Williams named Director of Gen. Ed

BETHANY, OK -- Dr. Dennis Williams, Ph.D. will be assuming the position of Director of General Education at Southern Nazarene University (SNU) beginning May 15. After interviews with the General Education Council and faculty Chairs, his appointment was recommended by the Provosts’ Council and confirmed by Dr. Loren Gresham, University President.

“Dr. Williams brings to this appointment many years’ service on the General Education Council and significant experience on key campus committees. He teaches in both our traditional and nontraditional programs and has become a veteran instructor in our World Civilizations course in General Education. He brings an inventiveness and energy to the job, coupled with a commitment to the purposes of our General Education program and to the quality and vigor of student learning on our campus. We are confident he will provide the leadership needed at this time as the institution undertakes preparations in the area of assessment and accreditation for our Higher Learning Commission review in fall 2009,” said Dr. Gwen Ladd Hackler, Vice Provost at Southern Nazarene University.

Williams has taught at SNU since 1994. His area of specialization is environmental history. Before coming to SNU, Williams was the historian of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He is an author and in his recent book “God’s Wilds: John Muir’s Vision of Nature” (Texas A&M University Press, 2002) explores the evangelical roots of the American environmental movement through the biography of Sierra Club founder John Muir.

“One of the most important elements of my vision for our General Education Program is to create processes that will enable us to evaluate and refine the overall educational experience of SNU undergraduate students. We believe that our curriculum assists students in developing a wide variety of useful proficiencies, but at this moment in time we would be hard pressed to bring together the evidence to usefully evaluate how to make the learning process even better for students. I believe that one of the most useful contributions I can make to SNU is to find ways to assist our faculty in developing the means to critically evaluate and further refine the effectiveness of the transformative learning experiences they create for our students,” said Williams.

Adventure racing is one of the choice activities of exercise for Williams. His teammates John Lunn and Mike McGarry won the Quartz Mountain Sprint in October 2004. He is working to get an Adventure Racing club going on the SNU campus. Other interests include geography, digital mapping, reading, bird watching in Costa Rica, camping, travel, world history and cultures, environment, evolutionary history, Christianity, small wars, riding motorcycles and rogaining.

Williams states his objective is to promote a better understanding of the human condition through the teaching and writing of history. In order to achieve this goal, he pursues innovative and enthusiastic teaching that inspires a love for truth and instills an appreciation for historical understanding. Further, by writing history, he strives to understand the past within its content, to explore the way worldviews affect the ways in which humans interact with the environment, and to communicate his understanding with those within his profession and the public in order to foster thoughtful discussion of human interaction with the natural world.

Idalou, Texas is where Williams grew up. His parent’s home remains in Idalou. He is married to Joyce and her occupation is nursing along with being wife, mom and home manager. They have three daughters, Grace – age 13, Maggie – age 11 and Abby – age 8.

SNU offers a number of outstanding and diverse degree programs, many of which have received national recognition. Undergraduate degrees are offered in 70 different fields of interest, and four graduate degrees within seven program areas, with five adult studies and four associate degree programs available. For more information, visit snu.edu/academics.