Southeastern News

Southeastern professor renews National Teacher Certification


DURANT, Okla. – Dr. Susan Morrison of Southeastern Oklahoma State University recently renewed her National Board Teacher Certification.

Morrison is a professor and coordinator of Elementary Education, and has been at the University since 2004. A former public school classroom teacher, she holds an Ed.D. from Texas A&M Commerce, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southeastern.

National Board Certification is a public assurance that teachers have met the profession’s highest standards for accomplished practice. It also signifies that teachers are up to date on the knowledge and best practice in their certificate area.

To renew the certification, educators must submit a profile of professional growth demonstrating how their practice continues to align with the core


propositions in their particular area. In addition, as part of the renewal process, Morrison did classroom teaching in Kim Stafford’s kindergarten class at Washington Irving Elementary School in Durant.

Morrison first earned the certification in 1999.

This is her 30th year in the classroom. Prior to joining the Southeastern faculty, Morrison taught in elementary schools in McKinney, Texas, and Durant, for 16 years.

“The title that gives me the greatest joy is that of ‘teacher,’ ‘’ she said. “National Board certification/renewal is, in my opinion, the best professional development opportunity in which a teacher can engage. Renewal helped me stay connected and current and gave me the opportunity to practice and apply the skills that I teach my university pre-service teachers to use.’’


The certification is through the National Board For Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

National Board Certification was designed to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools nationwide. It is the most respected professional certification available in K-12 education.

More than 118,000 teachers across the United States have achieved Board certification.

Pianist Christopher Atzinger to perform at Musical Arts event on March 6

DURANT, Okla. – Pianist Christopher Atzinger will perform as part of the Musical Arts Series on the campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University on Tuesday, March 6, at 7:30 p.m.  in the Fine Arts Recital Hall. Atzinger will perform works of Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, John Knowles Paine, and Samuel Barber.

Atzinger is widely celebrated for his insightful performances and has earned a  reputation for excellence. He has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe, highlighted by recital performances at Carnegie Hall (New York), Salle Cortot (Paris), St. Martin-in-the-Fields (London), National Concert Hall (Dublin), American Academy (Rome), Liszt Museum (Budapest), Barocco Cultural Arts (Valletta), the Smithsonian Gallery of American Art and Phillips Collection (Washington), and the Dame Myra Hess Series (Chicago).

His discography includes three highly praised albums released on the MSR Classics label – a debut solo recording of Bach, Beethoven, Barber and Fritze; and all-Brahms album; and “American Lyricism” featuring works by Christopher Theofanidis, Richard Danielpour, Monica Houghton, Pierre Jalbert, and Justin Merritt. He has also recorded works of Judith Lang Zaimont for Naxos and music of Amy Beach for Centaur Records.

Atzinger earned degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and University of Michigan, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. He currently serves as Associate Professor of Music at St. Olaf College.

This performance is sponsored in part by Southeastern Oklahoma State University, the Ruth Steger Piano Institute and the Clark & Wanda Bass Foundation Lectureship. 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 or <>.

Hazmat training held for graduate students at Southeastern

Hazmat training held for graduate students at SoutheasternDURANT, Okla. – Some two dozen Southeastern Oklahoma State University students in the Master of Science in Occupational Safety & Health program came to the Durant main campus last  weekend for their annual HAZMAT lab training.  Southeastern professors Dr. Chris Bradshaw and Dr. Hal Poovey led the students through various HAZMAT scenarios in preparation for the 40-Hour HAZWOPER certification.  The students were from throughout the United States.

AAUP Candidates’ Forum to be held at Southeastern

DURANT, Okla. – The Southeastern Oklahoma State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is hosting a Candidates’ Forum on campus Thursday, September 8,, from 3-4 p.m. in the Fine Arts Recital Hall.

District 21 incumbent State Representative Dustin Roberts and challenger David Northcutt will discuss their candidacy and the issues facing the citizens of Bryan County and Oklahoma.

The forum is open to Southeastern’s faculty, staff and students and the  voters of Bryan County are especially welcome and invited to attend.

The AAUP is a 100-year-old non-partisan professional association of university faculty with chapters across the United States.

Kyle Thomas again named Master Certified Flight Instructor

Kyle Thomas is one of only 14 Oklahoma aviation educators to hold the Master CFI title.

Kyle Thomas is one of only 14 Oklahoma aviation educators to hold the Master CFI title.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University aviation professor and chief flight instructor Kyle Thomas is one of only 14 Oklahoma aviation educators to earn a prestigious accreditation.

His recent accreditation as a Master CFI (certified flight instructor) was renewed by Master Instructors LLC, the international accrediting authority for the Master Instructor designation as well as the FFA-approved “Master Instructor Continuing Education Program.”

Thomas first earned this national professional accreditation in 2006, has held it continuously since then, and is one of only 31 individuals worldwide to earn the credential six times.

To put his achievements into perspective, there are approximately 101,000 CFIs in the United States. Fewer than 800 aviation educators worldwide have received one or more of the Master accreditations thus far.

Thomas  also serves as advisor to the local Women in Aviation chapter and is a coach for the University’s flight team.

Former FAA administrator Marion Blakey said, “The Master Instructor accreditation singles out the best that the right seat has to offer.”

Late artist Minnie M. Baker to be honored with Southeastern Heritage Award at Homecoming

Minnie BakerDURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will honor the late Minnie M. Baker with the Heritage Award during Homecoming festivities on Oct. 2.

The recognition will be a part of the Distinguished Awards Banquet on Friday, Oct. 2, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Visual and Performing Arts Center. Also honored will be Distinguished Alumni, Distinguished Former Faculty, and Regent John Massey (Lifetime Achievement Award).

The Heritage Award honors individuals who have impacted the history of Southeastern in some unique way.

Minnie M. Baker (’36) was a renowned artist and educator whose contributions to the state of Oklahoma and the field of American art are immeasurable. She taught for 31 years at Southeastern State College, where she was chair of the Art Department and Associate Professor Emeritus of Art.

Her work included portraits of Oklahoma governors, military generals and congressional representatives. Baker’s works are displayed in honored places throughout the United States. The Ardmore native received her bachelor’s degree fromSoutheastern and a master’s from Iowa State University.

Baker continued her graduate studies at the University of Oklahoma and also completed course work at prestigious art schools in Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, and Mexico.

In 2013, the Minnie Baker Art Show was held in the Centre Gallery at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Baker passed away in 1983. Her niece, Alice Ann Baker Dailey, will accept the award.

For a complete schedule of homecoming events, go to

Southeastern professor elected president of Social Science organization

Glenn MelanconDURANT, Okla. – Glenn Melancon, Professor of History and Chair of the Department of Social Sciences at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, has been elected to serve as president of the Southwestern Social Science Association (SSSA).

SSSA is the largest and oldest interdisciplinary social science organization in the United States.

Melancon, a long-time SSSA member and former vice president of the organization, has 20 years of experience in the field of social science and education.

“Our theme for this coming year is Social Sciences and Public Conversations,” Melancon said. “SSSA members have a wealth of scholarship on a broad range of public concerns. We hope to put that research to good use for our communities.”

Melancon’s presidency will last until spring of next year, when he will preside over the SSSA’s annual meeting. It will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, and is expected to draw social scientists from across the country to present and discuss their research.

The SSSA was founded in 1919 to promote, cultivate and correlate the various areas of the social sciences and their applications. The association serves as the umbrella organization for seven academic and professional affiliate associations in the fields of economics, history, international studies, political science, social work, sociology, and women’s and gender studies.

Melancon is a Professor of Modern European History.   He joined Southeastern in 1995 after earning a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University. He is the author of Britain’s China Policy and the Opium Crisis: Balancing Drugs, Violence and National Honour,1833-1840 (2003).

Melancon is also involved in community work through scouting and with his church.

Dr. Steven Hales named director of new International Student Services office

Steven HalesDURANT, Okla. – Dr. Steven Hales has lived, studied and/or taught in six countries outside the United States.

Now he brings his extensive background in education to Southeastern Oklahoma State University as the director of the school’s new International Student Services office, which is part of the Enrollment Management division. Hales’ office is located in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union.

“The opportunity to start a program was very appealing to me,’’ said Hales, who served most recently as director of the English Language Center at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. “We will be working with international students in all phases – this includes recruiting, adjusting to campus, supporting them through their time here, and even post-graduate.’’

Hales says international students typically face several challenges when studying in the United States, including cultural and social differences, academic expectations, academic writing, and language.

But, according to Hales, the number one factor in retention of the students is friendship with American students.

“It’s really important to give these students a sense of connection to and ownership of Southeastern,’’ he said. “When the students, campus, and community all work together, everyone benefits. It’s a tremendous learning opportunity.’’

Hales, with input from campus, intends to develop a comprehensive international student retention plan. This will include on-and off-campus programming.

With regard to recruitment, Hales will begin his work by assessing Southeastern’s academic offerings and matching those with the interests and needs of international students. Currently, business, computer science and music are three areas of great interest for the students.

“I think Southeastern has a lot to offer international students,’’ Hales said. “It’s a institution that first and foremost supports its students. And being located in a small and safe community is very important to the students and their parents.’’

Hales holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies, Teacher Development and Comparative, International & Development Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Ontario. His master’s is in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from the Monterey (Ca.) Institute of International Studies, and his bachelor’s is in Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University.

His other experience in International Education administration includes stints as Director of Studies for the English First China language center in Shanghai, and as International Programs Coordinator at Mississippi University for Women.

Hales also has extensive teaching experience at the university level, and he has resided in Spain, Brazil, South Korea, Japan, China, and Canada.


Department of Music receives re-accreditation

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the Department of Music have recently been re-accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).  Founded in 1924, NASM is the oldest arts accrediting agency in the United States.

Southeastern has held this accreditation since 1978, with the most recent cycle of re-accreditation completed in summer of 2014.  This places the university in accredited status until the 2023-2024 academic year.

The re-accreditation brings with it the renewed approval of the Bachelor of Arts in Music degree, the Bachelor of Music in Performance degree, and the Bachelor of Music Education degree.  The Music Education degree was given approval to implement a new guitar emphasis as a specified option.  Additionally, NASM is also in agreement with the planned new offering of the Master of Music Education degree currently being explored.

The institution and music unit received very favorable comments in the areas of curriculum innovation and development, quality of instruction, faculty/student interaction, administrative support for upgrading facilities and addressing faculty concerns, and community outreach.

For more information about the Department of Music go to:

Southeastern’s accreditation status continued by Higher Learning Commission

DURANT, Okla. – The start of fall classes may still be several days away (Aug. 18), but the academic year is already off to a great start at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

The University recently received official notification from the Institutional Actions Council of the Higher Learning Commission – A Commission of the North Central Association – that Southeastern’s accredited status has been continued with the next Reaffirmation of Accreditation in 2023-24.

“This continued accreditation reflects the dedication and commitment of the Southeastern faculty, staff, and administration,’’ said Southeastern president Sean Burrage. “I appreciate all of the effort that went into this process over the past three years.’’

In its final team report, the HLC determined the following:

  • Southeastern Oklahoma State University has met all criteria and core components
  • No follow-up action (focus visits, monitoring or progress reports) is necessary

Regional accreditation validates the quality of an institution as a whole and evaluates multiple aspects of an institution ranging from its academic offerings, planning, governance, administration, mission, finances, and resources.

The HLC is a regional accreditation agency that accredits more than 1,000-degree granting institutions of higher education that are based in the 19-state region of the United States. Institutions that the Commission accredits are evaluated against the Commission’s criteria for accreditation, a set of standards that institutions must meet to receive and maintain accredited status.  The Commission’s criteria for accreditation reflect a set of guiding values.

A six-member HLC evaluation team was on the Southeastern campus February 24-26, 2014, for a comprehensive visit for continued accreditation. Prior to that, Southeastern submitted a self-study report to the team for review. The report may be accessed by the public at

For more information about the Higher Learning Commission, visit