Odafe recognized for departmental leadership


BOWLING GREEN, O.—Dr. Victor Odafe, chair of the Department of Natural and Social Sciences at Bowling Green State University Firelands, received the Chair/School Director Leadership Award and was recognized at the Faculty Recognition Awards ceremony April 10. Presented by Faculty Senate, the award includes a $1,000 cash prize and commemorative plaque.

Odafe has served as the chair of the department since 2008. He received his doctorate in education from Temple University in 1986.  

The duties of a department chair at BGSU Firelands require a leader who can juggle multiple disciplines. Dr. Christopher Mruk, a professor of psychology at Firelands, noted, “Victor must deal with mathematicians, natural scientists, and social scientists all working, each with very different academic domains, classroom needs, and instructional priorities.”  

Being chair also entails setting policy and procedures, recruiting staff and managing faculty/student relations.  

In her nomination letter, Alyson Wilson, a lecturer in the Firelands natural and social sciences department, noted that for the past two years Odafe has been involved in revising the department’s policy manual and working with staff to identify key-components of the strategic plans for the department and college. “Victor is detail-oriented, spending an extraordinary amount of time engaged in pro-active planning,” Wilson writes. “He is highly respected for the way he engages in these strategies with optimism and encouragement, exemplary listening skills, calmness, and openness to change.”

Odafe is also responsible for recruiting and retaining qualified faculty in his department. According to Mruk, this is often a challenge at the Firelands campus, with its rural setting and without the benefit of graduate students.  

The faculty recognize that Odafe possesses the key qualities of a great leader. Wilson wrote that Odafe “spends hours listening to faculty and students who have concerns over programs or staffing” and “exceeds the expectations of a chair, especially in regard to communicating with his colleagues and his positive interactions with the students.” Dr. Dan Kelly, an assistant professor of geology at BGSU Firelands, notes that Odafe has made it a priority “to support and facilitate the ideas and initiatives of his faculty.”

“We seem to simply respond to him out of respect for his character and appreciation for his commitment to BGSU,” wrote Mruk. “Victor leads through example, not position, especially in terms of scholarship, dedication to college and integrity.”

(Posted April 11, 2013 )