Spotlight on Dr. Keith Harman

January 25, 2012

A native of Oklahoma, Dr. Harman attended OBU from 1970-72 and later earned a bachelor's degree in social studies from the University of Oklahoma, a master's degree in vocational education from OU, a Ph.D. in higher education management from OU, and a master's degree in finance and operations management from Webster University. He also participated in a post-doctoral study program at MIT and later at the U.S. Army War College.

Harman's career includes service in higher education as a faculty member, department chairperson, dean, campus director, academic program director and university trustee. He spent six years in the U.S. Army, eventually serving at headquarters level in logistics and strategy. He has served at the executive level in a private foundation, a community property and land development association, and in a government agency. He began his career in the commercial banking business, later spending 10 years as a consultant with Fortune 100 organizations through his work with the Juran Institute. Today he serves as an advisory board member to an IT consulting firm, a university executive MBA program, an insurance company and as treasurer of a local arts organization.

Harman shared about his motivations for teaching at the OBU Graduate School, and he offered a glimpse of his personal interests:

Q: Why do you enjoy teaching in the graduate school?

A: I enjoy teaching in the graduate school because I have always enjoyed teaching in programs designed for working professionals, "adult" or "non-traditional" learners. They bring a wealth of expertise and experience that allows the class to effectively reflect upon the linkage between business theory and business practice. I have great affinity and admiration for our students - I too worked full-time and completed my college degrees. I understand the sacrifices they make to grow as people and as professionals.

Q: What do you hope to see accomplished in the lives of your students as they go through your classes and the graduate program?

My hope is that our students will become deep, strategic thinkers who have an enterprise orientation and who see a business career as an act of Christian service. The synagogue of the 21st century is the global corporation. That is the mission field we are called to reach. It should not escape our attention that many current management theorists suggest that the greatest challenge facing employees is finding meaning in their work. Only Christ can meet that need. As the community called to give witness to His truth, may we be faithful in our thoughts, words and deeds.

Additionally, Our Lord has a special affinity for business people. Consider that He selected entrepreneurs (fishermen) and a bureaucrat (a tax collector) as disciples. Also consider that the Apostle Paul was a craftsman as well as a highly educated scholar. Our Lord chose Paul to be His disciple to the Gentiles. Our Lord was a carpenter and worked in His family's business. Business is a creative act, and the first recorded act of God was to create all that exists. It all fits together for me.

Q: What is the inspiration for your creative undergraduate courses focusing on topics such as Google and ESPN?

The idea for courses such as "All About Google" or "All About ESPN" comes from my interest in business strategy, from my experiences as a business consultant, and my love of good stories. Successful companies have a story to tell, and they possess their own unique culture that enables them to be successful. My parents were entrepreneurs, and they always had interesting stories to share.

Q: What are some of your personal hobbies and interests?

My wife, Juli, and I are passionate baseball fans (Go Cardinals, Go Yankees). I am a college football fan as well. We enjoy traveling, gardening and hiking. We also enjoy classical music, classic movies and art.

Of course church is a big part of our lives. I teach Sunday School, and she is in choir and is on staff at First Baptist Church Moore. Juli is an artist, and every day I get to see her beautiful paintings in our home. Our current pet (Otto, the wonder dog) was rescued from the shelter. Otto wants his own Facebook page but I am encouraging him to opt for Google+. Facebook is so 2005.

Harman has published extensively. His most widely disseminated articles, papers, and presentations may be accessed via Google Scholar and his books may be accessed at Amazon .