Dr. Dele Davies named interim UNMC chancellor

University of Nebraska President Dr. Jeffrey P. Gold announced today that he has named Dr. H. Dele Davies, the chief academic officer at the University of Nebraska Medical Center for more than a decade, as UNMC’s interim chancellor.

Davies’ appointment is effective immediately, subject to formal approval by the Board of Regents. Davies, previously the senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies, succeeds Gold, who today assumed the role of NU president after a decade as UNMC’s chancellor.

“UNMC is on a remarkable trajectory, thanks to the collective efforts of so many individuals on the campus and beyond whose work is transforming the health and quality of life for people in Nebraska and around the world,” Gold said. “It was important to me to find the right person who can keep our momentum going as we formulate plans for permanent leadership. Dr. Dele Davies is that leader.

“Dr. Davies has been a trusted colleague to me over the last 10-plus years, he is well known on campus and with our partners across the state, and under his leadership, UNMC’s academic enterprise is strong and growing. I’m grateful that Dele has agreed to step up and serve UNMC in this well-earned role.”

Davies said: “I am honored to serve UNMC, our outstanding faculty, staff, students and our communities in this new role. I look forward to building on the special 10-year legacy of Chancellor Gold’s leadership in advancing our mission to provide premier educational programs, world-class research and extraordinary health care for Nebraska citizens and beyond. I’m grateful for the trust placed in me to lead this great university.”

Davies is an internationally recognized expert in pediatric infectious diseases and a leader in community health. As senior vice chancellor, he was responsible for academic, faculty and student oversight of the six different health professions colleges and the graduate studies program, as well as numerous pipeline and other continuing and high school academic programs and initiatives.

Notably, he played a key role in launching the Interprofessional Experiential Center for Enduring Learning (iEXCEL) and the Global Center for Health Security, both of which have helped establish UNMC as a national and global leader in experiential learning and readiness training. Under his leadership, UNMC’s overall enrollment has grown every year with multiple new professional degrees and biomedical research graduate training programs added.

Davies was also pivotal in expanding UNMC’s rural health initiatives and multiple pipeline and pathway programs, as well as overseeing the creation of the Office of Community Engagement and UNMC’s successful application to become the first academic health science center in the nation to receive the Carnegie Community Engaged University designation.

A passionate advocate for developing faculty, Davies helped establish the Interprofessional Academy of Educators, Impact in Education Awards, Health Design Thinking Program, the Office of Interactive E-Learning and, along with senior vice chancellors from the other campuses, the Nebraska University Developing Excellence in Academic Leaders (NU DEAL) program. He also oversaw the creation of a campus-wide faculty mentoring program.

As dean of graduate studies, Davies spearheaded the consolidation of six independent departmental programs into an interdisciplinary umbrella program, resulting in a three-fold increase in applicants and a 12% reduction in student attrition. During his tenure, graduate student enrollment increased by 62%, the largest growth of any UNMC college during that period. He was also the driving force in accelerating the growth of the university’s nationally funded institutional training grants from one to eight awards, totaling more than $9 million in additional funding to support graduate biomedical research training and education.

Before joining UNMC, Davies was chair of pediatrics and human development at Michigan State University, director of the Child Health Research Unit at Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary, Canada, and chair of the Child Health Research Institute at the University of Calgary. He earned his medical degree from the University of Toronto Temerty Faculty of Medicine and a master’s degree in epidemiology from the University of Toronto Dana Lana School of Public Health. Davies also holds a master’s degree in health care management from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Davies said he will move quickly to determine interim leadership for academic affairs and graduate studies at UNMC.

“Over my 12 years at UNMC, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside Chancellors Gold and Maurer, as well as a talented team of deans, faculty, staff and community partners to enhance UNMC’s academic programs and build the most learner-centered health science center in the nation,” he said. “I look forward to continue deepening the relationships within the communities we serve to grow Nebraska’s health care workforce, expand our research breakthroughs and pursue new opportunities for expansion of excellence on all of our five campuses.”