Texas Tech University President M. Duane Nellis has decided to step down from his position effective Jan. 22.
Dr. Nellis came to TTU in 2013 as the university’s 16th president, having served as president of the University of Idaho, provost and senior vice president at Kansas State and dean of arts and sciences at West Virginia University. While at Tech, Nellis managed more than 35,000 students, 4,400 faculty and staff with a budget of more than $800 million.
Under Nellis’ tenure, Texas Tech experienced a climb to 84th in the U.S. News & World Report Rankings, the university experienced a four-point climb to No. 84 among national public research universities and was named an Innovation and Economic Prosperity university by the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities, as well as achieving the designation as one of the nation's Great Colleges to Work For by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
On Dec. 4, Nellis was announced as one of three finalists for the presidency of The University of Wyoming, but the position was given to Laurie Nichols of South Dakota State. Nellis’ statements as part of a forum with students and staff at Wyoming created a bit of controversy and tension back home in Lubbock.
According to Wyofile.com, Nellis expressed his reasons for wanting the job at UW and the frustrations with his position at TTU. “There is not a clear line of authority or responsibilities, and that creates a lot of confusion at Texas Tech,” he said. “The chancellor is always there, and it creates a dynamic that is a little more difficult.” He also commented that working at Tech for the past two years was “more challenging than I thought.”
Nellis was preceded by Dr. Guy Bailey who served TTU from 2008-2012 and is now the president of University of Texas–Rio Grande Valley. Dr. Nellis will stay on as a tenured faculty member and complete university projects already in progress.
Nellis’ statement to the press this morning: “I want to thank Chancellor Duncan and express my congratulations on the successes the Texas Tech University System has achieved. I am proud of the role Texas Tech University has played as the flagship institution in reaching those accomplishments and applaud the faculty, staff and students, who collectively elevated Texas Tech University to new levels of national success.”
TTU Chancellor Robert Duncan said he will meet with the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents to discuss naming an interim president and defining the search and selection process for a new president. The BOR’s next meeting is February 25-26.