Kent State’s James Blank Appointed New Dean of Its College of Arts and Sciences
James L. Blank, Ph.D., interim dean of Kent State University’s College of Arts and Sciences, has been named the new dean of the college. The announcement was made by Todd Diacon, Kent State’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. Blank, who has been serving as interim dean since Nov. 1, 2012, becomes the permanent dean of the college effective Jan. 1, 2015.
“We are fortunate to have Jim Blank at Kent State,” Diacon said. “He was chosen after a national search, during which he demonstrated his vast knowledge of academia in general, and arts and sciences in particular. He is that rare person who combines success as a scientist with a firm and deep understanding of the humanities. In short, he will be an outstanding leader at Kent State.”
A neuroscientist, Blank has worked at Kent State for more than 25 years. Prior to serving as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, he served as professor and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. Under Blank’s leadership, the Department of Biological Sciences grew 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. Blank resides in Kent, Ohio.
“I am honored to have been chosen to serve as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and I am excited about opportunities in the college and across the university to provide our students with a world-class academic experience that will enhance their lives and our futures,” Blank said. “I look forward to working together as colleagues as we strive to meet the challenges, to serve our mission, and to fulfill our aspirations as Kent State University.”
Blank’s leadership of the College of Arts and Sciences at Kent State comes at a crucial and exciting time. Acknowledging that all undergraduate students are required to take science courses as part of their Kent State education, and that Kent State’s faculty conduct world-class scientific research that advances knowledge and contributes to Ohio’s economic development, the university has made a $94.75-million investment in science facilities that will benefit virtually every member of the university community. The investment, a part of Kent State’s historic Foundations of Excellence: Building the Future initiative, includes the construction of a $37.5-million Integrated Sciences Building for the College of Arts and Sciences and $57.2 million in renovations to the existing science facilities on the Kent Campus’ Science Mall – Cunningham Hall (biological sciences), Smith Hall (physics) and Williams Hall (chemistry) – which are all a part of the College of Arts and Sciences.
For more information about Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences, visit www.kent.edu/cas.
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Eric Mansfield, emansfie [at] kent.edu, 330-672-2797
Emily Vincent, evincen2 [at] kent.edu, 330-672-8595