Gov. Dave Heineman announced Wednesday that he has sent a letter to the University of Nebraska Board of Regents stating his intention to apply for the position left vacant by the departure of James B. Milliken.
“Yesterday, I notified the University of Nebraska Board of Regents of my intention to pursue the position of president,” Heineman said.
The Board said the process for selecting the next president for the university will be fair.
“The Board of Regents has an established process in place for recruiting and selecting the next president of the University of Nebraska which involves equal treatment and consideration of all individuals who wish to be considered for the position," Board Chairman Howard Hawks said in a statement Wednesday.
That process includes keeping the prospects confidential until four finalists are publicly announced in accordance with state law.
“Our immediate focus is on attracting a deep, rich and diverse pool of applicants from throughout the country," Hawks said. He adds that it would be unfortunate if any qualified individuals chose not to apply because of any one person's interest in the position.
Hawks say the board welcomes the governor's application but will not honor any of his current requests for one-on-one meetings with members of the Board of Regents, chancellors and other administrators or members of the search committee.
"To do so would present a problem of fairness and it is not practical to track and offer comparable opportunities to all candidates,” explained Hawks.
In his letter, Heineman said the University of Nebraska is “one of Nebraska’s greatest assets." He says his priorities if selected as president would include maintaining an affordable tuition rate for students and expanding the university's research activity.
Heineman is leaving office in January after 10 years at Nebraska's governor.