- Associated Press - Saturday, July 19, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The University of Nebraska Board of Regents has approved the merger of its engineering departments in Lincoln and Omaha, despite the pleas of an engineering professor.

The board approved the move 7-1 Friday, merging the Department of Computer and Electronics Engineering in Omaha with the Department of Electrical Engineering in Lincoln, the Lincoln Journal Star reported (https://bit.ly/WqGiAg ).

The approval came over the objections of engineering professor Bing Chen, who quoted the 17th century English military and political leader Oliver Cromwell in his plea for the board to quash the merger.

“I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken,” Chen said to the board.

Chen said the plan violates a promise made by former NU President L. Dennis Smith to create a separate engineering college at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He also said the move would make the department less responsive to Omaha industry.

But supporters of the merger say it will broaden opportunities for students, improve research collaborations for faculty members and streamline the departments’ administrative structures.

Academic Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Whitehouse said 32 of 33 faculty members voted in support of the proposed merger last December.

Regent Hal Daub, of Omaha, was the lone board member to vote against the merger. Daub said that while he supported the broad strategic plans of UNL’s engineering college and the Peter Kiewit Institute in Omaha, which houses UNL’s College of Engineering, he saw the Omaha engineering campus fitting better into the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s College of Information Sciences and Technology.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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