After more than a decade as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s top administrator for students, Juan N. Franco has announced that he will step down as Nebraska’s vice chancellor for student affairs.
Franco said he will return to the faculty in the College of Education and Human Sciences on July 1.
“I have truly enjoyed the years I have served as vice chancellor for student affairs,” said Franco, who came to Nebraska from a similar position at Utah State University in 2006. “Working with students has always been the joy of my life. I will continue to work with them going forward, too, although it will be primarily in a classroom setting.”
Donde Plowman, the university’s executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer, said Franco would leave a legacy of inclusive and positive leadership.
“Dr. Franco has been a true champion for students during a time when the university has experienced the largest student bodies in its history,” Plowman said. “We thank Dr. Franco for his leadership and for all he has done for students during his tenure. We wish him well as he embarks on a new adventure as a faculty member.”
As head of student affairs, Franco has overseen Campus Recreation, Greek Life, Educational Access and TRIO Programs, Student Judicial Affairs, University Housing, Student Involvement, Services for Students with Disabilities, Nebraska Unions, the University Health Center, the Center for Civic Engagement and the Office of Academic Success and Intercultural Services.
During his time as vice chancellor, Franco has put his student-focused philosophy to work. He and his team spearheaded several student-based projects and initiatives encouraging students to aspire to greatness, Plowman said.
Those initiatives include the Character Council as well as Franco’s List, which regularly recognizes students who demonstrate integrity, citizenship, open-mindedness and respect. Franco also was integral in conceiving and launching the Show Your Red campaign in 2011, which lauded students for positive acts and impacts both large and small. He also has been a strong advocate for student leadership and has been a mentor for many members of the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska.
Also during Franco’s tenure, the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center and several residence halls were built. Campus Recreation facilities were upgraded and the Nebraska Union was remodeled. The Center for Civic Engagement was created and a certificate in civic engagement was initiated.
“I want to thank all of my colleagues, who have made my time as vice chancellor such an enjoyable one,” Franco said. “I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues in the College of Education and Human Sciences.”
Before coming to Nebraska, Franco was named Utah State’s administrator of the year in 2004 and received the school’s Faculty Service Award. He also gained wide administrative experience in 28 years at New Mexico State University, where he was a professor of counseling and educational psychology.
At NMSU, he was associate director of the Mental Health Research and Evaluation program, head of the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology, associate dean of the College of Education, associate vice president for academic affairs, vice president of administration and regents’ chief of staff.
Franco earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, and his doctorate in counseling and guidance at New Mexico State.
The university will honor Franco’s distinguished service to Nebraska later this year, Plowman said. An interim vice chancellor for student affairs also will be appointed at a later date.