Q&A with Dr. Susan DeWoody: Dedicated Faculty and Staff Set OBU Apart

Dr. Susan DeWoody, provost, loves OBU students. Whether cheering them on at a game, talking with them around campus, or working with faculty to ensure they receive the best education possible, she keeps students a priority in everything she does. She and her husband are actively involved in college ministry at church and often host students in their home.

Q: What excites you most about being provost?

A: OBU is a special place and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to be here and to serve in any capacity where God would lead me. We have a world-class faculty here, and being in this role allows me to work collaboratively across campus as we strive to provide a transformative experience on Bison Hill.

Q: What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your position?

No two days are ever the same and they typically involve opportunities to work alongside many different faculty and staff every day. The most rewarding days are those that afford the chance to intersect with our student population. We have stellar students at OBU.

Q: What are some of the most challenging aspects of your position?

God has wired me in such a way that challenges are not typically something I see in a negative light. So, I think the challenge would be in accomplishing enough each day to continue to see progress toward accomplishing our mission.

Q: What are some of your main job responsibilities as provost? Which areas do you oversee?

As provost, I am responsible for student life and the instructional aspects of the institution, including also academic services and the registrar’s office. The less visible piece of my role includes the oversight of institutional research and assessment, as well as institutional accreditation.

Q: What do you think sets OBU apart from other universities?

Besides being the only Baptist higher education institution in the state of Oklahoma, I believe the Wall Street Journal said it best last fall when OBU was ranked number two in the nation for student engagement. We teach the whole student at OBU, and I genuinely believe that our faculty and staff take their roles with student engagement very seriously.

Q: What is something that might surprise people about being provost?

I think what would surprise people the most is specific to me being the provost at OBU, as I didn’t have this position in mind with regard to my professional goals. I’m grateful for the opportunity, and God has given me a myriad of opportunities to serve over my nearly 17 years in higher education, but this was not a calculated step I had considered for my journey at OBU. When you visit with most provosts, many had a path and a plan they pursued to get to the position, which started with a long stretch as a faculty member in the classroom. I genuinely enjoy administrative work and feel God has called me to it, much like the calling I sensed when I applied for this position.

Q: Why did you decide to come to OBU?

As a native Oklahoman, I have an affinity for the state and her people. As a first generation college graduate, I knew about OBU when I chose a college to attend, but I didn’t think OBU was attainable for me and my family, so I didn’t look here. My service here is different than many employed on Bison Hill because I am not an alumna, but I am an Oklahoman and a Southern Baptist, so what we offer at OBU really matters to me. OBU is a special place and I want all families who desire a world-class Christian liberal arts degree for their student to know that OBU is a possibility.

Q: What are some things you enjoy doing when away from the office?

Much of my time away from the office is spent engaged in college ministry with my husband at our church, New Hope Baptist Church in Bethel, Oklahoma. The majority of the 40 plus students we serve in our ministry are OBU students. We often host them in our home for meals and study nights, and try to provide as much support as we can as a home-away-from-home while they’re studying at OBU. Our laundry room is always hopping and we’re grateful to be able to help our students. When the students are away on breaks, we take breaks and love to travel in the region.

Q: What would you say to high school students who are considering OBU?

Come to campus and experience first-hand why OBU should be at the top of your list. God is working here on Bison Hill; I see it every day. We have a beautiful campus and lovely amenities which will compare well against our competition. What other campuses don’t have is our people. I believe our faculty and staff at OBU, paired with the students you’ll meet, will have you ringing the bell in admissions to officially join our family. Come. Be a Bison!