UNL gymnastics facility the Francis Allen Training Complex. According to the agenda, UNL Athletic Director Bill Moos recommended naming the complex after Francis Allen, a prominent figure in the world of men’s gymnastics. The complex is expected to be completed in January for the 2020 gymnastics season.

UNL is seeking approval to create a bachelor of science in regional and community forestry in the School of Natural Resources in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, according to the agenda. The degree is “designed for students wishing to pursue careers in urban forest management, arboriculture, urban wildland interface management and the green infrastructure industry.”

Chancellor Ronnie Green is sponsoring the establishment of the master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees in plant pathology in the Department of Plant Pathology in CASNR, according to the agenda. The program, focusing on the science of plant diseases, would offer graduate training for continued study with no additional or new costs to UNL.

Approval is also requested to create the School of Global Integrative Studies by merging the Department of Anthropology and programs in geography and global studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. The three areas share a focus on human populations and teaching among the fields, according to the agenda, and the school would strengthen individual programs and attract more opportunities for UNL students.

The meeting will take place at 9 a.m. on Thursday morning in Varner Hall.