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Architecture dean named UNL's chief academic officer

Architecture dean named UNL's chief academic officer

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Katherine Ankerson has been announced as the next executive vice chancellor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The dean of the College of Architecture since 2016, Ankerson succeeds Elizabeth Spiller, who left UNL on Nov. 20.

In a press release, Ankerson said she was “honored, humbled and excited” by the opportunity.

“Our university is a place where every person and every interaction matters,” Ankerson said. “I look forward to building upon our shared momentum, our unwavering belief in the transformational power of education, and our ability to effect positive change in this world.”

Ankerson is an award-winning educator and was named the International Interior Design Association’s 2020 Educator of the Year.

Katherine Ankerson


Before joining UNL, she was the head of interior architecture and product design at Kansas State University from 1996 to 2011, and has taught at Radford University in Virginia and Washington State University.

At UNL, she has overseen a rising six-year graduation rate among students, as well as an increase to 100% job placement for graduates.

She was also a member of UNL’s N150 Commission and the N2025 Steering Committee, which created a five-year strategic plan for the state’s flagship campus.

Chancellor Ronnie Green called Ankerson “the right leader at the right time for this very important role.”

“She is a collaborative, inclusive and strategic leader who will take a ‘what if’ approach into this vital role for our academic mission and help propel us forward,” Green said in a statement.

Spiller became UNL’s chief academic officer in early 2020 following the departure of Donde Plowman, who became chancellor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

After less than two years on the job, Spiller resigned her position to care for an aging parent, she announced in an email last October.

UNL announced an internal search process to find the next executive vice chancellor, who is responsible for overseeing the academic enterprise.

Ankerson was selected over two other candidates: Mike Boehm, the vice chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and vice president of agriculture and natural resources for the NU system; and William G. Thomas III, the chair of humanities and a professor of history.

Ankerson will start in her new role Jan. 18. Sharon Kuska, the associate dean for faculty and academic programs in UNL’s College of Architecture, was named interim dean.


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