Meet Interim President
Appointed as Dean of University College and Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education in 2001, David Descutner was a Professor in the School of Communication Studies where he started as a faculty member in 1979. He served in the School 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 received local and national grants in support of his scholarship in rhetorical theory and criticism, political communication, and the philosophy of communication, and his work was published in scholarly books and in state, regional, and national journals. He served two terms in Faculty Senate and was a member of the Senate’s Executive Committee during the administrations of President Ping and President Glidden.
Recognized as University Professor in 1986 and 1999, he also was named Outstanding Tutor by the Honors Tutorial College in 1996 and Outstanding Faculty Advocate by the Regional Campuses in 2005. He received the L.J. Hortin award in 2000 for faculty excellence in student mentoring. He directed 50 dissertations and served on more than 75 doctoral and master’s committees in four of the academic colleges. As Dean he was responsible for first-year programs and academic support programs, including Bobcat Student Orientation, the Academic Advancement Center, the Allen Student Help Center, Student Accessiblity Services, as well as the Army and Air Force ROTC programs. As Dean he also managed the undergraduate learning part of the 1804 Fund, and he collaborated with the Ohio University Foundation to launch the Konneker Fund for Learning and Discovery in 2012.
He was the university’s representative to the Ohio Board of Regents on undergraduate issues from 2001-2015. From 2004-2007 he co-chaired the university’s enrollment planning initiatives, from 2007-08 he managed the Division of Diversity, Access, and Equity, and from 2007-09 he chaired the Vision Ohio Steering Committee. He was named Executive Vice Provost in 2009. From 2012-2014 he served as Interim Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion. In 2012 he was inducted into the Army ROTC Hall of Fame in honor of his support of that nationally recognized program, and from 2012-2014 he played a key role in establishing the Abraham and Greenfield Veterans and Military Student Services Center. 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 to the Executive Dean in The Heritage College.
He 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.