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Center for Student Success plays key role at Southeastern

August 21, 2020

DURANT, Okla. – To better serve a growing and evolving population of students, Southeastern Oklahoma State University has reorganized several departments responsible for various aspects of student success.

The Center for Student Success, supervised by Dr. Marlin Blankenship, is the administrative division responsible for professional advising and student success at Southeastern.

The Center includes the Academic Advising and Outreach Center, the Learning Center, the Online and Distance Advising Center, the Native American Institute, the Native American Excellence in Education grant program, Freshman Programs, and professional graduate advisors.  The Center is under the umbrella of Dr. Brad Ludrick, associate vice president for tribal relations and academic affairs.

“Over the past two decades, the professional advising staff has played an integral role with our incoming freshmen students and also with the students at our outreach sites,” Ludrick said. “This reorganization will allow the University to continue the tradition of academic support and to efficiently and effectively expand to meet the needs of our growing online and graduate populations.”

In addition, a number of personnel changes have recently been announced within the Center:

LaDawn Bisson is now serving as the director of the academic advising and outreach center and the learning center. These units are responsible for serving as the primary advisors for on-campus freshmen students and for freshman programs at Southeastern. This transition will strengthen the partnership between the Learning Center and the Academic Advising and Outreach Center to more effectively support students.

Bisson has served as the director of the learning center for the past two years; prior to joining Southeastern, she was a public school teacher for 22 years. Bisson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Southeastern and Master of Education in Library Media from East Central University.

Jeni Maple is now the director of the online and distance advising center. This is a newly-formed department that brings together the coordinators who advise at the McAlester, Ardmore, and Grayson distance locations with the professional advising for undergraduate online programs. This department is responsible for serving as the primary professional advisors for undergraduate students who are fully online and/or enrolled at outreach site locations.

For the past several years, Maple has served in the office of academic affairs as the primary advisor for undergraduate accelerated online programs and as the liaison between the outreach sites and academic affairs. Maple previously served as the academic coordinator for Southeastern  at the University Center of Southern Oklahoma and as the journalism instructor at SE. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and Journalism at Southeastern and her Master of Arts in English at Oklahoma State University.

“LaDawn and Jeni are highly respected leaders in the community and across campus,” Blankenship said. “The University is fortunate to have them serving in these new roles.”