John Patrick Rice
John Patrick Rice
NSHE Board of Regents, District 8
How would you describe yourself to voters?
My name is John Patrick Rice. I have been a professional in higher education for nearly 30 years and am eager to bring my experience to the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents. Having worked as a professor, administrator and leader in higher ed, I have unique skills and perspectives that will enhance the education of Nevada’s college students. The future of Nevada’s workforce, professional education and research needs to be stewarded by professionals committed to guiding the Nevada System of Higher Education into the second quarter of the 21st Century.
What do you see as the top issues in this campaign?
The Board of Regents must be professionalized. It is now time for NSHE to receive its policy direction from people with the experience, expertise and credentials in higher education and higher education policy. The recent resignation of Chancellor Melody Rose should be a wakeup call for Nevadans interested in higher education. We lost an effective executive with experience in large, decentralized higher education organizations. We cannot allow that to happen again.
In addition, I will work to:
1. Increase access to higher education with capital investment in brick and mortar and online learning infrastructure in urban and rural Nevada.
2. Continue to build Nevada System of Higher Education online education using the world class distance learning infrastructure and faculty at Great Basin College as the foundation for expanding NSHE’s worldwide reach.
3. Using the developing NSHE strategic plan and the ongoing conversations surrounding “Question One”, engage in a comprehensive transformation of the operations of NSHE.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing the state’s colleges and universities?
Once again, I say the Board of Regents must be professionalized.
Further, we must re-visit the current funding formula in order to create equitable opportunities for our students and our faculty. Currently, smaller institutions cannot afford to provide proper students services, and I believe every student in Nevada deserves the same service.
We must also transform ourselves into a respected organization, one that can attract leaders like former Chancellor Melody Rose. The current board has put Nevada in a position where it will be a challenge to fill this critical executive position. We will need to find a chancellor with a Ph.D., one with credentials showing experience in leading a large, decentralized university or system, and then we must allow that person to do their job.
A professional board can accomplish this.
In late 2021, former Chancellor Melody Rose filed a hostile workplace complaint alleging sexual discrimination and that some regents were undermining her. An investigation could not substantiate the sexual harassment, but it did note possible ethics violations. It also noted factionalism and tensions among board members. How would you, as a Regent, work to ease tensions on the board?
I hate to sound like a broken record, but the solution lies in electing a professional board, capable of recruiting and securing an executive like Melody Rose, and then allowing that person to do their work.
I can only speculate about the sources of factionalism and tension among board members. However, and again, I say that a mature, qualified, professional board can operate effectively and efficiently.
Finally, I think consideration must be given to the size of the Board of Regents.
What should the board look for in a new Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor?
We will need to find a chancellor with a Ph.D., one with credentials showing experience in leading a large, decentralized university or system, and one with experience working with a large governing board. Given the recent events on the board and the fluidity of leadership positions on the current board, I would encourage the board to take the remainder of the year to think about the choices it has recently made and allow the new board to hire the new chancellor.