Dr. Tim Nichols is the Dean of the Davidson Honors College. Tim comes to Missoula from Honors experiences, most recently at the University of Wyoming and South Dakota State University, where he was Dean, 2008-2016. Tim is passionate about Honors education. And he loves Montana, describing Missoula as the best place he's ever lived; regular hikes with Dr. Hardy are among the highlights of his weeks. As you'll discover by reading the Bear Necessities, Tim's also inspired by poetry. He's taught a wide variety of courses during his 30-year (plus) career in higher education, mentored student research projects, developed international experiences and collaborations with tribal colleges and communities, and has been active in Honors education at the regional and national levels. He has served on a variety of local boards of directors, including art museums, symphonies, United Way, and Boys and Girls Clubs. He has roots in Montana's Flathead Valley, where his great-grandparents settled in the 1880's. Tim grew up in Washington's Yakima Valley and attended Washington State University for his BS (Agriculture), Master's (Adult Education), and South Dakota State University for his Ph.D. in Sociology. Tim and his wife Laurie, President of Black Hills State University, have two young adult daughters (a dancer and an animal trainer) and an ever-changing menagerie of pets. Dog Luna and cat Tink are his constant companions at the 'tiny house'.
Most important book: So many to choose from, but still (for me) an easy choice: Victor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning.
Boldest thing I've ever done: Being a father rises to the top of the list; bring other humans into this crazy world takes guts. And love.
Advice: Have the courage to be kind -- to yourself, to your fellow humans, to the world around you. Be open to opportunities for deep learning and growth and to goodness, beauty, meaning, grace, and love. Eat well, embrace this place, and laugh lots. Listen with your whole-heart. The blessings will come back to you.
Bachelor of Science, Agriculture, 1986. Washington State University, Pullman, WA.
Master's of Adult and Continuing Education, 1993. Washington State University, Pullman, WA. Thesis: Barriers to Higher Education and Perceptions of Agriculture Among Hispanic and Non-Hispanic High School Students.
Doctor of Philosophy, Sociology, 2001. South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD. Dissertation: State University-Tribal College Collaboration: What Works, What Does Not, and Why.
Teaching responsibilities include:
HON 100: Introduction to Honors
HON 391: Love
HON 391: The Art of Leadership
HON 194: Introduction to Sociology Honors Seminar
SOC 100: Introduction to Sociology
Nichols, Timothy and Suzanne Stluka (2014). Meeting the Grand Challenges. $138,500. National Institutes for Food and Agriculture, Higher Education Challenge Grant. United States Department of Agriculture.
Nichols, Timothy (2010). A Holistic Program to Support Native American Student Success. $36,000. College Access Grants Program. Mid-States Central Cooperative. US Department of Education.
Nichols, Timothy (2010). Honors in Agriculture. National Institutes for Food and Agriculture, Higher Education Challenge Grant. United States Department of Agriculture. $138,629.
Nichols, Timothy and Laurie Stenberg Nichols. (2009). 2+2+2 Multicultural Scholars, United States Department of Agriculture Native American Food Systems Scholars, $120,000.
Nichols, Timothy and Laurie Stenberg Nichols. (2006). 2+2+2 Multicultural Scholars, United States Department of Agriculture Multicultural Scholars Program, $125,000.
Rickerl, Diane and Timothy Nichols (2006). An Indigenous Model for Internationalization. International Science and Education Competitive Grants Program. United States Department of Agriculture. $99,950.
Rickerl, Diane and Timothy Nichols (2005). The Prairie PhD. W.K. Kellogg Foundation. $200,000.
Ruffalo, John and Timothy Nichols (2004). Bridges to the Baccalaureate. National Institutes for Health, Division of General Medical Sciences. $313,000.
Nichols, Timothy and Laurie Stenberg Nichols. (2000). Multicultural Scholars Program, United States Department of Agriculture Multicultural Scholars Program, $80,000.
Stenberg Nichols, Laurie, Nichols, Timothy, Gilkerson, Deanna, and John Ball. (1998-2002). Faculty and Students Learning Together Across Cultures. United States Department of Agriculture Higher Education Challenge Grants Program. $79,500.
Stenberg Nichols, Laurie, Nichols, Timothy, Arnold, Gene, and Lavonne Kurtz.(1996-1999). 2+2+2: Collaborating to Enhance Opportunities for Native Americans. Fund for Improvement of Post-Secondary Education. United States Department of Education. $180,000.
Arnold, Gene, Stenberg Nichols, Laurie, Nichols, Timothy, and Lavonne Kurtz (1995-1998). 2+2+2 Collaborating to Enhance Opportunities for Native Americands. United States Department of Agriculture. Higher Education Challenge Grants Program. $71,633.
Selected Professional Presentations
Baxter, Arwen, Cherullo, Dylan, Melton, Isabelle, Potter, Aidan, Potter, Anna, and Timothy Nichols (2021). Students Lead the Way. Western Regional Honors Conference, Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT (virtual).
Bott-Knutson, Rebecca, Holmquist, Hannah, and Timothy Nichols (2020). Developing Personal Philosophies through Honors. National Collegiate Honors Council. September 30-November 7 (virtual).
McConigley, Nina, Fahlsing, Jess, Foss, Nicole, Nichols, Timothy, Parolin, Peter, Skinner, Donal, and Anne Stebner-Steele (2018). Teaching to Transgress: Reinventing the Honors Freshman Colloquium. National Collegiate Honors Council. November 7-11. Boston, MA.
Nichols, Timothy (2017). Wherever You Are, Be There. Invited keynote address. Upper Midwest Honors Council. March 23-25. Brookings, SD.
Nichols, Timothy, Goeden, Henry, and Suzanne Stluka (2016). Meeting the Grand Challenges. North America College Teachers of Agriculture. June 21-24. Honolulu, HI.
Nichols, Timothy and Henry Goeden (2015). Honors Collaborates to Meet the Grand Challenges. National Collegiate Honors Council. November 11-15. Chicago, IL.
Nichols, Timothy and Jacob Gubrud (2015). Honors Tackles Energy: Present Realities, Future Possibilities. National Collegiate Honors Council. November 11-15, Chicago, IL.
Nichols, Timothy, Barb Kleinjan Tim Nichols, Barb Kleinjan, Val Kleinjan, Alex Clem, Allyson Lucht, Camille Klima, Patrick Watchorn (2015). Exploring the Ethos of Honors, NationalCollegiate Honors Council. November 11-15. Chicago, IL
Nichols, Timothy, Erickson, Morgan, Lucht, Allyson, Mochel, Jonathan, Nichols, Jordan, Shay, Owen, Smith, Samuel, and Patrick Watchorn (2014). Making Meaning in Honors.
National Collegiate Honors Council. November 5-9. Denver, CO.
Nichols, Timothy, Larsen, Hanna, Fiala, Kirstyn, and Owen Shay (2014). Honors-Led Common Read Engages Students, Builds Community. National Collegiate Honors Council. November 5-9. Denver, CO.
Ailts, Jacob, Chang, Kuo-Liang, and Timothy Nichols (2014). Why Not Honors? Improving Retention Through an Enhanced Understanding of Why Some Honors Student Do Not Make the Climb. General Session. National Collegiate Honors Council. November 5-9. Denver, CO.
Nichols, Timothy and Laurie Nichols (2014). Love – A Transdisciplinary Honors Course Examining One of the Most Powerful Forces in Human Life. Faculty Poster. National Collegiate Honors Council. November 5-9. Denver, CO.
Nichols, Timothy (2013). Developing Scholars and Future Employees: Building a Sustainable Undergraduate Research Program in Agriculture. Invited as presenter for conference session on Involving Undergraduate Students in Animal Science Research: Best Practices and Benefits. American Society of Animal Science Midwest Section Meetings, Midwest Branch of the American Dairy Science Association. March 11-13. Des Moines, IA.
Nichols, Timothy (2013). Honors Senior Seminar Challenges Students to Find their Place in this World. Faculty poster session. National Collegiate Honors Council. November 6-10. New Orleans, LA.
Nichols, Timothy (2013). Being Honorable: The Role of Ethics in the Honors College Experience. Roundtable discussion. National Collegiate Honors Council. November 610. New Orleans, LA.
Nichols, Timothy and Kuo-Liang Chang (2013). Researching Us: Using Student Data for Honors Strategic Planning and program Improvement. Idea Exchange. National Collegiate Honors Council. November 6-10. New Orleans, LA.
Nichols, Timothy, Larsen, Hanna and Ben Stout (2013). Developing Transformative Honors Student Leaders: Who? What? When? Why? How? Roundtable Discussion. National Collegiate Honors Council. November 6-10. New Orleans, LA.
Nichols, Timothy (2012). Honors and Agriculture: Finding Synergy and Success. National Collegiate Honors Council. November 11-14. Boston, MA.
Nichols, Timothy (2012). Celebrating and Sustaining Honors in Agriculture. National Association of College Teachers of Agriculture. June 26-29. River Falls, WI.
Nichols, Timothy, Graff, Brianna, Plumb, Marin and Jessica Fridley Overschelde (2011). Honors in Agriculture Initiative Expands Student Reach and Engagement. National Collegiate Honors Council. October 19-23. Phoenix, AZ.
Nichols, Timothy (2011). Honors in Agriculture: A Win-Win for Student/Faculty Engagement. North American College Teachers of Agriculture. June 14-17. Edmonton Alberta.
Nichols Timothy (2011). Common Read: An Approach to Enhancing Student Engagement. Student Success Conference. May 10-11. Oacoma, SD.
Nichols, Timothy, Graff, Brianna, Larsen, Hanna and Gregory Tanner (2010). Honors Students Lead, Learn and Serve Through Campus-Wide Common Read. National Collegiate Honors Council. October 20-24. Kansas City, MO.
Nichols, Timothy, Bosworth, Elizabeth, Graham, Jessica, Kuehl, Lyntausha and Jessica Van Overschelde (2010). LEADSTATE Aims at Honors Student Leadership Development. National Collegiate Honors Council. October 20-24.Kansas City, MO.
Cartrette, David, Graham, Jessica, Knutson, Matt, Kuehl, Lyntausha and Timothy Nichols (2010). Science and Society Connections Come Alive in Honors Colloquium. National Collegiate Honors Council. October 20-24. Kansas City, MO.
Lee, MaryJo Benton, Julia Collier, Timothy Nichols, Jeanette Seaboy and Derek Vergara (2008). “Ethnicity Matters: Rethinking How Students of Color Succeed in College.” Presented at Culture Matters: Designing Learning Environments to Foster Cultural Awareness and Intercultural Competence. Collaboration for the Advancement of College Teaching and Learning, November 21-22. Bloomington, MN.
Nichols, Timothy J., Diane H. Rickerl and Deanna K. Dykstra. (2007). The Prairie PhD: A Formative Evaluation of What’s Working in a Distance-Delivered Tribal Graduate Education Program. National Indian Education Association. October 23-27. Honolulu, HI.
Rickerl, Diane H., Timothy Nichols, and Rosemary Guitierrez. (2007). An Indigenous Model for Internationalization. National Indian Education Association. October 23-27, Honolulu, HI.
Nichols, Timothy, Larson, Bailey, Stluka, Suzanne, Van Heek, Nicole, and Rebecca Bott-Knutson. 2019. Collaborative, Holistic Honors Approach to Meeting Agriculture’s Grand Challenges. NACTA Journal 63(2): 282-287.
Bott-Knutson, Rebecca, Larson, Bailey, Van Heek, Nicole, Nichols, Timothy, and Suzanne Stluka. 2019. Community Partnerships Help Undergraduate Students to Meet the ‘Grand Challenges’ of Today. Collaborations: A Journal of Community-Based Research and Practice. In press.
Turner, Benjamin, Wuellner, Melissa, Nichols, Timothy, Gates, Roger, Tedeschi, L.O., and Barry Dunn. 2017. A systems approach to forecast agricultural land transformation and soil environmental risk from economic, policy, and cultural scenarios in the north central United States (2012-2062). International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 15(2):102-123. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14735903.2017.1288029.
Nichols, Timothy, Ailts, Jacob, and Kuo-Liang Chang. 2016. Why Not Honors? Understanding Students’ Decisions Not to Enroll and Persist in Honors Programs. Honors in Practice 12. 33-58.
Turner, Benjamin, Wuellner, Melissa, Nichols, Timothy, Gates, Roger, Tedeschi, L.O., and Barry Dunn. 2016. Development and evaluation of a system dynamics model for investigating agriculturally driven land transformation in the north central United States.
Natural Resource Modeling 29(2):179-228; doi: 10.1111/nrm.12087
Jacquet, Jeffrey and Timothy Nichols 2015. Multidisciplinary Approaches to Energy in the Classroom. In the Trenches: The News Magazine of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers 5 (3) 8-9.
Turner, B.L., Wuellner, M., Nichols, T., and R. Gates. 2014. Dueling Land Ethics: Uncovering Agricultural Stakeholder Mental Models to Better Understand Recent Land Use Conversion. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. 27(5):831-856, doi:
Nichols, Timothy J., and Kuo-Liang Chang. 2013. Factors influencing Honors College student recruitment, persistence, and satisfaction at a land grant university in the Upper Midwest. Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council. 14 (2).
Nichols, Timothy J. 2012. The Institutional Impact of Honors Through a Campus-Community Common Read. Honors in Practice: Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council.
Nichols, Timothy, Sckerl, Jo Ann and Jane Mort. 2012. Common Read’s Impact Reaches Campus and Community. E-Source for College Transitions. A biennial publication from the National Resource Center for the First Year Experience and Students in Transition. University of South Carolina.
Nichols, Timothy J. and Diane H. Rickerl. 2010. Collaborating across cultures: an international, indigenous partnership. South Dakota State University.
Rickerl, Diane, Nichols, Tim, and Carol Cumber. 2010. The Really Good Buffalo Project Concept Test for “Values Added” Bison. Great Plains Research: A Journal of the Natural and Social Sciences. 20 (2) 215-222.
Nichols, Tim and Laurie Stenberg Nichols. 2006. 2+2+2: An Equation for Native American
Student Success pp 57-80 in Mary Jo Benton Lee’s (ed) Ethnicity Matters: Rethinking how Black, Hispanic, and Indian Students Prepare for and Succeed in College. New York: Peter Lang.
Nichols, Timothy and Denise Gamble. 2006. Regional Student Network Provides Model for Empowering Food Systems Leaders. NACTA Journal 50 (2) 52-29.
Nichols, Timothy and Diane Kayongo-Male. 2003. The Dynamics of State University-Tribal College Collaboration. Journal of American Indian Education 42 (3) 1-24.
Kayongo-Male, Nichols, Laurie Stenberg and Timothy Nichols. 2002. Developing an Engaged
Institution: South Dakota State University’s 2+2+2 Project and American Indian Students. Journal of Engagement in Higher Education 8 (1) 205-218.
Nichols, Timothy. 2001. Resource Guide: Tools for Successful Collaboration. Tribal College Journal 13 (2) 33-35.
Nichols, Timothy, Baird, Phil, and Diane Kayongo-Male. 2001. Partnerships Offer Promise and Perils: A Study of Collaboration with State Universities. Tribal College Journal 13 (2) 20-23.
Nichols, Timothy. 2000. 2+2+2 Adds Up to Success for American Indians in Agriculture. NACTA Journal 45 (2) 21-24.
Dean and Professor of Sociology, Davidson Honors College, University of Montana, 2019-present.
Lead and administer all aspects of UM’s Honors College, including budgeting, fundraising, staff supervision, strategic planning, student advising, recruitment and retention, enrichment activities, curriculum and faculty development, program assessment, and facilities management. Also oversee academic minor in Climate Change Students and the Montana Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (MOLLI).
Visiting Professor, Honors College and Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Wyoming, 2016-2019.
Teaching responsibilities include:
SOC 1000: Introduction to Sociology
SOC 3605: Sociology of Education
HP 1020/1151 and 2020: Honors Freshman Colloquium I & II
HP 3151: Love
HP 4151: Meeting the Grand Challenges
Dean, Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College, South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota, 2008-2016.
Led and administered all aspects of SDSU’s Honors College, including budgeting, fundraising, staff supervision, strategic planning, student advising, recruitment and retention, enrichment activities, curriculum and faculty development, and facilities. Secured $4.5 M naming endowment. Conceptualized and opened new Honors residence hall. Grew enrollment from less than 100 to more 1000 students.
Teaching responsibilities included:
HON 100: Honors Orientation
HON 109: Honors Freshman Seminar
HON 290: Honors Sophomore Seminar, Leadership and Service
HON 303: Honors Colloquium, Agriculture, Food and Society
HON 303: Honors Colloquium, Science and Society
HON 303: Honors Colloquium, Global Environmental Change
HON 303: Honors Colloquium, The Art and Adventure of Leadership
HON 303: Honors Colloquium, Love
HON 303: Honors Colloquium, Meeting the Grand Challenges
HON 303: Engergy: Present Realities and Future Possibilities
HON 490: Honors Senior Seminar: My Place in This World
HON 496: Honors International Experiences
Exploring the Ethos of Honors: An Odyssey to the Birthplace of Western Civilization
Honors Goes Galapagos: Exploring Evolution, Conservation and Other Big Ideas
HON 492: Pine Ridge Immersion Experience
ABS 492: Ag-Bio International Experiences -- Co-facilitated courses in Costa Rica, Mexico, West Africa, and Bolivia
LEAD 310: Leadership in Context
LEAD 496: Leadership in Action
SOC 711: Qualitative Research Methods
Interim Director of Diversity Enhancement, South Dakota State University, 2009-2011. Provide collaborative campus-wide leadership and coordination in support of diversity enhancement, including initiatives for student recruitment/retention, faculty recruitment/retention, campus climate, academic diversity, service and outreach; chair the university’s Diversity Enhancement Council.
Assistant Director of Academic Programs and Assistant to the Dean, College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, 1994-2008, South Dakota State University.
Significant responsibilities included: college level recruitment, retention, placement, and student development; undergraduate and graduate student teaching and advising; articulation with regional community colleges and vocational/technical institutes; coordinating and teaching courses for AS and BS programs in General Agriculture; development of and instruction in Leadership minor.
Also provided leadership for a variety of extramural grant-funded programs furthering SDSU’s collaboration with the state’s tribal communities, including a 2+2+2 program for Native high school and tribal college students, and a collaborative, distance-delivered cohort ‘Prairie Ph.D.’ program to help tribal college faculty complete their terminal degrees. Served as campus liaison with W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s regional Food Systems Professional Education Initiative, and regional Tribal Natural Resource Education program.
Began position as Student Relations Coordinator (1994-1995); moved to Coordinator of Recruitment and Advising (1995-2001), then to Assistant Director of Academic Programs/Assistant to the Dean (2001-2008).
Assistant Professor of Sociology, 2001-2007; Associate Professor of Sociology, 2008-2014, Professor of Sociology 2014-2016; member of the Graduate Faculty 2003-2016, South Dakota State University.
Assistant to the Director of Academic Programs, 1990-1994. Student Relations Coordinator, 1988-1990. College of Agriculture and Home Economics, Washington State University.
Coordinated college-wide efforts around student recruitment, retention, leadership development and career placement.