Ohio University Vice President for Research and Creative Activity and Graduate College Dean Joseph Shields has been appointed interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, according to a university news release.

Robert Frank, who currently serves as dean of the college, announced earlier this month that this semester will be his last as dean. Following a sabbatical, Frank will return to OU in 2019 to be a psychology professor, according to a March 6 university news release.

Frank is stepping down from his position for "personal reasons," according to a university news release.

Shields, a professor in the department of physics and astronomy, has worked for the university since 1996. He holds a bachelor of science degree in physics and astronomy from the University of Kansas and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California at Berkeley. 

“Joe’s leadership as vice president for research and creative activity and dean of the graduate college has been critical to the university’s mission,” OU President Duane Nellis said in a news release. “Joe has demonstrated great stewardship on behalf of Ohio’s faculty and students, and I am grateful for his willingness to serve in this role.”

David Koonce, associate professor of industrial and systems engineering and Graduate College associate dean, will serve as interim vice president for research and creative activity and dean of the graduate college until Shields returns to the position. 

“As the university’s largest college, Arts and Sciences is central to Ohio University's transformative learning experience,” interim Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs said in the news release. “We are confident that Joe will provide leadership to support priorities for continued advancement in teaching, research and scholarship, and faculty development while the search for the next dean is underway.”

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