COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Mike Boehm's Ohio State University career in plant pathology has come full circle, and it's exactly where he wants to be.
After completing his Ph.D., leading turfgrass pathology research, and serving the student body as an associate professor, Boehm has been named chair of the Department of Plant Pathology. He replaces Larry Madden, who served as interim chair for a year after Randall Rowe retired in 2006. Boehm's four-year appointment began on July 1.
"I'm excited. I've been preparing for this moment for two years. But I'm quickly learning what it takes to be chair and to do it well," said Boehm. "I'm asking myself what are the pieces of Mike Boehm the professor that need to change to be an effective department chair?"
Boehm grew up in Lorain County, Ohio, and attended Heidelberg College, majoring in biology.
"I had the good fortune of having awesome teachers -- genuine individuals that really cared about their students and whose prime motivation was to help young people learn both in and outside of the classroom," said Boehm. "There is little doubt that these individuals had a huge impact in molding my life and, ultimately, my career."
Boehm completed his Master's and Ph.D. in plant pathology at Ohio State University, and after several years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Monmouth College, he returned to Ohio State as its turfgrass pathologist.
"I'm honored to be on the faculty in the very department from which I received my graduate degrees," said Boehm. "We are a small department, but we take great pride in what we do. We take our jobs very seriously and we've had outstanding leadership."
Boehm plans to maintain that leadership during his appointment as department chair, which serves the Columbus campus, as well as the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, OH.
"An important aspect of my appointment will be to maintain the sense of cohesion within the department on both the Columbus and the Wooster campuses," said Boehm. "Maintaining our department as one unit can be tricky, but helping those in the department work together as a team as we work toward the goals of the college is important."
Boehm also sees the need to keep the department nationally competitive in faculty, staff and resources while meeting the current and projected needs of Ohio in the field of plant pathology.
"This requires the complete understanding of the mission of the land grant university, but I feel my expertise in plant pathology over the years and my 21-year military career in the U.S. Naval Reserves has primed me for the leadership needed to chair this department," said Boehm.
Whatever challenges await him, Boehm promises creativity and innovation as a response.