Director of NU's Peter Kiewit Institute resigns - Omaha.com
Published Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 5:23 pm
Director of NU's Peter Kiewit Institute resigns

The director of the Peter Kiewit Institute has resigned, a spokeswoman from the University of Nebraska said Tuesday.

Michael McGinnis stepped down “to pursue other opportunities,” NU President J.B. Milliken said in a statement.

The resignation was effective immediately and was “his decision,” according to NU spokeswoman Melissa Lee. McGinnis couldn’t be reached for comment.

“There has been much progress at PKI during his tenure as executive director, and we wish him well,” Milliken said.

McGinnis, a retired Army brigadier general, has led the embattled Omaha engineering institute since 2009.

Scott D. Snyder, associate vice chancellor for research and creative activity at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, will serve as interim director of the Kiewit Institute, according to NU.

The NU Board of Regents approved a plan last month to put control of the institution under the senior vice chancellors from each college. McGinnis did not address the regents during the meeting where the new plan was discussed. The executive director was also to work alongside the deans of the college of engineering and information science and technology. The changes are designed to correct “dysfunctionalities” in structure and operations cited by a consultant’s report in July.

Leaders were not working together, and resources were depleted by the institute's problematic history, leading to distrust and disappointment, the consultants said.

The new plans call for doubling annual research funding within five years while increasing the number of students in Kiewit Institute programs to 3,600 in the next five years.

Fifty new faculty members will be hired — 30 in Omaha and 20 in Lincoln — and 35,000 to 40,000 square feet of classroom and office space will be needed to house them.
Funding for the changes has not been finalized.

The UNL College of Engineering would also add a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s of engineering for working professionals, both Omaha-based, and merge two degree programs it sees as redundant.

The changes, including plans to share faculty between Lincoln and Omaha, have brought concern from students and staff who say UNO and UNL cultures are very different.

Though PKI is on UNO’s campus, its engineering programs are under the umbrella of UNL’s engineering department.

Contact the writer: Kate Howard Perry

kate.perry@owh.com    |   402-444-3185    |  

Kate writes about Nebraska's community colleges, state colleges and university system.

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