James Blank reappointed as interim dean of College of Arts and Sciences

Photo courtesy of Kent State University .

Photo courtesy of Kent State University .

Heather Kunkle

Kent State University Provost Todd Diacon announced the reappointment of James L. Blank, Ph.D., as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Tuesday. Blank, who has been serving as interim dean since November, will continue to hold the position until June 30, 2015.

Blank filled the position in place of Timothy Chandler. Blank said the College of Arts and Sciences is the academic heart of the university, and for him to have the opportunity for positive impact on students, staff and faculty is significant.

“It was a privilege to even be considered for this position,” Blank said.

Blank has worked for Kent State for 25 years. Before holding the position of interim dean, he served as a professor and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, where he helped develop the collaborative doctoral program between Kent State and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and assisted in making the Department of Biological Sciences a leader in STEM research.

While Blank continues to hold his position as interim dean, he said he plans to promote the College of Arts and Sciences.

“My desire is to help make the College of Arts and Sciences a showcase for academic excellence,” Blank said. “This includes not only students in Ohio and elsewhere in the U.S., but also internationally where the university has developed an outstanding academic reputation.”

Blank will serve as interim dean of the college at a time when decisions about renovating the sciences facilities is one of the most important issues the college will face. He will also support the efforts in the recruiting the next generation of young scientists and scholars to Kent State.

This spring, Blank said a key priority is to assist departments in the college to continue to fulfill their many academic plans and aspirations.

“There are many aspects to this priority,” Blank said. “It ranges from student engagement and success to fostering educational and research excellence, to making sure the physical conditions of our infrastructure meet the needs of students, staff and faculty.”

Todd Diacon, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said Blank oversees the largest college and directs the efforts to renovate the science buildings.

“As dean, Blank will make decisions about how to best employ the college’s resources to improve the university,” Diacon said.

Diacon said Blank is right for the job because he has the experience to make important decisions that will move the university forward

Raymond Craig, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said Blank is a perfect fit for interim dean because he has significant institutional knowledge and experience with the university.

“He has a strong sense of the mission of the college,” Craig said. “He is broad-gauged, which is what one wants a dean to be.”

Contact Heather Kunkle at [email protected].