Southeastern News

Higher Education Chancellor Presents Legislative Agenda

DURANT, Okla. – With the demand for employees who have certificates and degrees continually increasing, college completion remains the top priority in the state of Oklahoma. That was the message delivered by Chancellor Glen D. Johnson as he presented the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s FY 2015 legislative agenda to an audience of lawmakers, community leaders and educators Thursday in Krebs.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recently voted to request $76.3 million in new state appropriations during the upcoming legislative session. The total budget request for FY 2015 is 7.7 percent higher than the current year’s appropriation.

“Oklahoma’s system of higher education is the state’s road to jobs and prosperity,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “No entity in state government can help Oklahoma reach its goals of educational excellence and workforce development faster or more comprehensively than public higher education. Our budget request would support our institutions’ ongoing commitment to produce more college graduates, which increases our state’s per capita income and strengthens our state’s economy.”

Among those in attendance were Sen. Josh Brecheen, State Regent John Massey, and Regional University System of Oklahoma regents Terry Matlock and Connie Reilly. Southeastern Oklahoma State University was well represented with president Larry Minks and a number of University staff members present.

The State Regents are requesting $55.1 million for Complete College America performance-funding needs. This investment will provide state colleges and universities funding for additional course sections, full-time faculty and financial aid. These dollars will also fund information technology equipment, library resources and other operational needs that will provide continued support for student success.

The State Regents are also seeking $2.5 million for online education and degree completion technology. This will enable students to enroll in additional course sections and will provide for improved software development and training.

The State Regents are requesting $10 million to fund a competitive grant program that will enhance higher education institutions’ efforts to expand specialized student services, including focused advisement, career counseling and job placement, veterans’ programs, and financial education.

Increased financial aid funding will also be a priority for the State Regents in the upcoming legislative session. The State Regents seek to increase funding for the concurrent enrollment program, which allows high school juniors and seniors to take credit-earning college courses, by $3 million, and are requesting $1.5 million for the Oklahoma Tuition Aid and Oklahoma Tuition Equalization grants and $250,000 for an adult degree completion community scholarship match.

The State Regents are also requesting an additional $250,000 for the Summer Academies program, which provides interactive learning opportunities for Oklahoma eighth- through 10th-grade students in high-demand science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

The total appropriation request for FY 2015 is $1.06 billion.

SE Live/Native American Visitation Day scheduled for February 5

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University has scheduled the SE Live Open House and Native American Visitation Day for Wednesday, February 5, on the Durant campus.

Registration begins at 8:15 a.m., with the Welcome Session beginning at 9 a.m. in Montgomery Auditorium.

Native American Visitation Day allows students the opportunity to learn about Native American benefits, attend a class on Native American studies, and play a traditional game of stickball.

High school seniors and juniors, along with their parents and families, are

invited to experience life as a student at Southeastern during SE Live Open House.

More than 250 students attended the event this past fall.

“Students who come to SE Live will get the chance to attend college classes, meet current students, and really experience what life is like as a Southeastern student,” said Southeastern recruiter Hope Zachary.

Highlights include programs on Scholarships and Financial Aid, Southeastern Traditions, Residence Life, and Life as a Student Athlete. Campus tours will be offered throughout the day.

In the afternoon, students will have the opportunity to visit Eaker Field, home of the award-winning Southeastern Aviation Program.

Choir and band students will have a chance to rehearse with those programs and audition for music scholarships in the fall.

Entertainment throughout the day will be provided by performing groups from Southeastern, including the Sparks Dance Team, Cheer Squad, Emalea Hudgens, and the True Blue Ambassadors.

All students attending the event will receive an SE Sackpack and one free lunch ticket. Lunch is sponsored by Durant’s First United Bank.

To view an event schedule, get directions and register, go online to or contact the Admissions and Recruitment Office at 580-745-2060.

Southeastern English professor pursues interest in Virginia Woolf

Lisa_Coleman_DURANT, Okla. – When Lisa Coleman joined the faculty at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1994, her primary areas of expertise included rhetoric and composition. Now, 20 years later, Dr. Coleman can add “Virginia Woolf Scholar’’ to her list of credentials.

Woolf (1882-1941) was an English writer and one of the most important modernists of the twentieth century.  She was a significant figure in London literary society. Among her most famous works are the novels “Mrs. Dalloway’’ (1925),  “To the Lighthouse’’ (1927), and “Orlando’’ (1928), along with the essay, “A Room of One’s Own’’ (1929).

A motion picture (“The Hours’’) about the effect the Mrs. Dalloway novel had on three women was made in 2002 and starred, among others, Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman.

“Woolf’s work is hard to read – she had high expectations of her readers,’’ Coleman said. “You have to read it and study it – some of it is very experimental.  It’s not what you read on the beach.’’

In addition to her duties as a Professor of English, Coleman serves as the Director of the Honors Program at Southeastern. She has received numerous teaching awards and other recognition during her career.

As part of her studies, Coleman has attended 11 Woolf-related conferences in England, Scotland, Canada, and the United States, serving as presenter/panelist. In addition, she’s had three conference papers published as well as two book chapters on the subject.

“Woolf was a very disciplined writer,’’ Coleman said. ”She wrote novels and short stories, but no poetry. And like a lot of famous writers, she lived an interesting and sometimes troubled life (committing suicide at age 59).’’

Coleman admits that she had not read Woolf until her Ph.D. studies led her to an essay about women and writing. That sparked an interest that has led her to her dissertation – “(Re)Reading Woolf and Writing: Implications for a Postmodern Composition Pedagogy.’’

Coleman earned a Ph.D. in Humanities Rhetoric/Composition/Critical Theory at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) in 1997. She also holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees from UTA.

In addition to Woolf, Coleman says her other great passion is “social justice.’’

To that end, she has co-edited two monographs on diversity for the National Collegiate Honors Council – “Setting the Table for Diversity (2010) and “Occupy Honors Education’’ (forthcoming).

Cecil Woolf[3]

Gathering at the 17th Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf in 2007, held at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, were Dr. Lisa L. Coleman, Cecil Woolf, Patricia Laurence, Elisa K. Sparks, and Cecil’s wife, Jean Moorcroft Wilson. Cecil, who is Virginia Woolf’s nephew by marriage, is a publisher and the others are fellow Woolf scholars, including Cecil’s wife.


RUSO Impact Report Shows Nearly All Grads Stay in State

OKLAHOMA CITY – More than 90 percent of all Oklahoma regional university graduates stay in the state after receiving their diploma, a number greater than the Oklahoma higher education average. The Regional University System of Oklahoma recently reported this and other 2013 results at its annual legislative briefing. The event was to inform legislators and higher education officials of the cumulative efforts and impact of the state’s largest four-year system.

The Regional University System of Oklahoma is made up of six regional universities: East Central University, Northeastern State University, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, University of Central Oklahoma and 10 satellite locations.

Richard Ogden, chairman of the Board of Regents, Regional University System of Oklahoma, said the institutions fill an educational gap not provided by Oklahoma research universities or community colleges. The universities are designed to provide access to students who need to stay near their home communities or cannot attend farther away due to job, family or financial circumstances.

“Regional universities provide opportunities to the widest range of students to earn high-quality accredited four-year degrees through classroom and online instruction,” said Ogden.

“Our students become our state’s teachers and nurses, NASA engineers, rock stars, pharmacists and optometrists.”

As a member of the Regional University System of Oklahoma, Southeastern president Larry Minks believes his school has a lot to offer its students.

“We pride ourselves on offering a quality education at an affordable cost,’’ he said. “Our students also experience one-on-one instruction from their professors. We have a number of innovative programs in place to meet the needs of our students, including a new agreement with American Eagle Airlines  to assist our aviation students. And with several programs already implemented to aid our Native American students, we have become a national leader in producing Native American graduates.’’

Southeastern holds a number of specialty accreditations, including The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (John Massey School of Business) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs.

Nearly 40 percent of all Oklahoma college graduates graduate from a regional institution. Last year the Regional University System of Oklahoma graduate total was 7,058, up 644 graduates from the previous year.

In the briefing Ogden pointed to the fact that regional institutions performed significantly better than the national average in most cost categories. In 2013, the average annual cost of attendance at an Oklahoma regional university was nearly half the cost, $11,637 compared to $23,200 nationally as reported by CNN Money. Oklahoma regional university students leave college with 23 percent less debt than the national average and more than 40 percent of the graduates manage to leave without any debt.

One area where being less than the national average is not beneficial was in the percentage of state appropriations. Taxpayer investment in higher education in Oklahoma is 31 percent below the national average. The average national taxpayer investment per student is $6,000 compared to the Oklahoma average of $4,100 per student. The cost difference is passed on to the students, further raising the affordability barrier. Students who attend regional institutions already personally pay more than half of their total education costs.

“The highest quality of higher education still needs to be affordable, or it doesn’t serve its purpose,” said Ogden. “It is critical the Regional University System of Oklahoma regents continue to be good stewards of the money appropriated to us.”

More than 60 percent of the regional universities’ budgets are spent on instruction and research, followed by physical plant operations, 12 percent, student services, 9 percent and scholarships, 8 percent.

Ogden reported that the Regional University System of Oklahoma cost saving and efficiencies have saved taxpayers more than $47 million through energy initiatives, reduced administrative expenses and information technology savings. Costs are also offset by seeking research funding to supplement state appropriations.  Last year regional university institutions received more than $33 million in grants.

The legislative briefing concluded with two regional students, Simone Goelz, University of Central Oklahoma, and Blaine Boyd, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, discussing their experiences at regional universities. Goelz, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership after more than a decade out of high school, said the Regional University System of Oklahoma is making a difference with adult learners. “With higher education comes confidence and belief in oneself to achieve goals and pursue dreams — that begins a long-term and permanent change in strengthening Oklahoma families,” said Goelz.


The Regional University System of Oklahoma governs the six regional universities: East Central University, Northeastern State University, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Southwestern Oklahoma State University and the University of Central Oklahoma. It was created on July 6, 1948.  All the universities of the Regional University System are more than 100 years old. For more information about the Regional University System of Oklahoma and its graduates, visit

Southeastern students honor Dr. King with day of service to community

Southeastern students volunteer time Monday at the Families Feeding Families facility in Durant.

Southeastern students volunteer time Monday at the Families Feeding Families facility in Durant.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University celebrated its 16th annual Martin Luther King Day of Service on Monday, January 20.

Dr. Camille Wilson, Dean of Students, said 85 students participated in the Day of Service. The University collected food, which was then distributed to local food pantries.

Southeastern students worked at St. Catherine’s Food Bank, Families Feeding Families and Victory Life Food Bank.

Wilson said, “Today (Monday) was the anniversary of the civil rights amendment and we spent some time talking about that before the students went out to the various work places. We had some foreign students who were not familiar with our customs and they were very interested.’’

Southeastern to observe MLK Day with service to the community

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will celebrate Martin Luther King Day on Monday, January 20, inspired by a quote from MLK Jr., “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

Classes will not be held on that day, but University offices will be open.  Students, faculty and staff are invited to volunteer for this day of service. The Dean of Students and Office of Student Life plan to have a food drive and donate the goods to local pantries and also volunteer at the pantries.

“We are asking everyone to bring one can of food,” said Liz Howard, Student Activities Coordinator. “One canned-food item can make the difference.”

The service day will start at 8 a.m.  in the second floor auditorium of the Glen D. Johnson Student Union. There will be a reflection on the MLK Day, and transportation for all students, faculty and staff will be provided for volunteers at the food pantries. Lunch will be in the Student Union following the event.

The regional and local food pantries are always struggling to maintain a stock of canned food, especially after the holidays. Items like peanut butter, jelly and canned meats are always needed.

For more information or to volunteer, contact the Office of Student Life at 580-745-2947.

Southeastern Chorale to perform at state conference

DURANT, Okla. – The Southeastern Chorale — Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s premier vocal ensemble — has been chosen to be a featured performer at the 2014 Oklahoma Music Educators Association Annual Conference.

The Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Stacy Weger, will perform at the Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 16. This is the highest honor granted to performing organizations within the state.

This performance will mark the third appearance of the Southeastern Chorale as an honor group in the last nine years.

The Chorale has also performed twice as a demonstration group for workshops at the conference.

The Chorale will perform mostly a cappella choral works in varying styles. One of the highlights will be presenting a new choral work based on a Native American story, “Celestial Dances of Children,” commissioned by the Southeastern Chorale and composed by David Childs.

The performance is another in an impressive succession of quality concerts and opportunities featuring the Southeastern Chorale. The group most recently performed in Europe with appearances in the cathedrals of Budapest, Vienna and Prague.

The Chorale will embark this winter on a regional tour through parts of Texas and Oklahoma.

Chorale members are voice students of Jeremy Blackwood, Elizabeth Knight and Sylvia Rivers. Dr. Tristan Eggener will serve as accompanist for this event.

Spring classes begin Jan. 13

DURANT, Okla. – Classes for the spring semester at Southeastern Oklahoma State University will begin on Monday, Jan. 13.

Among other key dates on the calendar are spring break (March 17-21) and Commencement (May 10).

University seeks third party comments regarding accreditation

DURANT, Okla. –  Southeastern Oklahoma State University is seeking comments from the public about  the University in preparation for its periodic evaluation by its regional accrediting agency.

Southeastern will host a visit February 24-26, 2014, with a team representing the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. Southeastern has been accredited by the Commission since 1949.

The team will review the institution’s ongoing ability to meet the Commission’s Criteria for Accreditation.

The public is invited to submit comments regarding the University to:

Third Party Comment on Southeastern Oklahoma State University,
The Higher Learning Commission,
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
Chicago, Ill. 60604-1411.

The public may also submit comments on the Commission’s web site at

Comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of the institution or its academic programs. Comments must be in writing.

All comments must be received by January 24, 2014.

Honor graduates recognized at Commencement

DURANT, Okla. – Thirty-eight students graduated with honors December 14 at Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Fall Commencement, held in Bloomer Sullivan Arena.

Guest speaker was Mr. Scott Crain, a local businessman and 1984 graduate of Southeastern.

The honor graduates are listed by permanent hometown (Oklahoma, unless otherwise noted):


Summa Cum Laude (with highest honors)

(Oklahoma unless otherwise noted)

Andrew Michael Abdinor, Klerksdorp, South Africa; Daniel Wade Stahlheber, Midwest City

Magna Cum Laude (with high honors)

Micah Lee Moore, Durant; Tyler Weston Slawson, Durant; Nickolas E. Wann, Poteau

Cum Laude (with honors)

Ashton Brooke Faries, Sherman, Texas; Christopher C. Jones, Kingwood, Texas; Katherine Leigh Littrell, Bells, Texas; Stephiane Stovall, Wichita Falls, Texas


Summa Cum Laude

(Oklahoma unless otherwise noted)

Charles A. Bull, Millsap, Texas; Joshua E. Dobbs, Newcastle; Diana Joyce Gillum, Sherman, Texas; Bridgett Renee Hertz-Olson, Broken Bow; Bree Anna Labeth, Wilson; Royce E. Martos Jr., Newalla; Vy Le Phuong Nguyen, Dalat, Vietnam; Kathryn Marie Robertson, Wapanucka

Magna Cum Laude

Ryan Joseph Dobbs, Sherman, Texas; Shelby Paige Fraser, Flower Mound, Texas; Kolton Garrett Hall, Bonham, Texas; Kaylee Michelle Johnson, Durant; James Russell Keeton, Ardmore; Kelsey Rae Lee, Davis; Allie McKinzie, Atoka; Shacole LeWanda Smith, Durant; Vickie Lynn Smith, Smithville

Cum Laude

Andrew Robert Cacho, Durant; Ross T. Davis, Denison, Texas; Misty D. Feller, Mustang; Tasha Flowers, Whitewright, Texas; Jordana Maria-Lynn Green, Denison, Texas; Zachary Ray Harmon, Caney; Christian Aaron Jeter, Durant; Nicole Dianne Murphy, Muldrow; Katherine Malia Rings, Whitewright, Texas; Donald Ticer Jr., Oklahoma City; Demetra Paige Wilkerson, Durant; Kasey Nicole Wilson, Hartshorne

Southeastern alumnus Scott Crain was the guest speaker at Commencement.

Southeastern alumnus Scott Crain was the guest speaker at Commencement.

Graduate Stephanie Gardner of Durant is congratulated by Southeastern president Larry Minks.

Graduate Stephanie Gardner of Durant is congratulated by Southeastern president Larry Minks.

A well-decorated cap is displayed at Commencement.

A well-decorated cap is displayed at Commencement.