Faculty Hall of Fame Award 1998
Dr. Terral McKellips


"Phillips, McKellips receive CUAA faculty honor"
From the Fall 1998 Cameron Today

Dr. Terral McKellips, who has played a major role in the evolution of technology at Cameron, can remember when the computer in the Administration building had far less memory than his wrist watch does today.

"The progress to where we are today did not simply involve waiting for the technology to develop," McKellips says, "it required a lot of hard work by staff and faculty and some courageous decisions by the administration."

Born in 1938 at Terlton, he received his B.S. from Southwestern State College and his M.S. and Ed.D degrees from Oklahoma State University.

He began his teaching career at age 23 in Southwestern's mathematics department. During the next six years he merged his teaching career with pursuit of advanced graduate study in mathematics at Tulane University, the University of California-Santa Barbara, and at OSU.

During that time he was awarded several National Science Foundation fellowships, including being named a Science Faculty Fellow in 1966, enabling him to complete his doctorate at OSU in 1968.

Cameron was enrolling its first junior class that year and McKellips was asked to organize and chair a math department to serve the needs of a newly established baccalaureate program. He took that challenge and arrived in Lawton to find he was the only full professor at Cameron and one of only three doctorates on the campus.

"The challenge proved to be more than I had anticipated as the college encountered accreditation problems with North Central Association, had its senior level administration replaced and struggled to develop a faculty and curriculum of competitive quality," McKellips recalls. "However the department of mathematics and the institution in general were able to recruit a strong contingent of dedicated faculty and those early problems were gradually erased."

During 15 years as department chair, he was named to two panels of the Mathematical Association of America's Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics. He also served on MAA's national consulting bureau for 17 years.

In 1972-73, he was a visiting professor at OSU.

At Cameron, he served as division chair and then as dean of the School of Mathematical and Applied Sciences from 1983-89. During that period, he became interested in academic leadership training and headed several leadership institutes under the auspices of the American Council of Education.

In 1989 he was appointed the university's chief academic officer, then titled Vice-President for Academic Affairs and later Provost. In 1997-98 he served as chair of the Council on Instruction, an advisory body to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

McKellips says of his philosophy of teaching: "The purpose of teaching is to stimulate learning. I made the transition from being a competent mathematician to being a competent mathematics teacher when I recognized that the presentation of a mathematically correct exposition rarely produced the desired learning outcome even among those students who were prepared to understand the concept. It took me much longer to understand that my determination to teach had to yield to the necessity to allow the student to learn. I now believe that `learner-centered' teaching is far more powerful than `teacher-centered teaching.'"

McKellips is a strong supporter of the United Way of Lawton-Fort Sill. He and his wife, Karen, a professor in CU's education department, are annual donors to the CU's President's Partners.

Their son, Bret, attended Cameron and their daughter, Marty, is a 1981 graduate.