In an effort to promote academia at Oklahoma Christian University, administrators made the decision to hold a Day of Excellence for students and faculty. Associate Dean of Students, Stephanie Baird, played an instrumental role in formulating this event.
Q. Who came up with the idea to have a day of excellence at Oklahoma Christian University?
“I think this has been a dream and a vision of Dr. Scott Dr.LaMascus for a long time. In the Honors program, they have catalyst projects, and you really get to celebrate undergraduate research and showcase student’s academic work. It’s something that has always been important to him, and it’s something that is a high impact practice. You can go look at institutions and we can ask ‘what really help students to be prepared for the work force and succeed in graduate school?’ I think that this has been a dream of his for a long time because we have great academic things happening across campus, and so often we don’t even know what our students are doing. You might not know what machines and projects they are building in engineering, engineers might not know of the unique research that all of the students in the psychology program are doing and the psych students don’t know of all of the great experiences the nursing students are having in clinicals. This is just a way to push pause on our classes and showcase all of that.
Q. What event are you the most excited for?
There’s a couple of poster sessions that we’ve scheduled during the day that are interdisciplinary in nature. There’s eight posters in each session. You could go to one and it might be natural health sciences talking about their genetic research but the one next to it could be the influence newspaper articles have on voter turnout. You’ve got political science right next to biochemistry right next to bible and psychology. I’m really excited about those because I think it will just be very interesting for people. If you want to go to something that showcases a bunch of different areas at one time in the same room this is where that’s going to happen.
Q. What was your role in preparation for this day?
This past summer, Dr.LaMascus picked a date and asked Dr. Bill Luttrell and me to co-chair it. [Dr. Luttrell] was the brains behind the process of accepting proposals and approving them. I worked on the more logistical event planning side. I organized what the session time would be, I started picking locations and communicating with presenters. We worked really closely with Information Technology on our app. On the app, you can view the schedule, filter it by college and make your own custom schedule. We’ve got bios and head shots for each of the speakers that we have presenting. Together we planned everything because it was a new event that had never happened before.
Q. Will this be an annual event?
That’s really the hope. I know that’s Dr.LaMascus’s vision of it. When you do the work to build something like this it is much easier once you do it multiple times. Right now we’re building it and it’s really stressful and hard. There have been a lot of times where I thought ‘I can’t do this next year,’ but then I remind myself the app is done, we have a schedule outline and we know what our processes are. Doing it next year would be easier because we have some stuff built for this event already. So hopefully, yes.
Q. Are there any incentives for students to attend the day of excellence?
We’ll have scanners at all of the sessions, so students can swipe in just like they do for chapel. We’re going to have all of that data for afterward. Some professors have tied this into their syllabi, bet we’ll also use that information to see who goes to what events. We talked about some prizes like gift cards for the bird scooters on campus, eagles bucks and then random things like t-shirts. We want to do prizes and award for students that are really involved on that day.
Q. Why do you think that students should attend as many events as possible?
From an academic standpoint, it’s a great experience to be involved as a presenter. So any student who has done research, whether they’ve already presented it before or not, this is just another opportunity to work on presentation skills. As an attendee, it’s really great to see what other programs are doing. We’re a small school and it’s amazing how siloed we are. You get into upper division classes in your major and you see the same people. For freshman and sophomores, you have a lot of students who are still exploring majors and it’s a great opportunity for them to go see what other programs are doing.
To view the schedule for the Day of Excellence, click here.