After a decade of budget cuts and stagnant hiring, the University of Nebraska's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) is now planning to add 36 new positions.
According to IANR vice chancellor Ronnie Green, the new positions are primarily in the areas of science literacy, stress biology, computational sciences, healthy humans and healthy systems for agricultural production and natural resources. Green says those subject areas will address workforce gaps critical to the global challenges of the future, including expanded and more efficient food production and improved water and natural resources management.
While this slate of new positions is, in Green's words, "a big bang," he emphasized that IANR actually has been steadily ramping up hiring over the last couple of years and expects to embark on a fresh wave of hiring in about 18 months. This follows several years of university budget cuts and holds on hiring.
Green says IANR is in a good position to expand thanks to eight years of annual enrollment growth in its College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, record levels of research funding and a strong agricultural economy in Nebraska.
Green also believes the move positions UNL to emerge as one of a handful of land-grant universities that will lead the way in solving the food-production needs of the future.