Amazing people at Nicolet bring joy to Stuckenbruck’s work

Dr. Emily Stuckenbruck

Nicolet Area Technical College

Dean of Liberal Arts and Business

Since her arrival on the Nicolet College campus just a few years ago, Dr. Emily Stuckenbruck has had quite an impact on the community, even garnering attention for her efforts on a national level.

Stuckenbruck was recently selected to the American Association for Women in Community Colleges (AAWCC) 40 Under 40 list. Honorees to that list demonstrate high potential for success in leadership roles and a strong commitment to the mission of community colleges. She was the only individual selected from the state of Wisconsin as well as the sole dean to receive the honor.

“Since Nicolet College has such a comprehensive dual technical and transfer mission, I was selected,” she said. “I’m very humbled.”

Emily talks with studentsStuckenbruck’s path to Nicolet is a roundabout one to say the least. A California native, she received her Bachelor’s Degree from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She then moved across the country to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for her Masters and a PhD in Communication Studies. A Fulbright Fellowship then followed, allowing her to study Irish Gaelic at the National University of Ireland in Galway for a year.

Upon her return stateside, Stuckenbruck headed back to the West Coast to teach. Feeling restless in Los Angeles, she and her husband decided they wanted to live in a place where they had better access to the outdoors and more down-to-earth people. The two then headed to the Northwoods of Wisconsin in 2013 where she was hired by Nicolet College as a Communications instructor.

Now, as Dean of Liberal Arts and Business at Nicolet, Stuckenbruck oversees general education courses, as well as the school’s Early Childhood Education, International Study, Graphic Design and Communication, Business, IT, Accounting and Administrative Professional programs.

“Teaching was great because it was wonderful to see people succeed,” she explained. “As a dean getting to work with faculty I am one step removed from the students, but I do get to facilitate student success by facilitating faculty excellence.”

As her mentor, former Nicolet College interim president Kenneth Urban, once told her, one of her great strengths is her exuberance. “I believe in finding joy at work and having fun,” said Stuckenbruck. “I work with really amazing people so it’s pretty easy for me to come to work with a smile on my face.”

Coming from a 4-year private university system background, she stepped into the technical college system and didn’t miss a beat. Early on, “I recognized that my students and my faculty would hold me accountable for the concept that I taught, and the leadership style that I enacted,” she explained. “They hold me accountable for making sure that [concept] actually works in the real world and not just in theory land."

“My instructors and I have to bring our best every day because I’m not interested in wasting [students’] time or money. [They] deserve my best every day. That increased accountability is something that I’ve found really refreshing and invigorating.”

One of her proudest accomplishments is the relationship she’s developed with one of Nicolet’s tribal communities, the Forest County Potawatomi Community.  “The tribal administrator contacted me and we were talking about some areas where he wanted to see improvement in tribal employees,” she said. “One of the areas was communication.”

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Emily with Forest County Potawatomi Community Tribal Administrator Eugene Shawano (left) Nicolet College President Dr. Richard Nelson.

After deploying four communication courses within the Potawatomi community, a cohort of 30 tribal employees recently graduated from Nicolet College with their Professional Communication Certificates. “That is something I love about the WTCS broadly, but I love in particular about Nicolet,” stated Stuckenbruck. “I love that we are responsive to our communities.”

On a grander scale, another initiative she is undertaking is building relationships with schools in India. In particular, bringing in Indian students to study accounting. “There is a real premium on Indian students learning American accounting practices,” said Stuckenbruck. 

In addition to the India outreach, Stuckenbruck heads up two international study trips every year — one to Guatemala and one to London. “I’m really passionate about International Studies, just from my background, living in Ireland and studying overseas,” she said.

As an AAWCC 40 Under 40 honoree, Stuckenbruck has already accomplished more than most. With plenty of career ahead of her, there is certainly much more to come.