Written by: Emma Baldwin, Senior English Major
Dr. Keri Bostwick wears a lot of hats at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, working both as Dean of Assessment and Accreditation and as Dean of the School of Education and Exercise Science, all the while teaching masters-level classes. And, after a lot of thought and hard work – and as a result of her reliance on God – Bostwick recently earned her doctorate.
When Bostwick was born, her parents were current OKWU students, and this deep connection to the university community has continued on through Bostwick’s life. She’s known since she was four or five years old that God wanted her to be a teacher, and ever after she focused her life around education, wanting to follow God’s direction with purpose. From holding classes for the stuffed animals in her bedroom (which was what caused her to recognize her call to be a teacher), to leading a Sunday School class, to helping in an elementary school classroom, Bostwick took baby steps down the path of her calling.
Because of Bostwick’s childhood connection with OKWU, and because of an opportunity to attend the university with several friends she made through a church camp, the decision to attend was a natural one. She’s earned both her Bachelor’s in English Education and her master’s degree from the university.
“There’s just an authenticity in their faith once I allow transparency and brokenness to be seen. We’re all together on the same boat, supporting each other, and it’s a very unique environment.”
Today, Bostwick is more involved than ever in OKWU’s community. In her role as Dean of Assessment and Accreditation, she has the responsibility to research into how OKWU has operated in the past to help the university operate in the best way that it can now and into the future. As Dean of Education and Exercise Science, she focuses on recruiting students to her department and equipping them with the tools to succeed during their educational journey. She was recently awarded the OKWU Outstanding Alumni Service Award.
On top of her other roles, Bostwick finds extra time to teach classes for OKWU’s master’s program. Bostwick is thankful for the way that other faculty members treat her and recognizes the importance of the relationships she has with them.
“What I appreciate so much from a lot of people that I work with—there’s just an authenticity in their faith once I allow transparency and brokenness to be seen,” she said. “We’re all together on the same boat, supporting each other, and it’s a very unique environment.”
Her Doctorate of Transformational Leadership was earned from the University of Concordia at Portland. Bostwick’s dissertation focuses on what she calls “culturally relevant pedagogy and the Evangelical professoriate,” in which she looks into the expectation put on the Christian teacher as a bearer of Christ’s image, to encourage students in their identity in Christ and to help them grasp information that they would normally view as insignificant.
Though excited to be done, Bostwick is ready to keep steaming on ahead. “For me, it was just, ‘Alright, next item on my list. Whatever I have to do next,’” she said.
Bostwick plans to stay at OKWU for as long as God wants her to be here. Beyond that, her main focus is to spend more time with her family, especially her three children.
“I want to be used by Him, but I don’t want to define how He uses me.”
“They are the very best of Who God is, I think. They’re so different, but they just bring me so much joy. I don’t know, I could gush about them all day. They’re wonderful, wonderful reminders of what’s important,” she said.
In addition to spending the time she needs with her family, Bostwick would like to take the time to write a book or do more research on her dissertation topic.
Through her life’s journey, Bostwick has repeatedly learned to give everything over to God. “I’m always asking Him to break my heart for the things that break His heart. I want to be used by Him, but I don’t want to define how He uses me,” she said. “If He needs to break me or break something or allow things to happen, I just want to be used by Him, but sometimes I have a tendency to say, ‘I want to be used by You, God, in this way. Use me to do this,’ rather than, ‘Use me. Period.’”
Her office is in the administration wing of the mansion, and Bostwick says her door is always open to students looking for help, guidance, or just a good conversation.