August 1, 2023
These first few weeks on campus as chancellor have been invigorating. I am learning more about the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s culture and I am excited to be a part of our deep commitment to student success, research excellence and engagement across the Cornhusker State and beyond.
As we round the corner into August and complete final preparations for the exhilaration that comes with the start of a new semester, I want to thank you for the work you do to support our students and ensure that we offer the best learning environment.
From my time as the priority candidate, I recognize that a hallmark of UNL is the way people combine strengths to address difficult challenges. That collaborative culture will be key as we navigate the challenges higher education faces. With that in mind, I would like to update you on where we stand with the university’s budget and process.
During the spring semester, the Academic Planning Committee responded to Chancellor-emeritus Ronnie Green’s proposed actions for a $10.8 million budget reduction. Those recommendations were accepted by Chancellor Green and are being implemented now.
Chancellor Green also charged a task force composed of our deans and many of the vice chancellors to address our structural budget deficit. Their work was focused on assessing opportunities for increased efficiency and elimination of duplication of administration, service and/or academic programs across our university. Those recommendations have been shared with me. Soon, you will hear more about our steps forward, steps that will better position us to maintain momentum in areas that define our institution.
I encourage you to review President Ted Carter’s response to the May 31 Board of Regents charge. In it, he has laid out a plan for us as a university. One area addressed is the need for all of us to exercise restraint in our spending — and you are all aware that a hiring freeze began July 1 as one part of that plan.
I continue to consult with President Carter and other NU leaders related to our budget. Rest assured, as the process moves forward, I will keep you updated as appropriate and engage with the Academic Planning Committee in the true spirit of valuing shared governance.
It is my firm belief that in times of challenge, we often find our greatest potential. I am confident that whatever faces us, UNL will emerge stronger, more focused and better prepared to meet and exceed the grand vision of the Nebraska N2025 strategic plan.
I look forward to working with you as we strive to do big things across Nebraska and around the world.
Rodney D. Bennett