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January 19, 2018

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He may stay in UNLV’s top job for 3 years

Regents will take up long-term interim appointment next week


Tiffany Brown / FILE

Dr. Neal Smatresk, a zoologist and UNLV provost, has been nominated to become interim university president by Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich.

When then-UNLV President David Ashley hired zoologist Neal Smatresk as provost of UNLV in 2007, he knew he was getting a solid scientist with strong leadership skills.

He couldn’t have known he’d be hiring his replacement.

After Ashley’s ouster as president of UNLV this month, Higher Education System Chancellor Dan Klaich began consulting the campus community about a temporary replacement. What he heard persuaded him to nominate Smatresk for an interim position that would last at least two years.

A national search for a permanent successor would be conducted in three years, and it seems Smatresk has the inside track to stay in the president’s office during that year, too.

“Dr. Smatresk has some skill sets that I found very impressive,” Klaich said. “He’s been described as the whole package and there’s every reason to believe he could be the full package.”

Regents are scheduled to hear the proposal in a special session next Thursday at UNLV.

Boyd School of Law Dean Emeritus Dick Morgan and former UNLV President Carol Harter were also considered for the interim president’s job, Klaich said.

Harter called Smatresk the “obvious candidate” for a long-term interim appointment.

She and Morgan were unlikely candidates for an appointment of this length. Morgan’s retirement, after a decade at the helm of the law school, was prompted by a desire to spend more time with his out-of-state children and grandchildren. Harter is the executive director of the Black Mountain Institute, UNLV’s literary think tank.

Klaich decided to go with a longer-than-normal-term interim president rather than choosing a place-holder president because it will allow the university to move forward with educational and fundraising goals without the hiccups of a new presidency.


A UNLV research project aimed at developing energy-efficient desert homes has received the second phase of funding under an Energy Department grant.

The UNLV Center for Energy Research received $5.7 million to continue work on an energy-efficient housing demonstration project.

Green homes

UNLV's Joon Lee feels the difference in window glass during the VIP grand opening of the Villa Trieste community in Summerlin. Launch slideshow »

The Villa Trieste project, which also includes participation by Pulte Homes and NV Energy, aims to create homes that are at least 65 percent more energy efficient during peak use hours than traditionally built homes.

It includes a 185-home development in Las Vegas. The homes integrate energy-efficient building techniques and materials, advanced metering and consumer-end conservation techniques to reduce energy consumption.

UNLV researchers monitor the energy performance of the homes against simulation models and can make modifications to achieve maximum efficiency. They then compare the energy performance of homes with different technology.

It is one of eight projects across the country that received funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to improve smart grid technologies. More than $47 million has been allocated nationally for these projects.

This grant funds the second phase in the project’s life span — years two through five of a $6.9 million total grant awarded to the Center for Energy Research by the Energy Department in 2008.


The College of Southern Nevada and a coalition of health care-related organizations have received funding to help steer unemployed Nevadans toward careers in health care.

The Workforce Connection Board awarded a $1.1 million contract to CSN, Area Health Education Center of Southern Nevada and the Southern Nevada Medical Industry Coalition for a workforce development program focused on providing Southern Nevadans with education, training and employment in the health care industry.

The Southern Nevada Health Care Industry Education, Training and Employment Project, also known as Health Careers Project, will specifically target Nevadans who are unemployed or underemployed, recipients of public assistance, low-income, seniors, veterans or disabled.

Qualified participants will be enrolled in one of CSN’s short-term programs — health coordinator, nursing assistant, phlebotomist and basic emergency medical technician — where they can learn skills and complete internships at a local health care facility.

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