Kent State Provost Announces New Appointments
Todd Diacon, Kent State University senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, today announced new leadership appointments in the Division of Academic Affairs. The Division of Academic Affairs is responsible for all academic programs at the university, including all of Kent State’s colleges, campuses and a variety of other initiatives.
James L. Blank, Ph.D., has been named interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. An expert in neuroscience, Blank currently serves as professor and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. He has worked at Kent State for 25 years. Under Blank’s leadership, the Department of Biological Sciences has grown in undergraduate and graduate students and in faculty. This growth has transformed the department into a leader in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education and research. Previously, he served as director of Kent State’s School of Biomedical Sciences, where he helped develop the collaborative doctoral program between Kent State and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
“Jim has a wealth of administrative experience and vast knowledge of Kent State,” Diacon said. “He knows the College of Arts and Sciences well and has led a very successful department in the college. I’m very excited he will be serving as interim dean.”
Blank is replacing Senior Associate Provost Timothy J. L. Chander, Ph.D., who has been serving as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and was recently named as the new provost of Towson University. Chandler will remain with Kent State through the end of the fall semester. Blank will begin transitioning into the interim dean position beginning Nov. 1 and undertake all roles of the position Jan. 1, 2013.
“Tim has been a treasure for Kent State, and we understand well why Towson chose him for this important position,” Diacon said of Chandler. “I especially wish to thank Tim for his warm welcome and sage advice, both of which eased my transition to Kent.”
A search committee for a new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences has been formed. The search committee is chaired by John Crawford, dean of Kent State’s College of the Arts, and hopes to have a new dean in place by July 1, 2013.
Diacon also announced that Said Sewell, Ph.D., who previously served as dean of Undergraduate Studies, has been appointed to the newly created position of assistant provost for Academic Affairs. In this position, he will direct the See You at College program to provide support to informal advisors of high school students (advisors such as youth pastors and Big Sister and Big Brother leaders). He also will help develop and implement articulation agreements, oversee the Male Initiative and represent the provost at public events. Sewell began this new position on Oct. 1.
“Said is a good fit to direct this new program to help train these informal advisors in giving good college prep advice to students,” Diacon said. “His terrific public speaking skills as well as his experience in diversity matters will boost our recruitment of diverse students and will help ensure their success once they reach the university.”
Eboni Pringle, assistant dean of Undergraduate Studies, has been named interim dean of Undergraduate Studies, effective Oct. 1. She has overseen the operations of the Office of Student Success programs and Destination Kent State programs in Undergraduate Studies and has previously led Undergraduate Studies on an interim basis. Spending most of her career at Kent State, she also has held positions in Residence Services, Student Financial Aid and the Office of Admissions.
“Eboni did an outstanding job as the interim executive director of Undergraduate Studies,” Diacon said of Pringle. “Under her watch, the retention rate of exploratory majors increased noticeably. We know she’ll continue to excel in providing the best experience for all of our undergraduate students.”
For more information about the Office of the Provost, visit www.kent.edu/provost.
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Photo of James L. Blank, Said Sewell and Eboni Pringle are available upon request.
Emily Vincent, firstname.lastname@example.org, 330-672-8595