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Dr. Chuck McKinney - Assistant Professor, Biology and Religious Studies

After a tour in the U.S. Army and completing college, I worked as a professional forester for fifteen years (seven years with forest industry and eight years as a forestry consultant). Most of my forestry work occurred in East Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi. I returned to school after 15 years absence to earn a Ph.D. at Texas A&M University, where I researched and mitigated a 20-year-old conflict between forest land managers and environmental activists. Some of my second-career (mediator and conflict management consultant) clients included the U.S. Forest Service, several other governmental agencies, a Native American tribe, small businesses, married couples, churches, non-profit ministries, and individuals in conflict.

I left Aggieland (Texas A&M University) with a Ph.D. and with confidence I’d never have to “go to school” again. I never dreamed I’d later attend seminary. Yet, within a few short years, that’s exactly what I did. I did my M.Div. work at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. Then I earned a D.Min. at Trinity School for Ministry. My research for that degree addressed the topic of seminaries' effectiveness in training students for managing church conflict.

Some of previous work experiences included owning and operating a variety of businesses, leading (as pastor) a church body through its earliest years of formation, and teaching at Pinon High School on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. My wife, Zoe, and I previously lived 9 years in Flagstaff, Arizona, at 7,000 feet elevation, surrounded by Ponderosa pine forest. Adventures abounded in that beautiful and diverse place. One month, I experienced the exhilaration of a one-day, in-and-out (round-trip) hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and a day-hike to the top of Mount Humphreys (the tallest point in Arizona at 12,646').

Zoe and I currently reside in Elberfeld, IN. We have three daughters, one son, and three granddaughters; the closest ones live more than two-full-work-days drive from here. I enjoy playing basketball and racquetball, hiking, traveling, outdoor adventure, most kinds of music (especially live) and reading.

BTW, when I began teaching at OCU, one of the first tasks I had to perform was evicting the familiar spirit (aka ghost) occupying Cockrum Hall (please see my colleague’s – Dr. Randy Mills' – profile) where I office. Yes, the ghost is gone! You are invited to come by and visit any time. The only potentially scary creatures remaining in Cockrum Hall are my colleague and I, and we are actually friendly and want to meet you!

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