President M. Duane Nellis

President M. Duane Nellis

Ohio University President Duane Nellis will be stepping down from his role and accepting a position as professor.

His tenure ends officially June 30, according to an OU press release.

“As a tenured member of the faculty, I have decided to return to the important work of teaching, research and discovery – the very passions that motivated my career path in higher education a few decades ago,” Nellis said in an emailed statement to students.

According to Nellis’ contract, he is entitled to continue as a tenured member of instructional faculty at the conclusion of his time as president. Nellis will be joining the geography department in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve Ohio University as President these past four years,” President Nellis said in a statement. “Ruthie and I have truly enjoyed being a part of this University and this community, and I am proud of the many accomplishments we have all made together. I am excited to continue my service to this great University as I return to the work that brought me into higher education – my passion for working with students through teaching, research and service.”

The Ohio University Board of Trustees is expected to formally accept Nellis’ decision to return to faculty at its regularly scheduled meeting in June, the university said in a statement. Ohio University will launch a national search for its 22nd President, and it is expected that an interim President will be named in the coming days.

Board Chairwoman Janelle Coleman expressed appreciation to President Nellis for his service for the past four years.

“He has served honorably during a time of great challenge not just for Ohio University but for higher education, and we have been proud to partner with him on many important initiatives that have moved our University forward,” Coleman said.

Incoming Board of Trustees Chair Cary Cooper, who takes the reins from Trustee Coleman at the end of this week, said the Board will work quickly to finalize plans for an Interim President to begin July 1.

“We are confident in the strength of our leadership across the University to continue to move us forward, and we will bring in an experienced academic leader to work in partnership with them,” Cooper said.

Nellis took office as Ohio University’s 21st President in 2017. Nellis previously served as president at University of Idaho and Texas Tech University.

He agreed to a six-year term with an initial annual base salary of $475,000. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, Nellis earned $653,438 — with a base pay of $484,054 and several bonuses and benefits in 2019.

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