OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University (OC) announced the addition of a communications expert and an Air Force officer to its faculty this fall.
Brian Simmons will join the OC faculty as a professor of communication while Col. Brad Buxton has been hired as an assistant professor of engineering.
Simmons graduated from Oklahoma Christian in 1987 with a degree in mass communication. He went on to earn his master’s degree in communication from Pepperdine University and a doctorate in mass communication from Purdue University, where he also minored in sociology of religion.
“I believe that the college years are the most important in shaping a person’s life,” Simmons said. “That’s why I am honored to be teaching at Oklahoma Christian, a university that I believe in. For me, it is returning to a community that shaped my Christian faith and set me on a blessed path in life. I am excited to see how God will use me in each student’s life.”
Simmons is the author of Falling Away: Why Christians Lose Their Faith and What Can Be Done about It and Wandering in the Wilderness: Changes and Challenges to Emerging Adults’ Christian Faith.
His dissertation was about “Media Effects on Church of Christ Adolescents’ Perceptions of Sexual Morality.” Simmons has been published in Journalism Quarterly, the Journal of Popular Music and Society, Media Ethics: Issues and Cases, and Media Coverage of Terrorism, and Sex, Religion and Media.
Prior to returning to his alma mater, Simmons was a communications professor at the University of Portland, where he also served as an assistant coach with the Speech and Debate Union. He previously taught at Cascade College and Saint Joseph’s College. His daughter Madison will be a freshman at Oklahoma Christian this fall.
“Brian Simmons has proven records of accomplishment in the highest levels of the academy and in ministerial leadership,” OC vice president of academic affairs Scott LaMascus said. “I’m really eager to see how his scholarship and leadership skills play out for OC communications majors, Honors students, and for the broader OC and faith communities.”
Buxton holds a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Air Force Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in management from Troy State University. He received his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
“Col. Buxton has a distinguished career as an engineering leader and mentor of engineers in the Air Force, so I am thrilled he is now turning his talents toward educating Christian engineering students,” LaMascus said. “He also will strengthen the good ties between OC’s three ABET-accredited programs and the Oklahoma City engineering community, including Tinker Air Force Base and General Electric’s new global research center.”
Buxton is a 24-year U.S. Air Force veteran on active duty. His engineering experience covers the product life cycle from basic research in aircraft structures through operational flight testing involving F-15E aircraft and space operations with GPS satellites.
Col. Buxton has served as a Pentagon action officer, group commander, and chief engineer for space superiority. He published his research in computational aeroelasticity and was a member of Sigma Gamma Tau, the Aero Engineering Honor Society.
“I am excited about coming to Oklahoma Christian,” Buxton said. “OC has a well-established engineering program, and I am eager to help it be an excellent place to get credentials. OC also has a Christ-centered worldview and I want to be a part of that. If students aren’t taught to respect Christ, all the education in the world doesn’t matter.”
Recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, Oklahoma Christian 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.