Taking a break from the blogosphere – meet me in the Twitterverse

I’ve been blogging for more than two years, since the launch of u.osu.edu. I kicked off the blog on Dec. 16, 2013, and reflected on the wisdom gained from becoming a Buckeye. Since that day — 45 blogs and a lot of memories later — nothing has changed my mind.

My hope has always been to share and celebrate great moments:

  • Spring commencements and grand openings (CBEC, Sullivant Hall)
  • Cycling with ASC’s Pelotonia
  • Living history with the Alumni and Friends’ European World War II tour
  • Enjoying front row seats at Don Giovanni
  • Welcoming each new class of incoming students
  • Highlighting epic success stories
  • Loving every bite of Donuts with the Dean

The need to share the spirit, success and scope of the Arts and Sciences just keeps growing, along with the realization of how vital it is to capture and share the moment, in the moment, as often as possible.

For now, it’s time to give my Twitter account a real workout and mothball the blog … until I feel that 140 characters are just not enough.

Follow me.

Found in translation: How Data connects the world, a journey to Japan

Dean view from Japanese Hotel

The Translational Data Analytics (TDA) Discovery Theme was the first of the university’s eight focus areas to be rolled-out two years ago. It is a powerful way to connect experts across diverse disciplines to generate new possibilities for solving today’s complex problems.

I have been honored to serve as its lead dean and happy to say that we have hired more than 30 incredibly gifted faculty researchers since its launch. They are engaged in foundational research leading to real world applications leading to more foundational research in an endless loop of discovery.

The outcome of my recent trip to Japan, arranged by ASC alumnus Shuzaburo Takeda (PhD, physics, 1969), is a perfect example of how we can work with external partners around the world to apply data analytics to their particular research problems.

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11,235 passports to success — Commencement Spring 2016


This past Sunday, May 8, I had the honor of attending my third spring commencement as Executive Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Each time, I am a bit more amazed at how well this enormous — and lengthy — ceremony is planned and orchestrated.

I don’t think that anyone ever feels like a number, despite the size of the crowd — even this one — with a record 11,235 degrees being presented to the largest graduating class in university history.

This is a day when everyone is special, everyone is celebrated, but this day is not an exception. From their first day on the Oval to this singular day in Ohio Stadium, every student is always viewed as a distinct individual.

As a dean and an educator, it is a real pleasure to be able to hand a diploma to some of our amazing arts and sciences graduates. I do so with a profound sense of pride, confident that they are well-armed to meet whatever demands and challenges the future might hold.

These diplomas are their passports to the world. They signify not just the successful completion of a series of requirements and electives, but that the new graduate is not the same young person who first set foot on campus. He or she has changed.

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The Academy, Awards

University Hall with tulips in the foreground

The Academy, Awards.

Yes. It does.

At both the university and college-level, we honor our own — for work that exceeds all expectations — exemplary service, inspiring teaching, extraordinary scholarship.

And this has been the week for it.

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April is the Coolest Month: my ode to spring at Ohio State


My apologies to T.S. Eliot, but then Eliot never had a window that looked out upon the Oval, nor did he ever visit campus in April. Or any other time that we know of.

Ohio State’s campus is beautiful in any season, thanks to the amazing work of our groundskeepers. But to me, April really is the coolest month. Heat and humidity seem far away, as does the chance of a Polar vortex.

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The College of Arts and Sciences: winning on all fronts

DC03-344Orton Hall7-8-03Jo McCulty photoThe Ohio State University

Competing for and winning top awards drives us forward and creates a positive climate for interdisciplinary collaboration, inquiry, discovery and innovation.

Three new recipients of NSF CAREER Awards, the National Science Foundation’s top award supporting our country’s most promising junior researchers, is not only a great boost to our national research profile, but to the power of research across disciplines: Adriana Dawes, assistant professor, mathematics and molecular genetics; and Chuan Xue, assistant professor, mathematics, work at the intersection of mathematics and biology. Ian Krajbich, assistant professor, economics, is a neuroeconomist, who combines tools from psychology, neuroscience and economics to investigate mechanisms behind decision-making.

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Letter to the Editor

Ohio State University Seal on the Oval

When the College of Arts and Sciences came together five years ago, one of its founding premises was that having a unified college would enhance our collective ability to articulate and advocate for the continuing importance of a liberal arts education both at Ohio State and in public research institutions more generally. My commitment to that premise is one of the things that excited me about coming to Ohio State, and it continues to guide my priorities both as a leader and for the college.

In the spirit of this ongoing commitment, I submitted a letter to the editor to The Columbus Dispatch, which was printed last Sunday. The immediate context for my letter was the article, Arts and sciences faculty want Ohio State to admit more humanities majors (2/15/16). My broader purpose for writing the letter was to address the ongoing public perception — reflected even in some of the comments on the article — that “You can’t get a job with a degree in … [name of any humanities major].”

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Going Where No Telescope Could Go Before: Ohio State Leads the Way

Space Image

Do you ever wonder what’s out there — in the vast universe? Why the universe is speeding up when it should be slowing down?

The launch of NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) planned for the mid-2020s, designed to map both our galaxy and the distant universe 100 times faster than Hubble, will be our best chance yet to find those answers that could write a new story about the evolution of the universe and our life in it.

As the nation’s only university to have three researchers named leading members of WFIRST’s Science Investigation Teams, the work of Ohio State researchers will have major impact.

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My Valentine to the Arts and Sciences

Valentine candiesHow Do I Love Thee? Let me Count the Ways*
(and, there are many more than these)

I love:
#1 knowing that, together, art + humanities + science drives the future and powers the world
#2 offering our students an affordable, comprehensive, personalized education and exceptional opportunities and experiences
#3 being home to world-class scholars, teachers, artists and researchers
#4 nurturing our undergraduate students, among the most motivated and best-prepared in the nation;
#5 providing a training ground for top-tier graduate students and postdocs, who will be leaders in their fields
#6 attracting and retaining an enviable pool of dedicated, talented staff
#7 interacting with incomparable alumni and friends whose support is absolute
#8 contributing to the spirit of Ohio State’s Land Grant legacy
#9 making a real difference in the world
#10* combining Sonnets from the Portuguese and mathematics in one line

I invite you to count and share the ways you love the arts and sciences.
Happy Valentine’s Day.

Celebrating 2015’s Memorable Moments


University Hall

As each year comes to an end, many of us begin to look back to take stock and hopefully we find an inventory of extraordinary milestones and accomplishments. This is certainly true in the College of Arts and Sciences.

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