Ted Carter leaving University of Nebraska

NU president to head Ohio State University system
University of Nebraska President Ted Carter announced Tuesday that he is leaving to become the next president of Ohio State University.
Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 1:18 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - University of Nebraska President Ted Carter is headed to Ohio State University.

The Board of Trustees there unanimously voted to confirm him as their next OSU system president on Tuesday afternoon. He’s slated to start there Jan. 1.

“Carter is well known for strategic ingenuity and a highly collaborative leadership style honed over almost 40 years in higher education and the United States Navy,” the OSU release states.

Carter has been president of the University of Nebraska system, leading four campuses across the state — in Lincoln, Omaha, and Kearney — since Jan. 1, 2020. A retired vice admiral with 38 years of service with more than 6,300 flying hours across 19 different aircraft carriers, he came to Nebraska from the U.S. Naval Academy having been its longest-serving superintendent since the Civil War.

Carter, who was raised in rural Rhode Island, graduated from the Navy Fighter Weapons School, known as “Top Gun,” and also holds educational credentials from the Navy Nuclear Power School, the U.S. Air Force Air War College, the Naval War College, and the Armed Forces Staff College.

In 2022, the Board of Regents extended Carter’s contract through 2027. Along with that extension, he was given a 3% pay raise, bringing his annual salary to $964,000 a year. He also received performance-based merit pay of $105,000.

In June, Carter unveiled a plan that reimagined NU’s budgeting strategy as it faced a $58 million shortfall by the end of the 2024-2025 fiscal year. That plan included an immediate 3.5% tuition increase and a hiring freeze on all non-faculty positions.

At that time, he released his long-term vision for NU via a five-point plan:

  • Reverse recent enrollment declines by re-focusing on recruitment at high schools and major events across the state.
  • Raise NU’s academic profile, “with a specific goal of regaining entry into the Association of American Universities, a coalition of the nation’s most elite research institutions.”
  • Set up a dashboard to monitor the university’s academic program metrics against standards set by the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education.
  • Engage more university personnel in the budgeting process, and incentivize creative budgeting solutions and money-saving ideas.
  • Identify and correct communication and technological inefficiencies within the Nebraska University system, particularly areas that could be centralized.

On Monday, the University of Nebraska credited that plan with helping it achieve a AA bond rating, which assures financial institutions that NU can pay its bills, translating into lower interest rates that in turn save Nebraska students and taxpayers money. The rating put NU “among the top 8% of public higher education institutions in the country,” according to the university’s news release.

The system began its national search for a new president in February, according to the university’s website.

OSU boasts a “top-rated academic medical center and a premier cancer hospital and research center” and says its “regularly honored as one of the nation’s top 20 public universities.”

Carter succeeds past president Dr. Kristina Johnson, who abruptly announced last November that she would leave OSU in May after a dispute with the university, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

REACTIONS

Nebraska leaders issued statements thanking Ted Carter for his service to the state.

“It was four years ago that I first met Ted Carter during the nationwide search to identify the next leader for the University of Nebraska. The leadership pillars established by the Board of Regents, which defined the expectations of the President’s job, spoke clearly to Ted and his skill set.

President Carter has been an extraordinary asset to NU students, faculty, staff members and our state taxpayers over the last three and a half years. Suzanne and I wish Ted and Lynda the best. The role of NU President is one of great responsibility as well as great opportunity -- especially the ability to impact future generations. I know the role of NU President will speak to others very soon and we will gain another perfect fit for the university system.”

Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen

“Since 2019, Ted Carter has led the University of Nebraska with distinction. Thanks to his leadership and vision, he’s put our exceptional university on a path to even greater success and ensured that its students are well-prepared for the workforce. He leaves behind a lasting legacy, and I wish him all the best in this new endeavor. Nebraska has a long history of providing America’s future leaders with quality educations, and I look forward to working with the next NU President to support that proud tradition.”

Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer

Watch Tuesday’s news conference

10/11 Now contributed to this report.