New Dean Takes On OCCC

IMG_E4834 On January 2, Dr. Thomas Harrison became Oklahoma City Community College’s Dean of Arts, English Humanities.

      Harrison said he was excited to join the rush and scramble that many of the new students experience on the first day of school.

      “When you have a student that flies and to know that you have had an impact and that you have helped them learn to fly in whatever ways flying means to them,” he said. “That’s my passion.”

      Although Dr. Harrison is new to OCCC he has, in many ways, always been a part of the community. “I am hoping in the years to come that we will be a bright spot that everyone will be proud to be a part of,” he said. “I hope to build on the traditions that have been established before me and the wonderful people that have been the dean. I hope to continue that and add some little things along the way that make that fun.”

      Harrison said he has many expectations for the students at OCCC, but he also has goals for himself. “My goal for the semester is to provide seamless student experience with high academic rigor.”

      One way that Dr. Harrison is going to follow up on that promise is by making sure that the students have what they need to succeed.

      “Qualified faculty in every room who are focused and allowing students to express their energy and creativity in whatever discipline they are in. We want to see students succeed,” he said. “There is always room in the family for more. I want more students because the more students we have the more services we can offer and the more diverse we are. The experience of the students is more enriched rather when the campus is in a full mode of students, everybody is happy.”

      Although Dr. Harrison is new to the school, he said he would be very visible. “I am limited in my knowledge of what past deans have done,” he said. “I am very hands on. I am at concerts and exhibitions, dropping in classrooms, that type of thing. I am always one who is curious about what our students are thinking and what they need.”

      With an extensive academic background in business, media, and teaching, Harrison has learned to value the English language. “I was born in Little Rock Arkansas so I am a southerner. I went to private speech class for five years to get rid of my accent so I could be in broadcasting.”

      Harrison said he takes the English language very seriously. “My biggest pet peeve is people who butcher the English language without knowing it. I guess that’s just the journalist in me.”

      Harrison also offered some advice new students who are starting this semester: learn absolutely everything that you can. “Be as creative as you can. Listen more than you talk, and learn business etiquette and manners as quickly as possible. Common courtesy opens many doors,” he said.

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