After eight years of teaching in the Department of Psychology and Family Science, Dr. Tina Winn will transition into the role of Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Oklahoma Christian University beginning next semester.
Winn said several faculty members approached her about the open position following the announcement that Dr. David Lowry stepped down to return to the classroom. She said she was hesitant at first, but embraced the idea after speaking with members of the Dean Search Committee.
“In my prior position at USAO (University of Science and Arts Oklahoma), I was division chair, which is what deans are there,” Winn said. “When I left there and came here, I was pleased with strictly teaching, because I love to teach. But as things progressed and we looked at what we wanted for our college, I wanted someone who loves liberal arts, who wants to work hard to promote and strengthen it and to be in good position, so I decided I could fill the role.”
A 1982 graduate of Oklahoma Christian, Winn taught psychology at Northwestern Oklahoma State University and USAO before returning to her alma mater in 2010. In addition to teaching, Winn has been involved with the Healthy Brain/Healthy Mind mental health program on campus for several years.
According to Winn, it will be a priority to unite the different departments within the College of Liberal Arts and work for students of all majors. She said she will officially take on the role of dean beginning June 1.
“I want to provide some leadership on pulling together and having a vision and better articulating the value of the liberal arts, not only for our liberal arts majors but for everyone who comes and uses the liberal arts as part of their program,” Winn said. “The liberal arts is the lifeblood of the institution. Whether you’re an engineer, a doctor, a nurse or an accountant, your understanding of the liberal arts—history, ethical considerations, critical thinking, how to write, how to speak—are what really make someone an educated person.”
As dean, Winn will oversee nine different programs in the College of Liberal Arts. She said two major components of her new role will be building relationships within the different departments and providing them with sufficient financial resources.
“We’re a small school and we all know each other, but I don’t know at the level I want to all of the wonderful things being done and ideas in programs like communications, art and design, and our new program in criminal justice,” Winn said. “I need to get to know each program really well and try to help connect them with what they need. It’s a big job.”
According to junior psychology student Samantha Redig, Winn is the right person for such an important job. She said Winn has often gone out of her way to explain concepts and connect students with internship opportunities.
“She’s extremely patient with students, and I think she gets how we work,” Redig said. “In her classes, she is really easy to understand because she tells us exactly what’s expected of us. She’s really organized in that sense, and also just as a person, she wants to ask us how we’re doing. She takes a personal investment.”
To fulfill her duties as dean, Winn said she will teach just one course per semester starting in the fall. According to Redig, Winn stepping back from her teaching role is the only negative part of her becoming dean.
“Every single class I’ve taken with her, I loved,” Redig said. “Whenever I see that she’s teaching a class, I’ll take it, no matter what it is, just because she’s teaching it. That will be disappointing, but it will also be exciting if you get into Dr. Winn’s only class.”