Five questions with Emmanuel Otu
The University of Wisconsin-Parkside's Dean of the new College of Natural and Health Sciences is Emmanuel Otu. He comes to the Somers campus after a global education and professional career. RT recently asked him about his career, his goals for the new college, and his leisure pursuits.
Ranger Today: Could you give us a quick synopsis of your professional career--where you've been, what you've done, the professional accomplishment of which you're most proud?
Dr. Otu: I received my bachelor of science degree in chemistry from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife, Nigeria. After a one-year service to the country, I proceeded to a doctoral degree at the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada. At the completion of the doctoral program, I did postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Waterloo, Canada, first in the chemical engineering department for two years and then the chemistry department for one year. I joined the faculty of State University of New York at Purchase as assistant professor of chemistry for four years, serving the last year as coordinator (head) of the department. Following which, I moved to Indiana University Southeast in New Albany where I spent the next 15 years in the ranks of assistant through full professor, and served in the capacities of coordinator (department head) for chemistry and dean of the School of Natural Sciences.
To your question about what professional accomplishment I am most proud of, I would say my research contributions in the subfield of hydrometallurgy. My contributions have been recognized both nationally and internationally, and I have had several opportunities to collaborate with scientists at the Argonne National Laboratory. Many students participated in research. I have published numerous papers and presented at conferences in five of the seven continents.
RT: What do you see as your immediate priorities for this position?
Dr. Otu: My immediate priorities at UW-Parkside are to strengthen, create, and enable opportunities for faculty to do the best job they can for the highest possible intellectual attainment of students, the community, and the region.
RT: What are your long term goals at UW-Parkside?
Dr. Otu: My long term goal is working with faculty, staff, students, and administration to enhance the visibility of the College of Natural and Health Sciences in the community and globally while at the same time creating other learning entities/degree programs dictated by the digital age that allows UW-Parkside to achieve our core values--academic excellence, student success, diversity and inclusivity, community engagement and a healthy and vibrant campus climate.
RT: Essentially, you are starting a college from scratch although you have some very good building blocks. What are the one or two milestones you would set for the college during its first year?
Dr. Otu: You are absolutely right, I have "very good building blocks" --great faculty and staff--for the new College of Natural and Health Sciences. We will be answering the questions: Who are we? Where do we want to go? One milestone for the first year will be to develop a strategic plan for the new college that dovetails into the UW-Parkside strategic goals and academic plan. Through shared governance within the college, we will be challenged to re-engage certain policies and procedures.
RT: What are your favorite leisure activities? Is there something you look forward to doing--insides or outdoors--to enjoy winter?Dr. Otu: Soccer, fishing and travelling are some of my leisure activities; although, as many years have passed by, the grease in my joints have tended to dry up making it difficult to enjoy playing soccer. So I took to biking. As a graduate student in Canada, I did not warm to skating and/or skiing. Now is my second chance!