Southeastern News

Flute-centric band to perform Nov. 7 at Musical Arts Series

DURANT, Okla. – Injunuity, an award-winning Native American flute-centric alternative band, will perform as part of the Musical Arts Series on the campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University on Tuesday, November 7, at 7:30 p.m. in Montgomery Auditorium located in the Morrison Building.

The performance of Injunuity is sponsored in part by Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Native American Institute, Theatre at Southeastern, Oklahoma Arts Council, Red River Arts Council, and National Endowment for the Arts.

Injunuity is forged by composers Brad Clonch (Mississippi Choctaw) and Jeff Carpenter (Chickasaw). Since its inception, Injunuity has released four full length albums; snatched up multiple national music awards; performed across the United Stated and Europe; and has been featured in radio, TV, documentaries, and feature length films.

Immediately, this cultural sound and blend of genres drew attention, leading to the addition of two members — Philip Sullivan and Brian Harrison. The inspiration drawn for all original tracks and compositions are based on the ability to experience tribal culture and daily life in Oklahoma, as well as interaction among other tribes, historians, storytellers, and even trips to the original homelands of the Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Cherokee people.

Injunuity’s music promotes the introduction of Native American music and history into popular culture.

Injunuity will also offer an acoustic performance at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 8, prior to a reception in the Center Gallery located in the Visual & Performing Arts Center.  This event will fuse Native American music with the featured Hogan and Keithley Native American Collection and art of Choctaw artist Janie Semple Umsted.

Admission is free for all performances of the Musical Arts Series.  For more information about this event, contact Dr. Jeremy Blackwood, MAS Coordinator at 580-745-2096.

Rep. Billy speaks at Native American graduation/reception

Rep. Billy speaks at Native American graduation/reception

DURANT, Okla. – Former Oklahoma Representative Lisa Billy was the guest speaker at Wednesday’s Native American Graduation Ceremony and Reception at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Also offering remarks at the event were Native American Institute executive director Dr. Bruce King, left, and Southeastern president Sean Burrage. President Burrage presented her a flute on behalf of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Southeastern hosts Native November activities

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma StateUniversity is hosting Native November 2016.
The program is sponsored by the Native American Institute and offers events throughout the month.
“A tradition at Southeastern has been a celebration of Native American culture during November,” said Dr. Bruce King, Executive Director of the Native American Institute. “The Native American Institute has coordinated and partnered with a number of others, such as the Chickasaw Nation and the Choctaw Nation, to provide various types of activities and events to showcase Native American traditions, history, and culture. Many Native American students select Southeastern as they pursue their academic and career goals. We are pleased to be able to recognize the contributions of Native Americans during these fun and educational events. We hope that students, faculty, and staff will join us.”
Notable events include:
Wednesday, November 9 – social stickball on the front lawn
10 a.m., Friday, November 11 – Desiree Blankenship speaks on Natural Wellness Healing in the Henry G. Bennett Memorial Library
2 p.m., Wednesday, November 16 – Chickasaw Culture and Storytelling in the library
2 p.m., Thursday, November 17 – Choctaw Culture and History, Russell Building, room 300
For a complete schedule of Native November events, contact the Native American Institute at 580-745-3368 or visit

Kendra Gross named director of McCurtain County campus

Kendra GrossDURANT, Okla. – Kendra Gross has been named director of the McCurtain County campus (MCC) of Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

She has been employed at the MCC since 2000, most recently as Coordinator of Academics/Admissions/Advisement/Financial Aid and Instructional Support. Gross replaces Dr. Bruce King, who is now Executive Director of the Center for Student Success and Native American Institute at Southeastern in Durant.

“We are confident that Kendra will do an outstanding job in her new role,’’ said Southeastern president Sean Burrage. “We are committed to meeting the higher education needs of our students and the community in McCurtain County.’’

Gross holds a master’s degree in Native American Leadership and a bachelor’s in general business, both from Southeastern, and both through the MCC program.

“I absolutely love working in higher education and helping others achieve their educational goals,’’ she said. “We have a great staff in place, and I feel very optimistic about the future.’’

Among her professional affiliations, Gross serves as a member of the marketing team committee for the 2016 Association for Continuing Higher Education National Conference and meeting.

As director of MCC, Gross will report to Dr. Robin Plumb, dean and director of Educational Outreach.

Gross, who is from Wright City, and her husband, Todd, have two sons.

The McCurtain County campus originated as a higher education center.

In 2005, the higher education center, through legislative action, was converted to a branch campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Campus facilities include traditional classrooms equipped with teaching tools such as electronic whiteboards, document cameras, sound systems and desktop computers; Interactive television classrooms, capable of receiving and sending courses to and from other teaching sites; two computer labs; science labs; conference room; auditorium and library.

The campus is connected to Southeastern in Durant through fiber optics, which allows students to utilize the BlackBoard learning system and CampusConnect student information system.

Through its unique partnership with Eastern Oklahoma State College, the McCurtain County campus provides students with access to a number of popular associate degree programs, including nursing and psychology/sociology.

Popular bachelor degree programs include business administration, psychology, criminal justice, sociology, liberal arts and applied studies, early intervention and child development, and computer information systems.

Elementary Education is a degree in which most of the courses in the major are taught on the campus by MCC anchor faculty member Dr. Barbara McClanahan.

Master degree programs offered include business administration, school administration, and sports studies and athletic administration.

A new program to be offered this fall from Rose State College through IETV is emergency management.

Dr. Bryon Clark named Vice President for Academic Affairs

Bryon Clark

Dr. Bryon Clark

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University president Sean Burrage has announced an administrative reorganization, effective, in most cases, July 1, 2016.

“We had a large number (27) of individuals who took advantage of a retirement incentive program that we offered this year,’’ Burrage said.  “The retirements included a number of experienced faculty and staff members, as well as several key administrators. It is very difficult to replace that level of experience, especially with the budget constraints that we are facing. In an effort to be cost-effective, we have, in many cases, combined positions and duties. With that being said, we believe we can be efficient, while maintaining a high level of service.’’

In all, 33 employees retired this year.

Some of the key changes are listed below, with new titles listed first:

Dr. Bryon Clark, Vice President for Academic Affairs. He previously served as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Graduate Dean. Clark, a professor of Biological Sciences, has been associated with Southeastern since 1990. He holds a Ph.D. from Kansas State University, a master’s from Western Illinois University, and a bachelor’s from Central College (Iowa).

Tim Boatmun

Dr. Tim Boatmun

Dr. Tim Boatmun, Dean of Graduate School, E-Programming and Academic Support. He was formerly Associate Dean of Academic Services (Academic Advising and Outreach Center). Boatmun earned his Ed.D. at Northcentral University, his master’s at New York University, and his bachelor’s at Southeastern. He joined the Southeastern staff in 2000.

Kendra Gross

Kendra Gross

Kendra Gross, director of the McCurtain County campus. She previously served as Coordinator  of Academics/Admissions/Advisement/Financial Aid and Instructional Support at McCurtain County.

— Dr. Bruce King, Executive Director of the Center for Student Success and Native American Institute. He was Dean of the McCurtain County branch campus and has been serving as interim executive director of the Native American Institute since March 1, 2016.


— Dr. Robin Plumb, Dean and Director of Educational Outreach. She was formerly Associate Dean and Director of Outreach.

Liz McCraw, Dean of Student Affairs. She was previously Dean of Student Life.

—  Mike Davis, Director of Compliance and Safety. He was previously Coordinator of Disability Services.

—  Sandra Thomas, Interim Library Director. She had served as Serials, Electronic Resources & Interlibrary Loan Librarian.

—  Dan Simmons, Director of the Physical Plant. He had served as Assistant Director.

Other appointments include:

— Dr. Brett Elliott, Director of General Education

— Dr. Meg Cotter-Lynch, Director of the Honors Program

— Clifford Cox, Director of the Academic Advising and Outreach Center

Elizabeth Watkins, Director of the Learning Center

Dr. Shannon McCraw, Chair, Department of Art, Communication and Theatre

—  Dr. Kay Daigle, Chair, Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation

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.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University president Sean Burrage signs a proclamation declaring Monday as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day’’ at the University. Joining him are Chris Wesberry, executive director of the Native American Institute, and a group of students. The purpose of the day is to promote Native American culture and commemorate the history of Native American peoples.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University president Sean Burrage signs a proclamation declaring Monday as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day’’ at the University. Joining him are Chris Wesberry, executive director of the Native American Institute, and a group of students. The purpose of the day is to promote Native American culture and commemorate the history of Native American peoples.