Q&A: John Castree; Dean Of Social Sciences

John Castree has been the Dean of Social Sciences since July 2020 at Oklahoma City Community College.

Dean Castree is originally from Rockford, Illinois. He earned his undergraduate degree in history at the University of Illinois and a Master’s degree at Tennessee State University.

He began his teaching career as a history instructor and an academic advisor in Texas.

What brought you to OCCC?

I wanted the opportunity to be a part of all the aspects of student success and my position is Dean, I get to do that.

Whether that’s creating a lot of classes in ways that students can take, that’s working to enhance learning opportunities, whether that’s working with faculty to develop new and different courses, or working with advising to get students where they need.

What excites you about the school?

The student-centered focus here. Everybody is very invested in student success, different departments work better here than other places.

There is a lot of collegiality between different groups and wonderful people both inside and outside my division. They have been very welcoming and it’s just an exciting place to work.

Everybody wants the best for your students and we get to come to work every day to try to get there.

What do you bring to the division and the students?

I am a team player. I like collaboration and I really like working to help students get where they need to be.

I very much enjoy working with faculty in the social science division. We have tremendous faculty, excellent scholars who are extremely invested in our students, and it’s really a pleasure to work with them.

I have a great staff. So getting to help make their jobs easier, help make things better for our students is a wonderful opportunity. 

Will there be any changes to the division in the near future?

There will be more changes to our schedule and how we offer classes.

What the pandemic has taught us is students want to take classes in a wide variety of ways and we are trying to meet that need. In social science, we are offering in-person classes, hybrid classes, online classes, synchronous zoom classes, and everything in between.

What we are trying to do is to be as modality and time diverse as possible so we can reach the most number of students. We are constantly working to update and improve the workforce and that’s kind of a continuous thing.

We are trying to meet the needs of as many students as possible in how we teach our courses and when we teach them.