Southeastern News

Spring enrollment climbs 9% at Southeastern to reach seven-year high

Prospective students and their family members tour the campus at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Prospective students and their family members tour the campus at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University received some good news last fall when enrollment increased 6.2 percent.

Southeastern received even better news this week with the announcement that spring enrollment has jumped 9 percent over last spring to reach a seven-year high.

“While we were very pleased with the numbers last fall, we didn’t want it to be a one-shot deal,” said Southeastern president Sean Burrage. “We knew it was important to not only sustain that success, but to build on it. Our enrollment had been flat or down slightly for a few semesters prior to that. What that (6.2 percent increase) did was two-fold: it validated what we are doing as far as expanding our online programming to meet the changing needs of our students, and it provided the campus with some energy, excitement and momentum as we moved forward. We still have some challenges, especially in attracting more undergraduate students, but I feel really positive about where we are and the direction we are going.”

This spring, Southeastern’s enrollment has increased significantly over last spring in both head count and student credit hour (SCH) production.  SCH is important as it plays a key role in the amount of state allocations the University receives each fiscal year.

Southeastern’s official Spring 2018 enrollment is 3,722 students – an increase of 9 percent (307 students) over last spring. This represents the largest spring enrollment at the University since 2012. In addition, SCH increased 5.9 percent.

While undergraduate student enrollment remained basically flat, graduate student enrollment soared with an increase of 52.1 percent (319 students).

The University now offers online master’s degree programs in Business, Education, Sports Administration, Aerospace Administration and Logistics, and Native American Leadership, as well as select undergraduate programs.

These programs are complementing other traditional popular degrees in such areas as Aviation, Occupational Safety & Health, and the sciences, to name just a few.

Burrage emphasized the fact that online degree programs are greatly impacting colleges and universities nationwide, particularly at the graduate level.

“The higher education model continues to change and we as a University have to continue to respond,’’ Burrage said. “In terms of course and program selection, delivery and costs, students today have more options than ever before. We have adapted by continuing to offer quality academic programs through a variety of delivery methods, including traditional face-to-face instruction and instructional television, while expanding our online presence. But as I’ve said many times before, even though the delivery format of instruction may be changing, the most important learning component remains the same – the professor.  And at Southeastern, that is one of our real strengths – faculty members who have not only the necessary knowledge and experience, but the desire to help students be successful.’’

Southeastern will submit its preliminary enrollment report to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education on February 9.

Fall enrollment at Southeastern increases 6%

Southeastern president Sean Burrage enjoys lunch on a frequent  basis with students in the Student Union cafe. The informal setting allows the Southeastern president an opportunity to hear directly from students. Here he visits with two transfer students from Dallas, Kendrell Willis and Witt Wortham. This fall, the University is experiencing  its highest enrollment in five years.

Southeastern president Sean Burrage enjoys lunch on a frequent basis with students in the Student Union cafe. The informal setting allows the Southeastern president an opportunity to hear directly from students. Here he visits with two transfer students from Dallas, Kendrell Willis and Witt Wortham. This fall, the University is experiencing its highest enrollment in five years.

DURANT, Okla. – Enrollment is up and so is the optimism around the Southeastern Oklahoma State University campus these days.

Prior to the beginning of fall classes on August 21, Southeastern president Sean Burrage had termed this as a “pivotal year at the University.’’ The fourth-year president added that he was “optimistic’’ as he evaluated both enrollment numbers and the financial condition of the institution.

And the results show that Burrage was on the mark: After three weeks of classes, Southeastern’s enrollment has increased significantly in both head count and student credit hour (SCH) production over last year.  (SCH is important as it plays a key role in the amount of state allocations Southeastern receives each fiscal year).

Southeastern’s official fall 2017 enrollment is 3,956 students – an increase of 6.2% over last fall.

This represents the largest overall enrollment at Southeastern since 2012.

The University has also seen in increase of 3.2% in student credit hours this fall.

Burrage pointed to the importance of the across-the-board gains the University is experiencing this semester in new freshmen, transfers, and graduate student enrollment. In particular, the graduate school enrollment is growing at an amazing rate, with an increase of 62% over last fall (MBA – 132% increase).

Increases of note over last fall include:

  • New Freshmen: Increase of 2.3%
  • Bryan County freshmen: 10.1%
  • Texas freshmen: 6.7%
  • Transfer students: 6.3%
  • Graduate student enrollment: 62%
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA): 132%

“As the numbers indicate, we have enrolled more students from Bryan County and north Texas this fall,’’ Burrage said of the freshman class. “We believe this is the beginning of a positive trend as we continue to intensify our recruiting efforts across the region.’’

Burrage said that online degree programs are greatly impacting colleges and universities across the nation, especially at the graduate level.

“In today’s world of higher education, there is great demand for online learning opportunities,’’ he said. “In fact, the growth in our graduate school, while phenomenal, can be attributed, in large part, to our innovative online master’s degree programs in Business, Education, and Native American Leadership. Again, we expect this trend to continue as we explore the possibility of offering additional academic programs online.’’

Burrage added there is a reason the online programs have been successful at Southeastern.

“Our faculty members deserve a lot of credit,’’ he said. “They understand that the higher education model is changing and they are adapting. Even though the delivery format of instruction may be changing, the most important learning component remains the same — the professor.’’

These new online programs are complementing other traditional popular degrees in such areas as aviation, occupational safety & health, and the sciences, to name just a few.

And although he is pleased with the growth in enrollment, the Southeastern president is not satisfied.

“We still have a lot of work to do,’’ he said. “Our challenge now is to not only sustain this growth, but to build on it.  We have recently increased scholarship opportunities, but we must continue to do so in order for a college education to be affordable for all students. This is critical as we receive reduced funding from the state.’’

Approximately 85% of Southeastern students currently receive some form of financial aid; 53% of Southeastern graduates this year were first-generation college graduates.

On the financial side of things, Burrage is equally optimistic.

Thanks to a number of measures – including ongoing conservative operational spending — Southeastern’s financial condition is in its best shape in years, with a sizeable increase in reserve funds projected this year.

This is despite numerous state budget reductions to higher education over the last few years, including a 6.1% cut ($930,000) to Southeastern this fiscal year.

“All the state reductions have obviously had a negative impact on higher education in Oklahoma,’’ Burrage said. “But Southeastern has addressed these challenges over the past few years by making some tough decisions, such as consolidating/eliminating programs that didn’t directly impact students, cutting administrative costs, implementing furlough days, and reducing travel expenses.

“Our faculty and staff have made tremendous sacrifices as we’ve worked through these budgeting challenges together.  I can’t say enough good things about the support they have demonstrated during some very difficult times. Southeastern is successful and will continue to be successful because of their attitude and willingness to do whatever it takes. That’s what makes this such a special place.’’

Southeastern will submit its Preliminary Enrollment Report to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education on September 8.

Dr. Bruce King named interim executive director of Native American Institute

Bruce King-1DURANT, Okla. – Effective March 1, 2016, Dr. Bruce King will serve as interim executive director of the Native American Institute at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.  This will be in addition to his current duties as dean of Southeastern’s McCurtain County campus.

Chris Wesberry, who was named executive director of the Native American Institutelast summer, recently accepted a position with the Chickasaw Nation.

Wesberry joined Southeastern in 2005 and was instrumental in the development and success of the Native American Leadership degree and other innovative programs.

 

King joined Southeastern in 1998 and has been the McCurtain dean since 2011. Prior to this appointment, he served as associate dean, academic coordinator, andadvisor.

He earned two degrees from East Central University (B.A. in English and M.Ed. in secondary education). King  completed his doctorate at Texas A&M University-Commerce (Ed.D.) in supervision, curriculum and instruction in higher education.

He also attended the University of Oklahoma for post-graduate studies in Native Studies, literacy and rhetoric.

His areas of interest include school leadership, student retention issues, and teacher education training, especially in minority teacher recruitment.

King is a member of The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and also teaches in the Native American Leadership master’s degree program at Southeastern.

Southeastern’s online MBA program recognized among “best’’ by U.S. News & World Report rankings

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s online MBA in the John Massey School of Business is ranked among the top programs in the nation, according to “U.S. News & World Report.’’

In the category of “Best Online MBA Programs,’’ Southeastern is in a tie for 103rd. Only 195 schools from across the nation were ranked in the “best’’ category.

The best online master’s degree programs in business administration are

based on five general categories: Student engagement, Admissions selectivity, Peer reputation, Faculty credentials and training, and Student services and technology.

The rankings evaluate schools based solely on data related to their distance education MBA programs.

“This (ranking) certainly helps put us on the radar nationally,’’ said Dr. Lawrence Silver, MBA program director and John Massey Endowed Chair and Professor of Marketing. “Convenience, quality, and affordability are three of the components that set our program apart from others.’’

According to geteducated.com, Southeastern offers the second most affordable AACSB online MBA program in the nation. As for quality, the John Massey School of Business is accredited by AACSB International — The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The John Massey School of Business is the only AACSB- accredited business school in a public regional university in Oklahoma and one of only five institutions in the entire state to hold this distinction.

“Our target for the online MBA is working professionals,’’ Silver said. “The convenience that the online delivery offers and the potential of career advancement are just two reasons that the program is so appealing. Anyone who is starting a business or wanting to advance into senior leadership in an organization will really benefit from the MBA. The degree is also a great asset for those individuals with aspirations of advancing in their military careers.’’

Management, Native American Leadership, Healthcare Information Systems, Safety, and Entrepreneurship are the areas of concentration that are offered.

The online MBA program at Southeastern has “ballooned’’ over the past two years, and at the same time, the quality of students has risen, according to Silver.

For more information about the online MBA at Southeastern, contact Robert Howard, MBA program coordinator, at 580-745-2042.