OBU Trustees approve faculty promotions and dedicate classroom

Cutting, Left to right: Sam Garlow, chair of the OBU Board of Trustees; Dr. Susan DeWoody, provost; OBU President Dr. Heath A. Thomas; Dr. Chris Jones, dean of the Hurley College of Science and Mathematics; Dr. Pam Robinson, director of teacher education; Elisa Cooper, donor; Ted Cooper, donor; and Tim Rasnic, vice president for advancement.
OBU President Dr. Heath A. Thomas speakers during the Board of Trustees meeting May 7.
Classroom tour, left to right: Ted Cooper, donor; Elisa Cooper, donor; Dr. Pam Robinson, director of teacher education; OBU President Dr. Heath A. Thomas; and Sam Garlow, chair of the OBU Board of Trustees.

The Oklahoma Baptist University Board of Trustees approved faculty promotions and participated in a ribbon-cutting and classroom dedication during their May meeting on the OBU campus in Shawnee.

In his report to the board, OBU President Dr. Heath A. Thomas shared the vision for the university that will guide OBU in “equipping future shapers to live all of life, all for Jesus,” he said. “Just as the little boy in John 6:1-15 gave what he had to our Lord, we give what we have to Jesus, looking to Him to multiply our excellence, our influence, our service and our value.”

From the academic services committee, chaired by Dr. Eric Costanzo, senior pastor of South Tulsa Baptist Church, the board of trustees approved recommendations for promotions for Corey Fuller, Ruth Jay Odom associate professor in fine arts, for promotion to professor in fine arts; and Dr. Krista Hands, associate professor of mathematics, for promotion to professor of mathematics. Recommendations for promotion require positive votes for the candidates from the senior faculty advisory and positive evaluations from the deans’ advisory based on teaching effectiveness, professional development, service to the university and Christian commitment and service.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on the front steps of Shawnee Hall to dedicate a newly renovated classroom specifically designed for teacher education students. Following the ceremony, attendees were invited to an open house in the classroom in Shawnee Hall 205. The project was fully funded through the generous support of Alford J. and Elizabeth A. Hulse, Ted and Elisa Cooper, and Kathryn Cooper-Felton, a 2017 OBU graduate. 

During the ceremony, Tim Rasnic, vice president for advancement, greeted guests, thanked donors and acknowledged those who worked to make this renovation possible. Randy Smith, executive vice president for business and administrative services, gave an overview of the construction project, while Dr. Pam Robinson, director of teacher education, spoke about the specific ways in which the room will benefit OBU teacher education students into the future. Thomas shared about the far-reaching impact this new classroom will make by not only elevating the instruction students receive while at OBU, but also by impacting the way they teach their own future students once they become educators.

The room serves as the main classroom for early childhood, elementary and special education majors where they learn how to teach children to read, to appreciate the arts and to perform mathematical functions. The space is a state-of-the-art classroom with flexible seating and current technology, including a cutting-edge electronic whiteboard and more. The room is designed without a designated “front,” allowing the teacher to instruct from anywhere in the room, whether at the large electronic monitor, tall whiteboards located around the room, or even at individual portable whiteboards located around the room. The flexible seating design and inclusion of electrical hubs throughout the space work together to stimulate active learning, a style beginning to surface in primary and secondary schools but still uncommon in higher education.