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Dean candidate plans for research and diversity increase

The interim dean of the Graduate College spoke at the first of several open forums to be held by the search committee to select the new dean.

Joe Shields, interim vice president of research and dean of Ohio University’s Graduate College, spoke about his qualifications and plans for the position in front of about 30 faculty members in Grover Center yesterday.

Shields is one of three finalists for the dean position and has served as interim dean since the departure of former dean Rathindra Bose.

Charles Smith, head of OU’s Professional Playwriting Program and a member of the search committee, said the candidates have been asked to speak so faculty members can hear their visions for the position.

Shields started his speech by explaining his experience and qualifications. In addition to his work at OU, he has held faculty and research positions at Ohio State University and Arizona State University.

Shields has worked in the astrophysics department at OU since 1996 and said he will work to bring his success in the department to the dean’s office.

“A key to success is hiring outstanding faculty to help better the program,” he said.

He added that bringing in grant money is also needed for the success of the college.

Last year, Shields brought in $5 million in grant money to the astrophysics department. He also helped the department become the largest doctoral program at OU.

The program has students and faculty from more than 30 countries, but Shields said he would like to do more.

“We need to do more to recruit diverse and international students,” he said, adding that women are underrepresented in the department.

In addition to diversifying the college’s students, Shields said he would like to diversify the college’s work on campus.

“It is important that the vice president is able to work effectively with people across the university,” he said.

Faculty at the forum expressed concerns about the use of the research budget.

“A big part of that is to continue speaking about the value of research at this university,” Shields said.

Shields added that research is the most important aspect of the Graduate College and that he hopes to increase research opportunities for faculty and students.

“We aren’t a community college,” he said. “Research is important.”

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