Photo by Will Day

Former Otterbein University Chief of Staff Kristine Robbins received an addition to her title in June of 2018. Her title is now “Vice President and Chief of Staff.” 

Despite the addition, Robbins said her duties have not changed. 

“Really the role of chief of staff and vice president are one in the same, and therefore, the title change reflects that,” said Robbins. “The title change that just occurred over the summer is to reflect the position that I’ve been doing since I joined Otterbein.”

Robbins was first approached about the title change over a year ago by former president Kathy Krendl. At the time, she’d just received her master’s degree in strategy leadership and management from Michigan State University. 



Mark Thresher, chairman of the board of trustees, was also present for the discussion. 

Robbins said she delayed the process because she did not want to accept a title change while knowing a presidential transition was approaching. 

Due to this delay, President John Comerford also played a role in the decision. He said he was consulted and supported the change but was careful to make clarifications.


“Kristi is a vice president, not the vice president,” said Comerford in an email. “We have several vice presidents who supervise different parts of the university. Kristi helps coordinate their work, but they all report to the president.”

Since Robbins was hired as chief of staff in 2011, she’s had several leadership responsibilities, including serving on the president’s cabinet and as the primary liaison to the university board of trustees. This work involves planning meeting agendas and addressing strategic priorities that have been set for the institution. 

Additionally, Robbins works as the director of the human resources office on campus, which was put under her leadership in 2014. 

Before her time at Otterbein, Robbins held vice presidential positions at Permedion, an external medical review company, and the Westerville City Schools Board of Education. She also has two certifications as a senior professional in human resources from the Society of Human Resource Management and the Human Resource Certification Institute. 

Robbins said she looks forward to her future at Otterbein. 

“I hope to continue to add value, and I hope to stay here as long as I feel like I’m contributing and as long as I’m needed,” said Robbins.