University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Chancellor Joanne Li, Ph.D., CFA, announced today that Rich Klein, Ph.D., has joined UNO as the vice chancellor for the Division of Strategic Institution and Student Success (SISS) – a new campus unit distinct from the Division of Student Affairs – dedicated to leveraging data and analytics to support student recruitment, retention, completion, and job placement. The new division is an innovative restructuring that aligns institutional data, student performance metrics, and thoughtful financial strategy to foster student success and performance.
“Our primary mission as Nebraska’s urban university is to develop exceptional talent that meets our state’s workforce needs,” Li said. “The Division of Strategic Institution and Student Success will be central to our institution’s efforts to graduate students on time, with minimal debt, and placed into careers they are passionate about, which will help drive our state’s economic growth for years to come. Rich Klein’s exceptional background in using data intel to lead institutional changes and strategies, and his commitment to higher education, uniquely put him in a position to lead this division and guide UNO in the era of data-informed decision-making as vice chancellor.”
Reporting directly to Chancellor Joanne Li, Klein’s efforts as vice chancellor for SISS will focus on deepening UNO's ongoing efforts to create a highly connected and evidence-based model for institutional and student success.
“This role and this new division are found at the intersection of high-tech and high-touch,” Li said. “When we are able to analyze key academic performance metrics to systematically identify the challenges and opportunities our students are presented with, we can rapidly deploy our resources and incredible faculty and staff to support all learners on their academic journeys. This new way of thinking will be instrumental in our mission of creating a community of lifelong learners.”
Klein will serve as the chief strategist and leader for UNO’s enrollment, retention, data analytics and governance and will be a member of Chancellor Li’s executive team. As the chief enrollment and data officer, Klein will work closely with the senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, the vice chancellor for Business and Finance, the chief communications and marketing officer, the chief information officer, as well as the college deans and Student Affairs leadership.
“Students around the state and the country want to attend a university that provides them the skills needed to succeed in today’s job market and a memorable, transformative experience along the way,” Klein said. “I believe the University of Nebraska at Omaha is in a unique position to deliver on both of those promises to a diverse student body in an urban setting, and I couldn’t be more excited to be part of a community that is laser focused on the lifelong success of its students.”
About Rich Klein, Vice Chancellor for Strategic Institution and Student Success
Klein has served at the Florida International University (FIU) College of Business since 2013, where he most recently served as associate dean of the R. Kirk Landon Undergraduate School of Business and program director of the Master of Science in Data Science Business Analytics track. He held the rank of a full professor in the Department of Information Systems and Business Analytics at FIU.
In his previous role Klein oversaw operations of the undergraduate business school as well as the college’s Academic Advising and Business Career Management offices and in partnership with other academic colleges within FIU, where he guided the strategic direction of the overall portfolio of 10 baccalaureate degree, eight minors, and 11 certificate programs. He also devised and implemented strategies aimed at managing enrollment in addition to meeting graduation and post-graduate job placement success targets. A key responsibility in this effort focused on external relationship development and fundraising initiatives, advocating on behalf of the college, faculty, staff, and students within the South Florida business community and beyond.
Klein holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration – Computer Information Systems from George State University, a Master of Science in Technology Management from Mercer University, and Master and Bachelor of Arts in Economics degrees from Boston University.
About Strategic Realignment of SISS and the Division of Student Affairs
As part of a strategic organizational realignment, SISS will work closely with – but distinct from – the Division of Student Affairs in the short term. As such, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and the Enrollment Management unit currently housed under the former Division of Student Success will now be housed under the SISS organizational structure. Cathy Pettid, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, will continue to report to Chancellor Li.
Once new organizational structures for SISS and the Division of Student Affairs have been clarified, Chancellor Li said, there will be a search for a permanent associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs.
“UNO is a student-centric institution, and this is a strategic realignment reflects that commitment through a new, entrepreneurial way of thinking and collaborating on our campus,” Li said. “We will always challenge our existing models and reflect on what we can improve upon through direct dialogues and trusted partnerships. UNO is a metropolitan university committed to honor changes and serve our community. We are here to build something special at our university that will positively impact our learners, their families, the City of Omaha and beyond. I know I can continue to count on our faculty, staff, and students for their unwavering support. As a team, we bring meaningful projects that will forever transform lives. This is an exciting time to be a Maverick, and I look forward to working together and delivering results for our community and our state.”
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.