Third Top SDSU Admin Leaving: Nichols to Lead U. Wyoming

I’m not sure how one stages a coup at a public university, but if there’s a way, the vacancy of three top executive positions seems to open that door at South Dakota State University. President David Chicoine announced his transition from president to professor this week (whether you call that a demotion or a promotion depends on your recognition of teaching as a higher calling than administrating). VP Student Affairs remains only temporarily manned by Doug Wermedal since the departure of Marysz Rames to head Wayne State College last summer.

And now provost and executive VP Laurie Nichols is heading to the University of Wyoming:

Laurie Nichols
Laurie Nichols

Laurie Nichols was offered a contract by a unanimous vote of the UW Board of Trustees today (Friday) and has accepted the position. She will take office by July 1, succeeding President Dick McGinity and becoming the first woman president in UW’s history.

…The terms of Nichols’ contract are still being finalized, but it will be a three-year contract with an annual base salary of $350,000, a $48,000 housing allowance, a $25,000 retention payment and a $35,000 contribution to a deferred compensation plan.

Nichols has been the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at South Dakota State since 2009, helping the university of about 12,600 students advance on a number of fronts. Before that, she was dean of the SDSU College of Education and Human Sciences from 1994 to 2008. From August 2008 through mid-June 2009, Nichols served as interim president of Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D. [University of Wyoming, press release, 2015.12.18]

No word yet on how much SDSU will spend on consultants to help track down qualified executives for these three positions.

9 Responses to Third Top SDSU Admin Leaving: Nichols to Lead U. Wyoming

  1. was her experience at NSU a factor in Joop’s EB5 “takeover”? Pres. Smith came in and did the housecleaning. He can’t be very popular in terms of “connectivity, network and reach”!

    the blog lends itself to a fair amount of “SD Snark” this morning concerning our professional leadership:

    heather from NM
    Oster/Melmer et al.

  2. Porter Lansing

    Welcome to the West, Ms. Nichols. “You’ll notice the difference.”
    PS…Wyoming was the first state to give women the vote on Sep 30, 1889. :)

  3. Judging by the salary she must have 3-4 times more responsibility than the governor, and nearly as much responsibility as the POTUS.

  4. Jake Cummings

    Could be more changes, as Provost/VP Nichols’ husband, Dr. Tim Nichols, is Dean of the Honors College at SDSU. Interesting days ahead in Brookings.

  5. I would call David Chicoines’ transition from president to professor a PROMOTION. Most schools have plenty of administrators and not enough real educators.

  6. I’m with you, WayneF. I consider an administrative job punishment.

    Leslie, you ask me to reach waaaaay out there… and recall that NSU Interim President Nichols signed a letter on September 8, 2008, telling the Government Operations and Audit Committee that Joop Bollen’s SDIBI activities (which he had already subcontracted to himself in the form of his private SDRC Inc). NSU-IP Nichols also testified in person before GOAC on December 1, 2008, the same day as Joop Bollen and Richard Benda.

  7. Interesting gender-disparity angle, Larry… but it also brings into perspective the Wyoming–South Dakota disparity. Her base salary at UW will be $350K, compared to the SDSU President’s salary of $365K. But we are spending another $1.44M on five other university presidents, while Wyoming has just that one.

  8. funny cory

    wyo has minerals bueaucoup and intelligence to maintain one university. a state ag university like CSU or SDSU is appropriate too.

    but at REGENT’S toy NSU, NICHOLS, IP touts SDIBI and SDRC and finally SDRC, Inc. as having merely JOOP and cherri brick to make all that money (she may have forgot or didn’t know about sveen) in her letter you attached to then 32 year old jason gant from platte (hmmm?), which she spells as “GRANT” (too new or slippery to know) fresh from college, then his plum health care CEO position, followed by a peach SOS position we still experience fallout from). what is his deal, anyway?

    she testified at that GOAC. Tidemann (“we don’t need no stinkin ‘ subpoenas”) was there. the minutes say:

    “Mr. Arnold [VP NSU] testified that in 1989 Northern State University started offering a new major in international business. At that time it was decided to offer a program to train students in international business and tie it into economic development, thus starting the SDIBI. Mr. Bolin was hired in 1994 to assist in an export promotion program and hold educational workshops on how to engage in international business. Mr. Bolin testified that South Dakota is significantly ahead of neighboring states and the national average in conducting international business. There was no further discussion.”

    prior to his suspect election rounds said as i recall: “we privatized SDRC to joop from joop to compete with other states” or words to that effect:)

    now mike, kristie and john thune are sucking up to the Indian vote after daugaard has slammed them twice with MCEC diversion from “corrupt” tribes and, medicaid expansion “only if all tribes agree” to the complex leverage he is working on obama.

    Dec 17
    We now have the flags from all 9 tribal nations in SD in my DC office.