University of Nebraska at Omaha and University of Nebraska Medical Center Chancellor Jeffrey Gold announced a five-prong plan to create an efficient system between the two campuses.
The plan involves hiring a new shared vice chancellor of business and finance, utilizing a consulting firm to help create partnerships between the two universities, and expanded positions for UNO’s Vice Chancellor for student affairs Dr. Daniel Shipp, UNMC’s Vice Chancellor for external affairs Bob Bartee, and UNMC’s Vice Chancellor for academic affairs Dr. Dele Davies.
UNO and UNMC will share a vice chancellor of business and finance beginning after this academic year.
Vice Chancellor Deb Thomas of UNMC and Vice Chancellor William Conley of UNO are both leaving this year. A search committee will be formed to start a national search for a replacement that will serve on both campuses, Gold said.
“There are many, many successful U.S. universities where finances roll up to a single individual, and those campuses are typically hundreds of miles apart,” Gold said.
Gold does not plan to merge the campuses, but said he wants to create the most cost-effective and efficient system possible. CFAR, a firm hired by Gold, is assisting him with collaboration plans between the two universities.
“The goal we set out with CFAR and the goal we set out into this process is: how can we be more effective,” Gold said. “If at the same time we become more efficient and we do save a few dollars, we can put that into academic affairs, we can put that into student services, and that’s really a good place to put it.”
UNO’s vice chancellor for student affairs, Dr. Daniel Shipp, is being promoted to the vice chancellor for student success and will work on both campuses.
“As vice chancellor, I consider my role to be similar to that of a head lifeguard—helping students to swim safely through the challenges of their college experience and arrive safely at graduation, well prepared to thrive in their careers and communities,” Shipp said.
Dr. Gold said he believes Shipp’s experience at UNO will help him at UNMC.
“Dr. Shipp is highly organized and effective. He is very strategic in what he does,” Gold said. “I think he will learn a lot because the students at each campus have different needs. It will broaden him.”
Even though his workload will double, Shipp said he is not worried about working on both campuses.
“One thing is for certain, I will definitely increase my daily step count! Given that there are many talented teams working at both UNO and UNMC already, I’m not overly concerned about me in the balancing equation,” Shipp said. “I’m mostly concerned with identifying opportunities and prioritizing initiatives that expand and improve student success outcomes on both campuses.”
Bob Bartee, UNMC’s vice chancellor for external affairs, will be in charge of public relations, government relations, marketing and communication at UNO and UNMC.
“We have tremendous strength on both campuses, and we want to weave that together to strengthen our government relations programs and strengthen our alumni relations programs,” Gold said.
Dr. Dele Davies, UNMC’s vice chancellor for academic affairs, will be promoted to senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and then UNMC deans will report to him instead of Gold. Gold said this will allow him to be more involved in campus interests.
Though the UNO and UNMC campuses are going through a time of tremendous change, Gold said students and faculty do not need to be worried.
“We are going to monitor this very carefully. If there are things that come up that the students and staff think we need to do differently, we will fix it,” Gold said. “There’s not magic sauce here. This is just what thoughtful people are trying to do to make things better.”