Southeastern News

Southeastern Child Care Resource & Referral earns recognition

DURANT — Southeastern Child Care Resource & Referral was one of 12 Oklahoma companies and organizations recognized recently by The Potts Family Foundation.

The inaugural Oklahoma Certified Family Positive Workplace (FPW) Awards Ceremony was held June 27 at the Central Oklahoma Homebuilders Association in Oklahoma City. Senator Kay Floyd, who authored the recent family leave legislation, participated as keynote speaker and also presented the awards.

The FPW is one of the Potts Family Foundation’s newest programs, incubated several years ago in coordination with the Oklahoma State Council for Human Resource Management and the Oklahoma Child Care Resource and Referral Association.

The Southeastern Child Care Resource and Referral Agency is located on the Southeastern Oklahoma State University campus and is a proud advocate of children, families, and early care and education professionals.

The agency is part of a statewide network of child care resource & referral agencies funded largely by a partnership with The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and a contract with the Oklahoma Child Care Resource & Referral Association. Southeastern Child Care Resource and Referral Agency serves the southeastern Oklahoma counties of Atoka, Bryan, Choctaw, Coal, Haskell, Hughes, Latimer, Le Flore, McCurtain, Pittsburg, and Pushmataha.

The agency’s purpose is to assist child care providers in delivering quality care and early education to children and families in SE Oklahoma.

Southeastern Child Care Resource and Referral Agency also represents Southeastern Oklahoma State University in the community by volunteering for community projects, serving on policy councils, committees and/or working groups in SE Oklahoma and at the state level.  The agency promotes Southeastern Oklahoma State University Early Care and Education Bachelor and Master’s Programs by providing program information and brochures.

In addition to promoting quality care and education, the agency assists families in locating child care that is tailored to meet their individual needs.

“The inclusion of the Family Positive Workplace into our program of work is a logical adoption given our focus on the wellness and development of families and their children,” said Craig Knutson, president and CEO of the Potts Family Foundation.  “As we expand our marketing efforts, we also see this program as an effective tool to better reach and interact with the private sector, which represents more than 70 percent of the employment in our state.”

The goal of the awards ceremony is to recognize companies who  have implemented, though their internal policies and procedures, family positive practices that better support their employee base.  The most common policy examples include flexible leave and work schedules, child care expense assistance, and paid time off for volunteer work.  Parenting seminars and brown bag lunches with information and resources on parenting skills made available to employees are also great ideas with little expense when building a family positive workplace.

“The research on the outcomes of employers implementing FPW policies is extensive and quite strong,” Knutson said.  “Companies that have family positive workplace policies in place have an easier time in both attracting new employees and retaining existing employees and experience increased productivity, loyalty and improved morale.”

Companies receiving awards at the ceremony were:

Community Service Council (Tulsa)
Great Plains Child Care Resource and Referral (Cache)
Great Plains Youth & Family Services (Hobart)
Nextep Inc. (Norman)
Oklahoma Child Care Resource & Referral Association (OKC)
Pivot, A Turning Point for Youth (OKC)
Rainbow Fleet Child Care Resource and Referral (OKC)
Smart Start Central Oklahoma (OKC)
Southeastern Child Care Resource & Referral (Durant)
Switchgear Search & Recruiting (Tulsa)
United Way of Enid & NW Oklahoma (Enid)
Variety Care (OKC)

Southeastern holds line on tuition costs this year; budget approved

DURANT, Okla. – For the first time since 2009-10, Southeastern Oklahoma State University will not be increasing its tuition rates.

The University is also holding the line on mandatory costs and room and board with no increases.

The University’s current budgeting and financial condition has been positively impacted by a recent upswing in enrollment and student credit hours.

“All of the state funding reductions have obviously had a negative impact on higher education in Oklahoma – there is no question about that,’’ said Southeastern president Sean Burrage. “But with that being said, our financial condition at Southeastern is healthier today because of our enrollment growth, along with the difficult decisions and sacrifices the University made over the last four years.

These cost-saving measures include a retirement incentive program, the consolidation/elimination of programs that did not directly impact students, conservative operational spending, and furlough days. But it is important to remember that the end result was made possible only by the support and commitment demonstrated by our faculty and staff throughout the process.

“I think this (not raising tuition) sends a clear message to students and parents that we are doing everything possible to keep college both affordable and accessible. This is even more important when you consider the fact than more than 50 percent of our graduates each year are first-generation college graduates. As a University, we are very proud to be a part of such a life-changing experience.’’

Of the 25 public colleges and universities in Oklahoma, Southeastern is one of only six not raising tuition rates this year.

In the Spring of 2018, enrollment grew 9 percent in head count (HC) over the previous year (total of 3,722 students – a 7-year high) and 5.9 percent  in student credit hours (SCH); graduate student enrollment increased 52.1 percent.  This came on the heels of a 6.2 percent increase in enrollment in Fall 2017.

This summer, enrollment is up 36.4 percent in HC and 44 percent in SCH. The University is projecting another enrollment increase this fall, based on the continued growth of online graduate programs.

Southeastern’s budget for FY19 of $46,614,068 — an increase of $2,122,616 over last year – was recently approved by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the Regional University System of Oklahoma Board of Regents.  This increase will be funded by a projected increase in student credit hours.

The budget includes a new employee benefit in which the University will pay 100 percent of Oklahoma Teacher Retirement System (OTRS) from the date of employment. This benefit accounts for a large portion of the overall budget increase.

Southeastern will begin fall classes on Aug. 20.

Dr. Marlin Blankenship earns “professional coach’’ certification

DURANT, Okla. – Dr. Marlin Blankenship was recently awarded the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) certification from the International Coach Federation (ICF). The PCC credential requires an extensive amount of coach training and a minimum of 500 hours of coaching to qualify and Blankenship is one of only 10 ICF coaches in Oklahoma to currently hold the certification.

Blankenship currently serves as Director of the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Academic Advising and Outreach Center and as an adjunct professor in the graduate Native American Leadership program.

The ICF is “the world’s largest organization of professionally trained coaches” and is the only “globally recognized, independent credentialing program for coach practitioners.’’

In addition, Blankenship received the 2018 NEXUS award from the University Council for Human Resources and Workforce Education for a scholarly paper demonstrating the value of executive coaching within the context of career and technical education.

Blankenship has spent the last 10 years researching and implementing the use of executive and professional coaching skills and models within education. Prior to taking his current position at Southeastern in 2017, Blankenship was an education specialist at the Chahta Foundation. Prior to that, he spent 3 ½ years at Oklahoma State University helping to develop and implement a coaching program for students. His dissertation research was one of the first studies examining the use of coaching to improve student success outcomes for university students.

Blankenship also previously served as director of admissions and recruitment at Southeastern.

He holds a Ph.D. in Workforce and Adult Education from Oklahoma State University, a graduate certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching from the University of Texas at Dallas Jindal school of Management, and a Bachelor of Arts in Interpersonal/Organizational Communication from Southeastern.


Southeastern closed on July 4

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will be closed on
Wednesday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day.

The University will re-open on the following day.

Three RUSO schools anticipate saving $2.7 million due to collaborative technology effort

DURANT, Okla. – Cost-savings, efficiencies, and improved services to students are just three reasons a trio of universities in the Regional University System of Oklahoma (RUSO) are collaborating on a new technology system.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and Southwestern Oklahoma State University have all signed contracts with Colleague by Ellucian for enterprise resource planning (ERP), student information systems (SIS), finance, human resources, and talent management solutions.

“By working in partnership instead of separately, our three institutions saved approximately $2.7 million on this project,” said Northwestern president Dr. Janet Cunningham. “Each institution sought to secure the best product possible and ensure the best use of state resources. Working together as members of RUSO proved to be a winning combination for both students and taxpayers.”

The estimated cost savings were provided by consultant Brown Hendrix and include the following: Consulting and Assistance, Initial Costs (License, maintenance, third party software), Ongoing Hardware Costs, and Ongoing Software Support and Maintenance.

“This is a new system for all three universities and representatives from each of the institutions are already meeting and working together on technical and other issues,” said SWOSU president Randy Beutler.  “In addition to help from Ellucian representatives, university officials can work together and consult with each other on questions or problems. It’s a win-win for all three institutions.”

When the new system is fully implemented, institutional data will be available in a single database and accessed through the Colleague ERP, giving faculty and administration the ability to make data-driven decisions and virtually eliminate tedious manual processes.

In addition to improved operation efficiencies, the new system will allow for the implementation of new technology, which will assist students during their journey from admissions to graduation.

“Collaboration and partnerships are critical as we address the numerous  challenges in higher education today,’’ said Southeastern president Sean Burrage. “As a system (RUSO), we are fortunate to have leadership in place that understands that in the end, all of our students benefit from such cooperation. And the success of this partnership opens the door for other areas of collaboration in the future.’’

Chickasaw Summer Camp includes examination of Kennedy assassination

Dr. Stewart Mayers discusses the various theories surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy.

Dr. Stewart Mayers discusses the various theories surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy.

DURANT, Okla. – Eighteen high school students participated in the Chickasaw Summer Leadership Academy, held June 10-16 at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

The week’s activities included team building, academic sessions, cultural events, and a historical examination of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.   The study of the Kennedy assassination was presented by Southeastern professor Stewart Mayers, and was capped by a trip to the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas.

The residential academy is presented by the Native American Institute at Southeastern in conjunction with the Education Department at The Chickasaw Nation. The program is designed to provide Chickasaw high school students with real college experiences as they prepare for their academic futures.

Participants learned about the art of stickball making during the academy.

Participants learned about the art of stickball making during the academy.

OSU mini-camp provides information about medical careers to high school students

Operation Orange participants received hands-on experience Tuesday at Southeastern.

Operation Orange participants received hands-on experience Tuesday at Southeastern.

DURANT, Okla. – More than 100 high school students attended the Oklahoma State University’s Center for Health Sciences Operation Orange event Tuesday.

The mini medical camp, designed to inform students about educational opportunities and careers in the field of medicine, was hosted by Southeastern Oklahoma State University. The sessions were held in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union.

Participants were involved in hands-on demonstrations, met current Oklahoma State University medical students, and learned more about career opportunities in the healthcare field. Also involved were Southeastern faculty members and pre-med students.

Offering opening remarks to the students were Sean Burrage, Southeastern president; Todd Hallmark,  Executive Officer, Choctaw Nation Health Services Authority; Christopher Thurman,  Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Simulation Medicine, OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine; and Tanner Thompson, Special Projects Coordinator, Office for Outreach & University Engagement, OSU Center for Health Sciences.

Surgeon General, Health Secretary visit medical clinic at Southeastern

Southeastern president Sean Burrage visits with Surgeon General Adams and Assistant Secretary Giroir.

Southeastern president Sean Burrage visits with Surgeon General Adams and Assistant Secretary Giroir.

DURANT, Okla. – It’s not every day that a couple of high ranking officials from Washington drop by the campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

But that was the case over the weekend as Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett Giroir and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams visited the Remote Area Medical  (RAM) clinic in the Bloomer Sullivan Gym and Arena. Free medical, dental and vision care was provided to 600 patients during the two-day event.

Southeastern president Sean Burrage welcomed the dignitaries to campus Sunday morning, who proceeded to tour the clinic and speak to all the workers and volunteers. Also on hand was RAM founder and president Stan Brock.

“Walking through here, you just can’t help but touch your heart, touch you very, very, deeply,” said Assistant Secretary Giroir told KTEN-TV. “What I see is a community, a non-profit organization, and the U.S. Public Health Service coming together to really care for people.”

“We go all over the country,” Surgeon General Adams told KXII-TV. “I’ve seen events like this in urban areas, but it’s tremendous to be able to have an event like this in a rural area.”

This is the second time in the last three years that Southeastern has hosted this event.

The free, two-day clinic served 600 patients from throughout the area.

The free, two-day clinic served 600 patients from throughout the area.

“Southeastern is proud to be a part of this program,’’ said President Burrage. “This is a great example of true community service in which a number of entities work together for the benefit of our citizens.’’

In addition to providing facilities for the clinic, Southeastern faculty, staff and students served as volunteers, as did numerous local citizens, businesses,  and organizations in the Durant area.

7th Annual Katy Morris Shakespeare Symposium scheduled for June 12

DURANT, Okla. – The 7th Annual Katy Morris Shakespeare Symposium is scheduled for June 12 on the campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Produced by the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival and the Department of Art, Communication, and Theatre at Southeastern, the Symposium brings local and regional high school teachers together to focus on developing ways to make Shakespeare’s writings exciting and relevant to today’s high school students.



Kathleen Hardgrove, a Southeastern theatre professor, is directing the Symposium.

“We are bringing notable scholars and artists together to collaborate with local teachers, students, and community members to expand their knowledge of Shakespeare and to help bring his works to a new generation of learners,” she said.

To learn  more about the 7th Annual Katy Morris Shakespeare Symposium,  contact Hardgrove

Southeastern begins four-day summer work schedule on May 28

DURANT, Okla. –  Southeastern Oklahoma State University will begin implementation of its four-day summer work week on Monday, May 28. (The University will be closed on Monday, May 28, in observance of Memorial Day).

University offices will be open Monday-Thursday and closed on Friday throughout the summer.

The regular five-day work week returns on Monday, July 30.