University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor-Elect Ronnie Green announced April 28 he has appointed Marjorie Kostelnik to the post of interim senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and Ron Yoder to the position of interim vice chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The appointments, which are pending approval by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, will begin May 9 and will fill the two leadership positions Green previously held before he was named the university’s next leader.
“As we work to build the universithy’s new leadership team, it is critically important that capable, engaged and enthusiastic leaders work together to maintain the university’s palpable momentum,” said Green, who was appointed chancellor-elect on April 6 and who will assume the role of head of the university on May 8, pending board approval. “Marjorie and Ron are highly respected and trusted academic leaders with accomplished administrative track records at UNL. I look forward to working together with these two exceptional interim leaders in our two chief academic officer positions in the immediate months ahead.”
Kostelnik is currently dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences. She has been at the university since 2000, when she was hired as dean of the College of Human Resources and Family Sciences; in 2003, it partnered with Teachers College to become the College of Education and Human Sciences.
The senior vice chancellor for academic affairs is Nebraska’s chief academic officer and is the responsible authority in the absence of the chancellor. The Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor is charged with helping the university achieve excellence across all areas of the academic enterprise through oversight of undergraduate teaching and learning; graduate mentoring; faculty development, promotion and tenure; resource allocation; strategic planning; and the development of innovative academic initiatives that will be recognized as unique signature strengths.
The senior vice chancellor’s office also is responsible for the administration, coordination and development of general policies and functions for academic programs.
Kostelnik earned a bachelor’s degree in child development from the University of Pittsburgh and worked with Head Start before earning master’s and doctoral degrees in human development and family studies from Pennsylvania State University. She was on faculty at Michigan State University for 22 years as program supervisor of the Child Development Laboratories and chair of the Department of Family and Child Ecology. She has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels and her research focuses on early childhood education and community coalition building; she was vice president of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, chair for the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance, a consortium of universities engaged in distance education, and is currently chair of the Educare of Lincoln Partners Board. She recently served on a yearlong Institute of Medicine and National Research Council panel on transforming the workforce for children birth through age 8.
“I am pleased to serve the university in this way and to help the new administration begin its work,” Kostelnik said. “I look forward to working with Chancellor-Elect Green, the deans, faculty, staff and the entire Nebraska community to advance our academic mission and build on our many strengths. I am eager to listen, learn and collaborate in support of the chancellor-elect’s vision.”
Beth Doll, associate dean in the College of Education and Human Sciences, will be the college’s acting dean during Kostelnik’s tenure in academic affairs.
Yoder has been at Nebraska since 2004 and is currently associate vice chancellor at IANR, the multi-division university institute that focuses on agriculture and natural resources. Teaching occurs through the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, research through the Agricultural Research Division and extension education through Nebraska Extension.
As part of the appointment, Yoder also will serve as interim vice president for agriculture and natural resources with the university system, where he will oversee the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, the Daugherty Global Water for Food Institute and the Rural Futures Institute.
Yoder’s research focus is in the areas of agricultural water management, measurement and estimation of evapotranspiration and land use impacts on water quality. His more than 30 years of experience in agricultural water management includes extensive field research and work in Brazil, Zambia and China.
He has worked for the University of Wyoming, for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service in Colorado and Washington and for the University of Tennessee. He is a fellow and past president of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.
Yoder earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Drexel University, a master’s degree in agricultural engineering from Clemson University and a doctoral degree in agricultural engineering from Colorado State University.
“I am excited to continue building on the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ clear momentum,” Yoder said. “With our excellent team of educators and researchers across the state and with the support of our stakeholders, our research, teaching and extension work contributes significantly to the well-being of Nebraska and Nebraskans.”
Green said the university would open an international search for both positions beginning on May 15 with intent to have the new leaders in place by January 2017.