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 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.