UNO vice chancellor finalist for UNK chancellor position


By Kristin Zagurski

UNO’s vice chancellor for academic affairs, Derek Hodgson, has been named as one of six finalists for the chancellor’s position at the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

Hodgson said he decided to apply for the position because it seemed like an exciting opportunity.

He said UNK is different from UNO. He thinks that while UNK is good, it has potential to be much better.

Hodgson was nominated for the UNK chancellor position and sent an application letter and curriculum vitae to the search committee, which he has also met with in an interview-type setting.

After reviewing each candidate, all of whom underwent a similar process, University of Nebraska President L. Dennis Smith announced six finalists for the position last week. Along with Hodgson, finalists include Sen. Douglas A. Kristensen, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lewis-Clark College Rita Rice Morris, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Sam Houston State University David E. Payne, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UNK James L. Roark and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Virginia State University Earl G. Yarbrough Sr.

Smith said he hopes to name a new chancellor by May 1. Between now and then, the six finalists will meet with the faculty and staff at UNK and will be interviewed by Smith and the Board of Regents, Hodgson said.

Hodgson said he has mixed feelings about the possibility of leaving UNO.

“My wife and I are really happy here,” he said of what he calls a “tremendously good” position at UNO.

Hodgson believes he has “the best of both worlds,” so to speak.

He said he looks forward to the new position if he is selected, but if not, he said he will be happy staying at UNO.

Hodgson said he anticipates the selected person will assume the role of UNK chancellor soon after the start of the fiscal year, which takes place July 1.

Hodgson was formerly provost and vice president for academic affairs at Mississippi State University. He has also held administrative positions at the University of Wyoming and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and his master’s and Ph.D from Northwestern University. All three of his degrees are in chemistry.