the past two issues of the Communiqué, I have focused
on the tremendous strides this campus has taken during the past six
years, and why we continue to gain in reputation and status. Our successes
are quantifiably impressive and historically unprecedented. What other
factors contribute to our success?
I believe we are successful at Ozarks because of our
emphasis on quality. We say that students and their education are the
highest priorities but, quite honestly, so do a number of other campuses.
However, while others talk the talk, we actually walk our claims.
At Ozarks our small size allows us to provide personal
attention. We must never grow so large that our commitment to individualized
attention becomes a promise impossible to keep. How does small size
equate to academic quality? The average class size at Ozarks is 16,
and our student-to-faculty ratio is 14 to 1. Faculty members enhance
this attention to students by serving as academic advisors and, in many
cases, personal counselors. Students will not experience averages of
those sizes or commitments of that depth on most campuses, public or
Ninety percent of our faculty members have the highest
degree offered in their discipline. Equally impressive is the fact that
we use no graduate assistants to teach our classes. You need to have
been taught by a graduate assistant to understand what that means. God
bless graduate assistants – I was one myself – they work
hard, and they are dedicated, but their top priority is not teaching.
When I was an undergraduate student at Ohio State University, I did
not have a real professor until the second semester of my sophomore
year. We have real professors at Ozarks.
What else makes us unique? The Ozarks’ campus
is a clean, well-kept, safe, Christian environment nestled in an unbelievably
picturesque setting. Every building is new or renovated since 1996,
and we have no long-term debt. I think we sometimes take the beauty
of this campus for granted. I think we sometimes become so accustomed
to this extraordinary campus that we become oblivious and overlook the
Is there room for improvement at Ozarks? You bet there
is, and we continue to dream, plan, move forward, and improve. But I
cannot imagine a better place to learn, to teach, and to work. If you
know of somewhere better, please let me know. I promise to visit you
Dr. Rick Niece