Academic Search Assists the University of Nebraska in Recruiting New President

May 7, 2024 – Jay LemonsJennifer Kooken, and George Ross of education-focused executive recruiter Academic Search recently assisted in the recruitment of Jeffrey P. Gold as the ninth president of the University of Nebraska. Past president Ted Carter left the school last year to become the president of Ohio State University, a search that was led by Santa Barbara, CA-based Education Executives. Dr. Gold’s appointment concludes a national search launched last fall that engaged the university community and key stakeholders across the state, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members and leaders in agriculture, business and philanthropy. He was named the board’s priority candidate for president on March 20, after which he underwent a vetting period required by state law that included a dozen public events across Nebraska.

“As chair of the board when we first brought Jeff Gold to Nebraska, this has come full circle for me,” said regent Tim Clare, who chaired the presidential search committee. “I’ve come to know Jeff as a good friend and colleague, someone who listens to students and has truly made Nebraska his adopted home. I believe Jeff will bring the same success to the entire University of Nebraska that he has achieved at University of Nebraska Medical Center over the past decade and I’m confident he will devote his full energy to our ambitious goals for academic excellence, competitiveness and AAU readmission.”

“Jeff Gold has an impressive background and a skillset that we as a board felt was the right fit for the University of Nebraska,” said board of regents chairman Rob Schafer. “This is an important moment for our university and all of higher education, requiring bold vision and courageous leadership. I am excited about our future and what we will accomplish with Dr. Gold at the helm.”

Dr. Gold is a heart surgeon and longtime college administrator who for the last decade has led the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) through a period of record growth. From 2017 to 2021, he concurrently held the role of University of Nebraska at Omaha chancellor, leading the state’s metropolitan university. At UNMC, Dr. Gold has overseen a period of significant growth in enrollment, research, academic offerings, philanthropy and facilities. Enrollment has reached a record high for 23 straight years, and research grants and contracts now exceed $250 million. Continued success in technology transfer at both UNMC and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have helped Nebraska rank among the world’s top earners of patents for seven years running.

“I’m grateful to the board of regents for the trust they have placed in me to serve this institution that I believe is truly poised to build the future,” said Dr. Gold. “As a Nebraskan by choice, it has been an honor and privilege to work alongside our leadership teams, our faculty, staff and students, and leaders in elected office, business and the community for the past ten years. Most of all, I am inspired by what I see as the common thread that brings families from rural and urban communities across our state together: a deep desire for the very best educational experience for their children and grandchildren that will prepare them for lifelong learning and success.”

Related: Academic Search Recruits President for Norwich University

The University of Nebraska is the state’s only public university and has served Nebraskans through teaching, research and engagement for 150 years. The university’s four campuses—which include a leading Big Ten flagship campus in Lincoln, a metropolitan campus in Omaha, an undergraduate-focused campus in Kearne, and an academic health science center in Omaha—are home to over 52,000 students and a workforce of 16,000 faculty and staff.

Higher Education Specialists

For over three decades, Academic Search has been a leader in designing and implementing search processes for leaders of colleges and universities across the country. The firm has completed hundreds of executive searches for higher education institutions and related organizations, for roles ranging from presidents to provosts to deans. Academic Search has a formal relationship to a premier leadership development program. As the subsidiary of the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), the firm provides substantial financial support to a number of leadership identification, development, and support programs across all sectors of public and private higher education. The firm is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Academic Search Places New Provost for New Mexico State University
Academic Search has placed the new provost and chief academic officer for New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces. Alan R. Shoho, dean and professor emeritus of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, was selected for the position. The assignment was led by senior consultants Maria Thompson and Cynthia M. Patterson, along with associate consultant Lisa C. Rosenberg. “Dr. Shoho has tremendous experience both as an administrator and as a researcher in the fields of education and social justice,” said NMSU chancellor Dan Arvizu. “His vision for NMSU aligns with the progress we’ve made toward the goals outlined in our LEADS 2025 strategic plan, and I am sure he is the best fit to help elevate our research and social mobility initiatives.”

Dr. Lemons has been president of Academic Search since 2017, after serving for 25 years as a college president in both public and private higher education. A recognized leader in the academy, he has been particularly devoted to supporting leadership talent by working with new college presidents on the faculty of the new presidents’ programs of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Council of Independent Colleges and through the professional development programs for aspiring leaders of the American Academic Leadership Institute. Dr. Lemons was president of Susquehanna University from 2001 to 2017, and prior to that served as chancellor of the University of Virginia’s (UVA) College at Wise, UVA’s public liberal arts college in southwestern Virginia.

Ms. Kooken, consultant, joined Academic Search from Merrimack College, where she served as director of business school initiatives. Prior to that, Ms. Kooken collaborated with academic administrators and clients to develop engaging professional development programs for the Graduate Management Admission Council. She began her career in higher education as assistant director of graduate admissions for Babson College.

Dr. Ross spent nearly 30 years in higher education and was the first Black president of Central Michigan University. Since joining Academic Search as a senior consultant in 2018, Dr. Ross has taken on his searches the same way he approached any other job in his career: doing the right thing.

Related: Why Universities Have Stepped Up Efforts to Involve Search Firms

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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