Third UNI finalist visits campus - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Third UNI finalist visits campus

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The search for University of Northern Iowa's next leader reaches its final days, with the third and final candidate visiting campus to share his vision.

Dr. Mark Nook is no stranger to Iowa.

He graduated from Iowa State University with his master's degree in astrophysics.

The Montana State University Billings Chancellor said he's excited to back in the Hawkeye State.

Dr. Nook proudly wore University of Northern Iowa colors while addressing curious students and faculty to discuss challenges, opportunities, goals, and what it means to lead.

"There is a value proposition, a public good to higher education, that gets lost in a lot of the public conversation, and as an institution, we need to step up," Dr. Nook said.

Dr. Nook said there's more to a university than enrollment numbers and going to class.

"First is their educational goals, that's why they're here. We also have to help them meet all of their professional goals. Get them ready for their job and help them with their transition into their career," Dr. Nook said.

University of Northern Iowa has more than half the student population than MSUB.

However, Chancellor Nook taking on MSUB's lead position two years ago during a time of budget cuts and declining enrollment.

So, he's no stranger to challenge.

"I came in that July, and that September, and we knew we had to take $900,000 out of that budget that year, and the spending authority was gone right now, and we announced four budget principles. First, limit the impact on students. The second was to engage all of our shared governance units in that shared discussion. The third was to be open and transparent in all of our communications. The fourth was you don't make opportunistic cuts, and you don't make across-the-board cuts, because they violate principle," Dr. Nook said.

Iowa Board of Regents President Pro-tem Katie Mulholland said she's excited about the process, and she's counting down the days a finalist is named.

According to the Board of Regents, they're hoping to make a decision by Dec. 6.

The board has scheduled a meeting Monday and Tuesday in Cedar Falls.

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