UNI's President begins work before official start - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UNI's President begins work before official start

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

University of Northern Iowa's newest leader is getting settled into his new home campus.

Dr. Mark Nook emerged as the Iowa Board of Regents' next president in December.

He's replacing Bill Ruud who announced his resignation in the summer of 2016.

Dr. Nook was chosen from an applicant pool of nearly 50 candidates, which included interim-president and full-time UNI provost, Jim Wohlpart.

Dr. Mark Nook's position at as UNI's 11th president officially start Feb. 2.

During the hiring process, several people voiced concern that they wanted Dr. Jim Wohlpart to fill the position permanently.

We asked Dr. Nook if he felt he would be able to fill the position and live up to everyone's expectations as president.

He had this to say, "you know, I hope so. There's no real way to know. I look back on everywhere I've gone and I look back on, and the transition has gone really smoothly. It's one of those things you just have to step into it and get to know people, and listen to them. As long as you listen to them and really listen to them, then those relationships will develop."

A week before Dr. Nook's official start date, the new UNI President is already on campus and getting to work.

"A lot of excitement and getting to meet some students already, meeting a lot of alums downtown, but it really just is excitement," Dr. Nook said.

Dr. Nook joined UNI during a time the state legislature proposed a nearly $2 million cut to the school's budget.

"The things that really can help us define our future might get put on the back burner for a while as we work through those appropriations," Dr. Nook said.

He said he plans to keep faculty and programs while he learns what steps need to be made moving forward.

"The important thing for me right now is to get out and listen to people and find out what they need at the university and really get a feel for this campus," Dr. Nook said.

Dr. Nook has experiencing dealing with budget concerns as chancellor of Montana State University Billings. 

When he took that position, he inherited a budget where the Montana Board of Regents requested a 10 percent cut to the school's funding.

He says being transparent and working with everyone is the most important thing to remember during times like this.

University of Northern Iowa isn't the only school dealing with budget concerns.

Iowa State and University of Iowa are facing $8 million cuts, as well.

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