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Ohio Wesleyan University Names Provost


March 20, 2006

DELAWARE, OHIO — David O. Robbins, Homer C. Lucas University Professor and former chair of the Department of Psychology at Ohio Wesleyan University, has been named provost of OWU. He had served as interim provost since August 2005."David's appointment culminates a long and exhaustive national search process that attracted many highly qualified applicants," said OWU President Mark Huddleston. "It follows a unanimous recommendation from the provost search committee and reflects broad support from all campus constituencies."As provost, Robbins will serve as an officer of the university and leader of the faculty. He will also oversee the areas of academic affairs, registration, athletics, student affairs, libraries and information systems, and Upward Bound. Robbins' initial task as provost includes working with the strategic planning committee to assess the challenges facing all of higher education with the goal of developing the necessary consensus among the institution's constituents to enhance the traditional mission of the university. "I'd like to consider myself as the type of person who will be able to facilitate these enhancements for the university," Robbins said.The experiences and cooperation that Robbins found as interim provost prompted him to apply for the position. "I have enjoyed the challenges, intensity of the workload, and sense of accomplishments —I think these are variables that often go underestimated in a person's estimate of the reasons for his/her job satisfaction," he said. "As provost, every day is different and challenging. After 33 years of teaching and research, I welcome the opportunity to serve the university in this manner.Although Robbins eagerly approaches his new assignment, it is not without some regret. He indicates that in his new role his day-to-day interactions with students in the classroom will be limited. "Being an educator is still important to me, Robbins said. He will continue to teach on a limited basis. "I didn't seek an administrative position because I was dissatisfied or unfilled by teaching," said Robbins. "On the contrary, continued interaction with students both inside and outside the classroom is very important and also very intellectually stimulating to me."Throughout his Ohio Wesleyan career, Robbins said he's most proud of his accomplishments in teaching. "In my case, I enjoyed exploring with students the mysteries of the nervous system attempting to show students how our brain influences almost every aspect of our behavior," he said. "Helping students appreciate the thrill of learning has been very rewarding for me." In 1980, Robbins received the Sherwood Dodge Shankland Award for the Encouragement of Teachers and in 1994, the Bishop Herbert Welch Meritorious Teaching Award.Robbins joined the Ohio Wesleyan faculty in 1973. Along with serving as professor and chair in the Department of Psychology, he has also served as the director of the neuroscience program and the director of the Summer Science Research Program. "Robbins is an accomplished and well-published scholar, particularly in the field of visual neuroscience and has been the recipient of a long string of research grants, many of which have helped fund student research assistantships," said Huddleston.Prior to joining the OWU Department of Psychology, Robbins was a principal investigator in the Department of Physiology and later Director of Research at the Eye Research Foundation of Bethesda, Maryland, a former affiliate of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He also taught part-time on the campus of the National Institutes of Health.Robbins received a bachelor of arts degree in biology and psychology from Lycoming College. He received his master's degree and his doctorate in physiological psychology from the University of Delaware.

Robbins and his wife, Janice, who is a speech and language pathologist in the Big Walnut School system, have two daughters: Cynthia, who is a second-year medical resident in pediatrics at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, and Karen, who is a third-year medical student at Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine.