Professor Spotlight: Chad Kinder
Updated: Jun 15
By Emilie Kemp
For The Southwestern
Chad Kinder, the Dean of the College of Professional Studies and a SWOSU professor, has a long history with the university and has been a part of building up the Parks and Recreation program throughout the years.
Kinder graduated from SWOSU in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in education. His first job was as a public school teacher in Custer City and Clinton Public Schools for four years. From the beginning, Kinder was teaching outdoor activities with the students.
“In Clinton, part of my duties consisted of outdoor education and we did a lot of outdoor adventure activities with students,” Kinder said. “And in 1997, SWOSU took over management of Crowder Lake. They were looking for a park manager but also somebody they could work with teaching outdoor adventure courses. So I applied and got that job in 1997. And I’ve been at Southwestern ever since then.”
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Kinder started working on his doctorate at OSU in Stillwater. He finished in 2003. This was also the year that the Parks and Recreation Management department was formed. A few of the degree programs were pulled together including Parks and Recreation Management, Parks and Wildlife Law Enforcement and Wildland Firefighting.
Kinder started out as the department chair, but in 2006, with the retirement of a colleague, Kinder filled the role of the associate dean of Behavioral Science and Education while also maintaining his position as chair in the Parks and Recreation department.
“I kept that job for many, many years,” Kinder said. “But in 2016, Dr. (Ken) Rose retired, and I became the interim dean of the College of Professional Graduate Studies. And then I became the permanent dean in January of 2017. And that’s when I gave up my chairmanship of Parks and Recreation Management and the associate dean position.”
While he moved into the position of dean, Kinder also kept teaching a couple classes on the side.
“I really didn’t have to stop being a professor. I love teaching, it’s probably a highlight of my day,” Kinder said. “My favorite part of my job is both that I love my teaching and I very much like helping the other departments create new programs.”
Kinder mentioned that he was content where he was and would happily finish his career right where he was.
“Looking back, I would tell my younger self to follow the track that he’s on,” Kinder said. “Honestly, I’ve had a good life. I’ve had a lot of fun and I feel like I’ve been able to make a positive difference in a lot of young lives. I would make sure young Chad would follow the same track that old Chad has been on. I feel like it’s a pretty good track.”
Kinder went on to reflect what he has seen as he has taken on roles that continue to increase responsibility.
“I feel like the stress load does increase, but the difference I’m making has also been magnified the further up I go. The additional stress is definitely worth it.