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Douglas D. Gaffin Named Interim Dean of the OU Honors College

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Professor Douglas D. Gaffin


NORMAN – University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren today named award-winning OU educator Douglas D. Gaffin, Ph.D., as interim dean of the Joe C. and Carole Kerr McClendon Honors College, succeeding David Ray, Ph.D., whose retirement takes effect in December.

Boren made the announcement at the Oct. 24 meeting of the OU Board of Regents. 

“The entire university family has deep appreciation for Dean David Ray who has provided outstanding leadership for the Honors College for a decade,” said Boren. “While Dean Ray can never truly be replaced, we are fortunate that Dr. Gaffin has agreed to succeed him. Dr. Gaffin shares the same devotion to students and the same spirit of intellectual excitement. He has experience at the Honors College as one of the first Presidential Fellows. Doug Gaffin has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best teachers at the university.”

Gaffin, who joined the OU faculty in 1995, currently serves as David Ross Boyd Professor of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences and previously served for 10 years as dean of OU’s University College. He has received the Outstanding Freshman Advocate Award from the National Center for the First-Year Experience, the Regents’ Award for Superior Teaching, the General Education Teaching Award and the Irene Rothbaum Award for top assistant professor of the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2015, he also was named among five faculty members as one of OU’s first Presidential Teaching Fellows in the Honors College for a period of two years. Presidential Teaching Fellows in Honors are those faculty members who excel in all their professional activities and who relate those activities to the students they teach and mentor.

Gaffin, whose research focuses on understanding the special sensory and navigational abilities of scorpions and insects, has taught an introductory zoology course at OU for 20 years to over 20,000 students.

Gaffin’s many interests include volleyball, camping, biking, hiking and playing the banjo. He and his wife, Mariëlle Hoefnagels, Ph.D., who is an associate professor in the department of microbiology and plant biology, were married in OU’s Jacobson Hall and soon after moved into Couch Hall as Faculty-in-Residence.

Gaffin earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his Ph.D. from Oregon State University.

Since its establishment in 1997, the OU Honors College has continued to develop unique opportunities for undergraduates to pursue research and creative activities, as well as to work collaboratively with other highly motivated and gifted students. Honors College faculty members, all leading scholars in their fields, are united in their commitment to provide a high-quality education in small, focused classes, and to provide valuable mentorship for students. 

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