Nancy became the first president of The New American Colleges and Universities in 2011. Previously she served as chief executive officer of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) in Washington, D.C. for seven years. As chief executive officer for CUR, an organization of over 600 higher education institutions, Hensel oversaw significant growth as her leadership guided it to a prominent place in higher education. She has been a passionate supporter of undergraduate research throughout her career, including serving as principal (or co-principal) investigator on seven National Science Foundation (NSF) grants and publishing several papers on the topic. Prior to becoming CUR’s chief executive officer, Hensel was the sixth president of the University of Maine at Presque Isle, at which she strongly advocated for the inclusion of undergraduate research in the curriculum. Under her leadership the University Day undergraduate research symposium was established. During her tenure, the university also adopted a theme of adventurous learning which encompassed intellectual, cultural, and outdoor adventures.