Nicole Pennington, dean of the Ohio University Southern campus, will serve as the interim dean for regional higher education.

Pennington will continue to hold her position of dean of the OU Southern campus. She will begin her new position as dean for regional higher education May 1. That date will allow for Pennington to work with current executive dean for regional higher education, Bill Willan, before he retires June 30.

Pennington has been working with OU’s regional higher education before she took on her title of dean at OU’s Southern campus. She was formerly co-chair of the President’s Regional Higher Education Task Force. 

That task force helped make recommendations to the administration on how to make a sustainable multi-campus university model. Recommendations included uniting workers of the same departments across all campuses and creating a regional campus leadership team. Those recommendations, and more that the task force made, were approved at the March Board of Trustees meeting.

Pennington’s time as interim dean will take place during a period where OU is placing greater emphasis on its regional campuses. Trustees also approved the implementation of a One OHIO model where administration will consider changes for how to make sure the needs of all campuses are equally met.

OU Executive Vice President and Provost Chaden Djalali announced Pennington’s new position Thursday. Djalali said that Pennington’s position is critical to the One OHIO model and he will work closely with her. 

“Dean Pennington has played an integral role in our conversations related to One OHIO University,” said Djalali in a media release. “She will provide a continuity in leadership to help us advance in our efforts to create a new legacy for the institution.”

Pennington said that she is excited to fill this position during a time to transition towards the One OHIO model.

“The access and affordability mission of the regional campuses is very important to the communities that we serve,” said Pennington said in the media release. “I believe in that mission and it is a privilege to lead these campuses in a time of transition. I look forward to working with the wonderful faculty and staff of the regional campuses and our Athens campus.”