At all levels of education, teachers must think outside the box. We need teachers who care and inspire, who hold us accountable and challenge us to reach our potential. Oklahoma Christian University recently honored four professors who've combined to serve the college for nearly 20 years. In good times and lean times, they maximized their resources to teach, to lead by example and to love. Their impact is seen in the success of their former students who are making a difference.
One of those is Sherri Coale, the women's basketball coach at the University of Oklahoma. OC graduate Joy Fugett has been part of the success story at Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village. Great teachers like Joy and effective mentoring programs have helped students improve test scores, moving the school out of at-risk status. Two of OC's recent student government presidents, Henson Adams and Wil Norton, are making a difference at Douglass High School through Teach For America. I'm struck by how much they're willing to sacrifice to help their students succeed.
A spirit of innovation in the classroom runs through the university. Professor Rhonda Morris leads a program that gives students the chance to help young children using iPads. Alumnus Ken Parker is developing remarkable education technology initiatives at NextThought.
Companies — and universities — that don't innovate will become irrelevant at best ... if they survive. But nimbly changing and seeking bold solutions to complicated problems is in the DNA at Oklahoma Christian. We initiate. We innovate. We educate.
John deSteiguer, Edmond
DeSteiguer is president of Oklahoma Christian University.