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OUS Dean search narrowed to five

IRONTON — The search for the next dean at Ohio University Southern has been narrowed down to five candidates, one of which is current interim dean Bill Willan.

The names of the five finalists, all with college and university administration backgrounds, were released Wednesday by OUS and associate biology professor Mike Millay, who serves as dean committee chairman.

Besides Willan, the four other finalists are Richard Thomas Bothel, Jeanne M. Clerc, Bashar W. Hanna and Gregory S. Sojka.

The five came from a pool of 62 applicants, according to OUS public information officer Pamela Wise.

Those 62 were narrowed down to 10 who were reduced to five following telephone interviews by members of the university’s 12-member search committee.

The search committee is comprised of six faculty members from OUS, a standing dean from another Ohio University campus and several members of the local community.

Currently serving as the Executive Director of Continuing and Distance Education at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, Richard Bothel also had stints at the University of North Carolina Pembroke, Troy State University and West Virginia Northern Community College.

Bothel also served as Dean of Student Services and Executive Director of Development at the non-profit United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Ala. in the mid 1990’s. He received his undergraduate degree at Butler University and both his masters and doctorate degrees from Ball State University in 1990 and 1992 respectfully.

Jeanne Clerc comes in as a finalist while serving as a professor of educational leadership at Western Illinois University. In her five years at the Moline, Ill. campus, Clerc also has served as assistant provost. She also has worked at Eastern Michigan University and Cuyahoga Community College in Parma, Ohio.

With her undergraduate from Saginaw Valley State College, Clerc received her masters from Central Michigan University in 1977 and doctorate from the University of Houston in 1983.

Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Kutztown University since 2006, Bashar Hanna also was the founding dean of academic affairs at DeVry University in Ft. Washington, Penn.

A professional volleyball player in the early 1990s, Bashar received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees along with his doctorate from Temple University.

Residing in Bidwell, Ohio, Gregory Sojka has been with the University of Rio Grande since 1994 in roles ranging from Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs to President. Sojka currently serves as Special Projects Consultant to the Board of Trustees.

With a doctorate in English from the University of Indiana, Sojka has also been employed at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, University of Wyoming, Wichita State University, North Carolina State University along with his alma mater.

The paired down list was then invited to participate in a personal visit to both the Ironton and Proctorville campuses for a two-day interview along with spending a day at the main Athens campus, Wise said.

The in-person visit allowed each candidate to interact with OUS faculty, staff and student and visa versa.

Hanna was interviewed in person on May 12-13, Bothel on May 18-19 and Sojka’s interview ends today.

Willan is scheduled for his in-person interview May 26-27 with Clerc going on May 28-29.

Once the narrowed pool of candidates make their visit to the campus, the search committee will then meet again to gather feedback and slim the list down to between one and three finalists.

This list will then be sent to Ohio University Provost Dr. Kathy Krendl who will make the final decision.

Wise said the pending start date could be as soon as July 1.

The search for a full-time dean follows the position being filled in an interim basis since January 2008 when Dr. Bill Willan was appointed to the post following Dan Evans leaving the post.

Willan had served as associate vice-president of outreach in the Ohio University system.