University of Nebraska at Omaha Chancellor Joanne Li, Ph.D., CFA, has announced that Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Creative Activity Ken Bayles, Ph.D., will step down from his role effective Oct. 1, 2022.
Bayles, who held a similar position at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), was named UNMC’s new vice chancellor for research, following a national search. Next steps regarding the position will be shared with campus in the coming weeks.
“Dr. Bayles’ contributions to UNO during his time overseeing our research and creative activity efforts cannot be overstated,” Chancellor Li said. “Under his direction, UNO has made major strides – and contributions – toward innovative new ideas that have and will continue to benefit our state and country.”
Bayles joined UNO in 2018 in an interim capacity overseeing the Office of Research and Creative Activity (ORCA) before formally taking on the role of associate vice chancellor in 2020. In his time overseeing the office, ORCA helped UNO nearly double its external funding; helped develop research internship pipeline programs for UNO students; helped UNO establish local and national government partnerships; and developed expanded administrative support of scholarship in the areas of social sciences, the arts, and humanities.
“UNO is in a much stronger place today thanks to Dr. Bayles’ leadership,” said Deborah Smith-Howell, Ph.D., UNO’s interim senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. “His tireless work to shine a light on the amazing work happening here on campus has been invaluable to our faculty and students.”
Efforts that took shape under Bayles’ leadership include the selection of UNO as the home for the Department of Homeland Security’s National Counterterrorism, Innovation, Technology and Education (NCITE) Center of Excellence; the development of the STEM TRAIL Center in support of developing STEM Education across the state;, extension of UNO’s Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH);, and the growth of UNO’s Student Research and Creative Activity Fair.
"Words cannot express my gratitude for the opportunity to work with the many incredible faculty and staff at UNO,” Bayles said. “I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when I started four years ago, but with its metropolitan mission and innovative programs, I quickly realized what a special place this was. The diversity of projects I learned about, both in research and creative activity, greatly enriched my life and I will be forever grateful."
In addition to his roles overseeing research at UNO and UNMC, Bayles is an active infectious disease researcher at UNMC and a professor in UNMC’s Department of Pathology and Microbiology. His research has helped expand Department of Defense-related activities including work on countermeasures against weapons of mass destruction and he will continue his work overseeing his UNMC lab while in his new role.
Bayles joined UNMC in 2005 as a member of the Department of Pathology and Microbiology following time at the University of Idaho. He holds a Ph.D. in microbiology from Kansas State University.
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.