Robert B. Glidden, 58BA, 60MA, 66PhD, one of the nation's foremost experts on university accreditation and standards, became the 19th president of Ohio University on July 1, 1994. As head of a major academic institution, Glidden maintains a high profile as a spokesman for stringent accreditation and standards, and he regularly publishes articles in the academic press promoting his views. Previously, he served three years as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Florida State University after serving for 12 years as dean of the School of Music at that university.
Glidden began his career as a high school music teacher in Morrison, Illinois. He then taught at University High School in Iowa City and at the UI while completing his doctoral studies. After receiving his doctorate, Glidden served as assistant director of bands at Indiana University and then associate professor of music and director of graduate studies in music at the University of Oklahoma.
President of the National Association of Schools of Music form 1981-85, Glidden has been active in national higher education affairs his entire career, and his efforts in the area of accreditation have made him a national figure in higher education circles. He has served as a member (1977-84) and chairman of the board of directors (1981-83) of the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation, an organization in Washington that at that time governed accrediting in all fields for higher education, and he currently chairs the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the organization that now performs that function.
While still in Florida, Glidden served four years as a member of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and chaired a task force on the restructuring of accreditation for that organization. He has worked as a consultant or evaluator for more than 60 colleges and universities nationwide and has twice been appointed to education task force for the National Endowment for the Arts.
Glidden has published more than 100 articles on accreditation in higher education journals and he has staunchly defended higher education in the face of funding cuts at both the state and federal levels. He is one of two university presidents on the Higher Education Funding Commission in Ohio.
"One of the challenges we will face together in the future is explaining to the general public the enormous contributions to society that we make in America's universities," said Glidden after becoming president at Ohio University. "Much of what we accomplish speaks for itself in practical terms, yet many of the most valuable learning experiences resist simple definition or quantification. It's difficult to quantify the excitement of discovery that results from the research actives in which our students participate. We need to find more and better ways of communicating the worth of those experiences to the general populace."
Glidden is presently vice chair of the board of the Ohio Aerospace Institute, and a member of the Governor's Ohio Science and Technology Council. He recently spoke at the Aspen Institute in Berlin on technology in American higher education.
Glidden's work on accreditation has resulted in higher standards and greater progress for American colleges and universities. Thanks in part to his efforts, higher education in the United States has more readily changed with the times and become more responsive to the needs of society.
Glidden is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Kappa Lambda, the national music honor society, which he served as national president from 1981-85.
He is a life member of the UI Alumni Association and a member of the UI Foundation's Presidents Club.