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UNL's chief academic officer resigns; university to announce next steps

UNL's chief academic officer resigns; university to announce next steps

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LINCOLN — The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s executive vice chancellor will leave her post a year and a half after she started, the university announced Monday.

Elizabeth Spiller, who was named UNL’s chief academic officer in March 2020, the same week the coronavirus pandemic pushed classes online, submitted her resignation to Chancellor Ronnie Green, she wrote in a letter to campus.

“As the crisis for UNL begins to recede, I need to manage a family crisis,” Spiller wrote. “I must return home, to Boston, to care for an aging parent, to honor my commitment to the person who raised me.”

Spiller came to UNL from the University of California, Davis, filling the role vacated by Donde Plowman, who became chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

In her letter to campus, Spiller said she valued her time at UNL, particularly the work done to secure raises for tenure-line faculty and lecturers that came as the university responded to COVID.

Spiller also helped launch the Husker Starter Pack initiative, which allows freshman students to earn credit hours before arriving on campus, as well as the winter mini-sessions that were offered last year.

“Helping to manage the impact of a crisis like the COVID pandemic on a vibrant and wonderful university like this one necessarily provides a new sense of perspective,” Spiller said. “The pandemic has changed the shape and meaning of our lives, not to mention the ways we connect with our communities and loved ones.”

Green, in a statement, thanked Spiller for her service and called her “a consistent voice for safety while focusing on ensuring we delivered a quality education to our students.”

“She will leave an imprint on UNL,” Green said.

UNL said it will soon announce plans on how the university plans to fill the executive vice chancellor position. Spiller’s base salary was $427,500, according to UNL.

Following Plowman’s departure in 2019, Richard Moberly, dean of the UNL College of Law, was tapped to serve as interim executive vice chancellor.

UNL then conducted a nationwide search that led to four finalists being interviewed, with Spiller emerging as the top choice.

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