Russ College dean secures high marks in examination

Dennis Irwin: The current dean of the Russ College of Engineering and Technology

Editor’s note: This story is the fourth in a five-part series about the provost’s annual evaluations of deans on Ohio University’s Athens campus.

Despite having one of the lowest response rates, the Russ College of Engineering and Technology dean continued to receive across-the-board approval from faculty and staff, who did not give him a rating below 75 percent in any category.

Dennis Irwin, dean of the Russ College since 2002, received a 100 percent rating in university relations from faculty as well as 100 percent ratings from staff for communication, academic programming, goal achievement, university relations and external relations. He received several 100 percent ratings and did not receive an approval rating below 74 percent in any category last year.

“The feedback received from staff members who filled out the form indicated that they viewed your performance in a very positive light,” Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit said in her report.

“In 6 of the 11 categories, 100 percent of the staff indicated that you were outstanding, exceeded expectations, or met expectations. In the remaining categories, 93 percent or 94 percent indicated that you were outstanding, exceeded expectations, or met expectations.”

Of 81 possible staff evaluation forms, 20 were completed and 36 of a possible 85 faculty review forms were turned in.

Irwin’s few low evaluation scores in the past have tended to come from the “Personnel Matters” section of the report.

Both this year and last, his lowest rating was in interpersonal relations; he received a 75 percent from faculty and 84 percent from staff this year. Staff also gave Irwin an 84 percent approval rating for faculty and staff development this year.

“That’s actually fairly consistent in past years,” Irwin said. “What I’ve tried to do is provide opportunities to interact with me. Obviously, there’s an issue with quality with interaction … I hate to say I’m going to work on it and have it be identified as a concern as it is, but it probably is true that I could listen better.”
With an average rating of just more than 91 percent overall, Irwin has proved to be one of the better accepted deans at Ohio University.

“Dennis is a very hard working dean, and he’s always looking out for the interest of the college both in the university community as well as externally,” said Jeff Giesey, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the college. “He’s always looking to try and move the college forward.

“Personally I’m especially appreciative of his leadership during tough budget times.”

Two main goals listed in Irwin’s evaluation discussed bolstering the number of undergraduate students in the college as well as retaining freshmen students.

Irwin said one of the strategies to attract students and keep them in the college involves devoting money to scholarships.

“I think the vision we have for the college is pretty well accepted,” Irwin said. “We are moving, so we’re not just having a vision; we’re moving towards (a goal).”


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