By Monica Chapman
Suitcases and moving vans are a common sight around campus this time of year. But it's not every year that the summer move-out includes the university's top academic officer.
Executive Vice President and Provost Kathy Krendl recently stepped down from her post at Ohio University to assume the presidency of Otterbein College, a private liberal arts school in Westerville, Ohio. She begins her new position July 1.
Krendl leaves behind 13 years of service to Ohio University, including eight years as dean of the Scripps College of Communication.
"I told Kathy when I was appointed dean that I would have absolutely no excuses if the college didn't continue to excel, because she handed it to me in such extraordinary condition," recalled Greg Shepherd, Krendl's successor as dean of the Scripps College of Communication. "She was an exceptional leader of the college who made it, in virtually all ways, a better academic unit."
As dean, Krendl cultivated alumni and resources, fostered cross-disciplinary initiatives, supported the hiring of world-class faculty and made great strides in creating a sense of identity for the college, all while keeping a close watch on student success, Shepherd said.
In the role of provost and executive vice president, she pursued an agenda centered on strategic planning, enrollment management, student success, faculty development and retention, administrative reorganization, academic budgeting and inclusiveness.
"There will be much to her legacy at Ohio University, but certainly at the top of that list will be Vision Ohio," President Roderick McDavis said at the Spring Appreciation Reception, where representatives from the Provost's Office, Faculty Senate and Administrative Senate offered sentiments on Krendl's many contributions to Ohio University.
Krendl will returned to campus on Saturday, when she performed the annual commencement exercises – the last of her official duties at Ohio University. In an interview, Krendl offered reflections on her time at Ohio University and insight into her future plans.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishments during your time at Ohio University and why?
The Vision Ohio process, involving all of the groups across campus, set the course for working together to establish university priorities. I consider this a major transformation for the institution. From making significant investments in faculty salaries to addressing our enrollment management, recruitment and retention challenges, the plan identified aspirations and goals to improve Ohio University. Each year we have measured our progress toward meeting these goals, and resources have been targeted for those areas that will enhance the quality of Ohio University. Through the priorities that we have set and the work that has been done, we have positioned the university as a place that values both excellence and access.
I am also proud of the work that has been done in envisioning the future of the regional campuses. The regional campuses are an essential part of the broader mission of Ohio University and it was always energizing to work with the faculty, staff and students at Eastern, Southern, Lancaster, Chillicothe and Zanesville.
What will you miss most about Ohio University?
There are many things I will miss about Ohio University. It is, indeed, a singular place. I have enjoyed working with students throughout my tenure here, but I will miss my colleagues and friends most. We have built an impressive group of deans, who collaborate well with one another, and the Provost's staff are all dedicated and talented individuals. The Provost's Office has worked to build partnerships with groups and planning units across campus in order to serve students more effectively, and people have been very responsive and supportive of our efforts. I will miss working with all of the good and talented faculty and staff here.
What are you most looking forward to at Otterbein?
Because it is much smaller, Otterbein offers the opportunity to work closely with students in addition to working with faculty and staff as members of an integrated community. It is a very student-centered place. I attended a small liberal arts college as an undergraduate, and I have always envisioned serving such an institution at some point in my career. People are dedicated to the institution and share a strong sense of ownership of its mission and future. There is also a very strong commitment to community service and outreach beyond the boundaries of the campus. Community service is an integral component of their mission. They work very closely with the city to improve the quality of life for both Otterbein students and residents of Westerville. There is agreement that what is good for one is likely good for the other, and conversations focus on mutual benefits.
What have you learned during these past 13 years that will shape how you govern at Otterbein?
I have learned so much from so many people it's hard to know where to begin. I have sought advice and counsel from former provosts and presidents, and I have listened to many diverse perspectives from various groups on many issues. But I think the lessons that I will take with me to Otterbein are very much about first understanding and respecting the institution and then working to advance its mission consistent with that understanding. That approach requires certainty that there is a good match between one's own values and the core values of the institution. I feel confident that I am a good match for Otterbein College.
What are your hopes for the future of Ohio University?
My hope for Ohio University is that its future will be every bit as interesting and unique as its past. It's a fascinating place. For over two centuries the institution has forged new directions in higher education. I would love to see it emerge from the 21st century as an institution that realizes its own promise.