The University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus has faced a significant challenge since the untimely passing of longterm Student and Residence Services Director Mark Chytracek in October, 2015. Very few people had such a direct impact on the quality of life among Augustana’s students. According to Dean Allen Berger, “finding the right person to lead the division into the future has been among our highest priorities.”
On July 1, Randal Nickel will take on the slightly revised position of Executive Director of Student Life at Augustana.
In Nickel’s new role – within this newly-expanded position – he will be the chief student affairs officer for the Augustana Campus. He will provide direction and support for nearly the entire range of non-academic program areas, including Residence Life, counselling and wellness, accessibility services, athletics and campus recreation, as well as the chaplaincy program, student conduct and food services. His division is also specifically responsible for the orientation of new students and targeted services to international and aboriginal students.
“Randal brings an experiential background that will translate well to a postsecondary setting,” says Dean Berger. “I’m particularly excited that he will be bringing new perspectives to Augustana’s leadership team as a full partner in ensuring seamless, high quality educational experiences for students, both inside the classroom and beyond.”
Nickel is a familiar face in the Camrose community, having served the past ten years as the Executive Director of the Camrose Open Door Association. The organization provides programs and supports for youths in Camrose and the surrounding area. He was responsible for all aspects of day-to-day operations, including grant applications and staff management of client services.
“We are extremely grateful for Randal’s capable leadership of our organization and his connection to our community during that time,” says Open Door Board Chair Bonnie Maurer. “Randal has been instrumental in developing and implementing programs to help youth in the community. He has also worked diligently to create awareness about the various issues that youth face in our community and for whom the Open Door serves.”
Nickel has also served as an educator, from sessional instruction in community service-learning at Augustana to high school teaching and English as a Second Language instruction in Egypt. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies & History from the University of Manitoba (1990), a Bachelor of Education from the University of Calgary (1993), and a Masters of Education in Workplace & Adult Learning from the University of Calgary (2008).
Nickel is deeply involved in the Camrose community, serving on the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Camrose. He has served on the Board of the Mennonite Central Committee (Alberta and Canada), and was nominated for the Camrose Ambassador Award in 2014.
“A great university experience includes a strong relationship between academic and non-academic programming,” says Nickel. “Participation in extracurricular activities such as athletics and the arts as well as strong relationships and student living arrangements play a critical role in academic success. A positive environment on campus will give students the best opportunities to be successful in their classes. I truly look forward to being part of the team that seeks to build this better future for students at Augustana.”