New associate vice chancellors for research named

Kurt Preston and Regina Werum
Kurt Preston and Regina Werum

Kurt Preston and Regina Werum will soon join UNL as associate vice chancellors for research.

"We are pleased and excited to have attracted individuals with their expertise, enthusiasm and energy for our associate vice chancellor positions," said Prem S. Paul, vice chancellor for research and economic development. "They will play important leadership roles in helping UNL achieve its research and economic development growth goals."

Preston begins his duties in mid-November as associate vice chancellor for research focused on physical sciences and other defense-fundable projects. UNL is working to increase defense-related research funding as part of its broader goal of reaching $300 million in research expenditures by 2017, with at least half coming from federal agencies.

Since 2005, Preston has been division chief of the U.S. Army Research Office in Durham, N.C., where he oversees the University Research Initiative Program and directs the Environmental Science Basic Research Program. As a program manager from 2002 to 2005, he led the office's review process for funding basic research proposals in engineering and physical, information and life sciences. Earlier, Preston held several U.S. Army leadership roles related to environment, safety and health.

He earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Georgia, master's and doctoral degrees in civil engineering from Purdue University and a Juris Doctor from North Carolina Central University.

Werum arrives in January to assume campuswide responsibilities for research development, growth and compliance. She succeeds Deb Hamernik, who has served as interim vice chancellor for research since June 2011. Hamernik will return to her responsibilities as associate dean in IANR’s Agricultural Research Division in January.

Werum comes to UNL from Emory University where she is an associate professor of sociology and co-directed the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Graduate Teaching Fellowship Program for five years. From 2010 through July 2012, she took leave from Emory to serve as program director for sociology in the National Science Foundation’s Directorate of Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences.

She earned a bachelor's degree in language/arts from Hope College, and a master's in sociology and doctorate in sociology and American studies, both from Indiana University.