Massengale Administration

In 1981, Marin Massengale became the Chancellor to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Prior to this promotion he was the vice chancellor of the Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources. This caused much debate if Massengale could handle the job of being chancellor for the entire University. This was because people did not if he could understand how broad liberal arts education is. The difference between liberal arts and agriculture are substantial as some would say. Massengale defended his promotion by saying, “I don’t see any reason why someone with an agricultural background can’t become broad-scoped.” Massengale was a very authoritative leader. He liked to keep all decisions, even very minor ones, in his control. When a position opened up to be the dean of a college, Massengale liked to see how his nominees operated at an interim level before granting them the position of permanent dean. If he felt the nominee was not doing an adequate job, he would appoint a search committee to find a replacement. Massengale’s biggest hire was in 1983, when he hired John Yost to become the associate to the Chancellor. Yost later became the vice chancellor for research and dean of graduate studies. Yost became Massengale’s go-to-guy and he had a great skill of working behind the scenes and not making a lot of noise in his dealings. For example, Yost relieved two deans that were causing troubles to the chancellor, but nobody seemed to notice their dismissal. An honors program for the University was also made during this time and it was made without a complaint about resources being used to fund the program (Knoll 176). In the 1980’s, times were tough for the University financially. The University needed to make some program cuts in order to stay within the budget. Despite these cuts in some programs, Massengale promised to increase the quality of education at the University. To do this he planed to focus the resources on “high priority areas.” The “high priority areas” were programs that had high demand in enrollment and potential for future research. Massengale also wanted better academic advising for the students. He believed a lot of faculty did not think that advising was apart of their responsibility. Massengale wanted the faculty to embrace the students, for the students were what drove the University forward. He also wanted to strengthen the research program at the University. He wanted to focus the research being done by the various programs on local problems (Michael Hooper). Even though Massengale wanted to increase the research by the University, he wanted to make the professors know that teaching comes first. Studies showed that students do better in classes if the professor is enthusiastic about teaching and cares for his students. Massengale points out that this does not always happen if the professors are spending the majority of their time doing studies. Massengale also wanted to make a big push on attracting international students to attend the University. He stated that adding more cultural backgrounds will increase the experience of attending the University (Daily Nebraskan).