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Executive Vice President and Provost Chaden Djalali speaks in Baker Theater. (FILE)

The first candidate for executive vice president and provost came to Athens on Monday

Chaden Djalali came to Athens to talk about why he wants to be the next Ohio University executive vice president and provost on Monday in Baker Center Theater.

Djalali, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa, is also a professor in the department of physics and astronomy. He has made his way up the ranks of leadership in higher education, having started out in research at the Orsay Nuclear Physics Institute in Paris. 

“I feel that I still have the fire in the belly, which is not an ulcer, to continue and I think that from my experience, and finding the right institution with the right mission, with the right team, we can really make changes and try to look at the challenges against us as opportunities,” Djalali said. 

Djalali is applying as provost at OU because he believes in the value of public higher education and the research mission of public universities.

“My vision of what a successful university is for the 21st century is a strong core of liberal arts interacting with cutting-edge professional schools with varying interdisciplinaries,” Djalali said. 

He fielded questions from faculty and administrators about university budgeting, sexual misconduct and local economic development. 

When asked about his budget priorities during a time of decreased funding from the state, Djalali said that one of the most important things the university can do is maintain public access. 

“This most important thing is to have total transparency in terms of where the money is coming (from), and an explanation, for example, of what kinds of things … we are doing with the state,” he said. 

Djalali said shared governance is “shared responsibility” that leads to informed decisions by consulting the largest possible number of people. 

The University of Iowa has seen an increase in sexual misconduct reporting along with the rest of the nation. Djalali said the University of Iowa is “really working overtime” to make sure there is due process for the accused. 

“(Sexual misconduct is) a serious issue, but we are overwhelmed by the number of cases coming our way,” Djalali said. “We have to hire people to handle this properly … this is an important issue.” 

Djalali noted that the university must create an infrastructure to provide faculty and students with what they need. 

“You encourage the translation of research and scholarship into actually creating,” he said. “It is vital to us to show that we are an economic engine.”


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