ODU Names Vice President for Mission and Identity

Sr. Joan Franks, O.P., Ph.D.


Columbus, OH – Ohio Dominican University (ODU) has appointed Sr. Joan Franks, O.P., Ph.D., to be its vice president for Mission and Identity. She assumed her new role on July 1, 2013. 

Franks, a 1964 alumna of then-College of St. Mary of the Springs, oversees the University’s efforts to maintain, enhance and promote its Catholic and Dominican identity. She is a member of the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, the founding congregation of ODU. 

Franks returns to ODU having spent the last three years as a professor of Philosophy at the Consolata Institute of Philosophy as well as the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, located in Nairobi, Kenya. 

Franks first joined the ODU faculty in 1971 as an instructor. During her career at ODU, she proceeded through the ranks to professor of Philosophy, chair of the division of Philosophy and Theology, and chair of the University’s first Graduate Senate. She resigned in 2006 and was named professor emeritus. 

“I am excited to return to Ohio Dominican University, and honored to have been selected to represent the University as vice president for Mission and Identity,” Franks said. “ODU is rich in Catholic and Dominican tradition, which, when united with its commitment to academic excellence, truly offers students an opportunity to grow academically and spiritually. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to lead ODU’s efforts to demonstrate its traditions and values in the classroom, and around the world.” 

Franks earned a Bachelor of Arts in French from Ohio Dominican, Master of Arts in Philosophy from The Ohio State University, and a doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Toronto. Franks is a member of the American Catholic Philosophical Association and the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy. She is published and has presented philosophical papers at various meetings and symposiums, and also has participated in a variety of community service opportunities. She recently wrote an essay that will be published in the second edition of “Towards the Intelligent Use of Liberty: Dominican Approaches in Education,” edited by Gabrielle Kelly, O.P., and Kevin Saunders. 

“It is a privilege to have someone of Sister Joan’s experience join Ohio Dominican University’s leadership,” said ODU President Peter Cimbolic, Ph.D. “As a professor, she left an indelible mark on ODU’s campus, students, faculty and staff, and I’m eager for her to have a similar, profound impact in her new role as vice president for Mission and Identity.” 

Ohio Dominican University is a comprehensive four-year, private, liberal arts and master’s institution, founded in 1911 in the Catholic Dominican tradition. The University has approximately 2,700 students and offers undergraduate degrees in 43 majors as well as nine graduate degree programs. Ohio Dominican uses a student-centered approach, with a commitment to quality teaching and learning.