Chancellor Jeffrey Gold had a conversation with the UNO community at a town hall on Friday, May 18, sharing updates on the budget, university benefits, and a variety of other subjects.
The forum followed the signing of a state budget package this spring that included the additional 1 percent cut to the University of Nebraska's base budget for 2018-2019. This is an additional cut from the based budget passed by the legislature in 2017. Earlier, a budget with a 4 percent decrease to the University had been proposed. The impact of the 2017, 2018, and 2019 State budget cuts for UNO as well as the projected tuition revenue were discussed.
In response to these considerations, UNO will balance the Campus budget. UNO will propose to eliminate approximately 30 positions total from the UNO workforce to help address state budget challenges over the 2017-19 biennium. This includes all changes related to the BRT reductions and the most recent 2018-19 additional state budget cuts. Of these positions, approximately 25 are currently unencumbered positions, Gold said, and discussions have occurred with any impacted colleges, departments and individuals. Regents will vote on the system-wide budget in late June.
At the forum, the Chancellor said changes to the University of Nebraska's benefits provider third-party administrator will begin on Jan. 1, 2019. Pending approval of the Board of Regents at its June 28 meeting, our health insurance administrator will change to UMR (a United Healthcare company), and our dental coverage third party administrator will also change in January. The dental program administrator will change to Ameritas. CVS Health will continue to provide our pharmacy benefits program management. These changes have been recommended to the Regents by a working group of 15, representing all university campuses. Employee health and dental insurance premiums will not go up in 2019.
Chancellor Gold discussed UNO's involvement in Blueprint Nebraska, a citizen-led, statewide economic development initiative. The effort seeks to establish a comprehensive and pro-active plan to stimulate the state’s economic growth, competitiveness and prosperity, while building on its many strengths. It is yet another way the university leads and brings this state together through strategic public-private partnerships. Dr. Gold has invited deans and directors to nominate individuals for participation in the initiative's subcommittees, which are focused on a wide range of areas key to Nebraska's economy including healthcare, education, workforce, agriculture, housing, entrepreneurship and others. Nominations may be submitted directly to Chancellor Gold.
Following a successful visit by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) in March, we continue work on our Strategic Planning Process. Proposed updates to the plan will be supplemented by feedback provided by the UNO community.
A national search will begin for the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs position, following the recent announcement of B.J. Reed, Ph.D.'s retirement in 2019. A committee will be formed in June and will determine whether to use a search consultant. The search will be peer-led, with vice chancellors and deans, faculty, staff, students, and alumni making a recommendation.
The position of Interim Associate Vice Chancellor of Research and Creative Activity was posted internally for UNO and UNMC faculty/staff. It is anticipated that the interim position will be filled in the near future, developing a research strategy over the following months.
- At the conclusion of the spring semester, multiple events highlighted the achievements and dedication of UNO students, faculty, and staff including May 2018 Commencement, the Faculty Honors Convocation, the Student Honors Convocation, and the Faculty Senate/Staff Advisory Council 2018 Banquet.
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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.
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