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New OUS dean right choice

Ohio University Southern’s first choice ended up being its best one.

The university confirmed Wednesday that Dr. Bill Willan can drop the word “interim” from in front of his title of university dean, bringing needed closure and creating stability needed for continued progress.

Willan took over as interim dean of the Ironton campus and its satellite branches in January 2008 after Dan Evans took on a new role overseeing all of OU’s regional campuses.

It didn’t take Willan long to win over the staff and get involved in the community.

And that is why the university made the right decision to give Willan the opportunity to continue to lead the campus that averages 1,800 students and approximately 100 employees.

While having the experience needed from serving in a variety of roles within the OU and other educational systems, perhaps most importantly, Bill Willan understands southern Ohio.

He quickly got involved in various organizations like Rotary. Willan continued to find ways for the university to offer its resources to the community. From public meetings to concerts to educational programs, OUS remains a vital part of Lawrence County.

University officials touted Willan’s success during the interim period which included supporting dual enrollment and recruiting initiatives at the campus that have contributed to enrollment growth of more than 9 percent in the past academic year.

In addition to working to develop new degree programs, Willan also established a green campus initiative that includes recycling and energy reduction.

OU took more than 5-months during the actual search process that included scrutinizing more than 60 candidates.

Still, Willan came out on top.

That is a testament to the university’s diligence in seeking a new leader and also of Willan’s ability to be that person.