January 10, 2022
Dear UNL Family –
I am very pleased to announce that Katherine Ankerson will be our next UNL Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
In her tenure as Dean of our College of Architecture over the past nearly six years, Kathy has led a revitalization of the college, particularly in faculty achievement and student success. Twenty-four percent of the faculty are recognized with the very highest of academic and professional honors, 6-year graduation rates have improved from 50.9 percent to 71.9 percent, and the 5-year employment rate for graduates of the college ranges from 95 to 100 percent.
She is a collaborative, inclusive and strategic leader who will take a “what if” approach into this vital role for our academic mission and help propel us forward. Her leadership is guided by the same values defined during the College’s strategic planning process of demanding excellence, being courageous, practicing empathy, looking beyond, and inspiring impact. She has a firm commitment to UNL. She served as a professor and associate dean in the College or Architecture from 1996 to 2011 before returning as Dean in 2016. An advocate for interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary engagement, she was named the International Interior Design Association’s 2020 Educator of the Year. And she played an active role on both the N150 Commission and the N2025 Steering Committee, focusing on the vision and strategic aims of our institution.
Kathy will step into the EVC role at the beginning of the new semester on January 18 and comes into it at a defining time. The COVID-19 global pandemic is still having a dramatic impact on academics, the challenges facing higher education prior to the pandemic remain and workforce challenges are pervasive and real, the implementation of our new incentive-based budget model for UNL goes into effect in the coming academic year, and we are aggressively seeking to expand our enrollment and increase our research capacity and impact as a part of our N2025 targets.
I am confident that Kathy is the right leader at the right time for this very important role. Someone who will work collaboratively and creatively to meet challenges and find the opportunities within. Someone who will be a champion for faculty and incredibly focused on increasing enrollment and ensuring success for our students, not just while they are on our campus but as they embark on their careers.
And she will be a great addition to our leadership team, who I know will come to rely on her voice at the table and steady presence for years to come.
Please join me in congratulating Kathy on this new assignment.
I also want to thank Vice Chancellor Bob Wilhelm for taking on the interim EVC role for the last couple of months. We all appreciate his additional service, and I know he’s eager to resume wearing one hat in his impactful role as Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development. I also thank the advisory committee for the internal EVC search leading to Kathy’s appointment, led ably by co-chairs Dean Sherri Jones and Faculty Senate president Steve Kolbe. Your work and diligence were critical to this selection process.
Looking forward to a great semester ahead.
Ronnie D. Green, Ph.D.