Nancy Stuart began her career as one of the founding faculty members of the Photo Technology Program at Lansing Community College (1975–1984). She and her colleagues grew the program from a few elective courses to a two-year degree program with over five hundred students. At Rochester Institute of Technology (1984–2002), she began as an assistant professor in the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (SPAS) and was awarded promotion and tenure in 1989. She was elected by her peers to chair the Applied Photography Department in 1991 and three years later appointed to associate director of SPAS. Nancy helped create the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences by merging the College of Graphic Arts and Photography with the College of Fine and Applied Arts. She was appointed associate dean of the new college in 1998.
Nancy was recruited as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2002 and worked toward bringing the school’s expenses and revenues into alignment. After the retirement of the provost in 2005, she was appointed to the provost position. As provost she worked with the faculty to adapt a five-year BFA curriculum to a four year curriculum, gained approval for three new majors, coordinated the 2010–2014 strategic plan, led two accreditation self studies and led the faculty in the design of a new 250,000 square foot facility.
Nancy earned her Ph.D. from SUNY Buffalo Graduate School of Education in 2005. Her dissertation, The History of Photographic Education in Rochester, N.Y. 1960–1980, was based on oral histories collected from photographers and teachers in the upstate New York area. An excerpt was published in the spring 2006 issue of the journal exposure. She was an editor for the fourth edition of the Focal Press Encyclopedia of Photography released in 2007. Visual Studies Workshop Press published her photographic project DES Stories: Faces and Voices of People Exposed to Diethylstilbestrol in 2001. Her photographic work is in the collection of The George Eastman House and she has had numerous solo and group exhibits during her career.
She currently serves on the executive committee of the Society of Photographic Educators (SPE) national board of directors as treasurer of the society.