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Published: April 11, 2019 Author: University Communications and Marketing

Ohio University’s Executive Vice President and Provost, Dr. Chaden Djalali, announced today that Dr. Nicole Pennington, Dean of the University’s Southern campus, has been appointed Interim Executive Dean for Regional Higher Education, a position that became open after Dr. William “Bill” Willan announced his intention to retire on June 30, 2019.

Dean Pennington’s new appointment is effective May 1, 2019, which will afford the opportunity for her to work with Willan to ensure a seamless transition. In addition to her new role, she will continue to serve as Dean of OHIO’s Southern campus. 

Previously serving as co-chair of the President’s Regional Higher Education Task Force, Dean Pennington is poised to provide strategic oversight as the University continues efforts to create and implement an integrated model for regional, extension, online and Athens campus operations. In March, the Ohio University Board of Trustees passed a resolution accepting the recommendations of the Task Force and support to move towards a One OHIO integrated educational model.

In contemplation of the emerging model, Provost Djalali states that regional campuses are a vital part of the Ohio University ecosystem: “Our regional campuses provide valuable educational and economic benefits to their respective communities, and we have made it our priority to develop a sustainable educational model that will ensure that all of our campuses are able continue to add value within their communities and the Southeastern Ohio region. This is truly an exciting time for our entire University and the region we serve through our multiple locations. We are grateful to our Trustees for their continued support, and to all of you for engaging in and supporting this vital work.”

Provost Djalali is working with Dr. Willan, Dr. Pennington, and OHIO’s regional deans to ensure appropriate local leadership of all regional campuses. As the One OHIO University integration unfolds, leadership will continue discussion about how to best serve the needs of every campus community. Critical to that discussion is strong leadership at the Executive Dean level.

“Dean Pennington has played an integral role in our conversations related to One OHIO University,” said Provost Djalali. “She will provide a continuity in leadership to help us advance in our efforts to create a new legacy for the institution.” 

Dean Pennington is excited for the opportunity to collaborate with President M. Duane Nellis and Provost Djalali to develop and implement a strategic vision to support the evolution and improvement of regional higher education across all campuses. 

“The access and affordability mission of the regional campuses is very important to the communities that we serve,” said Dr. Pennington. “I believe in that mission and it is a privilege to lead these campuses in a time of transition. I look forward to working with the wonderful faculty and staff of the regional campuses and our Athens campus.”