Nicholson extends service to MSU as CISE department head

Contact: Allison Matthews

Portrait of Janice Nicholson
Janice Nicholson (Photo by Megan Bean)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A lifelong educator who has been honored with some of Mississippi State’s top awards is extending service to her alma mater as she transitions to the role of department head in the College of Education.

Janice Nicholson is now permanent head of the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education after leading the unit on an interim basis since March 2021. She also led the department on an interim basis from 2015-2017.

Nicholson’s career includes more than five decades in education as a teacher and administrator. She served the University of North Alabama for 37 years in several leadership roles before returning to her undergraduate alma mater Blue Mountain College, where she worked until her 2012 retirement. At that time, she was executive vice president for Student Affairs and Graduate and Special Programs, and she also served as Blue Mountain’s acting president in 2012.

A native of Booneville, Nicholson was the first in her family to earn a college degree when she completed her undergraduate studies at Blue Mountain. She went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees in elementary education from MSU’s College of Education in 1967 and 1977, respectively. She also holds an education specialist degree from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education. 

Named MSU’s 2021 Alumna of the Year, Nicholson has been honored as the College of Education Alumna of the Year in 2018 and as an Alumni Fellow in 2013. She has served on the MSU Foundation Board of Directors and presently is a member of the MSU Bulldog Club Board of Directors.

An avid supporter of MSU, Nicholson endowed the James W. Nicholson Reading Room in MSU’s Mitchell Memorial Library in 2019 to honor her late brother, a fellow MSU graduate for whom the room is named. Her contributions to the university also have extended to other academic and non-academic areas, including establishing the Janice I. Nicholson Endowed Scholarship in the College of Education, as well as support for faculty awards and Bulldog athletics, in particular women’s basketball. She was honored as Fan of the Year during the MSU women’s basketball program’s annual awards banquet in 2018.

In addition to her university service, Nicholson is a member of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, or CAEP, visiting site team.

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