Deborah VanOverbeke has made the leap from half-time to full-time assistant dean at Oklahoma State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
“During the past three years, Dr. VanOverbeke has made significant contributions to the college, including her work with retention initiatives, faculty development and our freshman seminar course,” said Cynda Clary, associate dean of the college.
An animal scientist with a specialization in meat science and a reputation for excellence in the classroom and as an adviser, VanOverbeke has been instrumental in developing and coordinating spring and fall teaching workshops for the college’s teaching faculty and Ph.D. students.
“Faculty rarely have training in teaching during their graduate program and helping them develop these traits, while building a network across departments in the college, helps them relate better to students taking courses in those other departments,” VanOverbeke said. “This can have a tremendous effect in the classroom, giving students a better connection with faculty and a better learning experience.”
The college has long worked to foster a “family atmosphere in and out of the classroom,” where students are more than a number.
“We recognize each student is an individual, with his or her specific interests, needs and goals,” VanOverbeke said. “We feel the uniqueness of each student is what makes our extended OSU family special and what collectively has enabled our graduates to have such a positive influence on their families, communities and career fields.”
The college is recognized throughout OSU and the academic community for the emphasis it places on interactive, hands-on education and the importance of a well-rounded student experience. Students in the college can choose from 16 majors and 52 study options, plus take part in more than 60 student organizations and competitive teams.
VanOverbeke joined OSU in 2005 as a faculty member in what is now called the Department of Animal and Food Sciences. Her success in the classroom and laboratory earned her the university’s George Chiga Endowed Professorship in 2014.
“We’re going to miss her leadership and presence in the department, but we’re well aware that she can have an even more widespread positive effect in her new role as full-time assistant dean,” said Clint Rusk, head of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences. “Her skills as a teacher and adviser are second to none. We know her greater interaction with faculty, staff and students will strengthen our entire college and further enhance the reputation of the university as a whole.”
VanOverbeke served on the faculty of Colorado State University from 2012 to 2015 and as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota from 2002 to 2005.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in animal science with a minor in agricultural leadership and communication from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1996. VanOverbeke earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in animal science from Colorado State University in 2000 and 2002, respectively.
The college is part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, which, along with the division’s two state agencies – the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service and Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station system – represents a key part of the university’s state and federally mandated teaching, research and extension land-grant mission.