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Professor Billie McConnell Joins Oklahoma Christian University Faculty

Associate Professor of Education, Billie McConnell, has joined the school of education at Oklahoma Christian University as the new program chair for the fall 2021 semester.

McConnell has worked in education for 39 years. He has taught in higher education training new teachers as well as in K-12 Christian education and the corporate world.

“I was in K-12 Christian education for a long time as a teacher, a coach and a director of instruction and technology,” McConnell said. “I’ve been a principal, I’ve been head of schools and I’ve integrated one-to-one technology programs.”

For the 2021 fall semester, McConnell is teaching in the alternative certification program and the paraprofessional program. These programs were created to combat teacher shortages in Oklahoma. The alternative certification program helps nontraditional students get a teaching certificate, and the paraprofessional program helps people who already work in classrooms become teachers.

McConnell is responsible for managing the budget and marketing efforts of the education program. He is also working on creating multiple master degrees for the education program.

“On the graduate side we don’t have any programs right now,” McConnell said. “I am looking to get two different degrees started pretty soon and eventually have three or four up to five that not only help teachers in the state of Oklahoma, but give us the opportunity to reach beyond Oklahoma.”

McConnell said he hopes the undergraduate program will grow in size and more students will join the education program. There are also plans to add other undergraduate certifications in addition to the ones that already exist.

“From an undergraduate standpoint, I would like us to be significantly larger,” McConnell said. “I really want to convince people that teaching is really a ministry, it really is a place to serve and it’s a great place to serve and it’s an important one to get our next generation ready.”

Emilie Maynard, a senior elementary education major, said she enjoyed her first meeting with McConnell because he was intentional. Maynard also said the education program models what being a great teacher is through their own teaching.

“He really wants all education majors to feel valued in all the hard work he is doing,” Maynard said. “I believe that he wants to see each student thrive and wants to help them as best as he can.”

McConnell said the education program has a 100% pass rate when it comes to the teacher certification test. While the state requires 60 hours of practicum, Oklahoma Christian requires education majors to have 240 hours of practicum.

“We get a lot of experience in the classroom which is so helpful in making us feel confident,” Maynard said.

McConnell said the professors in the education program are an amazing team and believes the education program helps students prepare for their careers.

“Throughout their whole undergraduate career, they are out there in the classroom, working with students, mentoring under other teachers, and so when they graduate from here they go out and they are prepared,” McConnell said.

McConnell said it is his and the education department’s job to make sure the teacher candidates from Oklahoma Christian are on the cutting edge of education and going out and being leaders in their schools.

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