Charles Bird, vice provost for university outreach, has announced plans to transition to retirement beginning June 14.
Bird?s career at Ohio University spans 15 years. He began his tenure at Ohio University in 1995 as dean of the Lancaster campus. Four years later, he became vice president of regional higher education. He held that position until 2007, when it became part of the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. At that time, Bird, as vice provost for university outreach, took on the challenge of developing Ohio University?s ability to offer high quality distance learning.
Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit stated that since her arrival she has been pleased with Bird?s leadership and accomplishments.
?Charlie?s work ethic is superb and he understands the importance of keeping on top of developments in the rapidly changing field of distance education,? she said. ?As a result, he has created invaluable opportunities that have extended our educational reach, maintained our commitment to academic quality, and established new sources of revenue.?
Bird?s work in University Outreach has resulted in more than 1,300 students being enrolled in new online degree programs and an increase of more than 30 percent in credit hours completed in graduate programs offered outside of the Athens campus.
One example of the type of program that Bird helped to establish is the Community College Partnership Program, which provides an online bachelor completion program in conjunction with nine community colleges in Ohio. Through the program, students can build on an associate degree to complete a bachelor?s degree from Ohio University.
The collaboration helps to meet the diverse and unique needs of working professionals who want to advance their education and their careers. The program currently has 166 students and is growing rapidly. It is a partnership model that has been recognized by Chancellor Fingerhut as an effective means of providing access and value to Ohio?s residents.
?Much of the credit for Ohio University?s ability to be an exemplary contributor to the governor?s goals of making higher education accessible and affordable to more Ohioans should be given to Charlie,? said Benoit.
Other programs that Bird helped to develop include the online R.N.-to-B.S.N. launched in spring 2009 and the online Master of Health Administration launched in winter 2009. Both programs have drawn considerable interest and enrollments with the headcount in the R.N.-to B.S.N. program expected to increase from 800 students to 1000 students during winter quarter.
Bird indicated that he has taken great satisfaction from his work at Ohio University and most recently as the vice provost for university outreach.
"Being involved in the development and delivery of distance learning programs has been one of the most enjoyable, creative experiences I've had in administration. It has been exciting to see these programs come alive and generate significant enrollment."
President Roderick J. McDavis noted that Bird?s accomplishments were far-reaching and of lasting significance.
"Charlie Bird's wealth of knowledge, expertise and commitment to Ohio University set an example for us all,? McDavis said. ?He has dedicated himself to furthering the mission of Ohio University in ways that lift up the southeast Ohio region. His work has created a legacy that will continue to have a positive effect on individuals and the region for generations to come."
Bird will continue his administrative work in fall quarter 2010 by serving as an assistant director in the Quarters to Semesters Transition Office. He is a tenured faculty member in the Department of Psychology on the Athens campus and has taught throughout his administrative career. After fall quarter, Bird will teach as part of the early retirement program.