OC welcomes new faculty for 2017-18

Oklahoma Christian University’s newest professors bring academic accomplishments and professional experience to the classroom this fall. Students will benefit from these professors’ passion for faith and service.

“Faculty play a unique and special role in any university, and the OC faculty are inspiring teachers, scholars, and intellectuals. They are leaders in our community as well as in many congregations nearby,” said Dr. Scott LaMascus, OC’s chief academic officer.

“The 2017-2018 list of new faculty is as impressive as our students -- hailing from across the nation and around the world. They already are establishing their reputations in their academic fields and building impressive portfolios of teaching to make successful graduates,” LaMascus said.

Six of the new professors are alumni who were happy to return home to OC.

New Tenure-Track Faculty 2017-2018

Dr. Alden Bass joins the College of Biblical Studies this fall as Assistant Professor of Bible. Dr. Bass holds a Ph.D from St. Louis University in Early Christianity, a Master of Theological Studies degree from Vanderbilt University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Yale University. Among other teaching appointments, Dr. Bass has taught at St. Louis University and Lipscomb University. He is a member of the North American Patristics Society and the Society of Biblical Literature.

In addition to his active academic and publishing life, Bass brings valuable ministry experience to OC’s Bible programs. He has served as a minister for the North St. Louis Church of Christ and on the Committee for Racial Reconciliation in the greater St. Louis area. Dr. Bass, his wife Candace, and their three children have been active in providing hospitality for students in their community.  

“We are very thankful for the intentionality and enthusiasm Dr. Bass brings to our college in the pursuit of integrating faith and learning. The ways he and his family open their lives to reach others for Christ will be a great addition to the College and the university's mission,” said Dr. Charles Rix, Interim Dean of the College of Biblical Studies.

Eric Colgrove joins the College of Liberal Arts faculty in the Department of Music. He will direct the Symphonic Band and Chamber Orchestra, and he will teach music appreciation, methods, and other music classes. He began his teaching career at La Junta (Colorado) High School. From 2008 to 2017, he was director of bands at Widefield High School in Colorado Springs, additionally serving as Fine Arts department chair for the past six years. His concert and jazz bands consistently received superior ratings, and he also helped develop the Widefield Orchestra. Additionally, he has played trumpet in various jazz and concert ensembles. Mr. Colgrove holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Harding University and a Master of Music degree with an emphasis in Conducting from Colorado State University.

Regarding this appointment, Department of Music Chair Dr. Heath Jones stated: "Mr. Colgrove brings a wealth of music education experience to this position. Our faculty is excited to partner with him to continue enhancing the fine arts program at Oklahoma Christian. His enthusiasm and skill set will position him for success."

Wes McKinzie, an OC graduate (1998), is joining the faculty of the College of Business Administration, following five years as OC’s Director of Communications Marketing. He will be responsible for overseeing and teaching in the BBA: Sports Management program that is being implemented this fall.

Before leaving the professional world of sports to join OC’s marketing group, McKinzie served for many years in professional sports, including: Director of Communications for the Oklahoma Wranglers, Arena Football Team; Manager of Communications in the headquarters of the Arena Football League; and as Account Manager at McAuliffe, Norick, & Associates, where one of his major accounts included Oklahoma City's triple-A baseball team. He also served as Director of Athletic Marketing at OC and assisted with the university’s move to the NCAA Division II level.

Reflecting on Wes joining his faculty, Dean Jeff Simmons stated, “We are blessed to have someone with such talent, experience, industry connections and heart for OC and our students joining the faculty. I am confident he will build a Sports Management program that will glorify God while preparing Christian leaders in the world of sport.”

Dr. Paul House, also an OC graduate (1994), joins the faculty as Associate Professor to lead the launch of the new Nutrition and Exercise Science program. He earned his doctorate from Oklahoma State University in 2009. Dr. House joins OC after experience in the public education system at Deer Creek Schools and most recently 10 years at the University of Central Oklahoma. Paul and his wife Aimee (OC 94, Elementary Education) live in Guthrie with their two children, Cole and Savannah.

House has research interests in the physiological mechanisms that govern human performance, including kinetic and kinematic analysis of human movement. Paul has been honored to receive various awards for teaching at both Deer Creek Elementary School and UCO. In 2004 while teaching Elementary Physical Education, Dr. House received both the Deer Creek Elementary “Teacher of the Year" and the Deer Creek District "Teacher of the Year" awards. In the fall of 2012, he received the "Vanderford Teaching in Excellence" award through the College of Education and Professional Studies at UCO.

Dr. Jonathan Hunt, an OC Biochemistry graduate (2004 Honors Fellow), returns home to OC as Assistant Professor in Biology. He received his Ph.D from the University of Oklahoma in 2012. Dr. Hunt is completing his role as Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Lab of Jimmy Ballard, Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Hunt has numerous publications and presentations in addition to a book chapter on The Pathogenesis of Infectious Endophthalmitis.

While a student and postdoctoral fellow at OUHSC, Jonathan was recognized by the Graduate Student Association Awards for Outstanding Academic Achievement in 2010-2012. Jonathan and his wife Tamara (OC 2004, Biology) have three children and are members of the Del City Church of Christ.

Savannah Phillips, an OC Nursing graduate (2008), returns to OC as a Nursing faculty member.  Savannah earned her Master of Science degree in Nursing Education from Fort Hays State University in 2017.

As her final project, she conducted a study comparing the rates of drug use among adolescents in states with a mandated drug education program to states without the mandate. Previously, she had served as the Director of Nursing and Nursing Instructor at Flint Hills Technical College. In addition, she served as the Obstetrics Manager at Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center and as a nurse in labor and delivery at the Choctaw National Health Services.

“Savannah’s leadership roles in the hospital settings as well in an academic setting have prepared her well to teach undergraduate students,” said Dr. Jennifer Grey, Associate Dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences and Chair of the School of Nursing.

Phillips will serve as lead faculty for the maternal child course and as a clinical instructor for that course and also for the mental health course. She and her husband, Ross, have two children, Callahan and Vivian and are members of the Memorial Road Church of Christ.  

Visiting Faculty 2017-2018

“We are delighted to have three Visiting faculty returning and three new Visiting faculty members joining us this fall. These wonderful colleagues contribute so much to our higher-learning community,” LaMascus said.

Returning Visiting Faculty are: Hannah Bingham Brunner, an OC alumna who teaches English and composition at OC after graduate studies at Iowa State University; Joanie Gieger, a veteran public school teacher currently teaching in the School of Education and nearing the end of her doctoral studies at University of Oklahoma; and Dr. Mike Knedler, who retired as a Dean of Northwestern Oklahoma State University after a long career in the music faculty. Knedler teaches in the Honors program for the general education of national-leader undergraduates.

New to Visiting ranks this year is alumnus Dr. Mike Fowler, known well to OC as a past Distinguished Professor of Biology at OC, returning home after distinctive roles in statewide health care leadership and retiring in science administration at Lipscomb University.

Two new, full-time faculty in Visiting appointments are in high-growth, high-demand fields.

Dr. Lindsey Long, an OC Biochemistry graduate (2007), returns to Oklahoma from Albuquerque as Visiting Assistant Professor after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of New Mexico focused on teaching and research in the field of Biochemistry. Her husband, Dustin, and two children, Drake and Daniel, have recently relocated to the Edmond area where Dustin is a lineman apprentice with Edmond Electric.

Long earned her doctorate from Colorado State University in 2014, and she has numerous publications along with strong education and training including: Genomics Education Partnership (Washington University at St. Louis) 2017; Summer Institutes on Undergraduate STEM Education (HHMI) 2016, National IRACDA conference (poster presentation) 2015, 2016. Lindsey has numerous awards; Cell and Molecular Biology Research Symposium Poster Presentation Award (Honors) (2014); Cell and Molecular Biology Research Symposium Poster Presentation Award (Honorable Mention) (2013); Oklahoma Collegiate Academy of Science oral presentation awards for 1st Place in Section and 2nd Best in Academy (2007); Excellence in Undergraduate Research (Oklahoma Christian University (2007); and Summer Undergraduate Research in Biology (SURB) at Pepperdine University (2006).

Dr. Sheldon Liang, a software engineer and architect, joins the OC faculty this fall as Visiting Professor of Computer Science. Liang is a past professor of Computer Science for Azusa Pacific University in California, as well as Montana Tech of the University of Montana and Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China. Dr. Liang earned his Ph.D from the Institute of Software Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1997.

In addition to extensive teaching and industry work, Dr. Liang has published in Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) journals, and he authored three technical books: Advanced Software Design Technologies with Ada (2001), Applied Databases to Management Information Systems (1998), Mastering Object-Oriented Programming from C to C++ (1991). His research includes Software Engineering, Internet Software Development, and Big Data.

Dr. Liang discovered OC after working with OC alumnus Michael O’Brian in China. Dr. Liang also received a Master of Theological Studies degree at Christian Witness Theological Seminary in 2006.