A UND dean could be leaving the university for a new job elsewhere.
Engineering Dean Hesham El-Rewini has been named a finalist to serve as the next vice president and provost of Ohio University, a campus of nearly 30,000 students in the city of Athens.
El-Rewini has led the UND College of Engineering and Mines since 2008. During his tenure, the college has enjoyed steady enrollment growth and interest from private industry, the latter contributing to a major building addition in the Collaborative Energy Complex, a $15.5 million project completed in 2016 to meet the needs of North Dakota’s oil and gas sector.
On Thursday, El-Rewini said he “can’t believe that 10 years have already passed” since he joined UND.
“It continues to be a great pleasure to be part of the great team I have here at my college and also at UND,” he said, “I’m happy here and everything is going very well. But at the same time, this is a very logical next step for me to look for a higher position with more responsibilities and to stay in higher education, which I’m very passionate about.”
El-Rewini was named in late March as a finalist at Ohio University and is now one of four candidates being considered by a search committee there. He visited the Athens campus April 4 for a public forum in which he fielded questions from the campus community.
This isn’t the first time El-Rewini has been a finalist for a provost job elsewhere. Last year, he was a finalist in a search at Texas Tech University but ultimately remained at UND.
In the time since then, he has played an expanded role in campus administration as a vice provost, splitting time between his college and the offices of Provost Tom DiLorenzo.
El-Rewini is joined in that role by Dean Debbie Storrs, leader of the UND College of Arts and Sciences. The time-splitting arrangement was put together fo fill a gap left by the appointment of Vice Provost Steven Light to interim dean of the College of Business and Public Affairs, which has been without a permanent dean since last year, when former leader Margaret Williams left for Texas Tech after a little less than two years at UND.
The university is nearing the end of a search to find a new leader to fill Williams’ place and, to that end, hosted finalists for the job two weeks ago.
While that’s ongoing, another dean’s position will be opening up this summer. Kathryn Rand, dean of the UND School of Law, announced her resignation earlier this year and will be voluntarily stepping back into a faculty role at the law school, a move she’d like to finish by the start of the next school year. It’s not likely that UND will find a new dean by then, but Rand has said she’d be willing to stay in her office until a replacement is hired.
The personnel shuffle has touched core administration as well -- one of the most notable university developments of the year involved a jobs venture when the campus watched UND President Mark Kennedy interview unsuccessfully for the top office at the University of Central Florida. The administrative changes also includes the hiring a few weeks ago of new chief operations officer Jed Shivers, who will be replacing longtime administrator Alice Brekke when she retires later this year. Shivers will make $300,000 a year in the job, according to UND.
School leaders have also taken steps in the past month to fill a top communications post and seem to be nearing a hire to lead the campus entrepreneur center.
Back in engineering, El-Rewini said he’s unsure when the next round of interviews are scheduled at Ohio University. He said the school hasn’t yet discussed any potential start date for the next provost, but said it “would make sense” for that person to be in office before the beginning of the next academic year.