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Ouachita Stories


What does that student-faculty ratio number mean? Mentors abound.

2020 Ouachita graduate Michael BurgeAugust 09, 2022 - Michael Burge

In my opinion, one of the best things Ouachita has to offer is that it is a university of roughly 1,500 on-campus students and with a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1. What that means when you yourself are a Ouachita student is that you’ll have great opportunities for mentor relationships with your teachers.

Let me give you an example. One of my Ouachita faculty mentors is Dr. Johnny Wink, and he’s the farthest thing from a dry higher education statistic than you can imagine.

Dr. Wink has been teaching at Ouachita for more than 40 years, and he is well-known all around the city of Arkadelphia for being an upstanding “old dude,” as he likes to call himself. From spreading his wisdom to filling the classrooms with laughter, he is a professor who I will always speak of with the highest respect.

Dr. Wink has a different teaching style than I’ve ever come across during my academic years. He is famous for giving out nicknames to students, colleagues and really any stranger with whom he has a notable experience. For instance, the nickname that I acquired over the five courses I took with him was “Bobcat” for reasons that will only be known to the Fall 2020 History of the English Language class, or, as we liked to call it, HEL. Dr. Wink is the best storyteller; every class session you could be sure to hear a different story from his days at Ouachita or around the world. You can’t help but be drawn in to his magic.

One instance that I’ll never forget is when I was having quite a rough morning, almost to the point that I didn’t go to class. But, I had Dr. Wink’s class first thing in the morning. I told myself, “Just go to his class, Dr. Wink always cheers you up.” And what do you know. Throughout that entire class, I couldn’t stop laughing or smiling. Thanks to Dr. Wink’s sense of humor, uplifting attitude and expert knowledge of language, I walked out of that class ready to tackle the rest of my day. It’s crazy to think that 50 minutes in a room with a professor can change your mood drastically.

I’m grateful not only for the chance to learn the finer points of language and literature from Dr. Wink but also for how he made himself available to connect with students personally. I believe it’s because of relationships like this that I was able to excel in my college classrooms. I wasn’t just learning from untouchable academics, I was learning from mentors.

Lead photo: Michael Burge is a 2020 mass communications graduate from Dallas, Texas.