Montana State University
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Nichols named MSU College of Nursing dean

Montana State University has chosen Elizabeth Nichols, dean of the University of North Dakota College of Nursing, to be the next dean of MSU's College of Nursing.

"We believe that Dr. Nichols will be an outstanding member of the university's leadership team," said MSU President Geoff Gamble and Provost David Dooley in a letter announcing the appointment.

Nichols, in addition to being UND's dean, also has cooperated in multi-state research that includes Montana. She has been dean at UND since 1995. At North Dakota, the College of Nursing has made undergraduate nursing and core graduate nursing courses available via the Internet.

Before North Dakota, Nichols was at Idaho State University and the University of Wyoming. She also participated in Harvard Graduate School's Institute for Management and Leadership in Education Program. She received her nursing master's of science and doctoral degrees from the University of California at San Francisco, and a master's of arts in political science from Idaho State University.

"Nichols has both the skills and experience to help lead the health-care community in Montana," said Gamble.

"With MSU's College of Nursing campuses in Great Falls, Missoula, and Billings as well as Bozeman, Nichols will have immediate statewide responsibilities," added Dooley.

The search committee was led by committee chair Richard Semenik, dean of MSU's College of Business. The committee did an exceptional job and had to select from an exceptionally talented pool of applicants, said Gamble and Dooley. The committee sent a team to the University of North Dakota to speak with groups and individuals there as well as taking comments from those who attended the candidate interviews at MSU.

"I'm from the West, and there's a whole different orientation that people in the West have that resonates with me," said Nichols, who grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. "There's an independence, openness to new ideas and sense of adventure. Those qualities and the reputation of the program are what drew me to MSU."

Nichols will begin her duties Aug. 1. She replaces Lea Acord who left MSU in May 2003 to take a similar post at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis. Jean Ballantyne, campus director of the MSU-Billings College of Nursing, has served as interim dean since July 28, 2003.

Contact: Cathy Conover (406) 994-4571

Excerpted from Montana State University News (6/22/04)