Third chancellor finalist visits

· 4 min read

Third chancellor finalist visits

Daniel Reed, the third of four chancellor finalists to visit UNL, speaks during a staff forum on March 1. Provide your feedback to NU President Hank Bounds at

A university is a place, but a great university is an idea that is embodied in a place – and it is obvious the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a great university, a candidate vying to become Nebraska’s next leader said.

Daniel Reed, vice president for research and economic development at the University of Iowa, said UNL is poised to emerge from a breathtaking era of societal and economic change – and amid difficult budget environments and new questions about the value of higher education across the United States – as an even stronger national and global influence.

“Nebraska, in particular, and public land-grant institutions … are ideally placed to respond as we renegotiate this social compact,” he said. “How we think about ensuring public access and inclusion, and continue to create new value for our economy and society – these are the things that, historically, land-grants have done.”

Reed said Nebraska, which he recognized as a world-class research university, must continue its important leadership role in the University of Nebraska system by building “new pillars” of excellence while maintaining the strength of its existing ones.

“This is the flagship campus of this system – and the system’s reputation ultimately rests on what happens here,” he said.

Reed, the third of four announced chancellor finalists to visit the university, returned often to his confidence in universities’ transformative powers in his March 1 open forums with staff, faculty, students and the media. He shared his own small-town story and the effect his university education had on his career.

Today, Reed oversees Iowa’s portfolio of more than $400 million in externally funded research, its campus-wide research centers, its economic development mission, faculty startups and corporate licensing, its Pentacrest museums and mobile outreach to schools and communities, and several state agencies.

Previously, he was Microsoft’s corporate vice president for technology policy and extreme computing, where he helped shape Microsoft’s long-term vision for technology innovations in cloud computing and associated policy engagement. He also is a former faculty member at the University of Illinois.

In a nod to the university’s football culture, Reed paraphrased legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi to sum up his view of how a great university can become greater – it can pursue perfection relentlessly, “while knowing all the while that it is unattainable. But along the way, we will most assuredly catch and pass excellence.”

But, in athletics and in higher education, Reed said he knows that it is much easier said than done. One pathway to excellence, he said, is in recruiting the very best faculty and staff and then giving them the resources they need to do their best work.

He said he would rely on consensus – his initial months at Nebraska would be spent “talking a little and listening a lot” – in charting the university’s best path.

“The way that you lead in any organization, especially at a university, is with a group of peers. Addressing challenges and the decisions we collectively make starts with transparency,” he said.

After Reed’s visit, the final candidate – Ronnie Green of UNL – will host forums March 3 and 4. To review all four finalists’ campus visit schedules, click here.

NU System President Hank Bounds will make the final selection of the next chancellor, subject to approval by the NU Board of Regents. Detailed and updated information on the chancellor search is available here.

University of Nebraska system officials are encouraging the campus community to attend the forums and share its feedback on the finalists. Click here to submit thoughts on Reed’s visit.

Last week, the first two chancellor finalists, Oregon State Provost Sabah Randhawa and Kansas State Provost April Mason, met with various university stakeholders during a separate set of campus forums.

Chancellor Candidate: Daniel Reed
WATCH: Daniel Reed on UNL's future

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