Southeastern News

Teriki Barnes installed as President-elect of state organization

Teriki BarnesDURANT, Okla. – Teriki Barnes, director of the Educational Opportunity Center at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, was installed as President-Elect of the Oklahoma Division of Student Assistance (ODSA) at its recent state conference in Midwest City.

Barnes will serve a three-year term on the ODSA board, and will also serve on the Southwest Association of Student Assistance Programs (SWASAP) regional board.

ODSA, established in 1971, is a service organization of TRIO professionals within Oklahoma, whose purpose is to foster the development, improvement, and extension of educational opportunities for TRIO-eligible persons.  There are currently 79 TRIO programs in Oklahoma, with seven of those programs hosted at Southeastern.

TRIO programs are administered through federal grants to provide outreach and supportive services for underrepresented students from middle school to post-baccalaureate.

Low-income individuals, first-generation college students, veterans and military-connected students, and persons with disabilities are provided financial aid application assistance, academic counseling, college admissions assistance, career exploration, tutoring, and financial literacy counseling through these programs.

The TRIO programs hosted at Southeastern are Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math/Science, Texoma Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search, Student Support Services, Educational Opportunity Centers, and Project: TEACH.  Combined, the TRIO programs at Southeastern serve 3,149 students annually, and have successfully met their mandatory objectives each year since the first program (Upward Bound) began in 1966.

Other Southeastern  TRIO personnel who have served as ODSA board members include Tomyra Britt, Brina Ford, Deborah Godwin, Susy Haworth and Kris Simpson.


Southeastern junior to serve internship in office of U.S. Rep. Mullin

Sierra Janway

Sierra Janway

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University junior Sierra Janway will get to experience life on Capitol Hill this spring.

Beginning in January, the psychology major from Heavener, Oklahoma, will serve as an intern in the office of U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin. Her work will include attending congressional meetings, offering tours of the Capitol, and secretarial duties.


“I’m very excited about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,’’ said Janway,

who lists  Native Studies as her minor.  “I plan to take full advantage of this learning experience and share it with others when I return home.’’

“Congressman Mullin has been on our campus on several occasions and we appreciate his support and interest in higher education,’’ said Southeastern president Sean Burrage. “I might add that during these visits, he has always made it a point to interact with our students, faculty, and staff, which I think is very important. Sierra is an outstanding representative of Southeastern, and we are delighted that she has been chosen to participate in this internship program.’’

Rep. Mullin represents the 2nd Congressional District in Oklahoma.

Wesley Smithart Scholarship established at Southeastern

Wesley Smithart

Wesley Smithart

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University has announced the establishment of the Wesley Smithart Scholarship through the Southeastern Foundation.

The purpose of the scholarship is to honor the late Mr. Smithart by assisting deserving students who are seeking a degree at Southeastern. Recipients must be Oklahoma residents graduating from a high school in Bryan or Atoka counties.

Smithart spent 32 years teaching, coaching, serving as a high school administrator, and with the State Department of Education as auditor and Regional Accreditation Officer.

He was an All-State basketball player at Tushka (Oklahoma) High School, and he led the Tigers to a state championship in 1948. He was recruited by Hall of Fame coach Bloomer Sullivan to play basketball at Southeastern.

After a tour of duty in Korea with the U.S. Army’s 45th Division, Smithart returned to coach basketball at Atoka High School for 12 years. He guided six of his teams to the state tournament.

He started a 50-year officiating career in 1949, which was really a 51-year career since the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association started keeping records after Smithart’s first year of officiating.

He officiated 12 state basketball tournaments and 34 football playoff games. In the first game of his final year of officiating at Achille (Oklahoma) High School, Achille principal Rip Tidwell presented a plaque from the Bryan County Coaches Association in appreciation of his many years on the court.

Smithart was inducted into the Bryan County Athletics Hall of  Fame and the Oklahoma Officials Association Hall of  Fame.  In 1993, he was presented an achievement award by the National Federation of Interscholastic Officials Association in St. Louis.

After retirement from everything except officiating, he agreed to coach Southeastern’s softball team for a year. During the program’s second year of existence, he guided Southeastern to within one win of the national championship tournament.

Smithart was born on December 7, 1929 and passed away on December 5, 2014. His wife, Marcia, has established the scholarship in his memory.

Donations may be made to the Southeastern Foundation, c/o Wesley Smithart Scholarship, 1405 N. 4th Avenue, PMB 4187, Durant, Oklahoma, 74701-0609.  For more information, contact Mark Webb at 580-745-2361.

Southeastern closed Dec. 23-Jan. 1 for holidays

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will be closed Dec. 23 – Jan. 1 for the holidays. The University will re-open on Monday, Jan. 4, 2016.

The first day of spring classes is Jan. 11.

Commencement held at Southeastern

Among the dignitaries participating in Saturday’s Fall Commencement were Regent Jeffrey Dunn, chair of the Regional University System of Oklahoma Board of Regents; speaker Alisa Dorman; Southeastern president Sean Burrage; and Chancellor Glen D. Johnson.

Among the dignitaries participating in Saturday’s Fall Commencement were Regent Jeffrey Dunn, chair of the Regional University System of Oklahoma Board of Regents; speaker Alisa Dorman; Southeastern president Sean Burrage; and Chancellor Glen D. Johnson.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University held Fall Commencement exercises Saturday in Bloomer Sullivan Arena.

Alisa (Frank) Dorman, Executive Director, Office of Literacy for the Colorado Department of Education, was the commencement speaker.  Dorman holds three degrees from Southeastern — a Master of Education in School Counseling (’95), a Master of Elementary Education in Reading (’95), and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (’90).



Bloomer Sullivan Arena was the site of Saturday’s Fall Commencement at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Bloomer Sullivan Arena was the site of Saturday’s Fall Commencement at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Two ceremonies were held with graduates representing 16 states and seven countries. Chancellor Glen D. Johnson offered welcoming remarks, as did Regent Jeffrey  Dunn, chair of the Regional University System of Oklahoma Board of Regents.  Also congratulating the graduates was Kerrey Matlock, president of the Southeastern Alumni Association.

Candlelighting at Southeastern


Candles and music filled historic Montgomery Auditorium Monday night at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Candles and music filled historic Montgomery Auditorium Monday night at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

DURANT, Okla. – The 94th annual Candlelighting was held Monday night in historic Montgomery Auditorium at Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Candlelighting is anchored by the Southeastern Symphonic Choir, the largest of the University’s choral ensembles, which includes members of the greater Durant community. The auditorium was decorated with the banners of the event from past years, and the candelabras were lit by members of the Cardinal Key Society.

This year’s program was titled “Gloria! Song of the Angels.’’ The SHARE

Children’s Chorus opened the program.

This event dates back to December 18, 1921, and is an annual highlight for the University and community.

Colorado Literacy Director, Southeastern graduate Alisa Dorman to address Fall graduates on Dec. 12

Alisa Dorman

Alisa Dorman

DURANT, Okla. – Alisa (Frank) Dorman, Executive Director, Office of Literacy for the Colorado Department of Education, will be the speaker at Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Fall Commencement.

Two ceremonies will be held on Saturday, Dec. 12, in Bloomer Sullivan Arena.



The two ceremonies will be held as follows:

10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

  • School of Education & Behavioral Sciences
  • John Massey School of Business
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Science (Aerospace Administration and Logistics)
  • Master of Arts (Clinical Mental Health Counseling)
  • Master of Education
  • Master of Arts (Teaching)
  • Master of Science (Sports Studies and Athletic Administration)
  • Master of Science (Native American Leadership)

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

  • School of Arts & Sciences
  • Master of Technology
  • Master of Science (Safety)
  • Master of Music Education

Dorman holds three degrees from Southeastern — a Master of Education in School Counseling (’95), a Master of Elementary Education in Reading (’95), and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (’90). She is a graduate of Bokchito High School.

“We are delighted that Alisa is returning to Southeastern as our commencement speaker this fall,’’ said Southeastern president Sean Burrage. “It’s very meaningful for our graduates to hear from someone who has been where they have been, so to speak. And for Alisa to be a product of Southeastern’s teacher education program makes it even more special.  I think we all look forward to hearing her success story and the role that the University may have played in her impressive career.’’

Upon graduation, Dorman  began her education career as an elementary teacher in Texas and later in Oklahoma.   In 1997, she  was named Teacher of the Year for Durant Public Schools and was later named runner-up in the State Teacher of the Year program.

She left the classroom to join the Oklahoma Department of Education in 1998 as an early childhood and family education specialist.  In 2002, Dorman  became Director and Team Lead for Reading First, a federal reading initiative.

Dorman  spent nine years at the Oklahoma Department of Education before moving into education research and development.

She joined  Oregon-based Dynamic Measurement Group (DMG), where she worked as the Liaison to Partners, as well as Director of Training Events and Institutes. While at DMG, Dorman  served as a member of the Executive Team, as well as the Research and Development Team.  She contributed to the development of multiple literacy assessment tools and professional development materials for educators.

In her current position, which she has held since September 2014, Dorman oversees the Office of Literacy at the Colorado Department of Education. Part of her duties include leading  the state’s early reading initiative, along with several special projects related to early learning.  She is a member of the Education Commissioner’s Cabinet and co-leads the implementation of the department’s strategic plan.

Dorman  has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Oklahoma Child Care Resource and Referral Association Board, the State Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Committee, the Durant Education Foundation, and the Boys and Girls Club of Durant. She is currently serving as a Commissioner on Governor John Hickenlooper’s SERVE Colorado Board, and on the Planning Committee for the Lieutenant Governor Joseph Garcia’s Literacy Week Tour.

Dorman resides in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, with her husband, Chris.  They have two children, Riley and Emma.

She is the daughter of John and Mary Frank of Durant.

Southeastern Honors students make presentation at national conference

DURANT, Okla. – Three Honors Program students and their sponsor from Southeastern Oklahoma State University made a presentation last month at the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) conference in Chicago.

Participating were Rachel Childers, Jake Martin, and Samantha Faudree, along with Honors Program Director Lisa Coleman. Childers is a sophomore history major from Calera; Martin is also a sophomore history major from Broken Bow; and Faudee is a sophomore general business major from Coalgate.

More than 2,000 people from all over the world attended the NCHC. The theme of the conference. “Make no little plans,” comes from a longer quote from the words of Chicago architect, Daniel Burnham (1846-1912), part of which states:

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency.”

In keeping with the conference theme, the title of the Southeastern’s group’s presentation was “’No Little Plans’: Making Diversity a Local and Global Happening in Native America.” It was one of three panels presented at the NCHC Diversity Forum.

The presentation arose out of two courses in the newly revised Honors Curriculum: Honors Orientation and Native America:What Does It Mean to Live, Learn, and Work Here? Each of these courses follows Place as Text and City as Text TM experiential methodologies that send students and professors alike out to map, observe, listen, and then reflect on what they have learned.

Key elements of this new curriculum are designed to apprise students of the long history and current circumstances of local Native American cultures as well as give students the tools to range out into the community to conduct primary research into local knowledge for an intellectual and hands-on grasp of how a space becomes a place. Global cultural context is supplied by the text Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, by Kwame Anthony Appiah.

The papers presented by the students and their professor will be presented again this coming spring 2016 at BrainStorm on the Southeastern campus.

Their papers will also be published as part of a chapter titled “Occupying Native America” in the NCHC monograph, Occupy Honors Education, forthcoming in 2016. Dr. Coleman and two NCHC colleagues, Dr. Alan Oda of Azuza Pacific University in Los Angeles, California, and Dr. Jonathan Kotinek of Texas A &M University, are co-editing this volume.


Portrait placed in John Massey School of Business

imageDURANT, Okla. – A special ceremony was held Friday to place the portrait of State Regent John Massey in the John Massey School of Business at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Pictured are Regent Massey, local artist Janie Umsted, who did the portrait, and Southeastern president Sean Burrage. Earlier this fall, Regent Massey was presented the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award by the Southeastern Alumni Association. The portrait was presented in conjunction with that award.

Southeastern presents program at National Indian Education conference

Dr. Alistair Maeer, left, makes a point during his presentation at the conference.

Dr. Alistair Maeer, left, makes a point during his presentation at the conference.

DURANT, Okla. – Four representatives from Southeastern Oklahoma State University attended the 46th annual National Indian Education Association (NIEA) conference Oct. 14-17 in Portland, Oregon.

The trip was sponsored by the Native American Institute at Southeastern.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Building Education Nations through Traditional Foundations.”  In keeping with this theme, Southeastern’s  group submitted a workshop proposal and presented, “Teaching Space, Place, & Identity: Mapping and Counter-mapping Native America’’ — a workshop based on curriculum, instruction, and effective teaching methods.

Presenters included: Brooke Glory (senior History student and Chickasaw Tribal Member), Dr. Alistair Maeer (Associate Professor of History), Sharon Morrison (Director of the Henry Bennett Memorial Library), and Chris Wesberry (Executive Director of the Native American Institute).

The purpose of presenting the workshop to fellow Native American educators was to demonstrate how collaboration among three distinct areas on a university campus can positively impact Native American students.

The workshop highlighted the trans-disciplinary and collaborative approaches that the Institute takes in teaching and assisting native students and developing courses with faculty and staff input.  Specifically, the workshop was the product of a course – “Geography of the Homelands’’ — and its evolution between the Native American Institute, the Henry G. Bennett Memorial Library, and the Native Studies Minor.  The course requires students to confront the past as a means to understand the present by investigating Native American’s relations to space and place until the modern era.

Wesberry began the presentation by describing Southeastern’s location, demographics and student population (30% Native American), and why a collaborative effort was developed to facilitate effective teaching of topics related to Native American students.

Morrison followed by elaborating on the Library’s role in this collaboration.  She discussed efforts to facilitate the partnership by identifying resources such as primary documents (including maps) for student access and describing the creation of library guides (libguides) for Native Studies courses.

Maeer then discussed the foundation of the course and spoke about his experience teaching a class that consisted of a majority of Native American students. He elaborated on how this unique environment required him to make adjustments as needed in delivery and assignments, while maintaining a focus on the exploration of mapping and counter-mapping as it relates to Indian removal. In doing so, he presented a brief tutorial on how to deconstruct maps as cultural artifacts and defined the perimeters that students used to complete the course with their own map deconstruction on Native American experiences in the U.S .

Glory concluded the workshop presentation by describing how this collaborative effort impacted what she learned and more importantly how she learned. She expounded on the amount of student support that she encountered while taking the class and explained how this enriched her experience as a student in the Native American studies minor program.

As part of the Connect2Complete grant, the group participated in the conference for professional and cultural development.  Members of the group attended in hopes of sharing the successful practices that Southeastern has developed in regard to Indian Education.

More than 1,800 Native American students and educators attended the conference.

The NIEA provides professional development opportunities to attendees who work in various fields of Indian Education and regularly works with the U.S. Department of Education and Indian Affairs to ensure the best practices. These fields include K-12 public and tribal schools, tribal colleges and universities, as well as public and private colleges and universities.