President’s Office

President’s speeches, letters, and articles

Subject: Thank You to Dean of the Faculty Nigel Nicholson

June 29, 2020

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

In July, after seven years of exceptional service as dean of the faculty, Nigel Nicholson will return to the Reed faculty as the Walter Mintz Professor of Greek, Latin, and Ancient Mediterranean Studies. As he passes the baton on to incoming Dean of Faculty, Kathy Oleson, I take this opportunity to thank Nigel and share my immense gratitude for his service to the college.

The role of chief academic officer is a distinction but also a tremendous responsibility, and Nigel has risen to that responsibility with extraordinary care and administrative acumen. With his guidance, Reed’s academic program has flourished. Since 2013, we have created five new majors, articulated concentrations within several majors, introduced minors and new distribution requirements, and made significant changes to the Humanities 110 program. Nigel has also helped to ensure that faculty have the resources they need to deliver an outstanding education to our students. He has encouraged, inspired, and assisted faculty in pushing the bounds of their scholarship and pedagogy. He oversaw the creation of the Center for Teaching and Learning, which has proven to be a successful resource, both for junior faculty as they adjust to Reed and for experienced instructors seeking to expand their classroom skills. He has also helped to recruit and retain talented teacher-scholars from a broad array of backgrounds.

These are but a few of Nigel’s accomplishments. He would be quick to point out that these were all collective efforts, but his colleagues consistently remark on how instrumental he has been in negotiating and bringing diverse groups to a consensus in order to make progress. Throughout his tenure as dean, Nigel has been tirelessly attentive to the smallest details that keep the college running and enable growth.

In recent months, as the COVID-19 crisis hit, I have been deeply appreciative of and impressed with Nigel’s leadership to overcome the challenges posed by moving the academic program online. As the chief point of contact between the faculty and the office of the president, Nigel has demonstrated his generosity, wisdom, and deep understanding of Reed’s academic program.

Thank you, Nigel.



Audrey Bilger