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Kristensen selects new vice chancellor to ‘build on successes’ 

Kristen Majocha

It’s a big shift from living in the hills of Appalachia and Western Pennsylvania to the Sandhills of Central Nebraska, but it won’t be too big of one for Kristen Lynn Majocha. Majocha was announced as the new senior vice chancellor for academic affairs last Wednesday by Chancellor Doug Kristensen.

Majocha, who serves as dean of Education and Liberal Arts at California University of Pennsylvania, is excited to work on initiatives set by outgoing senior vice chancellor Dr. Charlie Bicak.

“I intend to build on those successes,” Majocha said. “As a visionary leader, I look forward to building on what’s already been done and the good work over the administrative time with Dr. Bicak. I’m very excited to move ahead and build on some very exciting opportunities.”

Bicak is retiring after 13 years of working for the university. 

Majocha was especially excited in part for the expansions coming to the Health Science Education Complex. A new building will be built at the complex to fulfill a growing demand for health sciences programs and professional programs taught by the UNMC.

After spending time in the Midwest for research and leaving a piece of her heart in the region, Majocha started looking for positions to relocate with her family from the Keystone State. When opportunities in Colorado and Wyoming didn’t work out, she was discouraged.

“I came back to my desk in Pennsylvania, and I felt defeated,” Majocha said. “I thought, ‘That was my chance. That was my chance to get out West, to the Midwest, where I really want to be.’ I trust God, and I thought, ‘I knew that job wasn’t meant to be. If the right job is there, it will happen.’ And the next week, I got an email from the search firm.”

Once she applied, her intuition rolled. Remembering UNK and the “sea of blue” from the NCAA National Wrestling tournament she attended years ago, she was surprised at how she missed the job notice.

As Majocha takes on changes, she is not phased by the shift or by the Nebraska weather. 

“When I lived in Johnstown [Pennsylvania], I lived up on a ridge, and we would get gale force winds,” Majocha said. “When I moved to California [Pennsylvania], the lack of winds made things feel very flat, so I’m kinda looking forward to the wind in a way.”

Majocha was selected out of a pool of over 30 candidates. Her first day will be July 1. Until then, approval is pending from NU President Ted Carter and the Board of Regents.

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