"The sciences and math division is already a wonderful program. I just have to keep the machinery oiled and moving forward," said Stacy Key, instructor of mathematics, of his new position as chair of the University of the Ozarks' Division of Sciences and Mathematics.
Key brings a wealth of experience to the division chair position, including 14 years as an instructor at Ozarks. He was appointed division chair effective Jan. 1.
"Mr. Stacy Key was the consensus choice for chair by the members of his division," said Ozarks Provost Dr. Daniel Taddie. "He is a respected faculty member, who twice won the Bagwell Outstanding Faculty Award; and he is an experienced administrator with a reputation for being trustworthy, fair, and careful. He will serve his division and Ozarks with distinction."
While optimistic about his ability to lead the department, this position was not one Key had been aiming for.
Stacy Key, a mathematics instructor at Ozarks for the past 14 years, recently took over as chair of the Division of Sciences and Mathematics.
"Before I came to Ozarks, I had been in administrative positions at the high school level as assistant principal, principal, and ultimately superintendent," he said. "I got tired of the administrative side of things, and I missed teaching. I was superintendent for four years and didn’t get to teach during that time. I found out then how much I genuinely missed teaching and wanted to get back to it."
Key’s passion for teaching and his desire to get back into the classroom brought him to Ozarks in 1999, and he has been a well-respected member of the faculty since.
When Key’s predecessor, Dr. Frank Knight, professor of biology, stepped back from the division chair position after 10 years, Key’s background and commitment to Ozarks made him a logical next choice. He, however, admitted to reservations.
"At first, I was a little hesitant," he said. "I did not want to put myself in another administrative position that I would not enjoy. I have loved my 14 years at Ozarks, being in the classroom and working with students."
"I have an administrative background, so I didn’t have any doubts that I could do the job, but at this stage of my career, I want to have a passion and a love for what I’m doing. As an administrator, I like working with people. I like trying to build programs, and I think I’ll have that as division chair. I think this position is the perfect blend of teaching and administrative duties for me."
Key, who earned both his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Southern Arkansas University, said he looks forward to leading the Division of Sciences and Mathematics into a new era under the administration of incoming president Rich Dunsworth.
"Dr. Frank Knight was division chair for the last decade, and he left me with an excellent, well-functioning division," Key said. "The people are wonderful, professional and hardworking. With the new president coming in, I expect that there will be some changes. We aren’t sure what those changes will be, but I want to work with the new administration to make our division the best it can possibly be."