Leadership announcements

The following message was shared with Ohio State students, faculty and staff on Wednesday, November 15, 2023.


Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

I am pleased to share that The Ohio State University Board of Trustees Talent, Compensation & Governance Committee has voted to appoint Karla Zadnik as interim executive vice president and provost, effective January 1, 2024. The full board will consider the decision on Thursday.

Dr. Zadnik, the Glenn A. Fry Professor in Optometry and Physiological Optics, who has served as dean of the College of Optometry since 2014 and has been our interim dean of the College of Public Health since July, will work closely with outgoing Provost Melissa L. Gilliam to ensure a smooth transition. Pending board approval, Dr. Zadnik will remain in her position as interim dean of the College of Public Health while Dr. Jeffrey Walline, associate dean for research in optometry, will lead the College of Optometry as interim dean.

Dr. Zadnik brings outstanding credentials and deep leadership experience to the role of the university’s chief academic officer. We also welcome Dr. Walline, a highly talented scholar and established leader, to his new role. The university is grateful to both for their continued excellence in service to Ohio State.

As many of you know, Dr. Zadnik is the first woman dean of Ohio State’s College of Optometry, the first woman dean of a public school or college of optometry, and a prominent patient-oriented researcher in the field of optometry and vision science. She is an Ohio State Distinguished Scholar, serves as the lead dean for the university’s seven health science colleges and chairs the Biomedical Sciences Institutional Review Board. She is also a past president of the American Academy of Optometry and the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, and president of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry.

The university will announce the search committee for Ohio State’s next executive vice president and provost in the coming weeks.

Dr. Walline has led several pediatric contact lens studies. He is the study chair of the Bifocal Lenses In Nearsighted Kids Study, a clinical trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute (NEI). Dr. Walline is the co-chair of the Delaying the Onset of Nearsightedness Until Treatment Study, also sponsored by the NEI. He is also the president-elect of the American Academy of Optometry, a national organization committed to promoting the art and science of vision care through lifelong learning. 

Thank you, Buckeyes, and please join me in welcoming Dr. Zadnik and Dr. Walline to their new roles.


Peter J. Mohler, PhD
Acting President and Executive Vice President for Research, Innovation and Knowledge