The first week of school of fall 2020. As the university enters the spring semester new hires have taken place.

Update Friday, Feb. 6, 10:30 p.m.: The original version of this story stated Jeff Thompson was an interim executive vice president and provost to the university. This story has been updated to reflect that he is an acting executive vice president and provost. 

As the spring semester kicks off, changes within the University of Nevada, Reno’s leadership have taken place. Several members of staff have stepped down and new hires were made entering the semester. 

Michael Flores

University President, Brian Sandoval, announced Michael Flores would be assuming the role of Government Relations and Community Engagement on Dec. 30, 2020. 

“I am extremely honored to have been chosen for this position,” Flores said. “The University of Nevada, Reno has established a tradition of excellence and achievement that has been recognized nationally as well as throughout our entire state. I’ve seen and experienced the transformational benefits of higher education first-hand, including the nights I’d accompany my mother, who was a single parent, to her night classes at CSN and UNLV. I couldn’t be happier and more personally humbled to begin working for the oldest institution of higher learning in Nevada.”

Flores will be focusing on working building the university’s relationship with elected state, federal and regional officials in addition to non-profit organization and private-sector interests. 

Melody Rose, the chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education, said Flores’ will be a great asset to the university. 

“Michael has played a prominent role and provided a guiding voice in many of the initiatives that are critical to NSHE’s mission,” Rose said. “His familiarity with Nevada’s organizational and political landscape, as well as his understanding of constituent needs, have helped NSHE better serve the entire state. I’m very happy about this new and exciting chapter in Michael’s professional life.” 

Prior to joining the university Flores was the chief of staff for the NSHE chancellor, the director of government affairs and communication for the College of Southern Nevada and press secretary for U.S. Congressman Steven Horsford. 

Jeff Thompson

Jeff Thompson was appointed as acting executive vice president and provost to the university in December following former Provost Kevin Carman’s resignation. Carman stepped down on Dec. 16, 2020.

Provost Thompson took the position on Dec. 28, 2020. Before then he was Dean of the College of Science, a position he held since 2008.

“I wish to thank Dr. Thompson, whose time on our campus as a professor and department chair dates back to 1991, for his willingness to serve in this capacity,” Sandoval said in a statement to the campus community. “His administrative experience, as Dean of the College of Science since 2008, will provide strong leadership for the University.”

According to a statement from the President’s Office, Carman will be a teaching faculty in the Department of Biology and begin this role for the fall 2021 semester. 

President Sandoval thanked Carman for his service to the university, and noted some achievements while he was provost. 

“Since Dr. Carman’s appointment as Provost and Executive Vice President in 2013, he has helped lead our University through a period of achievement and growth,” Sandvoval’s statement read. “From the work he did in helping to formulate our successful Strategic and Master Plans, to his advocacy for the creation of the highly successful freshman intensive transition program, NevadaFIT, Dr. Carman has had a profound influence on the trajectory of our University.”

According to Communications Officer Natalie Fry, a national search will be conducted for a permanent provost with hopes that the next provost will begin their term by the end of 2021.

Heidi Gansert

As the State of Nevada enters the 81st Session of the Legislature, Heidi Gansert will no longer be working at the university. 

Gansert announced on a Nevada Newsmaker call on Dec. 9, 2020, she would be leaving her role as the executive director of external relations. Gansert said she is leaving to focus her time as a state senator. 

“I’ve been working to transition out for a while,” Gansert told Nevada Newsmaker. “I have been there (university) for eight years, so I will be moving away from the university after the first of the year (2021). I’m really excited about the change. I can focus on the senate and this really challenging session we’ve got coming up.”

The university made no formal announcement following Gansert’s resignation, according to Kerri Garcia, the executive director of marketing and communications at the university. 

Since being in the state Senate, Gansert has been criticized by various institutions and people saying she should not be able to hold both her senatorial position and university job. Many alluded to the fact it would be a conflict of interest. 

In one case the Nevada Policy Research Institute filed a lawsuit against Gansert in 2017 arguing there is a need for separation of powers. However, the case was dismissed. 

Andrew Mendez can be reached at andrewmendez@sagebrush.unr.edu or on Twitter @amendez2000.