UNO Announces Alum as Next Senior Vice Chancellor


Kathryn O’Connor
News Editor 

Ni (Phil) He, Ph.D. was selected as UNO’s new senior vice chancellor. Photo courtesy of UNO News Center

UNO announced last month that Ni (Phil) He, Ph.D., a UNO alumnus and current vice provost of faculty diversity and full professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University in Boston, will serve as the university’s next senior vice chancellor for academic affairs.

A national search was led by a 12-person search committee chaired by Dean John Bartle, Ph.D., and the national search firm Diversified Search Group. Professor He officially begins as Senior Vice Chancellor on Jan. 3, 2023, pending approval from the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.

“Throughout the entire search process, Dr. He has not only shown his commitment to UNO’s mission, but a true willingness to think outside of the box when it comes to what’s next in higher education,” Chancellor Joanne Li, Ph.D., said. “It was clear from the feedback provided by our campus that Dr. He was the right person for this vital role. As a well-recognized collaborator in higher education, Dr. He is poised to embrace UNO’s culture of collaboration and entrepreneurship.”

Professor He brings more than a decade of academic leadership experience returning to UNO, from which he became one of the first students in the university’s history to earn a doctorate in criminology and criminal justice.

Professor He served in a wide array of senior positions at Northeastern University, including vice provost for faculty affairs, vice provost for graduate education, associate vice provost for graduate education, and associate dean for the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Some of He’s accomplishments touted by Chancellor Li include the development of interdisciplinary degree programs; expanded opportunities for faculty to be recognized for their accomplishments and engage in administrative decision-making; a commitment to experiential learning opportunities like Northeastern’s cooperative education (co-op) program; and a focus on global partnerships.

“When I was a young international student looking to further my education, UNO and Omaha opened their arms to me, and I’ve never forgotten the debt I owe this university for how it helped me achieve my dreams,” Professor He said. “When I heard the saying ‘Once a Maverick, always a Maverick,’ I felt like it was speaking directly to me and my commitment to UNO. I am so grateful to be returning to my home away from home and to be of service to our faculty, students, and staff in furthering UNO’s role as a leading urban metropolitan university.”

As senior vice chancellor, Professor He will provide leadership for UNO’s six colleges and library; guide academic initiatives within the university’s strategic plan, including oversight of all scholarship and research activities, advance global initiatives and support student success. 

His role will also include leading UNO’s commitment to programmatic, pedagogical and scholarship excellence across all programs.

Chancellor Li identified him following recommendations by the search committee, search firm and campuswide feedback solicited from campus and community members who participated in a series of forums during September. 

“Our campus community provided incredibly vital feedback to our committee and to me in telling us who best represents our values and our strategic vision,” Chancellor Li said. “This feedback, and the leadership of our search committee, has been instrumental to selecting a leader who will be a true champion for our academic mission.”

Learn more about the new senior vice chancellor on UNO’s website.