Associate Professor of English
Bachelor of General Studies, Fort Hays (Kan.) State University 1990
Master’s degree in English, Fort Hays, 1992
Ph.D. in Literature, University of Arkansas, 1999
Dr. Sandra Petree teaches all the American and World Literature classes, including American Literature survey classes, American Novels (19th Century and recent), Introduction to Literature (humanities class), as well as Comp 1 and Comp II.
Dr. Petree said she is “100 percent family oriented” and explained that her family extends beyond blood lines to friends and students.
She said she has lots of children – four of whom she’s given birth to, two she inherited when she married, two inherited when her children married, and several of whom she has emotionally adopted just because she loves them. She has 11 grandchildren with more on the way (as of July).
Before teaching English, she taught religion for 12 years and ran a genealogical research library, and said she loves all things relating to family history and history in general.
Dr. Petree mentioned a few things that not many people know about her including the fact she had polio when she was 2 years old. This was before the vaccine came out. She has a slight deformity of the spine that hardly anyone can detect.
She also can play the bagpipes without bagpipes but said she will NOT perform this feat in front of anyone whose respect she ever wants to maintain.
She also said she talks to plants and trees (they don’t talk back, but she knows they hear her). She believes in fairies, or at least she wants to, and she encourages all people to believe in the unbelievable as often as possible.
Dr. Petree has published a book, “Recollections of Past Days: The Autobiography of Patience Loader Rozsa Archer,” and said she received “some pretty satisfying recognition for it, both from the university and other parties.”
She said that her greatest rewards through the years have come from her former students.
“The thing I feel most rewarded by is a little folder I have in one of my file cabinets in the office,” she said. It contains notes, e-mail prints, newspaper quotes, letters, gift cards and flower cards, etc., from former students who say nice things about how something I’ve done or said as a teacher made a difference in their lives. As far as I’m concerned, there aren’t any greater awards than that.”
Q. What is it about Northwestern that makes you want to teach the students here?
A. Love the combination of small-town America and academia
Q. Why should future students choose Northwestern?
A. Northwestern offers personal education. That is, student/faculty ratio is among the best in the country, offering students the opportunity to know their mentors and to interact closely with them on a more personal basis. Additionally, it’s a student-friendly campus; faculty, staff and administrators are willing to accommodate real student needs and interests wherever possible. People are people, not numbers, on this campus.
Q. What is your favorite thing about Northwestern?
A. The people, “The Ranger,” and rodeo!
Q. What makes Northwestern unique from any other university you may have taught at or attended?
A. Northwestern's uniqueness springs from its location and its mission. Our location, in rural Oklahoma, can be a challenge but also an important asset, reflected in NWOSU's positive impact on its students, its faculty, and its contributions to the region of northwestern Oklahoma. The location, in some ways, protects Northwestern's ability to maintain integrity as an institution and as a launchpad for its students.
Our mission is unique because it is to some degree fluid in that we can (and do) rethink our direction, emphasis, and focus as often as necessary to meet current student needs. This is a living institution, evolving out of an important and well-respected past into an exciting and unknown future. You can feel the force of that fluidity as part of the Northwestern community, perhaps because all constituents--students, staff, faculty, administration, community--are intricately involved in decision-making and goal implementation. Each person is part of the evolution. It's exciting, and ultimately always hopeful.
What does ‘Being a Ranger’ mean to you?
“I guess I can sum it up by saying that on the day the Ranger statue was dedicated, when the band played ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky,’ I had this overwhelming sense of being a link in a chain of dedicated people, many of whom have gone on, and many more of whom will follow. I felt blessed to be a part of it. ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’ is kind of corny and more than a little sentimental, but it’s also symbolic, to me, of a consciousness we have here at Northwestern of our past, our predecessors, our ancestors. I like that. In that sense, I feel strongly that being a Ranger is a pretty big deal.”
Music: Classical and Country
Music Artist: Dierks Bentley, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Jack Johnson and Vivaldi. Or maybe Chopin. Or maybe…
Book: Moby Dick. She also is a huge admirer of Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Willa Cather, Toni Morrison, John Steinbeck, Edith Wharton, the comparable William Faulkner, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Tony Hillerman, William Vollmann, and about 200 more.
Food: Peach Pie or Baskin Robbins’ “Love Potion 31” ice cream
Movie: Loves chick flicks. Buffalo Jump, Under the Tuscan Sun, watches Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility at least twice a year – all eight hours of them, Lonesome Dove, and loves Harry Potter. She thinks J.K. Rowling is among the greatest creative geniuses of all time.
TV Show: The Closer
Actor: Will Smith or Kevin Costner or Steve Carell
Actress: Julia Roberts
Other: I like elephants, wild horses, oak trees, winter, Pero, Paris, the Tower of London, Pacific Beach (in San Diego) and Keystone Lake. She said there’s nothing she likes more than research for and writing of a new book. Well, except maybe for lying on the beach in San Diego reading, or traveling anywhere at any time.