Dr. Owens-Delong Brings Wealth of Experience to Teacher Education Program

By Tyler Moss

In 2011, Dr. Dana Owens-Delong retired from a 35-year teaching career that had taken her from a junior high classroom in Muldrow, Okla., to the department of teacher education at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, and included a number of stops in-between.

Now, after 18 months of partial retirement (she continued to do some consulting work after leaving UCO), Dr. Owens-Delong recently returned to the field she loves, accepting a position as the Director of Southwestern Christian University’s Teacher Education Program.

“I retired a year and a half ago because I felt like that was what I was supposed to do,” Owens-Delong said. “After a while, I wasn’t looking for more things to do, but the timing became just right for me to come here and I felt like this was where I needed to be. I just wanted to come in, contribute and continue the work that my good friend (Tim Campbell) had started here in this department.”

While Owens-Delong brings a wealth of knowledge about education and technology to her new role, there is one aspect of her new job that is different from any she has ever had. Having spent her entire career in public education, she has always struggled with some of the limits that the educational system has placed on faith and religion. Being at SCU allows her the opportunity to speak openly about her faith, and implement it into her work on a daily basis.

“Being on a campus that embraces a Christian perspective and actually integrates faith into learning is very exciting and refreshing,” Owens-Delong said. “I embrace the opportunity to take all of the concepts, all of the theories, and all of the practices and applications that I’ve learned and developed over the last 35 years and look at those through a Christian lens.”

As far as what she expects in her day-to-day work at SCU, Dr. Owens-Delong says it ultimately comes down to her love for interacting with people, taking all of their ideas, and using those to create something new through a collaborative event.

“There is an opportunity here to create something new,” Owens-Delong said. “I want to take my 35 years of educational experience and be able to put some things in place that are effective in producing new teacher candidates that can have a good handle on how to contribute in a wide range of educational environments.”

Recognizing that the world of education is constantly changing, Dr. Owens-Delong has developed a passion for preparing teachers to face the challenges those changes will present in a classroom setting.

“Schools have changed so much over the last 35 years,” Owens-Delong said. “There is such a need for teachers who can see each kid’s unique circumstances and try to hit them where they are and make a difference in that person’s life.”

While for some, 35 years in the same field would start to become mundane, Dr. Owens-Delong has never had that struggle. In fact, her biggest obstacle is sitting down long enough to relax and reflect in between her job and her hobbies, which include, but are not limited to, kayaking, fly fishing, hiking, dancing, painting, pottery and teaching Pilates and yoga classes.