May 23, 2007
By Elizabeth Boyle
As she initiates work as the newly appointed executive vice president and provost, Kathy Krendl has said she plans to tap Ohio University community members across campus for their assistance. She recently announced her first step: to bring David Descutner on board to serve as interim executive vice provost.
In his new role, Descutner assists Krendl with key management issues and daily operations. The position expands his current responsibilities as associate provost for undergraduate studies and dean of University College, and he'll continue handling the responsibilities of those positions in addition to those of his new role. His first efforts as a member of the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, Krendl said, will be completing yield activities aimed at bringing in a strong entering class this fall and working with the deans to plan the timing and priorities related to the academic plan.
"I believe we can make real progress," Descutner said of moving the academic plan forward. "The reorganization makes possible stronger integration of the efforts of the vice president, deans and faculty to advance the academic mission. It will be essential to consult widely and sincerely to make sure that our decisions are wise and informed by multiple perspectives."
Regarding her long-term goals for the position, Krendl emphasized a need to develop procedures that will provide strong oversight and support for academic programs. Descutner said that for now, he intends to focus on the goals that need to be met by fall. He said he does not plan to accept any additional compensation beyond his current salary for the interim position.
"I hope that the long-term benefits of the position will be to provide ongoing monitoring and strategic planning in relation to our academic goals as well as to facilitate quick turn-around on academic issues and concerns," she said.
Descutner's support will be key, Krendl said, as her office takes on its added responsibilities under the reorganization that President Roderick J. McDavis announced earlier this month. The structural changes bring the regional campuses and the offices of the Research, University Outreach, and the consolidated offices for Equity and Diversity under the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.
With the reorganization, McDavis charged Krendl and the deans with six primary goals: improve enrollment management; improve student success; streamline the transfer process; enhance academic research, scholarship and creative activity; further diversify the institution; and take full charge of the academic plan.
Asked to specify Descutner's strengths in helping to meet these goals, Krendl easily named several. In addition to the fact that he's recognized as an outstanding administrator and teacher, she said, of the six initiatives McDavis outlined, Descutner has been involved in nearly all. That includes working as a member of the diversity implementation team for Vision OHIO and overseeing retention and recruitment efforts -- which involve important projects such as learning communities, the Student Help Center and the First Year Experience.
As for his decision in taking on the role, Descutner, who was a professor in communication studies when Krendl was dean of the Scripps College of Communication, pointed to a strong commitment to the university's academic mission.
"I agreed because I so much want to find ways to create the optimal conditions that will allow faculty to thrive as teachers, researchers, artists and professionals and for students to reach their potential as scholars, leaders and citizens of the university community," he said. "Our greatest institutional strengths, apart from our history, setting and core values, are our excellent faculty, our outstanding academic programs and the exceptional undergraduate and graduate students who continually refresh our campus with their intelligence, zeal for learning and engagement in campus life."