Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 11, 2001)
%y a, m
Lightweight Jason Pom
packs a poweful punch
for Nebraska wrestling
Can 'Almost Famous’
recoup its dollars
itself into a modem day
'Bonnie and Clyde?1
January, 11 2001
v David dasen/ON
Rkk Edwards, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, talks about who will take over vacant positions Tuesday morning. Monday was Edwards'first day back after taking time off to battle cancer.
Biggest battle of all
Edwards realizes life's importance from hospital bed
BY JILL ZEMAN
Six months ago, Richard Edwards, senior vice chancellor for academic
affairs, lay in a hospital bed at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Edwards was waiting to undergo a stem cell transplant - a debilitating pro
cedure that he hoped would fend off multiple myeloma, or cancer of the blood
During the procedure, doctors extracted stem cells from Edwards’ blood
and stored them. Edwards then underwent highly toxic chemotherapy.
The toxins killed the cancer, but also damaged Edwards’ immune system.
The stem cells were then put back into his body to restart his immune system.
The procedure was so trying, Edwards took a semester-long hiatus to
The time in a hospital bed away from Canfield Administration Building,
where his office is located, caused Edwards to reflect on what the important
things of life really are.
“One of the dangers (of working as an administrator) is you get so caught
up in daily events you don't get a chance to look at the bigger picture," he said.
The doctors aren’t sure whether the cancer is completely gone.
But today, Edwards said he is feeling good, and happy to be back to the
place and the people who provided him support during his time away.
“I’m feeling very good,” he said.
Edwards said the reflection period was beneficial, but said it’s good to be
And he doesn’t face an empty plate. The semester brings many challenges
He faces the daunting prioritization process, which university officials
have already begun. The recent Omaha World-Herald series entitled "UNL:
Confronting Mediocrity," along with the 20/20 Vision Report, which outlines
the university’s goals, all raise questions that Edwards will have to help attend
to, he said.
“We need to bring questions that face the university to the forefront, so
these questions get considered and debated,” he said.
But, Edwards said he looks forward to delving into the issues that he is pas
sionate about in addition to the challenges that have arisen during his
Building the Honors Program, increasing and maintaining a diverse facul
ty and focusing on undergraduate education are important issues, he said.
The main role of chief academic officer, for Edwards, is to continually ques
tion and re-evaluate the university.
“Our job is to make sure undergraduates get a first-class education,” he
said. “I want to be involved in that.”
And the way for Edwards to get involved, he said, is to help faculty mem
bers do the best jobs they can.
Edwards can help faculty members realize their potential by providing
research funds and improving classroom or lab technology, he said.
“Administrators are just support staff,” he said. “The faculty really does the
Before donning the scarlet and cream of the University of Nebraska*
Lincoln, Edwards attended and taught at several institutions.
Please see EDWARDS on 5
Even though not everyone in the university is
happy with its title, “UNL: Confronting Mediocrity,"
most agree the Omaha World-Herald series is benefi
cial and necessary.
The series, the result of a six-month investigation,
explores why the University of Nebraska-Iincoln isn't
a top-ranked national research university.
The series was spurred by the release of the 20/20
Vision Statement, a report that examines ways to
improve UNL in the next 20 years, said Cate Folsom,
World-Herald projects editor.
Reporters began working part-time on die series
early last summer and dove into it full-time in August,
Although the series is critical of the university, it’s
needed to generate public discussion on how to
improve UNL, said Richard Edwards, senior vice
chancellor for academic affairs.
Edwards said it was crucial the university had the
institutional self-confidence to look at itself and
identify its strengths and weak
ment to say
want to get
Senior vice chan
cellor for academic
But Edwards takes issue with
“I think ‘mediocre’ is the
wrong word,” Edwards said,
referring to the title.
"It’s no embarrassment to
say we’re a good institution and
we want to get better.”
The series also questioned
whether UNL concentrated its
resources too much on agricul
tural programs, thus neglecting
other important areas.
Edwards said some pro
grams may need to be trimmed
for the university to support
But when looking for pro
grams to cut, it’s not necessarily
the small ones that should be targeted, he said.
For example, UNL shares its veterinary medicine
program with Kansas State University in Manhattan.
Through this, UNL students can study veterinary
medicine without the university actually having a
college of veterinary medicine, he said.
"I think we’ll see more cases for innovative
arrangements in the future,” he said.
Alan Moeller, assistant vice chancellor of the
Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said
he’s trying to look at the series in a positive light.
“I'm not sure I'd come to the same conclusions,
but I think the series provides an opportunity to dis
cuss the role of IANR in the state,” he said.
Moeller said in a lot of ways, the series highlight
ed issues the university officials had already dis
But the real benefit of the series is educating the
public about the university as a whole, he said.
Joel Schafer, Association of Students of the
University of Nebraska president, said he thought the
series was accurate.
But Schafer said the timing of the series' publica
tion isn’t the best.
Please see EDWARDS on 5
Online ASUN voting
to be put to petition
BY LINDSEY BAKER
After meeting constitutional hurdles
over a proposed online voting system,
ASUN President Joel Schafer will rely on a
petition drive to possibly bring student
government voting at the click of a
“It’s definitely something we want to
have for the ASUN election,” Schafer said.
Online voting, which would allow stu
dents to place confidential votes on the
university Web site, was first brought to
the floor of student government in
Schafer said he intended to address
online voting during the Association of
Students of the University of Nebraska's
constitutional conventions - sessions
being held to revamp student govern
ment’s rules and regulations.
But Schafer now says he’s determined
the online voting proposal will be brought
to the forefront more quickly by holding a
student petition drive.
“We underestimated how long it
would take to see the constitutional con
ventions through,” Schafer said. “We’re
going back to the petition drive.”
According to ASUN’s constitution, a
special election can be held if 5 percent of
the student body signs a petition.
Schafer said he hoped the petition
would favor the online voting site, already
created by UNL Information Services. If it
were approved, it could be implemented
by next semester.
“It should be good,” he said. “It’s
something that I want to get done.”
In other ASUN news:
■ Law College senator Tag Herbek and
Teachers College senator Candace Cain
were appointed to office at Wednesday’s
first meeting of the semester.
■ Open senatorial seats still to be
filled include those in the dental college,
the College of Arts and Sciences, the
College of Agricultural Sciences and
Natural Resources, the College of
Journalism and Mass Communications,
general studies, nursing and graduate
Johanns proposes research funds
■The governor's initiative will help
boost economic development and
will promote disease research.
Officials say a proposal by Gov.
Mike Johanns on Wednesday could
provide more fuel for the state's eco
nomic engine and serve as a boon for
Johanns announced $16 million in
funding for biomedical research -
courtesy of Nebraska’s share of the
national tobacco settlement.
Nebraska’s settlement with tobac
co companies is $1.2 billion over a 25
The governor’s proposal would
place the proceeds in an endowment,
with $50 million being distributed
every year for biomedical research
efforts, public health grants recom
mended by the existing Nebraska
Health Care Council and other priority
health care needs as determined by
One-third of the tobacco proceeds
will be divided among Creighton
University in Omaha, the University of
Nebraska Medical Center, UNL and
Boys Town National Hospital in
"(The funding) will enhance the
quality and quantity of research being
conducted at all four institutions
involved,” said Joe Rowson, NU
Some remaining proceeds will be
distributed to the Nebraska Health
The council, a citizen panel
already beginning to distribute some
settlement proceeds for public health
purposes through a grant, would
receive $7 million a year to continue
the grant program, according to a gov
Another $27 million would be
overseen by the Legislature for appro
priating to critical and emergency
health care needs, such as mental
Johanns’ three-part distribution
plan is key to boosting economic
development and biomedical
research in the state, said Phil Weitl,
assistant spokesman for the governor.
"This is good and exciting research
“(The funding) will
enhance the quality and
quantity of research being
conducted at all four
to have happening in the state of
Nebraska,” Weitl said.
With the money included in the
proposed initiative, institutions and
the state of Nebraska can rake in more
entrepreneurs, research dollars, stu
dents, quality staff and researchers,
The four research institutions plan
on expanding efforts in areas they
have earmarked already: cancer, birth
defects, hearing and vision disorders,
infectious diseases, genetics,Jieart
disease, Alzheimer’s disease, osteo
porosis, transplant biology, respirato
ry diseases and neurological diseases.
“A lot of really good research is
going on,” Weitl said.
“Getting to work hand-in-hand
with this research is really exciting for
Powered by Open ONI