Robert Frank

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Frank named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit announced the appointment of Robert Frank as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences effective Aug. 1.

Frank was selected to lead the University’s largest college during the course of a national search. He is a professor of psychology and is currently associate dean for research and graduate studies in the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Cincinnati.

Benoit indicated that Frank’s leadership experience and his deep understanding of and appreciation for the contributions and possibilities inherent in the liberal arts and sciences make him well suited for the dean’s position.

“Dr. Frank embodies all the best traditions of the College. He is a scholar-teacher who understands the value and necessity of having a multidisciplinary community grounded in curiosity, discourse, and rigorous analysis at the heart of a large public university,” said Benoit.
Benoit noted that having spent most of her career as a faculty member in a college of arts and sciences, she experienced first-hand how a creative and inspiring dean can engender collaboration and excellence in a large, diverse unit.

She indicated that Frank was well prepared to excel in the dean’s role.

“In the course of his distinguished career at Cincinnati, Dr. Frank has demonstrated his capacity to be an imaginative and engaging leader. He will be a great asset to the College and to the University.”

Reflecting on the search process Frank said, “This autumn has been a very exciting time for me as I learned more about Ohio University and the College of Arts and Sciences. I have always had a positive opinion of the University, and this opinion was only enhanced by my interactions with students, faculty and staff during the recruitment process.”

In addition to his current role, Frank has served at Cincinnati as the interim dean of the Graduate School, associate dean of the Graduate School, and associate vice president and associate university dean in the Office of Research and Advanced Studies.

Frank received a B.A. in psychology and philosophy from Allegheny College, an M.A. in psychology from the University of Cincinnati, and a Ph.D. in experimental psychology with an emphasis in neuroscience from the University of Cincinnati.

He has a substantial record of research as reflected in peer-reviewed publications, funded research, and direction of master’s and doctoral students. Frank’s scholarship is interdisciplinary in nature, involving both biology and psychology, and focuses on taste and smell perception. The University of Cincinnati honored Frank’s work through a Faculty Achievement Award given in recognition of his significant scholarly contributions.

Through his recent research on chemoreception, Frank has had the opportunity to explore brain function and how an increased understanding of smell may assist in the detection of neurological illnesses.

Frank was a founding partner in CompuSniff, LLC, which was formed in 2002 to develop a medical device designed to help diagnose olfactory disorders that could be harbingers of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. The device was based on research conducted by Frank and a colleague in the Department of Cell Biology. The Sniff Magnitude Test developed by the company was named one of the best new inventions of 2007 by Popular Science.

While working in an administrative role, Frank has maintained an active laboratory involving both graduate and undergraduate students. He is a strong believer in the importance of undergraduate research and has played an active role at Cincinnati in promoting research opportunities for undergraduates in McMicken and other sectors of the university.

Frank expressed appreciation at being given the opportunity to serve as dean.

“I am thrilled to be coming to Ohio as dean of A&S, and look forward to working together with students, faculty and staff in our collective pursuit of excellence in teaching, research and service.”

The college that Frank will lead was established in 1936. It consists of 19 departments and a variety of other interdisciplinary programs, research centers, and institutes. In 2010, the college had 303 full-time tenure-track faculty, 4,266 undergraduates and 846 graduate students. The college offers 32 traditional and 50 special curricula majors, 29 minors, and 11 certificate programs. 

The foundational instruction for the entire university, delivered through the general education and liberal arts curriculum, is centered in the departments and programs of the College of Arts and Sciences. The college also provides the primary instruction for approximately one-third of the majors on campus as well as 54 percent of the undergraduate credit hours on the Athens campus. In addition, it has a variety of masters programs and 8 departments that offer doctoral degrees.