Correction appended.

University College dean and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Elizabeth Sayrs was named Ohio University’s interim executive vice president and provost Friday following the departure of David Descutner. 

Descutner, who was named interim executive vice president and provost in the summer of 2017, announced in December he would be stepping down due to a “personal medical situation.” 

In a letter to faculty and staff, OU President Duane Nellis wrote that Descutner’s medical condition required his full attention for a complete recovery. The next steps, he wrote, would be announced in early 2018. 

“Dr. Sayrs was an obvious choice for me as she has proven to be a highly-valued and trusted member of the institutional leadership team,” Nellis said in a news release. “I know she will excel in this position just as she has in every other position in which she has ever been asked to serve.”

The university is engaged in a nationwide search for its next executive vice president and provost. The seat was vacated in May by Pam Benoit, who accepted a position at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

Sayrs is the co-chair of the 22-member search committee charged with assisting search firm Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates in appointing a new executive vice president and provost. 

According to a news release, Sayrs will develop a transition plan later this month to find a “qualified individual” to serve in her current role. The university will notify the campus of Sayrs’ selection at a later date. 

Sayrs will begin as interim executive vice president and provost Jan. 16. 


Correction: A previous version of this report misstated one of Elizabeth Sayrs' titles. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.

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