Kent State University Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Todd Diacon has announced the reappointment of James L. Blank, Ph.D., as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Blank, who has been serving as interim dean since Nov. 1, 2012, will continue to hold the position through June 30, 2015.
â€œJim knows the university very well, he has been doing a good job and he has good ideas to move the college forward,â€ Diacon said. â€œAs the university undergoes a major campus renovation, we must move quickly yet carefully on large construction projects in the College of Arts and Sciences. We are investing $80 million in renovations to our science buildings, and Jim, who knows these buildings as well as anyone on campus, has agreed to stay on to oversee these and other pressing projects in the college.â€
Recognizing the vital importance of the science disciplines, Kent State is making renovations and improvements to the Science Mall on the Kent Campus a top priority under the â€œFoundations of Excellence: Building the Futureâ€ initiative. The goal of the initiative is to create the most outstanding academic experience for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the greater community enriched by the university. The $80-million investment in the sciences involves renovations to Cunningham Hall (biological sciences), Smith Hall (physics) and Williams Hall (chemistry), which are all a part of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Diacon added that Blank is the right leader for the college at this crucial time of campus transformation, noting Blankâ€™s vast knowledge of the university and the college.
â€œThe College of Arts and Sciences is at the heart of Kent Stateâ€™s academic excellence, and so it has been a privilege to serve as interim dean,â€ Blank said. â€œI look forward to continuing to work with the students, staff and faculty of the college to support its many missions.â€
A neuroscientist, Blank has served as professor and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. He has worked at Kent State for 25 years. Under Blankâ€™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 Stateâ€™s School of Biomedical Sciences, where he helped develop the collaborative doctoral program between Kent State and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Blank resides in Kent, Ohio.
Diacon said he expects to start a search for a permanent dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in fall 2014.
For more information about the College of Arts and Sciences, visit www.kent.edu/cas.
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