Steven Gullberg recently joined the full-time faculty of the College of Liberal Studies (CLS) in a split position with the Department of Aviation. As a long-time CLS adjunct instructor, a retired airline captain and an active member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), Gullberg brings experience and expertise that can only be gained through a unique love of knowledge and active participation in his field.
Dr. Gullberg is an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Aviation. Before teaching at OU full time, he earned a Master of Liberal Studies degree from the University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D. in Astronomy from James Cook University. After earning his degrees, Gullberg later returned to the College of Liberal Studies in a teaching capacity, winning two Superior Teaching Awards and the Kenneth E. Crook Faculty Achievement Award in the 10 years he served as an adjunct instructor.
“The College of Liberal Studies has been such a significant part of my life for so many years and has provided me with great academic enrichment and wonderful opportunities,” Gullberg said about his new appointment. “I am greatly rewarded by and truly enjoy working with our students and helping them achieve their dreams. I’m very pleased that I’ll now be able to help even more as a member of the full-time faculty.”
Gullberg’s contributions to the college as an adjunct instructor have been exemplary, to say the very least. His bright blue robes from James Cook University are easily spotted at both the Spring and Winter Convocations, and he’s often sought out for photographs by graduating students. His classes are always well-reviewed, and many of his students have contacted him directly to show appreciation for his attention to students during class.
“Dr. Gullberg is a gifted instructor with an inspiring life,” one student said after taking his class. “His syllabus contains everything a student needs to understand his expectations for the course, and his assignments work to build understanding of the material. He is experienced with the challenges non-traditional students face, and has a strong grasp on how to motivate and bring out a student’s best work. Dr. Gullberg is on the discussions every day, posting excellent articles and responding to all the students’ comments. And he replies to emails very quickly, which is rare. I am tremendously grateful to have been in two of his classes this semester.”
In addition to his teaching résumé, Gullberg is also an accomplished pilot, having flown for 30 years with the Air Force, the Air Force Reserve and as an American Airlines captain, making him a valuable addition to the Department of Aviation at the University of Oklahoma. He began his career in the military, earning the Civil Air Patrol’s (CAP) General Carl A. Spaatz Award while performing community service with the CAP. He then enlisted in the Navy and was later commissioned in the Army before transferring to the Air Force/Air National Guard. There, he flew as a Weapon Systems Officer on F-4 Phantom aircraft on air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. After a long and exemplary career, Gullberg retired from the Air Force Reserve as a Lieutenant Colonel with a total of 32 years of military service.
Today, Dr. Gullberg publishes internationally and is a member of the IAU, the prestigious worldwide organization of astronomers whose mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. The IAU oversees worldwide astronomy, defines astronomical constants, designates names for new discoveries and, among other things, is responsible for declassifying Pluto as a planet.
His love of astronomy began early. Inspired by the space-race of the 1960s, Gullberg paid for his first flight lesson with money from his paper route at the age of 14. Many years later, his doctoral field expeditions included research nearly 15,000 feet above sea level at various ancient Incan shrines high in the cloud forests of the Andes Mountains in Peru. There, he measured the astronomical alignments of light and shadow effects upon Inca huacas at times of solstices, as well as on the dates of the equinoxes and the zenith and anti-zenith sun. He continues to present on his research at international conferences and is a true expert in the field.
“Dr. Gullberg brings excellent academic credentials, a wealth of professional experience and a student-oriented philosophy to his positions,” said Dr. James Pappas, Vice President for University Outreach and Dean, College of Liberal Studies. “We have been fortunate to work with him previously and are excited about the strengths he brings to our endeavors.”