Pennington to lead Ohio University-Southern
IRONTON -- J. Nicole Pennington, director of the nursing program at Ohio University-Southern, has been named the fourth dean in the history of the regional campus of Ohio University.
"I'm excited to take on the new challenges of running the Southern campus," Pennington said Monday after her appointment was announced.
Her goal is to "continue to provide high-quality education" to Tri-State area residents. "I also hope to reach new audiences through distance learning," she said.
"She's absolutely been a wonderful member of our faculty and our leadership team," said Dan Evans, interim dean of the Southern campus in Ironton. Evans will continue as interim dean through June 30. Pennington's appointment as dean becomes effective July 1.
"She's had a remarkable history of success," Evans said. "That (nursing program) is our largest program now. Her work ethic is exceptional, and I know she'll bring that same level of commitment to her new role as dean."
Pennington was one of five candidates interviewed for the job as dean. Pennington was the only local candidate for the post and will become the first female dean at the Ironton campus.
"I think it's important for women to step up in leadership positions and to be a good role model for women," Pennington said. "We've had a steady increase in enrollment in both the bachelor and associate degree programs in nursing."
The Southern campus started its BA program in nursing in 2012.
Pennington's appointment was announced Monday afternoon by Pam Benoit, provost and executive vice president at Ohio University, and Bill Willan, executive dean for regional higher education at Ohio University. Willan also is a former Southern campus dean along with Evans and Bill Dingus, current executive director of the Lawrence Economic Development Council and the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce.
Pennington joined Ohio University in 2006 and currently is the associate director and associate professor of nursing at the Southern campus.
Beth Delaney will be appointed as interim associate director of nursing, Pennington said. That position will be effective July 1.
Pennington earned her doctorate from Chatham University and her master's degree in nursing from the University of South Alabama. She also holds certifications from the National Board of Certification of School Nurses and National Certification Corporation for Maternal-NB, according to a news release.
Pennington has been recognized for her career both in nursing and as an educator. She was identified as one of the "Top 20 Nursing Professors in Ohio" by onlineschoolsohio.com and also was selected as 2012 Outstanding Professor by Ohio University's Office of Regional Higher Education.
She also received the Kentucky Governor's Award for Children's Health Initiatives in 2007. Her article in the Journal of School Nursing on the hazards of energy drinks drew both regional and national media attention, according to the release.
Evans has served as interim dean since last July, succeeding Willan after he took a position last year at the main campus in Athens, Ohio. The search for a new dean has been ongoing since last year.
"Dan Evans has been a leader in Ohio higher education for many years," Willan said. "A Lawrence County native, he is a caring educator and innovator who has helped the Southern campus faculty and staff adjust to the changing landscape of higher education. I am deeply grateful for his agreement to lead the campus during the search process."
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