By Mary Alice Casey
'Now and always, I will owe a debt of gratitude to Ohio University for all that it has given me and allowed me to experience.'
Kathy A. Krendl will step down as Ohio University's executive vice president and provost June 30, 2009, to assume the presidency of Otterbein College, a private liberal arts school of about 3,100 students in Westerville, Ohio.
Otterbein Board of Trustees Chair Tom Morrison announced Krendl's selection as the school's 20th president at a news conference this afternoon. The first woman president of Otterbein, Krendl will begin her new appointment July 1, 2009. She will succeed C. Brent DeVore, an Ohio University alumnus who has served as president for 25 years.
Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis expressed gratitude for Krendl's leadership and contributions in her 13 years at Ohio University. Before serving as executive vice president and provost, she led the Scripps College of Communication as dean for eight years.
"We congratulate Dr. Krendl and wish her much success as she takes the helm at Otterbein College next July," McDavis said. "We are grateful for her service to Ohio University and pay special tribute to her clear focus on academic excellence and her leadership in the development of Vision OHIO."
The university will launch a national search for Krendl's successor in early 2009, he said. McDavis anticipates that effort will result in a successful candidate being named by the time of her departure.
"Over the next several months, I will work with Kathy and our university community to ensure a smooth, strategic leadership transition for Ohio University's academic enterprise," he added.
Not an easy choice, she says
Krendl said the decision to accept the Otterbein position necessitated much soul-searching.
"I have been privileged to be part of the Ohio University community for 13 years. During that time I have had the chance to work with one of the nation's finest communities of scholars, students, staff and alumni," she said, adding that words cannot capture "the joy and the pride that I have experienced being part of an institution that bears witness every day to the transformational power of education."
"I have on many occasions spoken of the remarkable way in which Ohio University manages to successfully fulfill a 204-year-old mission of both excellence and access," she added. "When I reflect upon that legacy, I think of the countless ways in which I have seen the students, staff and faculty give so generously of their talents to create what is a place of promise."
Krendl said the Otterbein presidency gives her an opportunity to return to her higher education roots: She holds a bachelor's degree in English from Lawrence University, a small, liberal arts school in Appleton, Wisc.
"I am also being given the chance to grow my knowledge and abilities while adding to the ranks of women who serve as presidents of institutions of higher education," she said. "Teaching a class on women in leadership a few quarters ago, I reminded my students on more than one occasion of the necessity of taking on new challenges when the opportunity arises. The presidency of Otterbein is such an opportunity, and it is one that my work at an exceptional institution filled with talented, generous people has equipped me to undertake."
Founded in 1847, Otterbein is a comprehensive liberal arts institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It offers 56 majors and 37 minors. While primarily focused on undergraduate education, Otterbein also offers master's degrees in business administration, education and nursing as well as a continuing studies program for bachelor degree completion.
The college has been developing a strategic academic plan that Krendl will review and help implement. Other priorities of her presidency will include fundraising, enrollment management and broadening Otterbein's public presence regionally and nationally.
Work here continues
Krendl said she looks forward to the tasks at hand at Ohio University through June 2009.
"For the next seven months, I am grateful to have the chance to continue my work in the company of colleagues I value so highly," she said. "There will be challenges in the days ahead, and I will do all that is in my power to ensure that we meet them successfully."
Krendl said her major priorities in the coming months include helping to lead the university through upcoming budget challenges; meeting enrollment targets; furthering the quarters to semesters transition process; completing strategic planning with the regional campuses; furthering substantive progress on shared governance; and continuing to make progress on academic priorities in the Five Year Vision OHIO Implementation Plan.
Krendl has served as Ohio University's provost since August 2004, first on an interim basis and then officially beginning in April 2005 after a national search. Her role was expanded to include the duties of executive vice president in May 2007.
The university's chief academic officer, she oversees the university's academic enterprise within its 10 colleges and five regional campuses as well as 14 academic units and academic support offices.
Much to her credit
As provost and executive vice president, Krendl has pursued an agenda centered on strategic planning, enrollment management, student success, faculty development and retention, administrative reorganization, academic budgeting and inclusiveness.
She chaired the Presidential Task Force on the Future of Ohio University and oversaw a strategic planning process involving faculty, staff and students that led to the creation and implementation of the Vision OHIO academic plan, which lays out university priorities and goals for the next five years. Among her Vision OHIO accomplishments are a $6 million plan to improve faculty salaries, the creation of a Women's Center and increased attention to faculty development through establishment of the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Faculty Commons.
Before assuming her current role, Krendl served from 1996 to 2004 as dean of the Scripps College of Communication. In that role, she secured substantial additional resources for the college, created new opportunities for students and strengthened the bonds between the college and the region.
Under Krendl, the college increased the number of tenure-track faculty, raised admissions standards, grew its enrollment and tripled research and contract funding. She oversaw the initiation of new undergraduate and graduate programs in multimedia, the development of learning communities, the expansion of internship experiences, and the creation of a multi-media lab, the GRID Lab and the Global Leadership Community. She also continued to teach and direct dissertations.
Krendl came to Ohio University from Indiana University, where she was professor and chair of the Department of Telecommunications in the College of Arts and Sciences and later dean of the systemwide School of Continuing Studies. She holds a doctorate in communication from the University of Michigan and a master of arts degree in journalism from Ohio State University. Her research interests centered on media and learning.
Reflecting on her interactions with students, faculty and staff, and alumni, Krendl said, "Ohio University is a place that I hold dear -- filled with individuals who have enriched my life and the life of my family. Now and always, I will owe a debt of gratitude to Ohio University for all that it has given me and allowed me to experience."