Ayres named interim dean at Kent State Ashtabula

·3 min read

Apr. 1—ASHTABULA — Kent State University at Ashtabula has an interim dean to replace its long-time leader, who plans to retire.

Kent State University Senior Vice President and Provost Melody Tankersley, Ph.D., announced R. William (Bill) Ayres IV, Ph.D., will serve as interim dean and chief administrative officer at Kent State University at Ashtabula following the retirement of Susan J. Stocker, Ph.D. Ayres, the dean and chief administrative officer at Kent State Trumbull, will assume his new responsibilities on July 1.

"I'm thrilled to be asked to join the team on the Ashtabula Campus in this interim role and I look forward to getting to know both the campus community and the greater Ashtabula community," Ayres said.

"Kent State Ashtabula plays such a vital role in the region as a valued partner in changing lives and Dean Stocker has done a remarkable job during her tenure positioning the campus to where it is today. I look forward to working with the great team on campus as well as our partners in the surrounding community as we move forward in Ashtabula and within the regional campus system."

Following a national search, Ayres joined Kent State Trumbull on Jan. 18, 2022. Prior to that he was a professor of political science at the University of Toledo, where he previously served as senior vice provost for academic affairs from 2018 to 2020 and vice provost for academic affairs from 2017 to 2018.

Ayres' positions report to Peggy Shadduck, Ph.D., Kent State's vice president for Regional Campuses and dean of the College of Applied and Technical Studies.

"I am thrilled to have someone with Bill's experience, knowledge and enthusiasm joining the team of Regional Campus leaders within the Kent State Regional Campus system," Shadduck said at the time of his appointment as Trumbull Campus dean.

Ayres worked at Wright State University's Graduate School from 2010-17, serving as assistant dean, interim dean and then associate dean. His key accomplishments included starting the first completely online degree programs at Wright State, launching new marketing campaigns based on new graduate-focused branding, and developing and implementing a new graduate student orientation program.

From 2006-10, Ayres served as the director of the Center for Global Citizenship at Elizabethtown College, becoming the first full-time director in the center's history. He was responsible for programs in international studies, service-learning and community engagement, and peace and conflict studies. He was also the founding director of the international relations program at the University of Indianapolis from 2000-06.

Ayres earned his Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Arts in political science from Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Williams College.

Ayres will work alongside Stocker to ensure a smooth transition in leadership over the next several months. Stocker announced her retirement following an historic 21-year tenure as dean and chief administrative officer and an over 30-year career at Kent State earlier this month. Her last day on campus is June 30.