Nichols to begin EVC finalist interviews

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Nichols to begin EVC finalist interviews

Laurie Nichols
Laurie Nichols

Laurie Nichols, the first of four finalists selected for the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s search for its next executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, will participate in a public presentation from 3 to 4 p.m. Oct. 1 in the Nebraska Union Auditorium.

Nichols has served in a variety of academic leadership roles, including a current one-year appointment as interim president of Black Hills State University. She is on campus for interviews from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.

She was the first woman to serve as president of the University of Wyoming (May 16, 2016 to June 30, 2019) and led the university through major budget reductions while maintaining momentum through the development of a five-year strategic plan and supporting a successful submission for a five-year EPSCoR grant. Under her leadership, Wyoming increased enrollment, created an Honor’s College and worked to improve the university’s relationship with two tribes on the Wind River reservation. She led significant campus facility improvements, including a $100 million engineering building and a $45 million athletic performance facility, and began plans for a nearly $400-million residential hall/parking/flood control project.

Nichols has taught at secondary and post-secondary levels in South Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, Ohio, Idaho and Iowa. She has received numerous teaching and research awards for her work in the creation of the Great Plains IDEA, a 10-state, collaborative, online program.

She has served as provost, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean of family and consumer sciences, each at South Dakota State University; interim president at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota; and was an American Council on Education Fellow (2006-07) at California State University at Fresno under the mentorship of Jon Welty, president of the institution.

Nichols holds a doctorate in family and consumer sciences education/family studies from Ohio State University; a Master of Education in vocational and adult education from Colorado State University; and a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from South Dakota State University.

The executive vice chancellor is the university’s academic leader with the mission of achieving academic excellence across the institution. The position reports directly to the chancellor and, working with the academic deans, will assure pursuit of excellence through oversight of undergraduate teaching and learning; diversity and inclusion; enrollment management; education abroad; faculty development; global outreach; graduate mentoring; libraries, promotion and tenure; student affairs; and by developing innovating academic initiatives that will be recognized as unique signature strengths.

Other finalists and dates on campus are:

  • Oct. 7-9 — Elizabeth Spiller, dean, College of Letters and Science, and professor of English, University of California, Davis. Spiller’s public presentation is Oct. 8.

  • Oct. 9-10 — Samuel Mukasa, senior executive for global initiatives, Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, University of Minnesota. Mukasa’s public presentation is Oct. 10.

  • Oct. 14-16 — John Wiencek, executive vice president and provost, University of Idaho. Wiencek’s public presentation is Oct. 15.

The candidates, selected through a national search, will participate in multiple-day interviews, including public presentations and receptions. Each public presentation will be 3 to 4 p.m. in the Nebraska Union Auditorium. A reception follows each presentation.

Information about each finalist is below. Learn more about the search.

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