Executive Dean for Regional Higher Education and Dean of Ohio University Southern Nicole Pennington announces intent to return to the classroom

Published: April 1, 2022 Author: Staff reports
Executive Dean Nicole Pennington

Ohio University Executive Dean for Regional Higher Education and Dean of OHIO Southern Nicole Pennington has announced her intent to step down from her current position effective June 30, 2022.

Pennington has served as the executive dean for regional higher education since spring 2019 and as dean of the Southern campus since July 2014.  She will be returning to her role as faculty in the School of Nursing during the 2022-2023 academic year.

“We are grateful to Dr. Pennington for her outstanding leadership for Regional Higher Education and the Southern campus,” Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs said.  “She served as co-chair of the One OHIO initiative and has led several key initiatives. Most importantly, she has always been committed to providing our students with outstanding learning opportunities and has remained steadfast in her dedication to serving our regional campus communities.”

During her time as the executive dean for regional higher education and dean of the Southern campus, Pennington helped to create a new leadership structure for the regional campuses while also realigning administrative units as part of One OHIO. The changes resulted in a significant cost savings of nearly $3 million and improved operations. Regional faculty also were aligned with Athens departments and schools.

Pennington focused on strengthening campus connections and exploring new areas of collaboration in the region. Other initiatives included:

  • The baccalaureate nursing program was launched at the Eastern campus and is slated to expand to the Lancaster campus this fall.  
  • The associate degree in medical technology program opened at the Southern campus.  
  • The Lancaster campus partnered with the Lancaster Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce to open the Fairfield Workforce Development Center to provide training opportunities to address workforce needs in the region.

Pennington said that while higher education has faced numerous challenges in the past few years, she is optimistic about Ohio University’s regional campuses and proud of how they serve the community. She is also enthusiastic about new scholarship opportunities such as the OHIO Regional Promise Program and the benefits that the OHIO Guarantee+ program will have for OHIO students.

“Regional campuses provide access and affordability to so many who would otherwise not have the opportunity to fulfill their educational aspirations. I am grateful for the experience of working with the wonderful faculty and staff at all of our campus locations serving the regional communities,” Pennington said. “I am also appreciative of the tremendous support from the administration of Ohio University and for everything that I have learned from them along the way. “

A transition plan will be announced prior to June 30. 

Ohio University Regional Higher Education serves more than 5,000 students each year through the Chillicothe, Eastern, Lancaster, Southern and Zanesville campuses.

OHIO's regional campuses provide students throughout Ohio with access to a student-centered learning environment in their community, offering the quality education of an Ohio University degree.