Northwestern's Steven Mackie earns doctorate

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Northwestern's Steven Mackie earns doctorate

February 4, 2009

Dr. Steven MackieDr. Steven Mackie, assistant professor of education at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, completed and defended his dissertation to receive his doctorate in educational studies in December.

The Ames native began his college career at Prescott College in Prescott, Ariz. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he traveled back to Oklahoma to pursue his master’s from the University of Oklahoma.

Upon completing his master’s, he taught at Moore High School for a year. Mackie then joined the U.S. Peace Corps and traveled to Africa, where he taught English. After living there for two years, he returned to the states as a middle school teacher at Flagstaff Middle School in Arizona. Mackie then moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, to teach writing and literature, U.S. and Mexican history.

In 2005 Mackie again returned to Oklahoma; a return that made him realize he wanted to remain in northwest Oklahoma. Initially, he had no plans to pursue his doctorate. His ambition pushed him to become the best teacher possible and to complete his desire to become a better educator, a doctorate was necessary.

“There is so much potential in northwest Oklahoma,” Mackie said. “We have some the best people in the world; however, our world view is lacking.”

Over a three and a half year period, Mackie, a full-time student, worked as a graduate teaching assistant while attending the University of Oklahoma.

His desire to reside in northwest Oklahoma led him to apply for a teaching position at Northwestern where he has been teaching in the education department since the fall 2008.

“My job as a teacher/educator at Northwestern is to pry minds open, expose to different points of view, and to get students to value critical thinking.”

His dissertation topic, “Education for Ecophilia: A Rural Teacher Educator’s Thought,” looked at using travel as a pedagogical tool. Mackie said travel can be incredibly powerful when structured around questions and curiosities.

“Travel is powerful,” Mackie said. “I had the chance to experience people, culture, and then fully experience ‘home. ’”

“Traveling at the age of 15 to Mexico changed my life and gave me a different perspective on my own life by experiencing third-world country living. Through seeing a different place, and then returning home, I finally saw ‘my place’ for the first time. I saw the prairie and began to see and understand things that I took for granted.”

One of Mackie’s favorite things about Northwestern stems from this very university and state.

“I love the genuineness of my students, the strength of the people of Northwestern, and the prairie in which we are dependent upon. I am blessed to be a part of this institution,” Mackie said.