New interim president taking over helm of Georgia Southern University

New interim president taking over helm of Georgia Southern University

STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - A new leader is taking over the helm of Georgia Southern University.

Interim President Shelley Nickel is taking over during a very sensitive time. She's excited to lead the university, even if it's helping steer through the tough waters of transition.

Nickel serves as an executive vice chancellor in the University System of Georgia and this is her second time as an interim president at one of the state's schools. She says she's already toured both the Statesboro and Savannah campuses and studied the consolidation process. While much of that has happened, there are phases of it that are still getting adjusted. Part of Nickel's mission will be making sure those transitions work.

"We're in the process of reviewing all those plans that we laid out to make sure we've done everything. Where there need to be some tweaks, maybe we do some of those as well," Nickel said. "What surprised me was the enthusiasm people still have and excitement about the future of Georgia Southern."

Beyond the campuses, she's already met with community leaders in Statesboro and Savannah.

"Everybody's interested in where we're going; where we're going next," she said.

Nickel says her role will be to make sure the consolidation goes along the plans set down by delegates at both schools and to expand the degree programs offered to students, no matter where they attend.

"When we make decisions for the future of Georgia Southern, we'll make them through the lens of student success. We want our students to have a high-quality academic experience, also a great on-campus experience."

President Nickel's term will be open-ended as far as how long or how short it will be. Past interims have served 12 months, and a new president began July 1, but Nickel says the chancellor and board could have selected someone sooner than that.

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