Walker returns to teaching and research after seven years in faculty affairs

· 3 min read

Walker returns to teaching and research after seven years in faculty affairs


Judy Walker has announced that she will step down after seven years as associate vice chancellor for faculty and academic affairs in the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor at the end of the fall 2023 semester. She plans to return to her full-time role in the Department of Mathematics.

Walker was appointed to the interim role in July 2016 and named permanent associate vice chancellor the following year. Since then, she has enhanced campus support for faculty success, cultivated support for faculty leadership, and advocated for faculty rights with a focus on inclusive excellence.

“Judy approaches her work as an advocate for faculty with a mindfulness about faculty rights and responsibilities in the processes and procedures of our institution,” said Executive Vice Chancellor Katherine Ankerson. “Not only has she transformed the professional development opportunities available to our faculty, she has provided a level of care to individuals that has helped them be successful.”

In support of setting up faculty for success, Walker reimagined the university’s New Faculty Orientation, expanding it into the New Faculty Development Program, which includes a year-long series of workshops and a summer Canvas course. She also developed a series of Faculty TipSheets to share helpful advice for teaching, service and managing work-life balance.

In partnership with the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, she stood up the faculty ombuds team, which provides a resource to resolve concerns outside of the formal grievance process. Along with IANR and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, she championed a campus membership to the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity.

Walker has also cultivated professional development for faculty, leading UNL’s participation in the leadership development programs of the Big Ten Academic Alliance and creating a series of leadership workshops for department executive officers and associate deans, as well as the Faculty Leadership in Academia: from Inspiration to Reality program.

Her key accomplishments include revisions to the Board of Regents’ Bylaws to bring faculty rights to due process in line with national norms, which earned her a formal letter of appreciation from the Faculty Senate, as well as formalized processes for UNL’s Phased Retirement, Dual Career, and Opportunity Hire programs, simplifying the work of DEOs and deans and helping ensure faculty are treated equitably.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Walker led the Academic Planning Task Force that guided the campus in policies and practices that helped facilitate the transition to remote learning in the spring of 2020 and a successful return to in-person learning that fall.

“It has been an honor to serve the university in this role, and I am grateful for the campus partnerships that have enabled so much to be accomplished in support of our faculty,” said Walker. “I am excited to continue my research and return to my faculty role in mathematics.”

During her tenure as associate vice chancellor, Walker has maintained a strong national profile in the mathematics community as a fellow of the American Mathematical Society, the Association for Women in Mathematics, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has also served as a member of both the Board of Trustees of the American Mathematical Society and the Simons Laufer Mathematical Sciences Institute (formerly the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute). She will focus on her research this spring at the Simons Institute for Theoretical Computer Science in Berkeley, California, and resume teaching next fall.

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