Arkansas Tech University’s Dr. Keegan Nichols has been elected by her peers to serve as director for National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Region IV-West.
As a regional director, Nichols will hold a seat on the NASPA Board of Directors from 2022-24.
Nichols has previously contributed to NASPA Region IV-West in such capacities as conference chair, board member and ethics certificate chair. She was among the featured speakers at the 2018 NASPA Region IV-West Conference in Wichita, Kan., and was selected to speak at the 2019 NASPA Conference in Los Angeles, Calif.
Research performed by Nichols and Dr. Brett Bruner, dean of student engagement at ATU, was included in the knowledge community publication that was shared with all individuals attending the 2019 NASPA Conference.
Their paper, “The Perceived Role of Parents and Family Members of First-Generation College Students On Transition,” appeared on pages 61-64 of the publication.
Nichols and Bruner previously teamed with Dr. Lisa Baumgartner of Texas A&M University and Dr. Shannon Breske of the University of Missouri to capture the 2017 NASPA Region IV-West literature and research award for a paper entitled “Paying it Forward: First Gen Latinas/a/o Students Sense of Responsibility.”
A native of Vilonia, Nichols joined ATU as its vice president for student affairs on June 26, 2017. Under her leadership, the ATU Division of Student Affairs has earned national acclaim for its programs serving first generation students and promoting civic engagement.
ATU has achieved membership in the International Town and Gown Association and established the ATU Student Mayoral Advisory Board as part of community outreach efforts initiated by the ATU Division of Student Affairs during Nichols’ tenure. The division has also taken a leadership role in ATU’s mitigation of and recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Nichols holds a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from the University of Central Arkansas, a Master of Science degree in college administration from the University of Central Missouri and a Doctor of Education degree in adult and higher education from Northern Illinois University.
She is also a graduate of Leadership Arkansas Class XIII.
Nichols was previously associate vice president for student affairs at Fort Hays State University from 2013-17 and vice president of student affairs at Colby Community College (Kan.) from 2010-13. She has additional experience working in student services at Northern Illinois University and Rockford College (Ill.).