Final provost candidate Nancy Brickhouse visits DePaul

Nancy Brickhouse, one of the four finalists for provost, visited campus last week where she met faculty, staff and students. (Photo courtesy of DePaul University)
Nancy Brickhouse, one of the four finalists for provost, visited campus last week where she met faculty, staff and students. (Photo courtesy of DePaul University)

The final provost candidate, who has spent 27 years at the University of Delaware, visited campus last week highlighting her passion for academic quality and global programs.

Nancy Brickhouse, the deputy provost of academic affairs at the University of Delaware, met with students, staff and faculty over a two-day period to make her pitch for the provost position. Most notably, Brickhouse has shown her commitment with 27 years at the University of Delaware and said she would be committed to DePaul as well.

Brickhouse said that she’s very proud of her accomplishments at Delaware but that “it feels like a good time to move.”

She became an assistant professor of science education at Delaware in 1988 and moved up the ranks including various director positions, dean of the College of Education and Human Development, as well as the deputy and interim provost.

Given that DePaul has had four different provosts over the past four years, they are certainly looking for some stability and direction from the university administration.

Faculty continued to field important questions on hot-button issues at the university right now including adjunct faculty, faculty salaries and research among other issues.

Brickhouse explained her belief in the importance of general education, especially continuing to bring in global perspectives to curriculums and co-curricular activities. She explained that Delaware has a robust study abroad program that is a “well-oiled machine.” About 40 percent of their students study abroad before graduation, she said, and that is a valuable part of the student experience.

She also has extensive experience coordinating international partnerships and opportunities for the University of Delaware. According to her Curriculum vitae, she helped to field the most diverse class of first year students in Delaware’s history in the fall of 2013. She has also helped develop joint programs in China. She said that Chicago strikes her as a place with a “huge opportunity” for international growth and opportunities for students.

“I haven’t enjoyed anything more over the past few years than my global work,” Brickhouse said.

Based on feedback and questions from the various sessions, she said that a major issue for the new provost would be to work with colleges and departments to address enrollment issues, which would in turn help make an impact on some budgets.

However, one concern is that the University of Delaware does not have a law school, and with declining graduate enrollment at DePaul across the board, Brickhouse admitted she would have some learning to do.

Brickhouse did recognize the importance of faculty research noting that it is “work that should be incentivized.” She said faculty salaries and raises are something in need of attention, but that she needed more information to make any recommendations.

Feedback from faculty, students and staff for the provost candidates closed last Friday, and the university now awaits an announcement from DePaul President Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M. and the board of trustees on their decision.

“The last four years we have been coasting,” one staff member said in the final open campus session last week. “We want someone who is ready to come in and put their foot on the gas pedal.”