David Descutner

David Descutner

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Ohio University Board of Trustees appoints Dr. David Descutner interim president

Descutner has served the University in many capacities since 1979


The Ohio University Board of Trustees today appointed Dr. David Descutner as interim president of the University, effective Feb. 18, 2017. 

Before his retirement from OHIO in 2015, Dr. Descutner served as the dean of University College and executive vice provost for undergraduate education. A professor of communication studies, Dr. Descutner started his career with Ohio University as a member of the faculty in 1979. He was recognized numerous times for his teaching and mentoring, as well as for his advocacy on behalf of the regional campus faculty, and he served two terms on Faculty Senate.

“David Descutner is well-known and respected in many circles here at Ohio University and will make a great interim president,” Board of Trustees Chairman David Wolfort said. “The Board is confident that Dr. Descutner will transition into this new role effortlessly and provide stability to the institution as we finalize our search for our 21st president. We are thankful for his continued commitment to Ohio University.”   

As dean of University College, Descutner worked with Student Affairs, the Registrar’s Office, Enrollment Management, University Libraries and Student Senate, among others, to help Ohio University receive military-friendly school designation and to establish the James Abraham and Arlene Greenfield Veterans and Military Student Services Center. He managed the undergraduate learning part of the 1804 Fund, and he also collaborated with The Ohio University Foundation to launch the Konneker Fund for Learning and Discovery in 2012.

Descutner also served as chair of the Vision OHIO Steering Committee, and from 2012-14 was the interim vice provost for diversity and inclusion. He partnered with University Libraries to establish the Ohio Fellows Program in 2012.

“I am honored to serve as interim president of Ohio University,” said Descutner. “I have been proud to be a member of the University community since I taught my first classroom full of students in 1979, and I do not take this role lightly. I am committed to providing stability and leadership as we continue through this transitional phase toward the end of selecting our 21st president.” 

During his time at OHIO, Descutner also served in the School of Communication Studies as director of studies for the Honors Tutorial College, as director of the undergraduate program, as director of the graduate program, and as interim director of the school. He was responsible for first-year experience programs and academic support programs, including Bobcat Student Orientation, the Learning Communities Program, the Academic Advancement Center, the Allen Student Help Center, Student Accessibility Services, as well as the Army and Air Force ROTC programs. He was the University’s representative to the Ohio Board of Regents on undergraduate issues from 2001-2015.

After retiring in 2015, he was named interim chair of the Department of Social Medicine in the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. He currently is the special assistant for faculty affairs and academic planning to the executive dean in the Heritage College. 

Dr. Descutner and his spouse, Dr. DeLysa Burnier, a professor in Ohio University’s Department of Political Science since 1983, have been very active in philanthropic endeavors with Ohio University, the University of Illinois, Slippery Rock State University, and many local nonprofit entities. He is a member of the board for United Campus Ministry. He earned his bachelor's degree from Slippery Rock State University and his master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois.

As announced to the University community on Dec. 9, 2016, the University’s 20th president, Dr. Roderick J. McDavis, has accepted a position as managing principal and chief executive officer of AGB Search effective March 1, 2017. His final day at Ohio University will be Feb. 17, 2017.