Dr. Jeffery Gold is the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s interim chancellor taking over for John Christensen. Many UNO students and faculty members are optimistic about the transition.
“I think we’re all excited to find out how the new leadership is going to affect UNO. It’s a new type of arrangement for UNO, so there’s really no precedent, at least locally, for what comes next,” said associate professor Todd Richardson. “I’m excited for more cooperation between UNO and UNMC because I always found it kind of foolish that the two schools, considering their proximity, weren’t more closely associated.”
Some think his experience will minimize the challenges universities face during times of change.
“There is usually some turbulence when someone new takes office in this sort of situation,” said junior Kian McIntosh. “That being said, he has had experience being the chancellor at UNMC already, so I think that will help minimize any turbulence.”
The change will be used to build positive relationships, said Chancellor Gold.
“At a time of tight budgets and state constraints, I believe that we will have a number of healthy and successful relationships,” Gold said. “We will leverage the strength of both universities to do things that can only be done when campuses work together.”
President Bounds is putting in a number of organizational changes and cuts that will affect all campuses. Instructor Melodae Morris said she believes Chancellor Gold’s experience will help him keep the university afloat.
“Obviously there are financial concerns that are weighing heavily on everyone,” Morris said. “He seems to have the experience necessary to pull teams together to examine systems and processes that can streamline operations, and then make logical decisions to garner the most benefit.”
Chancellor Gold said he wants to focus on building a reputation of distinction for UNO as a prominent metropolitan university. He plans to create more opportunities for students through research and community engagement.
“I would like every high school student within 300 to 500 miles to at least have one night when they wake up in a cold sweat thinking, ‘If I could only go to UNO,’” Gold said.
Some of his goals are: for students to be able to register for classes on both campuses, faculty members to be able to apply for research grants without having to go to two separate grant offices, commercialization of technology transfer use and for resources of the medical center to help research scientists and scholars at UNO.
UNO students, faculty and staff should expect to see Chancellor Gold on campus, he said.
“I’m not someone that stands on ceremony. I want to be accessible and involved,” Gold said. “I’m still actively learning where the opportunities for excellence and growth at UNO are. If I see something that needs to be fixed, I’ll do it. If I see an opportunity, I’ll go for it.”
His top priority is to serve the students and staff, Gold said. He hopes he can use his position to make an impact on UNO and UNMC.
“At the end of the day, when you graduate, I want you to be able to look back at your alma matter and be incredibly proud,” Gold said.