The national radio program Native America Calling recently featured Dr. Lee Hester’s work on the cultural importance of native corn. Dr. Hester, who teaches Rhetoric in the IDS Core, is Associate Professor of American Indian Studies. During a recent Independent Study session, he led a group of USAO students through the process of planting endangered corn varieties using traditional methods. The episode can be downloaded from the program's website.
- Four new additions to the USAO faculty are teaching in the IDS Core. Visit their webpages to see the talents and academic interests they are sharing with our students:
James Finck, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History
Dr. Finck earned a Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas, a Master’s from Virginia Tech, and a Bachelor’s
degree from the College of William and Mary. He team-teaches in both American Civ I and American Civ II.
J.C. Sanders, Ph.D., Assistant professor of Physics
Dr. Sanders holds several degrees: a Physics Ph.D. and Master’s from the University of Connecticut;
a Master’s of Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering from George Washington University; and a Bachelor’s of
Physics from the College of New Jersey. He teaches Foundations of Physical Science in the IDS Core.
Quan Tran, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Dr. Tran holds a Ph.D. in mathematics, a Masters in mathematics, and a Bachelor’s degree in computer
science, all from the University of Oklahoma. He teaches Math in the Modern World.
James Vaughn, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology
Dr. Vaughn recently completed his Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University, and also holds Master’s degrees
from OSU and the University of Central Oklahoma. He team-teaches in the Individual in Contemporary
- Be sure to check out Apology II, a short film created by USAO faculty, staff, and students that premiered at the World Creativity Forum in 2011. With animation, music, and humor, it highlights the great questions that the Core challenges our students to think about in every IDS class.
- More proof that IDS generates creative and innovative thought: Dr. Erik Guzik, Economics and IDS faculty, received a Great Inspirations Award at the recent Oklahoma Creativity Forum. Creative Oklahoma recognized his Virtual Problem Solving project that is designed to inspire school kids to think creatively. Learn more at Creative Oklahoma's website.
- The IDS Core Curriculum is one of only 19 general education programs nationwide to earn an "A" in the newly released What Will They Learn rankings. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) unveiled the list as part of its ongoing effort to improve essential core curriculum. We're also prominently featured on the "Hidden Gems" section of the website, which praises our "impressive core curriculum that integrates writing, math, science, and the humanities" and our "clear and confident educational mission." Of course, we've known since the 1960s that IDS is a gem, but it's nice to know that we're no longer quite as hidden! Read the full story on the USAO news site.
- Nash Library has created LEOs (Library Endorsed Offerings) for several IDS courses, with more on the way. They're a great way to begin research, or to discover more about ideas discussed in class. There's a special LEO in honor of Banned Books Week, as well.
- The new painting on Davis Hall, conceived by Art and IDS faculty member Steve Breerwood, exemplifies interdisciplinary thinking. See the satin bower birds and read more here. The Oklahoma Higher Ed Campus E-Clips also has a story featuring the art.
- The USAO Board of Regents recently honored three faculty members for their contributions to research and teaching. All three teach in the IDS Core: Dr. Simpson and Dr. Weber in the World Thought sequence, and Dr. Walker in Individual in Contemporary Society. Read about their outstanding efforts here.
- Dr. John Miller retired in April 2011 after more than twenty years of teaching at USAO. He spent much of his time and energies in American Civ I and II classrooms, educating countless students about American culture, and inspiring them to become more engaged citizens.