A Faculty Focus


Duane Nellis has had open communication with faculty and staff since he has arrived at OU

Sarah M. Penix / For The Post

Ohio University President Duane Nellis has already made an impression on faculty members, who say he is increasing communication between faculty and his office.


Prior to coming to OU, President Nellis served as president of the University of Idaho and Texas Tech University, where he improved the schools’ enrollment numbers and support for faculty and student endeavors.


“Dr. Nellis is really committed to being as in touch as he possibly can with this community to take a look at what is done everyday,” Faculty Senate Vice Chair David Thomas said. “I’ll be walking with him through a building … and he takes off into the kitchen to meet all of the kitchen help.”


Thomas called Nellis a “real academic,” meaning that he is not only well qualified, but also addresses real issues of concern to the administration.


During his previous presidential terms, Nellis has been involved with faculty and students through being in the classroom and co-editing an international journal in satellite remote sensing, his specialty area.


“I love students, and I love interacting with my faculty colleagues. True, I am an administrator in my role as President, but first, I am an academic. I hope that this mindset will set the tone of what I hope will be the future (at OU),” Nellis said in an email.


Since taking office in June, Nellis has reached out to senate leaders, faculty, staff and students individually. During the search for an interim provost and vice president, Nellis personally called the chairs of senates to ask about who they thought would best fill that position.


Faculty Senate Chair Joe McLaughlin said Nellis has been “excellent” at communicating with faculty.


“He’s just been very inclusive, and I keep talking to faculty who are talking about, ‘Guess who came to our event?’ or, ‘Guess who showed up in our department?’ ” McLaughlin said. “He’s just out and about, and he seems to be enjoying himself.”

Faculty Senate

Michael Swensen | FILE

Faculty discuss different ideas for the campus and its leaders at their Faculty Senate Meeting.


Senate leaders feel that Nellis is interested in regular meetings because he wants to have a good working relationship with all five senates. Nellis was similarly involved at Texas Tech.


“(Nellis) wanted to make sure that (Texas Tech University) students and faculty knew he was involved,” Texas Tech spokesman Chris Cook said. “And I don’t mean involved by overreaching, but that he was going to be seen, he was going to be present at their events. ... He wanted them to know that he was accessible to everyone.”


Nellis has demonstrated that at OU through communication with university constituents and public forums, which are scheduled for fall semester. Those forums aim to help students, faculty and staff engage with the new administration.


Nellis said he looks forward to listening and learning about the main campus in order to better represent and “be a champion” for OU.

“I have communicated by email to several faculty members who have offered me well wishes, Nellis said in an email. “Several faculty members have approached me on campus to introduce themselves and others have stopped by the Office to say ‘hello.’ I enjoy these interactions very much and hope to meet more of our talented faculty at the college forums that will be held later this fall.”

Development by: Taylor Johnston / Digital Production Editor

Landing Page

Special Projects

This story is part of a series of specially designed stories that represents some of the best journalism The Post has to offer. Check out the rest of the special projects here.