A Pivotal Moment

THIS IS A HISTORIC TIME FOR GEORGIA SOUTHERN, and I am proud to serve as its Interim President during our first year as a fully consolidated University.

We are at a pivotal moment as an institution, one where the implementation of our plans will determine who we are and what we become. We are now the largest University south of Atlanta, with 141 programs serving nearly 26,500 students across three campuses.

Georgia Southern’s main priority remains student success. Our goal is to provide more citizens with post-secondary degrees and practical training needed for the workforce. There is no greater benchmark of a University than a graduate with a great career, and we want our students to succeed in the classroom, in hands-on training and in the real world.

Georgia Southern is investing $4.1 million in the Student Success Plan, expanding upon our current programs, services and support systems for students as well as developing new ways to help our students stay on track academically and financially, and guide them to grow in resilience and persistence.

We are investing another $2.5 million in the Regional Academic Plan, which established workgroups in several disciplines, partnering with business and industry to expand our programs to meet workforce needs. This helps give our students the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the new economy.

This is just a snapshot of the future we are creating here at Georgia Southern. It’s a great time to be here, and I am excited for what lies ahead.

Shelley C. Nickel


Shelley C. Nickel is the Interim President of Georgia Southern University. Nickel previously served as the University System of Georgia’s executive vice chancellor for strategy and fiscal affairs and treasurer for the Board of Regents, where she provided strategic leadership and policy guidance for the Board and the System’s 26 institutions.

Nickel has served in a wide range of administrative positions in Georgia. She was appointed Interim President of Gordon College, a USG liberal arts college serving 5,000 students. She was also appointed by former Governor Sonny Perdue as director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget for the state of Georgia, the highest state office in budget planning and management. Nickel also served as president of the Georgia Student Finance Commission, which is responsible for the state’s scholarship, grant and loan programs, including the nationally known HOPE Program.

She is a graduate of Penn State University, where she earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Public Administration. She is a life member of the Penn State Alumni Association and served on the College of Liberal Arts Alumni Society Board.

Presidential Search Update

As Georgia Southern moves forward, the University is actively searching for the new leader that will guide us into the future.

In August, the Board of Regents named the Presidential Search Committee and employed the services of the executive leadership firm Witt/Kieffer to assist the committee. On August 29, USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley charged the committee with recruiting the next president, saying, “Georgia Southern University needs a leader who understands the importance of working with students, faculty, staff and supporters as the institution grows its academic mission and footprint in southeast Georgia.”

In September, the committee held listening sessions on the three campuses. There has been a good response from faculty, staff, students and the community, who have been able to fill out the Presidential Survey online, give face-to-face feedback, ask questions and make suggestions.

Subsequently, the committee has formalized the position description and posted the position for a national search. When the position closes, the committee will review the candidates, identify and interview semifinalists, and submit the names of three to five candidates to the Board of Board of Regents’ Special Committee to review and make the final selection.

Georgia Southern, the Board of Regents, and the committee members are dedicated to finding a leader who will keep our focus on student success — Georgia Southern’s most important goal.