EVCAA Candidates

The Candidates

Laurie Nichols

Public Presentation

October 1, 3 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Auditorium, Nebraska Union (reception to follow)

Elizabeth Spiller

Public Presentation

October 8, 3 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Auditorium, Nebraska Union (reception to follow)

Samuel Mukasa

Public Presentation

October 10, 3 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Auditorium, Nebraska Union (reception to follow)

John Wiencek

Public Presentation

October 15, 3 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Auditorium, Nebraska Union (reception to follow)

The information below was provided by the candidates.

Laurie Nichols

Laurie Nichols portrait

Interim President, Black Hills State University

Public Presentation

October 1, 3 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Auditorium, Nebraska Union (reception to follow)

Download FullLaurie Nichols CV

Feedback form for Laurie Nichols

Dr. Laurie Stenberg Nichols is a native of Colman, South Dakota, and received her Bachelor of Science in secondary education from South Dakota State University. Advanced degrees include a Master of Education in vocational and adult education from Colorado State University and doctorate in family & consumer sciences education/family studies from Ohio State University.

Nichols has taught at the secondary and post-secondary levels in South Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, Ohio, Idaho and Iowa. She has received numerous teaching and research awards for her innovative teaching including her involvement in the creation of a 10-state, collaborative, on-line program called the Great Plains IDEA. From 1994-2009 she served as dean of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at South Dakota State University. In this capacity Nichols provided campus leadership on several initiatives including diversity particularly involving Native Americans, academic advising and strategic planning. She has secured numerous grants to collaborate with South Dakota tribal colleges in the areas of articulation and curriculum development.

Nichols was an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow, class of 2006-2007 where she spent fall semester on the campus of California State University at Fresno under the mentorship of President John Welty. From August 1, 2008 through mid-June, 2009, Nichols served as interim president at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. On June 22, 2009 she returned to her home campus at South Dakota State University as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, a position she held until 2016. During her service as provost she led efforts to strengthen shared governance on campus, revised tenure and promotion standards and processes, developed a first-year experience with a goal of improving retention, developed a comprehensive classroom/learning environment plan, and secured first time accreditation for several programs, among many other efforts.

more ...

On May 16, 2016 through June 30, 2019, Provost Nichols became the 26th President of the University of Wyoming, and the first woman to hold this post. During her three-year leadership Nichols led the implementation of a major budget reduction, developed a new five-year strategic plan for the university, supported the successful submission of 5-year EPSCoR grant for Wyoming, increased enrollment, created an Honors College and worked tirelessly to improve the University’s relationship with two tribes located on the Wind River reservation. Significant campus facility improvements were completed including a $100 million engineering building and a $45 million athletic performance facility with planning underway for $300-400 million residential hall/parking/food service project.

Nichols is currently serving in a one-year interim position as President of Black Hills State University, a public, comprehensive, undergraduate institution located in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Nichols is a member of the board of trustees for the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. She is past-chair of South Dakota Voices for Children—a political advocacy group. She was a founding member of the board that created the Brookings Boys and Girls Club Board and has served on many other community and civic boards/councils.

Nichols is passionate about working with young people in solidifying educational and career goals and developing leadership skills.

Elizabeth Spiller

Elizabeth Spiller portrait

Dean of the College of Letters and Science, UC Davis

Public Presentation

October 8, 3 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Auditorium, Nebraska Union (reception to follow)

Download Full Elizabeth Spiller CV

Feedback form for Elizabeth Spiller

Elizabeth Spiller serves as dean of the College of Letters and Science at the University of California, Davis. She oversees the largest and most diverse college at UC Davis, itself the most comprehensive campus in the University of California system. With more than 900 faculty across 35 departments, the College of Letters and Science serves 15,000 undergraduates and 1,900 graduate students who are pursuing degrees in the college.

At UC Davis, she has been responsible for integrating the three historic divisions of the college into a single college and has also provided leadership to eliminate the college’s existing deficit and bring new resources to the college.

Prior to joining the University of California, she served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech. Under her leadership, the college was able to increase its reach and profile by creating new majors in such areas as criminology, sports media and analytics, national security, and creative technologies, leading to a 60 percent increase in undergraduate applications and a more than 40 percent increase in incoming first-year students. She has led initiatives involving faculty excellence, curricular innovation, and diversity and inclusion.

Spiller received a Bachelor of Arts in English literature at Amherst College and a Master of Arts and doctorate in English and American language and literature at Harvard University. She specializes in early modern literature and culture, with emphasis on the history of reading, and on literature and science. She is the author of two books: "Reading and the History of Race in the Renaissance" (2011) and "Science, Reading and Renaissance Literature: The Art of Making Knowledge, 1580–1670" (2004), both published by Cambridge University Press. In addition, she edited a two-volume collection, "Seventeenth-Century English Recipe Books: Cooking, Physic and Chirurgery" (2008). She has twice been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship.

Samuel Mukasa

Samuel Mukasa portrait

Senior Executive for Global Initiatives, University of Minnesota

Public Presentation

October 10, 3 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Auditorium, Nebraska Union (reception to follow)

Download Full Samuel Mukasa CV

Feedback form for Samuel Mukasa

Samuel Mukasa serves as senior executive for global initiatives at the Univeristy of Minesota. He has served as dean of colleges of science and engineering at the University of New Hampshire and the University of Minnesota for a total of 7 years. In that capacity, he was chief executive officer and chief academic officer of the second-largest colleges at these two institutions, spanning 9 and 12 departments, respectively, and ranked among the top engineering and science academic programs in the country. He provided strategic and intellectual leadership and administrative oversight as well as advancing research, teaching and service.

Mukasa previously served as department chair and the Eric J. Essene Professor of Geochemistry at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he spent 21 years of his career. Both as chair and as dean, he led development of strategic plans, launched new undergraduate degree programs, and championed faculty cluster hiring initiatives to enhance interdisciplinary scholarship.

Mukasa holds a doctorate in geochemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara; a Master of Science in geology from Ohio State University; and a Bachelor of Science in geology from the University of New Hampshire. He did his postdoctoral research fellowship at Columbia University in New York. He has also been the recipient of an honorary doctorate.

He has served as president of the Geochemical Society and in leadership positions for programs at the National Science Foundation and National Academy of Sciences focused on polar climate issues, among many other scientific and professional leadership roles. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Geological Society of America.

John Wiencek

John Wiencek portrait

Provost and Executive Vice President, University of Idaho

Public Presentation

October 15, 3 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Auditorium, Nebraska Union (reception to follow)

Download Full John Wiencek CV

Feedback form for John Wiencek

John Wiencek (pronounced win-sec) is an effective academic leader, with 30 years of progressively increasing levels of responsibility and success. He is currently serving as the executive vice president and provost (EVPP) at the University of Idaho, the state’s land-grant and flagship university. Wiencek is responsible for over 6,000 employees (including approximately 1,000 faculty) and over 12,000 students in over 250 unique academic offerings. In addition to the main residential campus in Moscow, Wiencek has oversight of the education centers located in Coeur d’Alene, Boise, Twin Falls and Idaho Falls, as well as the extension and research sites throughout the 44 counties in Idaho.

Wiencek earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Cincinnati. He earned a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Case Western Reserve University before completing a chemical engineering doctoral degree from that same institution. As a researcher, he focused on protein biophysics with applications to drug formulations, among other research pursuits.

Wiencek started his academic career in 1989 as an assistant professor at Rutgers University, joining the faculty at the University of Iowa as an associate professor in 1995. He spent the majority of his career at the University of Iowa, rising through the ranks and eventually becoming the department chair of the chemical and biochemical engineering department while receiving significant awards for excellence in teaching, service and research.

In 2007, Wiencek joined the University of South Florida in Tampa, serving as dean of engineering for six years where he substantially increased research expenditures, graduate and undergraduate enrollment, and faculty diversity as well as size.

His most recent position prior to University of Idaho was at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he served as interim provost and vice president of academic affairs, and senior vice provost and professor in the chemical and life science engineering department.