Ohio University announced Thursday that Sara Helfrich, the current senior associate dean for research and graduate students in the Patton College of Education, will be the interim dean of Patton beginning June 16. 

The appointment comes after current dean Renée Middleton’s announcement she will be stepping down from her position in June. 

In 2010, Helfrich began working at OU and has taught courses on reading methods, instruction and assessment, language and literacy development and children's literature. Prior to working as the senior associate dean, Helfrich was coordinator of the reading program within the Department of Teacher Education, according to a university news release.

Helfrich brought the Three Minute Thesis competition to OU in her time spent as faculty fellow for Graduate Student Professional Development and was in the first cohort of the Mid-American Conference Academic Leadership and Development Program. 

Additionally, Helfrich served as the vice chair of Faculty Senate, chair of University Curriculum Council and as a member of the Reimagining General Education Task Force, according to the release.

Helfrich has also worked with the Center for Clinical Practice in Education, working closely with undergraduate teacher candidates and graduate teaching fellows in partner schools in Southeast Ohio. 

Helfrich will remain the interim dean until a permanent dean of Patton College is named, according to the release. If one is not named, Helfrich will serve as the interim dean through the end of the 2021-2022 school year.

“The opportunity to serve Ohio University and The Patton College of Education as interim dean is a great honor,” Helfrich said in the release. “I look forward to continued collaboration with our dedicated faculty, staff, and students as we advance the college’s long-standing contributions to educational excellence through teaching, learning, and research.” 

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