LIMA — If you’re looking for the new dean at The Ohio State University-Lima, you probably shouldn’t search in his office.
He’s likely out working on a partnership.
“I do like to go explore,” said Timothy A. Rehner, who takes over as the branch campus’s dean and director April 1, pending approval by the OSU board of trustees. “I’ve already seen some things around here I’d like to know more about. … I just don’t like to sit in my office.”
Rehner toured his new campus Thursday afternoon, getting to know the places and faces around the campus on Lima’s east side. That included a brief meet-and-greet between area media representatives and the affable social work professor at the newest building on campus, the Perry Webb Student Life Building.
Lima will be a a definite change of scenery for Rehner, who spent most of the last 30 years teaching in Mississippi. He laughed after slipping up when talking about the “great state of Mississippi” before adapting to the “great state of Ohio.” He was the director of the School of Social Work and director of Caribbean Studies at the University of Southern Mississippi.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Asbury College, a master’s degree in social work from Indiana University-Indianapolis and his doctorate from the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa.
Rehner points to his work on partnerships, such as the Family Network Partnership, as an example of his legacy in Mississippi. It is a university-affiliated, community-based delinquency prevention agency and counseling center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Rehner hopes to form similar partnerships in the Lima region to help solve the bigger problems.
“I’m excited about the possibilities,” he said, especially given the wide reach of The Ohio State University.
He will replace interim dean Dr. Joseph Brandesky, a longtime OSU-Lima professor who guided the campus this year. Brandesky took on the role when Charlene Gilbert left to become dean of College of Arts and Letters at the University of Toledo in July after three years at the helm of the Lima campus.
He said he believes in a classical education.
“It’s important to find things a student is interested in, but it’s more than that,” Rehner said. “You want them to experience the arts, sciences and humanities that go with a balanced education.”