University News

Nikels Named Interim Associate Provost

February 20, 2024

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL - - Western Illinois University has named Professor Holly Nikels as the interim associate provost for budget, personnel and research, effective Feb. 16.

As the associate provost, Nikels serves as the WIU/UPI (University Professionals of Illinois) contract administrator and the University grievance officer; oversees budget, Academic Affairs personnel, facilities and unit goals and the summer school schedule, as well as serves as the University Research Council chair.

Nikels has served as a WIU Counselor Education professor since 2013 and chair of the WIU Department of Counselor Education and College Student Personnel since 2017. Previously, she served as program and clinical coordinator (2014-16), associate professor (2007-13) and assistant professor (2003-07) at WIU, PACERS program coordinator in Bettendorf, IA, since 2007, as a consultant and counselor at St. Agenes Elementary School (2001-03) and school counselor at the University of South Dakota (2002-03), both in Vermillion, SD, research assistant for the Sexual Violence Prevention program at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City, IA (2000-02) and as adjunct instructor for the University of South Dakota Natural and Social Sciences Department (2000-02).

Nikels is currently part of the WIU-QC administrative team, Bettendorf Community Schools School Advisory Committee, Illinois School Counseling Curriculum Revisions Task Force: ICES and various University and departmental committies, and has served as a member on the UPI negotiating team, Review for Critical Questions in Education, the board of The Place2B, Bethany Center for Children and Families: Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition, WQPT Bullying Task Force, Student of Concern Committee–WIU-QC, Illinois Health Coalition Advisory Board, Chi Sigma Iota By-laws Committee, WIU College of Education and Human Services NCATE Diversity Sub-Committee, Alumnae Advisory Board for the Kappa Delta sorority at Bradley University, Child Abuse Council of the Quad Cities, Villa Montessori School Curriculum Committee, Illinois State Board of Education School Counselor certification standards committee, North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision By-laws committee and Illinois Counseling Association Publications committee; treasurer of the Illinois Counselor Educators and Supervisors; president of the Illinois Association for Specialists in Group Work; editor of The Gathering newsletter for Illinois Association of Specialists in Group Work; Chi Sigma Iota XI chapter faculty advisor; chair of the Illinois Counseling Association Licensure Task Force, Department Personnel Committee, the WIU Graduate Committee for the Department of Counselor Education and Faculty Search Committee for Counselor Education, among many others.

Nikels received her bachelor's degree, master's degree and a Specialist in Education degree from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and her Ph.D. from the University of South Dakota.

Additionally, Professor and Physics Department Chair Kishor Kapale has been named the coordinator of graduate studies. Professor, Interim Assistant Dean and Chair of Counselor Education and College Student Personnel Renee Polubinsky has been named coordinator of undergraduate studies, and Anthropology Associate Professor Andrea Alveshere is the director of assessment, accreditation and strategic planning.

"I'm excited that we have assembled such an excellent team in the Provost's Office," Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Mark Mossman said. "Drs Kapale and Polubinsky have already hit the ground running and with her diverse and long experience at Western, I am sure Dr. Nickels will do the same!"

Kapale has served as the chair for the WIU Physics Department since 2019 and a professor since 2016. Previously, he served as the graduate coordinator (2010-20), associate professor (2011-16) and assistant professor (2007-11) at WIU, senior postdoctoral researcher for NASA-Jet propulsion Laboratory at Caltech (2006-07), research associate for the USA National Research Council (2004-06), postdoctoral research associate for Princeton University (2003), postdoctoral research associate for Texas A&M University (2002-04) and a junior researcher for Max-Planck Institute für Quantenoptik in Garching, Germany (1998-01).

Kapale received his bachelor's degree from the University of Bombay in Bombay, India, his master's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay and his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in College Station, TX.

Polubinsky has served as the interim chair for WIU Department of Counselor Education and College Student Personnel, interim assistant dean for the College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) since 2023 and the graduate coordinator for WIU's Public Health program and post baccalaureate certificate in Health Services Administration since 2023, as well as a professor in the Kinesiology Department since 2013 and Sport Management Program internship coordinator since 2019. Previously, she was the interim associate dean for Administration, Faculty Development and Research for COEHS, chair of the Kinesiology Department (2017-22), director of the Athletic Training program (2002-18), Athletic Training program clinical education coordinator (2002-04, 2013-14), associate professor (2008-13), assistant professor (2002-08) and Athletic Training internship coordinator (2004-08) at WIU, assistant professor, associate athletic trainer and clinical coordinator for Concordia University Wisconsin (1999-02), coordinator of athletic training services at Advanced Health Care in Milwaukee, WI (1991-99), associate lecturer for the University of Wisconsin (1997-99), instructor at the University of Cincinnati (1989-91), assistant athletic trainer/associate lecturer at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (1987-89), athletic trainer at North Shore Sports-Medicine Center in Whitefish Bay, WI (1986-87) and a substitute teacher for Milwaukee Public Schools (1986-87).

Polubinsky received her bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, her master's degree from the University of Cincinnati and her Ph.D. from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Alveshere has served as associate professor since 2021. Previously, she served as an assistant professor in Anthropology and Chemistry (2014-21), an instructor in Sociology, Anthropology and Chemistry since (2013-14), a forensic scientist for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Forensic Science Laboratory (2005-09), mentor for Epstein-Rhoads Internship Program for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Forensic Science Laboratory (2007), graduate instructor/teaching assistant in the University of Minnesota Anthropology Department (2003-05), archaeological project supervisor for Burns and McDonnell Engineering in Kansas City, MO (1999-00), senior archaeological technician for Hemisphere Field Services, Inc., in Minneapolis, MN (1999), archaeological technician for the Office of the State Archaeologist in Iowa City, IA (1998-99) and archaeological technician for Louis Berger and Associates in Marion, IA (1996-97).

Alveshere received a bachelor's degree in the University of Washington and her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.

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