Southeastern News

Grayson College president receives E.T. Dunlap Medal

DURANT, Okla. –  Grayson College president Jeremy McMillen, right, was the recipient of the E.T. Dunlap Medal Tuesday at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.  Presenting the award were Oklahoma chancellor Glen D. Johnson, left,  and Southeastern president Sean Burrage. The award is named for the late E.T. Dunlap, who served as Oklahoma chancellor from 1961-82  and is presented to a distinguished scholar or outstanding public official. As part of the ceremonies, Dr. McMillen presented the 11th E.T. Dunlap Lecture on Higher Education and Public Policy in the Hallie McKinney Ballroom.

BrucePac receives OSRHE Business Partnership Award

Attending the Partnership Excellence Award presentation were Chancellor Glen D. Johnson, Southeastern president Sean Burrage, BrucePac general manager Bob Delveaux, former Durant Industrial Authority executive director Tommy Kramer, Southeastern athletic director Keith Baxter, Southeastern director of university communications Alan Burton, Southeastern vice president for advancement Dr. Kyle Stafford, and Oklahoma Secretary of State, Education and Workforce Development Dave Lopez.

DURANT, Okla. –  Twenty-seven business and higher education partnerships throughout the state were recognized recently as innovative collaborations that further the education of Oklahoma’s workforce.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award is designed to highlight successful partnerships between higher education institutions and businesses and to further cultivate the higher learning environment through State Regents’ Economic Development Grants.

Locally, Southeastern Oklahoma State University and BrucePac were recognized with the partnership award.

“Our colleges and universities are working side by side with leaders in the private, public and nonprofit sectors,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “These collaborations between business and industry and our state system institutions ensure that we continue building the skilled workforce needed for Oklahoma to be globally competitive.”

BrucePac, a newcomer to Durant, has already made it a point to partner with Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s communication and athletic departments. BrucePac produces and supplies cooked meat products. It is headquartered in Woodburn, Ore., but has a production facility in Durant.

Although the company has been in Durant for only a couple of years, it has been very supportive of the community and the university. In 2017, BrucePac’s Durant location donated a refrigerated truck to Southeastern to use at various events throughout the year, such as homecoming and the Presidential Golf Classic. The vehicle was also used by the athletic department to store ice for post-practice therapy for student athletes. In addition to donating the truck, BrucePac has added the university and Southeastern athletics logos to the vehicle.

In addition,  BrucePac is working with the communications department at Southeastern to develop a student internship program that will assist with developing training videos for the company’s human resources department.

“BrucePac is a valued member of the Durant business community,’’ said Southeastern president Sean Burrage. “Beyond that, the company gives a great deal back to the community by supporting numerous worthwhile projects, which ultimately results in a better quality of life for our citizens.’’

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.

President’s statement on Tudor v. Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the Regional University System of Oklahoma

Re:  Tudor v. Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the Regional University System of Oklahoma

Earlier today, in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff (Dr. Rachel Tudor).

Southeastern president Sean Burrage has released the following statement:

“Southeastern Oklahoma State University places great trust in the judicial system and respects the verdict rendered today by the jury.  It has been our position throughout this process that the legal system would handle this matter, while the University continues to focus its time and energy on educating students. All legal questions should be directed to the Oklahoma Office of the Attorney General.”

Southeastern recognizes Top 10 Freshmen

Gathering at the Top 10 Freshman event Thursday were, back row, left to right, Dr. Tim Boatmun, Luana Antuono (SGA president), Nate Hodson, Tyler Shade, Symphoni Shomo, Sarah Winnett, Brooklyn Daniel, and president Sean Burrage. Front row, Olivia Voss, Brianna Pierce, Shalee Buzan, Blakelyn Daniel, and Katelynn Hester.

Gathering at the Top 10 Freshman event Thursday were, back row, left to right, Dr. Tim Boatmun, Luana Antuono (SGA president), Nate Hodson, Tyler Shade, Symphoni Shomo, Sarah Winnett, Brooklyn Daniel, and president Sean Burrage. Front row, Olivia Voss, Brianna Pierce, Shalee Buzan, Blakelyn Daniel, and Katelynn Hester.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University recognized the 2016-17 Top Ten Freshmen during a ceremony Thursday in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union Auditorium.

The honorees were selected by a committee consisting of representatives from faculty, student government and University administration. The Top 10 Freshmen have a collective 3.84 grade-point average and are involved in numerous campus and community activities.

The 2016-17 Top 10 Freshmen are:

Shalee Buzan, communication major from Idabel; twins Blakelyn Daniel, biology/chemistry, and Brooklyn Daniel, graphic design, Atoka; Katelynn Hester, history with social studies certification, Broken Bow; Nate Hodson, finance, Durant;

Brianna Pierce, biology, Kingston; Tyler Shade, communication, Durant; Symphoni Shomo, psychology, Tahlequah; Olivia Voss, English Education, Idabel; and Sarah Winnett, Elementary Education, Colbert.

Southeastern president Sean Burrage congratulated each recipient.

Biology Herbarium dedicated to former professors

Dr. Connie Taylor receives a plaque from Southeastern president Sean Burrage and Dr. Teresa Golden, chair of Biological Sciences.

Dr. Connie Taylor receives a plaque from Southeastern president Sean Burrage and Dr. Teresa Golden, chair of Biological Sciences.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University officially dedicated the Biology Herbarium to former biology professors Connie Taylor and the late John Taylor Thursday afternoon. During their combined 50-plus years of service to Southeastern students, the Taylors taught courses not only within, but also outside their areas of specialty.

Dr. John Taylor taught in the Biological Sciences department from 1961-1990

with a specialty in plant ecology. Dr. Connie Taylor, whose specialty was systematic botany, taught from 1970-1998. The Taylors were honored with the Distinguished Former Faculty Award by the University in 2005.

A major lasting contribution of the Taylors was to the herbarium at Southeastern, located in the Biology Building. A herbarium is a research collection of pressed, dried and labeled plant specimens arranged by a classification scheme. The Taylors collected about 100,000 plant specimens, many of which remain in the 15,000-specimen herbarium on the Durant campus. They traded many of their specimens with other herbaria, including the one at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

The Taylors produced these specimens largely on their own time and at their own expense. They also obtained the herbarium cabinets at no expense to the school. To replace these cabinets at modern prices would exceed $107,000.

Offering remarks were biological sciences professor Dr. Stanley Rice, and Southeastern president Sean Burrage. Dr. Connie Taylor attended the official dedication ceremony, along with a number of friends, faculty and staff members.

Southeastern president to appear Sunday on News 12 Forum

forumDURANT, Okla. – Southeastern president Sean Burrage visits with KXII’s Jessie Schroeder Wednesday morning prior to taping a segment for News 12 Forum, a Sunday morning public affairs television program. The 30-minute show will air on Oct. 1 and Oct. 8 at 6 a.m. on Channel 12 and can be seen across southern Oklahoma and north Texas. Also interviewed were three area  public school superintendents. President Burrage’s segment addresses such relevant topics as budgeting, funding, and enrollment in higher education today. In addition, the president will be a guest on KXII’s noon news on Monday, October 2, to discuss homecoming activities at the University.

District 17 school superintendents meet on campus

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DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern president Sean Burrage welcomes educators to campus Tuesday morning as the University hosted the OASA District 17 Superintendents meeting. Latta Superintendent of Schools Cliff Johnson also welcomed the participants.

Sharon L. Morrison Collaborative Center dedicated at Southeastern library

Southeastern library director Sandra Thomas and University president Sean Burrage stand with Sharon Morrison stand outside the collaborative center.

Southeastern library director Sandra Thomas and University president Sean Burrage stand with Sharon Morrison stand outside the collaborative center.

DURANT, Okla. – The Sharon L. Morrison Collaborative Center was dedicated recently in the Henry G. Bennett Memorial Library at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

The room, located on the second floor of the library, is multifunctional, and has been utilized as a mobile classroom, tutoring and study hall, and a seminar room.

After 15 years of service, Morrison retired from Southeastern in 2016 as library director/associate professor. During her tenure, the library saw many improvements, including the addition of the Albert H. Brigance Curriculum and Assessment Center, the Native American Commons, a Learning Commons, the Evert Tigner Shakespearean  Collection,  and computer pods.

Among those joining Morrison at a recent dedication ceremony were Southeastern president Sean Burrage, vice president for academic affairs Dr. Bryon Clark,  dean  of graduate school/E-programming & academic support Dr. Tim Boatmun, library director Sandra Thomas, and other library staff members.

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.