Nick Swayne, Ph.D., began serving as president of North Idaho College Aug. 1, 2022.
President Swayne came to NIC after serving as the Executive Director of 4-Virginia, a collaborative partnership between eight universities in the state of Virginia. He is also the founder of a comprehensive academic innovation ecosystem at James Madison University.
During his military career, Dr. Swayne served in nuclear capable artillery battalions where extensive accreditation inspections were an annual rite of passage. He was deployed as a unit commander to active combat operations in Iraq and Bosnia, and deployed special teams globally. He graduated with honors from the Army’s Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He has held command and leadership roles at every level - company, battalion, brigade and division level where he managed budgets that exceeded $200 million and up to 30 direct reports. Among his many military awards, he is the recipient of the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service, and Legion of Merit.
Over his past 22 years in higher education, Dr. Swayne has developed extensive experience in accreditation, recruiting, and retention. As an academic department head and center director, he served as an area lead during multiple SACSOC and NCATE/CAEP accreditation reviews where he was involved in the entire two-year cycle that comprises a scheduled full accreditation visit. Recruiting programs he developed resulted in a fivefold increase in departmental enrollments and nearly 100% completion rates for students.
Dr. Swayne has published extensively on a variety of topics involving innovation in higher education. Programs he founded and developed have been covered extensively in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the New York Times, and reports from the US Council on Competitiveness.
President Swayne is a co-founder of the Stanford Faculty Innovation Fellows program, was elected four times to the Harrisonburg City School Board, the board of directors for the Massanutten Technical Center, and co-chair of the Veteran Scholars Task Force in 2019 when JMU was recognized as the best university for Veterans. Between 2007 and 2010, he grew Virginia’s VA-DC FIRST LEGO League, a robotics STEM program for 9-14 year olds, from 138 teams to the world’s largest program with nearly 700 teams.
President Swayne was recognized with the Noftsinger Leadership Award for catalyzing positive change in the Shenandoah Valley, the Governor’s Award for Innovative Technology in Higher Education, the President’s Purple Star Award for Innovation in Higher Education, the University Science Educator of the Year in 2012, and JMU’s Provost award for Outreach.
While in Virginia, he contributed as a board member locally, regionally, and at state level, for example, with the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council, with the Unmanned Systems Association of Virginia, and the Harrisonburg Children’s Museum, among others.
President Swayne grew up mostly in the Moscow, ID area and earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Idaho (Political Science). He went on to earn a master's degree in public administration from Northeastern University, and a doctorate in postsecondary strategic leadership from James Madison University. He and his wife, Nicky, have two adult children and a chocolate lab.