OC expands to five colleges, appoints new deans

Dr. Jeff McCormack and Dr. Byron Newberry
Dr. Jeff McCormack and Dr. Byron Newberry

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) will expand from three to five colleges beginning with the 2014-2015 academic year.

OC’s five academic colleges will be the College of Biblical Studies, the College of Business Administration, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Natural and Health Sciences.

“Our academic and leadership teams have been planning, praying and discussing how to build on OC’s legacy of exceptional success in science, engineering and business,” said Dr. Scott LaMascus, vice president for academic affairs. “Our new colleges will focus on growth in these areas and implement strategic planning to help us serve more students.”

This academic reorganization will not affect degree plans for current students, but will expand students’ opportunities for learning and connecting with experts in their chosen fields.

“Students choose Oklahoma Christian because they are drawn to OC’s vibrant community for faith and learning, led by exceptional teaching faculty who truly care about students,” President John deSteiguer said. “These five colleges will provide further focus for our learning communities as we help students discover their missions in life.”

Dr. Jeff McCormack, a 1983 Oklahoma Christian graduate, will return to his alma mater as the new dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences and the Lawson Professor of Microbiology and Immunology.

Dr. McCormack has been on the Lipscomb University faculty since 1999 and is currently associate provost. He also has served as an elder at Harpeth Hills Church of Christ in Brentwood, Tenn.

He is the son of OC professor emeritus Joe McCormack and his wife, Lottie. Jeff and his wife Tina, also a 1983 OC graduate, have four children: Daniel, an OC alumnus working on his doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin; Katie, a Lipscomb graduate and a nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Michael, a graduate of Pepperdine University who is in medical school at the University of Tennessee; and Sarah, a sophomore at Lipscomb.

“Dr. McCormack will be a key leader for our revitalization and reorganization,” LaMascus said. “We are poised to build and expand on OC’s legacy of rigorous science education and excellent placement of our graduates in medical schools, graduate studies, and health and science careers.”

Dr. Byron Newberry will serve as dean of OC’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. Newberry is a professor of mechanical engineering and chairs OC’s Graduate School of Engineering.

After graduating from Oklahoma Christian in 1991 with a degree in mechanical engineering, Newberry went on to earn his master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Michigan. He also has served as a senior research engineer and consultant at Shell International Exploration and Production.

Newberry and his wife Tammy have two children, Isaac and Olivia. They worship at Memorial Road Church of Christ.

“Dr. Newberry’s leadership at the helm of our graduate engineering programs has been exceptional, and we know he will be equally successful leading OC’s College of Engineering and Computer Science,” said Don Drew, associate vice president for academics. “He has worked closely with Tinker Air Force Base to ensure we are responding to needs in the aerospace industry and advanced engineering education.”

Oklahoma Christian will name a dean for the College of Business Administration later this year. Dr. Alan Martin and Dr. David Lowry will continue as deans of OC’s College of Biblical Studies and College of Liberal Arts (formerly the College of Arts and Sciences), respectively.

“Drs. Lowry and Martin are excellent leaders who have helped us make great strides in adding and developing programs that support OC’s mission,” LaMascus said. “Our programs in the liberal arts, fine arts, humanities and biblical studies have outstanding placement and student success records. All of our programs seek to be best-in-class among Christian universities, and no university is exceptional without valuing all of these learning communities.”

Oklahoma Christian, recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study, an undergraduate Honors Program, and graduate programs in accountancy, business administration, engineering, Christian ministry, divinity and theological studies.

The last nine years have featured the nine largest enrollments in OC history, including a record 2,424 students this year.