OC Professor and Student Receive State Recognition

Oklahoma Christian University will receive a double honor this week as both a professor and student will be recognized for creativity and innovation by the Davinici Institute of Oklahoma. Kimberly Merritt, professor of information systems and economics, has been chosen as a DaVinci Fellow, and Jerica Briggs, a senior education major, was chosen as a Davinci Scholar.

“The excellence Jerica and Kimberly have demonstrated in their work is reflective of the best of Oklahoma Christian,” said President Mike O’Neal. “We are honored to have such diligent students and faculty that give their best in every endeavor.”

The Institute’s Fellows program honors four to five faculty members from Oklahoma colleges each year for their creative and innovative approaches to complex issues in their fields. Each recipient receives a monetary prize as well as a medallion, which depicts Leonardo DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man.

Merritt’s diverse work caught the attention of the organization. She studies and writes on computer literacy, user satisfaction and curriculum development. Merritt also studies data warehousing, corporate universities and innovative teaching techniques, an area that the Davinci Institute has studied and implemented in its A+ Schools program. Merritt is a member of the International Association for Computer Information Systems and the Great Plains Faculty Development Consortium. In addition, she is an elementary softball coach and a competitive horse rider.

“Dr. Merritt is an outstanding information systems and economics professor and is dedicated to teaching creative thinking to her students,” said Allison Garrett, senior vice president for academic affairs at Oklahoma Christian University. “With many publications and recognition from her peers, her award from the Davinici Institute is very well-deserved.” 

The Davinci Institute also honors 10 graduating teachers in Oklahoma each year as Davinici Scholars, recognizing their use of interdisciplinary instructional methods in the classroom, encouragement of individual learning styles and fostering creativity and critical thought in students. Briggs will receive a $3,000 award in her first year of teaching at any Oklahoma school. She graduates in April and has been a student teacher this year at D.D. Kirkland Elementary and Nichols Hills Elementary.

“Jerica is an incredibly conscientious and hard-working student, and her work impressed the selection committee,” said Robyn Miller, chair and director of teacher education at OC. “She is one of our best and brightest in education, and in the entire university.”

The DaVinci Institute promotes a statewide creative renaissance through lectures, workshops, professional development, research and advocacy. Merritt and Briggs will receive their awards March 25 at the 2011 DaVinci Fellows and Scholars Awards Banquet at the Oklahoma History Center.