In its first meeting of the new year, the University of Nebraska Board of Regents will vote for new leadership within its ranks and consider NU president personnel recommendations for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The board will vote to confirm Vice Chairman Jim Pillen as the new chairman of the board, following the end of the current chairman Tim Clare’s term. An election will also be held for the next vice chair from among their ranks. All regents, except for Clare and District 2 Regent Howard Hawks, whose seat is up for reelection later this year, are eligible for the election.

The regents will also vote on the official appointments of Elizabeth Spiller as the next executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and a professor of English beginning March 23. Additionally, they will vote on Shari Veil as the dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications and a professor in the college effective July 1, according to the proposed agenda.

Spiller would succeed interim Executive Vice Chancellor Richard Moberly, who would return to his role as dean of the College of Law, and Veil would succeed Interim Dean Amy Struthers.

Executive Vice President and provost Susan Fritz is sponsoring four amendments to the board’s policies related to admission standards, according to the agenda.

If the amendments are approved by the board, transfer students with 24 or more credit hours of transferable credit would no longer be required to meet core course requirements if the credits were earned in high school or previous postsecondary studies. Each campus would determine how potential deficiencies in a student’s academic record would be satisfied.

Fritz is also recommending amendments related to undergraduate Regents Scholarships, according to the agenda. Most degree programs require 120 credit hours for completion, so tuition remission would be capped at the number of credits required by a student’s degree program, with an exception for a few select majors. The proposal lowers the maximum awardable amount from 135 hours.

Recipients of the Regents Scholarship would also be required to take at least 30 credit hours each academic year to meet the typical 120 credit hours for a degree, with the completion of at least 12 credit hours each fall and spring semester. These students would also be allowed a one-time transfer of their scholarship between two NU campuses.

An addendum sponsored by William Nunez, vice chancellor for Business and Finance, seeks approval from the board for a budget increase for the replacement and relocation of the outdoor track at Ed Weir Stadium. The program statement for the replacement was previously approved by the regents on Oct. 25

The budget increase includes three main increases potentially funded from private donations, trust funds, cash and the University Internal Lending Program.

An increase of $1.65 million is requested for amenities to enable the hosting of track and field championships, including the construction of visiting team dressing rooms, meeting management spaces and an extra practice area on the south end of the track.

An additional $1.65 million is requested for improvements to the outdoor throws area already planned with the Athletic Department fiscal year 2020 budget prior to the approval of the program statement.

Finally, adding an extra$1,725,000 for site-related items, including added land acquisition costs, additional site prep costs and the rebuilding of the south parking area, will be requested.

Substantial completion of the replacement is expected to be finished by March 2021.

Fritz and Nunez are sponsoring an addendum to renovate space in UNL’s Nebraska Hall to bring together teams from the university’s Student Information Systems, Business Information System and Institutional Research to support critical functions across the university, according to the agenda. 

The teams work with information regarding student enrollment, financial aid, academic advising, payroll and accounting, according to the agenda. The renovation would provide greater efficiency and collaboration with consolidating the teams into one location.

If approved by the regents, the program statement would confirm UNL as the housing site of the Enterprise Technology Services and Data Solutions team, and demolition is expected to occur in June before completion in December. The project has a budget of $5.1 million, and estimated operating and maintenance costs are expected to be $12,000 per year. The project would be funded through LB 957 in the Nebraska Legislature.

Moberly and Chancellor Ronnie Green are co-sponsoring an addendum for the establishment of the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center, which would primarily be housed in the College of Law and have initial partnerships in the College of Business and College of Engineering, according to the agenda.

The center is designed to create a novel, interdisciplinary, research program to study the relationships between technology, society and government, according to the agenda. It states that the goal is to understand the challenges changing technology creates for legal institutions and possible adaptations to those changes.

The establishment would be paid for by funds from the University of Nebraska Foundation, receiving $507,321 for the first year and $4,989,529 over five years.

In his first meeting as president, NU President Ted Carter is sponsoring an addendum for the board to accept the audited financial statements of the NU system and related entities for the year ended June 30, 2019.

Chris Kabourek, NU’s vice president for business and finance and chief financial officer, is sponsoring an addendum that would consolidate multiple campus network equipment needs and would cost $21 million over five years. The addendum would approve master pricing agreements with information technology support companies DataVizion LLC and Connection Inc., formerly GovConnection, and would save the NU system $15 million.

The board will hear an update from District 19 Sen. Jim Scheer, speaker of the Nebraska Legislature, who will provide a legislative update. Additionally, students from across the NU campuses will showcase their accomplishments beginning at 9 a.m.

Recognized student organization Sustain UNL and the Environmental and Agricultural Law Society are expected to speak during the public comment section of the meeting to urge the board to completely divest from fossil fuels. Sustain UNL President Brittni McGuire said the campaign will speak at all of the board meetings to bring climate action to the forefront of the conversations.

The meeting will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Friday in Varner Hall.

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