After 12 years of service, David Lowry will step down from serving as dean of Oklahoma Christian University’s College of Liberal Arts at the end of the academic year and will return to the classroom.
During his time as dean, Lowry has worked to create the criminal justice and gaming and animation programs and is one of the original members of the team which brought the nursing program to Oklahoma Christian.
“One of the things I am looking forward to the most is returning to the classroom and being with students,” Lowry said. “I’ll be spending a lot of time teaching communication classes, which is my subject area, and putting more time, energy and effort into being with [students].”
According to Larry Jurney, chair of the department of communication, Lowry will be teaching classes in the communication department, specifically within the public communication and leadership courses.
“The first year, he’ll have what effectively is kind of a half time of sabbatical each term, so he’ll teach two classes and be on sabbatical doing research and things like that,” Jurney said. “Then the second year he’ll be with us full time. Public communication and leadership is one of our growing areas. Dr. Simmons is the primary teacher and Dr. Lowry’s strength is in interpersonal communication, so they’ll dovetail together very well. As that program grows, the need for Dr. Lowry to teach those classes will increase, so it will all work out just fine.”
The College of Liberal Arts covers eight departments, including art and design, music, communication, history and political science, language and literature, psychology and family studies, sports wellness and recreation management, and education.
Kathy Thompson, chair of the department of music, said Lowry has one of the most difficult dean’s jobs on campus.
“All of the other colleges have relatively related fields under it,” Thompson said. “Bible has only bible and the sciences are all very closely related, but ours has everything from art and music to psychology and history, which are all very different disciplines and have a lot of core curriculum classes. It has very distinct challenges and for a dean to get to know every department well within his sphere is quite a task.”
Senior Jonathan Johnson said Lowry has the amazing ability of being a good listener and always keeping a positive attitude.
“A conversation that might have started with a homework related question can easily morph into a deep talk regarding the media’s unintended consequences on male body image,” Johnson said. “Lowry has taught me the importance of sitting back and letting a person walk through their thoughts, uninhibited while strategically asking probing questions to further the dialogue.”
Following Lowry stepping down, Professor of Music John Fletcher will become interim dean until someone is chosen to fill the position permanently. Thompson said the music department faculty will benefit from Fletcher becoming dean by learning more about the other departments.
“It will make it easier for us because he knows our department very well,” Thompson said. “It will have some advantages because, as he gets to know the other departments well, we will have a better understanding of the other departments, too. I am retiring at the end of this semester, so we will have a new department chair, Dr. Heath Jones. We’re having a lot of changes in our department, but it will make it easier with Dr. Fletcher in that place.”
Lowry said he hopes the new dean will come into the position and find everything well-ordered, and feel like they will not have to rebuild.
“I hope they will be able to come in and move forward and bring new ideas and new energy to the job,” Lowry said. “I hope that they’ll also have some ideas about new programs and things we can do to attract new students to Oklahoma Christian.”
Lowry said, to his knowledge, the intention is to fill the position with a current Oklahoma Christian faculty member.
“I don’t know who that person will be, so we’ll all be surprised together,” Lowry said. “I know we have a lot of talent here at Oklahoma Christian, so I know it will be in good hands.”