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Ohio State Battelle Center Welcomes New Director

News Type College News

New Battelle Center Director Dan Kelley, pointing, explains the interpretation of the landforms in this volcanic terrain at the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, to students participating in a field geology course through the South Dakota School of Mines, where he was a visiting instructor.


By Joan Slattery Wall

A science education administrator with a dedication to impactful experiential learning programs has joined Ohio State’s Battelle Center for Science, Engineering and Public Policy as its new director.

Dan Kelley joins the center in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs after serving as dean of the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at Owens Community College.

Dan Kelley, Director, Battelle Center for Science, Engineering and Public Policy


Kelley was formerly dean of the School of Natural Resources at Hocking College, a faculty member and director of the geology field camp program at Louisiana State University, and an associate professor of geology at Bowling Green State University, where he earned tenure through work on field-based experiential education.

Kelley, who also has served Ohio State's School of Earth Sciences in multiple capacities, said he is excited about the wide-ranging impact and vast potential of the Battelle Center, which develops the talent, technologies and multidisciplinary teams that support innovation, strategic decision-making and research for the public interest.

Many of the solutions that benefit people, and the advantages of our society, are rooted in advancements of science and engineering.

Dan Kelley
Director, Battelle Center for Science, Engineering and Public Policy

“Public policy should support science and engineering advancement and vice versa,” he said. “At the Battelle Center, we have the opportunity to connect thinking and practice between these areas.”

“I am passionate about science and technology research, helping students to grow through experiential learning, and communicating science to influence policy. The Battelle Center is a leader in these areas and so is a perfect place for me to further my work,” he added. “I would like for the collective efforts of the Battelle Center to drive innovation through collaboration, ensuring that research and student development are done in an integrated manner that serves the Glenn College, the university and the community.”

Policy for the Public Interest

Find out more about how the Battelle Center for Science, Engineering and Public Policy prepares students to make sense of complex technical information, anticipate challenges and solve wicked problems.

“Dr. Kelley has been an entrepreneurial leader in science and technology education. His community college experience, both at Owens Community College and Hocking College, aligns with the Battelle Center’s extensive workforce programming,” said Glenn College Dean Trevor Brown, noting that Kelley also has his doctorate from Ohio State’s School of Earth Sciences, a key partner in Battelle’s GEO-ESCON project.

GEO-ESCON is an innovative $28.5 million partnership between Ohio State and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency that has thus far brought together more than 20 universities to collaborate on 37 projects and providing education and training for Ohio State students and NGA employees.

Using his familiarity of field geology in locations around the world, Kelley has built and delivered learning experiences for geoscience students. For example, as a coordinator and director at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, he created, developed and taught the Ecuador Andes Volcanology Field School in partnership with government, non-profit and university partners. He also directed the Charles Barney Geology Field Camp for the Louisiana State University Department of Geology and Geophysics and has led study abroad trips in Iceland, the Galapagos Islands, Canada and the Bahamas.

“I whole-heartedly believe that experiential learning opportunities provide the deepest learning and create students who are best prepared for the critical thinking, problem-solving and direct application of the expertise that they have gained through their studies,” Kelley said. “Experiential learning can take many forms and be folded into all levels of the educational journey.”


New Battelle Center Director Dan Kelley, center, facing camera, leads university students in a field course with South Dakota School of Mines on a trip to Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador, where, as a visiting instructor, he taught them applied field-based geologic mapping and measurement toward volcano monitoring and hazard assessment.

Kelley has conducted research in geoscience education as well as igneous petrology, the study of rocks formed from solidified magma, to use geochemical data from analysis of volcanic rocks to characterize magma evolution in the crust prior to eruption. He has investigated the geochemistry of lavas and tephras, fragmental material produced in volcanic eruptions, that erupted in the rift zones of Iceland and the continental arc of the Andes for the purpose of describing crustal and volcanological processes. 

His service toward international conservation efforts includes annual review coordination of aspiring UNESCO Global Geoparks through the International Union of Geological Sciences Commission on Geoheritage as well as the review of aspiring UNESCO world heritage sites. In 2021, he contributed to the development of new policy in marine spatial planning and protection of open water ecosystem for the Galapagos Marine Reserve, which was adopted by the government of Ecuador. 

He is a co-author of the book “In the Footsteps of Darwin: Geoheritage, Geotourism and Conservation in the Galapagos Islands,” which received the 2019 Marsh Award for the Best Earth Sciences Book of the Year from the Marsh Christian Trust in partnership with the Natural History Museum in London.

Kelley holds bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees from Ohio State’s School of Earth Sciences and is licensed as a Community and Technical College Consortium Advocacy and Community Partner by the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship.