LINCOLN — The University of Nebraska released a 42-page profile Monday listing the qualities and experience being sought for the next university president.
The list appears to put Gov. Dave Heineman at a disadvantage in seeking the post. He announced two weeks ago that he is applying for the university’s top position.
But, according to the profile, “strong preference” will be given to applicants who could qualify as tenured university professors, which includes holding a doctorate or similar degree and having teaching experience and a record of research and scholarship.
Heineman holds a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He has spent most of his life in politics and has done no teaching or research and scholarship.
However, he has served as governor of Nebraska for nearly a decade.
“Our ideal candidate will have a deep understanding of and experience in higher education and proven success in leading a major organization,” said Board of Regents Chairman Howard Hawks. “She or he must have a record of success in intellectual and academic performance.”
He continued, saying, “The next president must be passionate about the key role the University of Nebraska plays in ensuring the state’s overall success through teaching, research and service.”
Hawks said the regents are hoping to recruit someone willing to serve as president for at least five years, ideally up to 10.
Heineman, who is 66, was in meetings Monday and unavailable to comment on the newly released profile, according to spokeswoman Sue Roush.
The presidential profile was developed by the university with help from search firm Isaacson, Miller.
Work on the profile began well before the governor announced his interest in the job and followed the process established at the beginning of the search, Hawks said.
The firm interviewed regents, university administrators and members of the two presidential search committees.
It also drew on input from nearly 400 Nebraskans who offered ideas via NU’s presidential search website, and from student and faculty governing bodies.
Hawks said the result does not rule out candidates from outside the academic world, such as the governor. However, Hawks said he considers it normal to give preference to people with knowledge and experience in the kinds of organizations they seek to lead.