President Duane Nellis Welcomes New Students


Nellis encourages new students to take advantage of the opportunities offered at Ohio University.

Sarah Penix / News Editor

After one academic year in office, President Duane Nellis feels “really good” about his move to Ohio University.

When he arrived on campus last summer, his approach was to learn about OU as much as possible. Since then, Nellis established more than five task forces, attended and organized many community events and started a monthly newsletter for OU alumni.

“I remain very positive about this opportunity here at Ohio University, I think we’ve had a very productive year,” Nellis said. “I come to work every day with a passion and excitement for the opportunities that this position presents.”

Beginning his presidency during a time of a university budget gap and national issues surrounding free speech, Nellis elevated shared governance around those issues by incorporating dialogue with groups on campus in “each step” of the process.


Blake Nissen | PHOTO EDITOR

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“Certainly the budget was a (challenge) coming in,” Nellis said. “We knew we were short as far as where we were at and where we needed to be, so one of the important dimensions of my approach to that was to be very inclusive.”

That inclusivity extended to the process of establishing the newly proposed policies on free speech, which govern time, place and manner of demonstrations on campus.

In October, Nellis established the Presidential Policy Advisory Group to craft recommendations for the interim “Freedom of Expression” policy at OU. That group included representatives from Student Senate, Graduate Student Senate, staff and faculty.

“I truly want to be an engaged leader, a leader committed to shared governance, and I think the way we’ve worked through (free speech policies) is an example of that,” Nellis said.

Now, new draft policies are circulating the five senates on campus for feedback. The next step is for the Office of the President to review and sign that policy.

“I function best as a team,” Nellis said. “We’re all a big family, in a way, and I want to make sure that the different voices of perspectives are heard. Ultimately, we have to move toward decisions and I’m willing to make those decisions.”

Along with policy changes, Nellis’ first year included important events such as the showcase of the Monument Quilt last fall, which displayed survivors of sexual assaults’ stories, and the Take Back The Night Walk in the spring. Those events, along with talking to students, are what Nellis considers the most memorable parts of his first year.

“Those are powerful moments,” Nellis said.

Although Nellis feels OU is a safe environment, he said that doesn’t mean there is not a need for improvement.

“We were ranked 21st in the nation as far as one of the safest campuses in the United States,” he said.

Nellis urges students to take advantage of the quality of educational experience at OU because students have the opportunities to “truly make a difference.”

“We have faculty that care deeply about students’ success,” Nellis said. “You can come here and get one of the nation’s best, comprehensive, transformation educational experiences that you can get anywhere, and you can get it right here at Ohio University.”

Development by: Megan Knapp / Digital Production Editor

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