Community invited to meet UNK Vice Chancellor candidates April 18-28

EDITORS: No photo is available of Susan Simmers.

KEARNEY – Five finalists have been selected and invited to University of Nebraska at Kearney April 18-28 for interviews and to meet the community as candidates for Vice Chancellor of Business and Finance.

The finalists are: Doug Hawks, assistant dean for finance and administration at University of Tennessee Haslam College of Business; Susan Simmers, assistant vice president for finance, University of Northern Colorado; Al Skudzinskas, vice president of finance and administration, Cheyney University; Gordon Taylor, associate dean for finance and administration, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Oregon; and Jon Watts, director of business services and accounts payable, UNK.

A search committee, headed by Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Charlie Bicak, selected the finalists from among eight semifinalists who were interviewed via videoconference April 6-7.

Academic Search, a consulting agency based in Washington, D.C., is assisting the search process. The incumbent will replace former vice chancellor Barbara Johnson.

The finalists’ vitae and updated schedules are at

Candidates will be at open forums on the dates below, 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the Sandhills Room in the Nebraskan Student Union. Public, media and campus constituents are welcome and encouraged to attend the forums.

Doug Hawks

April 18: Doug Hawks
Hawks has been at UT Knoxville since 2014, previously serving as senior consultant and auditor for the UT System Office. He served as director of internal audit at Southern Utah University and as interim director of sponsored research and grants at that institution.
Prior to entering higher education, he was director of internal controls at Sonic Innovations in Salt Lake City, and was audit manager at OfficeMax Inc., in Chicago. He has a Ph.D from UT Knoxville, MBA from Indiana University, and MPA (public policy) and B.S. in Business Administration, both from Southern Utah.

Gordon Taylor
Gordon Taylor

April 20: Gordon Taylor
Before joining University of Oregon in 2012, Taylor was associate dean and executive officer for the College Division at Dartmouth College. Prior to that he was co-founder and managing director, strategy advisory and mergers and acquisitions, at Violy & Company.
Other positions include president of AIG Capital Partners Inc.; president of Financial Service Subsidiaries, Franklin Savings Association; manager, mortgage and real estate finance and mortgage finance departments at Salomon Brothers Inc. in both London and New York; and positions at Warburg Paribas Becker; White, Weld & Co.; and Connecticut Bank and Trust Co.
His degrees are Master of Business Administration from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth, and bachelor’s from Yale University.

April 25: Susan Simmers
Prior to joining Northern Colorado in 2008, where she has also held the position of assistant vice president for budget and institutional analysis, Simmers was financial and business administration officer at Creighton University’s School of Dentistry (Omaha), as well as associate administrator for the School of Medicine and associate administrator of Health Sciences.
Simmers previously had positions at The Rouse Company (controller) and Ark Land Company (accounting), both in St. Louis. She has an MBA from Creighton, and her bachelor’s in business administration/accounting from St. Louis University.

Jon Watts
Jon Watts

April 27: Jon Watts
Watts has been director of business services and accounts payable at UNK since 2013, and prior to that was assistant director of business services. Before joining UNK, he was marketing manager and key accounts and public relations manager, and special events coordinator at Intralot Inc.
Watts’ degrees are from UNL in communication studies (bachelor’s) and management (master’s) from Bellevue University.

Al Skudzinskas
Al Skudzinskas

April 28: Al Skudzinskas
Prior to joining Cheyney University (Pennsylvania) in 2012, Skudzinskas was executive director for business affairs at Harrisburg Area Community College (York, Pa.); and was previously chief of staff and director of finance of business/fiscal operations at both Baltimore (Maryland) City Government and County Government.
Other positions have included general manager at Americom/Selectron (Baltimore); director of continuous improvement at Armstrong Industries (Lancaster, Pa.); plant manager and general manager at Polk Audio in Tijuana, Mexico and Baltimore; and industrial engineering manager at Electro Therm Corp. in Denton, Md.
Skudzinskas (pronounced scud-JINZ-kuss) earned master’s degrees in accounting and business administration from Loyola and Johns Hopkins Universities, respectively, and his bachelor’s from University of Maryland.


Contact: Todd Gottula, Director of Communications, 308.865.8454,