Southeastern News

Southeastern begins fall classes on Monday

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will begin fall classes on Monday with officials projecting a continued upward trend in enrollment.

A number of events are scheduled this week in preparation for Monday, including a general Faculty-Staff meeting with president Sean Burrage; a Faculty Symposium; New Faculty orientation; Freshman Convocation; and orientation sessions for students.

James Dry, a member of The Choctaw Nation Tribal Council, addresses students at Wednesday’s Camp Chahta, an orientation program for Choctaw freshmen at Southeastern.

James Dry, a member of The Choctaw Nation Tribal Council, addresses students at Wednesday’s Camp Chahta, an orientation program for Choctaw freshmen at Southeastern.

President Sean Burrage offers remarks at the Faculty-Staff meeting Thursday.

President Sean Burrage offers remarks at the Faculty-Staff meeting Thursday.

Southeastern-McCurtain County instructor’s book hits USA Today best-seller list

DURANT, Okla. – You might say Kelly Stone Gamble is one of those people who practices what she preaches. Or in this case, teaches.

Since 2014, the Baxter Springs, Kansas, native has taught Introduction to Literature and Business and Professional Speaking at the Southeastern Oklahoma State University branch campus in Idabel.

And she writes a little, too.

In fact, just last week, her book, They Call Me Crazy, appeared on USA Today’s Best-Selling Books list.  Each week, USA Today collects sales data from booksellers representing a variety of outlets: bookstore chains, independent bookstores, mass merchandisers and online retailers. Using that data, the publication determines the week’ 150 top-selling titles.

They Call Me Crazy checked in at #123 on the list.

First released in November 2014 by Red Adept Publishing, the book is set in fictional Deacon, Kansas, and follows the lives of Cass Adams and her no-good husband, Roland. The book has been categorized as women’s detective fiction and women’s crime fiction, and is the first in the Cass Adams series, which includes Call Me Daddy, published in October 2016.

On the other hand, Gamble describes her books as “Southern Gothic – a little dark, and funny.’’ She notes that her students like the fact that she is a published author, and that “some of them are my biggest fans.’’

And although the book’s characters may be from rural southeastern Kansas, the author says she’s amazed how popular They Call Me Crazy is in various countries overseas.

As far as her personal reading tastes, Gamble says she prefers historical fiction and biography.

Gamble holds a B.A. in Integrated Studies of History and Business from Nevada State College, an M.A. in Humanities from California State University, and an M.F.A in Writing from Southern New Hampshire University.

She is a full-time faculty member at McCurtain County.

Fall classes begin Aug. 20 at Southeastern

DURANT, Okla. – Fall classes will begin on Monday, Aug, 20, at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

In preparation for the beginning of the semester, a number of events are scheduled:

  • 15 – Faculty Symposium
  • 16 – Faculty/Staff meeting and luncheon
  • 17 – New Faculty Orientation
  • 18 – Freshman Convocation

Southeastern announces hiring of Student Support Services, Project Teach directors

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University has announced two recent hirings:  Dave Harbin as Director of TRIO: Student Support Services (SSS), and Darla Ellett as the Director of Project: TEACH, a Student Support Services, Teacher Preparation program.

Harbin has served as an academic counselor in the SSS program at Southeastern since 2015, assisting students in the areas of academic advising, career exploration, financial literacy, and graduate school preparation. The SSS program at Southeastern serves students who are first-generation, economically disadvantaged and/or who have a disability.

Harbin is a graduate of the Oklahoma Division of Student Assistance Programs (ODSA) Emerging Leaders Institute (2015) and has served as the organization’s Public Relations Coordinator (2016-2017). He continues to be a member of ODSA and is also an active member of the Southwest Association of Student Assistance Programs.

Harbin earned both a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational and Strategic Communication & Psychology and a Master of Education at Southeastern.

He is a Caddo, Oklahoma native, and graduate of Caddo High School.

Project: TEACH is a U.S.  Department of Education grant in the TRIO family of grants which provides services to first-generation students and students with limited income or disabilities. These services include academic advisement, tutoring, financial literacy, financial aid assistance, and support in requirements specific to Education majors, such as certification exams, professional portfolios, and technology training.

In her role as director, Ellett promotes professional development to program participants. She has worked with the Oklahoma Energy Resource Board, Johnson Space Center’s Education Resource Center, the Ron Clark Academy, Oklahoma Autism Network, and others to allow the pre-services teachers in Project: TEACH to attend workshops, conferences, and trainings designed specifically for in-service educators and professionals.

Prior to being named director, Ellett served as Coordinator of Project: TEACH for more than four years, bringing more than 18 years of teaching experience to this program. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education at East Central and a Master of Arts in Administration and Educational Leadership at Southern Nazarene University. While teaching, she held a National Board Certification in Mathematics Education. Ellett has served on Item Review Committees and a Standards Steering Committee for the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

She is an active member of the Oklahoma Division of Student Assistance and the Southwest Association of Student Assistance Programs.

Project TEACH students attend professional development activities at Johnson Space Center

Project: TEACH students visit with astronaut Jessica Meir at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory.

Project: TEACH students visit with astronaut Jessica Meir at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory.

DURANT, Okla. – Nine Project TEACH students from Southeastern Oklahoma State University traveled to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, recently for professional development with Space Center U for Educators.

Participants from across the world met with with astronaut Colonel Kenneth Cameron, worked through STEM activities designed for classroom implementation, and toured the Johnson Space Center facilities. The tour included the original Mission Control Center used for the Apollo missions, the HERA (Human Exploration Research Analog) habitat, and the NBL (Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory), where

astronauts train for space walks. Astronauts Jessica Meir and Tom Marshburn were observed suiting up and beginning their day of training at the NBL, a 6.2 million gallon, four-story tall pool housing life-size mock-ups of the International Space

Station and the future of space exploration.

Project TEACH is a Student Support Services, TRIO program funded through the U.S. Department of Education, which assists first-generation and low-income students and individuals with Disabilities make the college experience a successful one.

Students majoring in an Education   field are the primary focus of this program.

Southeastern professor honored by university in China

Dr. Jon Reid was recently honored by Renmin University of China.

Dr. Jon Reid was recently honored by Renmin University of China.

DURANT, Okla. – Dr. Jon Reid was recently recognized as an “RUC International Summer School Honorable Teacher’’ by Renmin University of China.

Reid, a professor and clinical mental health counseling program coordinator at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, was honored for his continuous support and significant contributions to RUC International Summer School.

Renmin University (The People’s University) is located in Beijing.  Reid has taught at the university the past four summers, and is currently teaching Psychology of Human Sexuality and Psychology of Grief and Loss. This year’s summer school class has about 3,900 students, mostly from China, with about 10 percent from European countries. Reid’s classes have 40 students.

Reid, a professor of psychology and counseling, joined the Southeastern faculty in 1993.

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.