President Chicoine and Provost Nichols prepare to leave their

current positions at South Dakota State. With both positions seeing vacancies soon, the University seeks new leadership.

While Nichols and other SDSU faculty have worked to achieve said goals, she has served SDSU for 23 years and has been aspiring toward her next level of success throughout this time.

“It’s bittersweet. On one hand, I can’t imagine leaving here [since] I’ve invested a ton of my professional career here, but I’ve worked really hard for this position and it’s been a dream of mine for the last 10 to 15 years that I could grow and perhaps land a president job,” Nichols said.

Chicoine has also worked toward his own goals throughout his time as president, echoing Nichols’ goals as an SDSU leader. According to Chicoine, moving programs through the accreditation process and laying out the framework of the strategic plans have “improved the performance of the institution against goals we’ve set.”

“You don’t see many of these changes driving around campus,” Chicoine said. “You see the physical changes but those physical changes are only part of the enablement.”

A third position is also looking to be filled. Doug Wermedal has been the interim vice president of student affairs for two years and a search committee is in place. Wermedal, who is also applying for the official title of vice president of student affairs, says the position will be filled before the president and provost roles are temporarily vacant.

“The president and provost have announced their intentions to depart but identifying their successors has yet to emerge,” Wermedal said. “My position determination will likely be made [first] because those [president and provost] positions aren’t open yet.”

When those positions are open, however, the university and SDBOR will want to ensure the individuals selected for these roles have certain qualities that will factor into their success.

“I think we want a dynamic leader who has vision and who can also manage a complex environment. We need someone who can work well with external components, we need a president who’s adapted to that kind of environment. We also need someone who can work well with the faculty and lead the institution well,” Rush said. “It is probably the most important decision that the BOR makes, so they can lead the institution in the right direction.”

As Chicoine and Nichols both move on from their SDSU leadership roles, there is vocal reminiscence from both of them and the ones they have worked with during this past decade.

“My ability to mostly work with President Chicoine…and watch what he does and his mentoring has been the best preparation anyone could hope for,” Nichols said. “In some ways, it was heart wrenching and hard but I’ve been thinking about doing this for a few years, but I’ve pulled back and kept working at my position.”

Chicoine has similar sentiments to that of Nichols and also reflects on the changes of the university.

“The one thing I hope people remember is what we were able to do to help other people be successful … it’s really the building blocks and I hope that’s something that people will carry on, it’s not about a facility. It’s about enabling people to be successful,” Chicoine said. “It’s been an honor and a privilege.”

Chicoine will be missed other places where he had an impact, including the members of SDBOR.

“We will certainly miss David’s leadership,” Rush said. “We’re excited to participate in the process and find a great leader for SDSU.”