Oklahoma Christian names LaMascus to academic post

Dr. Scott LaMascus will become Oklahoma Christian University’s new vice president for academic affairs in January.

The 1984 Oklahoma Christian graduate chaired OC’s Department of Language and Literature from 2000 to 2006 and has directed OC’s Honors Program since 2009.

LaMascus helped establish OC’s McBride Center for Public Humanities, which brings high-profile writers and speakers to Oklahoma, and helped the university secure a $200,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities last year.

The Hennessey, Okla., native earned OC’s Gaylord Chair of Distinguished Teaching in 2003 and the university’s Faculty Leadership Award in 2008. He serves on the national board of the Conference on Christianity and Literature and on the board of the Oklahoma Humanities Council.

“Dr. LaMascus is a true scholar and collaborator with his colleagues. He is a fantastic teacher and mentor. He is one of our best student recruiters,” President John deSteiguer said. “He connects effectively with external supporters and friends, and he develops and moves programs forward. Scott is a strong Christian and has a wonderful family. He is OC’s ideal chief academic leader for the future.”

After graduating from Oklahoma Christian with an English degree, LaMascus earned his master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Oklahoma. He taught at OU and Georgia Southwestern State University before returning to Oklahoma Christian as a language and literature professor.

During his tenure as chair, LaMascus helped OC’s Department of Language and Literature grow from 37 majors to 117. His leadership helped Honors Program alumni achieve a 100 percent acceptance rate to graduate schools the past three years.

OC’s Honors Program offers what the National Collegiate Honors Council calls the “most robust” model for Honors programs, with an Honors core curriculum in place of the general education core. Most OC Honors students live on campus in Honors House at Davisson Hall, which opened last year.

In addition to his faculty roles, LaMascus was staff writer of the Christian Chronicle, an international newspaper for Churches of Christ, from 1984 to 1989 and managing editor from 1999 to 2005. He and his wife, Dr. Alice Mankin, a family practice physician at Mercy, have two sons and are active members at Memorial Road Church of Christ.

A five-member committee assisted deSteiguer with the search process for OC’s new academic leader: Dr. Larry Jurney, who is serving as interim vice president for academic affairs this fall; Dr. Jim Baird, professor of Bible and philosophy; Dr. LeeAnne Paris, associate professor of library science and president of OC’s Faculty Association; Dr. Kerianne Roper, associate professor of business; and Dr. Bill Goad, executive vice president.

“I’m very humbled to have been interviewed by the advisory committee and asked by President deSteiguer to serve in this new way,” LaMascus said. “OC’s future is bright because of the amazing things done by alumni, students, faculty, staff and trustees to make the OC experience compelling. It is exciting to work with these people and to see their commitment to Christian higher education. I pray that together we can sustain and build on the legacies of great teachers and scholars who have led us in academics since 1950.”

When LaMascus assumes his new role in January, he will become the ninth full-time dean or vice president of academics in OC’s 63-year history. Oklahoma Christian has had just four chief academic leaders over the past 54 years: Dr. Stafford North (1958-1976); Dr. Bailey McBride (1976-1996); Dr. Jeanine Varner (1996-2007); and Dr. Allison Garrett (2007-2012). North and McBride are in the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.

Oklahoma Christian is recognized as one of the best universities in the western United States by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review.

The last eight years have featured OC’s eight highest enrollments ever, including a record 2,271 students this year. OC’s 2012 freshman class includes seven National Merit Finalists, including four from Oklahoma, the most in the state after OU. Oklahoma Christian currently has more than 30 National Merit Finalists enrolled.

OC is nationally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and has discipline-specific accreditations from ABET (computer engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering), the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Accreditation, the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, the National Association of Schools of Music, and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.

The university offers undergraduate programs in more than 60 fields of study and graduate programs in business administration, engineering, ministry, and divinity. OC’s MBA program is offered both on-site and online.

In addition to its Oklahoma City campus, OC has study abroad opportunities in Europe, Honduras and the Pacific Rim. This year, Oklahoma Christian opened a Learning Support Center in Kigali, Rwanda, allowing Rwandan students to study in OC’s online MBA program.