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Dr. Huston: preparing students for real-world politics

In an upper level journalism class, 13 students featured professors for a personality profile assignment. The students were not allowed to interview the professor, but were instructed to interview their friends, family and co-workers. 

By Tori Garrett

There are several different ways to describe Dr. Raymon Huston, and the answers vary depending on whom is asked. The common theme, however, is a tough exterior with a softer side seen only by those who know him best.

Huston was born in Wichita Falls, TX on July 27, 1967. He graduated from Midwestern State University with bachelor’s and Master of Arts degrees in political science and Middle Eastern studies. He earned a Ph.D. in political science with emphases on international relations and human and cultural geography from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX.

With family from Lebanon and Ireland, Huston’s professional interest continues to be international relations, with significant research in the area of terrorism. He has made several trips to the Middle East, most recently to Oman with the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations.

Huston began his teaching career at Freed-Hardman University in Henderson, TN. According to his wife, he decided to become a professor because he knew he could connect well with students. From there, he went on to teach at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, AR.

In 2004, Huston caught the eye of Dr. John Maple, the chair of the history and political science department at Oklahoma Christian University. When a spot opened in the department, Maple invited Huston to apply. Following an impressive application and guest lecture, Maple said Huston accepted the position and moved his family to Edmond, OK.

According to Maple, Huston has been instrumental in developing the course curriculum of the political science department, particularly in the areas of international relations and geography.

For the last five years, Huston has coached the student Model Arab League team to win first place, even beating out significantly larger schools such as Baylor University. He serves as the faculty sponsor for the semiannual student debates and the political science honor society, Pi Sigma Alpha.

 According to Maple, Huston is best known around campus for challenging his students in the classroom.

“He can be blunt, but he cares deeply about his students,” Maple said. “He wants them to learn. He wants them to succeed, and usually being blunt is the best way to help them do that.”

One of Huston’s political science students, Cody Milner, said he agrees with Maple’s assessment, and Huston’s teaching style serves a purpose for students.

“One of Huston’s philosophies is that if you can’t take criticism from him, then you shouldn’t be in politics,” Milner said. “Because of that, he can be very hard on his students — he’ll usually adopt a completely opposite viewpoint from a student just to force them to articulate their point. But that in and of itself is a way to strengthen them in the long run, assuming they survive his classes.”

Milner said Huston’s classes, though tough, prepare him for reality in the world of politics.

“Huston teaches in a way that forces students to realize there is a middle ground between conservative and liberal,” Milner said. “And it’s an area where a lot of people live, so you actually have to operate in a way that’s going to help the people in that middle ground as well.”

 Maple said outside of classes, Huston makes himself available to students for questions and advice.

“I have a hard time going to his office to talk business, because nine times out of 10 he’s got two or three students in there,” Maple said. “They’ll be talking politics, drinking coffee, watching the news — his students are in his office all the time.”

Melissa Huston describes her husband as a “faithful member” of the Edmond Church of Christ, where he regularly teaches adult Bible classes. Huston and his wife have been married for 24 years, and have two daughters, Macy and Kinsey.

“He is a wonderful husband and father,” Melissa Huston said. “He is very supportive and encouraging, as well as incredibly loyal.”

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One Comment

  1. Adam Adam March 9, 2017

    He coached us from at least 2008 through 2010 in Model Arab League, which makes that what, 10 seasons? I loved every minute in his classes.

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