Ingrid Shafer, Professor Emerita of Philosophy and Religion and Mary Jo Ragan Professor Emerita of Interdisciplinary Studies, is the Editor of Crosstimbers, a biannual multicultural interdisciplinary journal of arts and ideas published by the USAO Foundation. Dr. Shafer joined the USAO faculty (then called Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts) in 1968 and was deeply involved in developing and implementing the innovative IDS program.
Dr. Shafer retired from her USAO teaching position in 2009 in order to devote more time to writing and publishing. Since 1998 she has also taught, and continues to teach, an online graduate course on Global Ethics and World Religions for the University of Oklahoma.
She is the author/editor/translator of several books, three of which focus on Father Andrew Greeley who is considered to be one of the most influential Catholic thinkers, writers, priests, sociologists, authors or journalists of recent times. She is the official translator of the Oberammergau Passion Play (2000 and 2010) and has served as consultant to the play’s producers along with representatives of Jewish groups. With Alan Race she co-edited Religions in Dialogue: From Theocracy to Democracy(Ashgate 2002). Her articles have appeared in professional journals, especially Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, as book chapters, and encyclopedia entries. For more than two decades she has been Area Chair of the Religion and Culture section of the National Popular Culture Association (PCA) and chaired panels at conferences in New Orleans, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, San Diego, San Antonio, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Chicago, Louisville and Toronto.
Shafer was a finalist for the Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in Teaching and Administration in 2001 and was honored in 2002 with the State of Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in College/University Teaching. At the time she was the first and woman to receive that award and the first person not associated with one of Oklahoma’s comprehensive universities. In 2003 she received the distinguished alumna award from the OU College of Arts and Sciences.
In 2001, Shafer received the Star Award in Recognition of Meritorious Work to Promote Peace and Harmony from The Association for Communal Harmony in Asia. She received USAO Regents’ Research Awards in 2000 and 1991 and received the USAO Regents’ Superior Teaching Award in 1981.
NEH Summer Institute: "Religious Studies and Liberal Education: Opportunities and New Directions" (part of the multi-year Berkeley/Chicago/Harvard Summer Institutes: "The Study of Religion in the Liberal Arts: Towards a Global Perspective"), University of Chicago, June 18-July 30, 1986.
Ph.D. (Philosophy, 1984) University of Oklahoma (Dissertation:
"The Infinite Circle: The Chiliastic Soul in Hegel, Jung, and Hesse with Particular Emphasis on Hesse's Glasperlenspiel."
M. A. (Human Relations, 1975) University of Oklahoma
M. A. (German Literature, 1967) University of Oklahoma
Thesis: "Between God and Demon: Else Lasker-Schüler: A Dialectical Interpretation."
Ph.D. Candidate (American Literature, 1960) University of Innsbruck
Dissertation topic: "Suffering of the Righteous. From Tabu-utul-Enlil to Archibald MacLeish's J.B."
Martin Reding is a graduate of two institutions on one campus. He graduated from USAO before the institution's name was changed in the 1970s and also graduated after the name change. He has been instrumental in gathering graduates and students from OCLA for reunions at the college.
Recently Reding, with the help of OCLA classmates and others, worked to restore the lodge and recreation area at the USAO College Farm. In addition to his work at USAO, he also volunteers for the Chickasha Community Theatre. Before coming back to USAO, he was a master carpenter for United Artists and a stage tech for Walt Disney World in Florida.
Lucretia "Cricket" Scott is the Head Groundskeeper at USAO. Crickett and her team of groundskeepers keep the campus landscaped and beautiful. She has been a member of the USAO staff since 2005.
Crickett and her crew of groundskeepers are responsible for the 75-acre college campus. The crew trims trees, takes care of the lawns, keeps the trash under control, cleans up after storms, helps the other Physical Plant crews and does about a million other tasks.
Dottie Smith is the administrative assistant for USAO's Physical Plant and is a security office. She has been with the staff since 2006.
The Physical Plant is responsible for groundskeeping, building maintenance, carpool and carpentry. The Security Team is part of Student Services at USAO. The Student Services Office is responsible for housing, career services, counseling services, disability services, health services, orientation, recreation, student development and security.
In addition to directing the Art Gallery at USAO, Layne Thrift teaches in the art department at the college. He served as the assistant director of the gallery until 2010. He was the assistant to the director from 1998-2001 while a student at USAO.
Before coming back to USAO, Thrift was an adjunct professor of visual art at Oklahoma City Community College and a graduate teaching assistant at Texas Tech University. He also was a ceramic technician and a graduate assistant at Texas Tech.
Thrift received the USAO Alumni Distinguished Graduate Award and was named the Outstanding Graduate by the USAO Division of Arts and Humanities. He is a member of the National Council on Education of Ceramic Artists; Potter's Council, American Ceramic Society and the Oklahoma Visual Artists Coalition.
He has participated in exhibitions in Chickasha and in Slaton, Lubbock, Denton, Marfa, Houston and Rockport, Texas. He has attended workshops by William Haver, Tom Bartell, Ken Little, Jesus Morales, Robert "Boomer" Moore, Mo Neil, Ken Price, James Surls, Elmer Taylor and James Watkins.