Pioneer News Highlights May 22, 2015

Commencement 2015

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Western celebrated Commencement 2015, (click here to access the HD recording of the ceremony) Friday, May 15. Approximately 270 students graduated this year, with 115 students participating in the ceremony.

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Kelly Dyer Fry, Editor of The Oklahoman,
delivered the commencement address to
the Class of 2015.

Emily Smith
Emily Smith, Math Faculty, is the Western 2015 Teacher of the Year.
Katelynn Shumaker, Student Senate President
presented Smith with the award at the
2015 Commencement Ceremony on May 15.

Nursing Lamp Lighting and Pinning 2015

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Freshmen nursing students from the Lawton  campus,
LaToya Poe, LaTrecia Armstrong and Lindsey Fehring
prepare for the 2015 Lamp Lighting Ceremony (click this
link to see the HD video of the ceremony)on May 14.
The graduating class lights the freshmen class lamps in the annual ceremony.

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The Pioneer Nursing Class of 2015 graduated 47 nurses
represented by the college’s three nursing campuses
in Altus, Lawton and Elk City.

Pioneers NJCAA World Series Bound

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The Pioneer baseball team qualified for the NJCAA World Series Championship(for live video coverage click the link)  last weekend in Salina, Kansas.  The team will play its first Division II game Saturday, May 23 at 9 a.m. in Enid at the David Allen Memorial Ballpark. The Pioneer season record is currently 49-11.


Kid’s College Enrolling Now.  Click the picture to register!




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Pioneer News Highlights, April 29, 2015


WOSC Men’s Rodeo Wins PSU Title and Qualifies for CNFR

Bryson Sechrist, Peyton Holliday, Jacob Edler and Douglas Rich will compete with over 400 cowboys and cowgirls in the College National Finals Rodeo in Cody, WY, June 14-20.

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Western Board of Regents Report, April 21, 2015

The Western Oklahoma State College’s Board of Regents convened for its regularly scheduled meeting on April 21, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. in the Higher Learning Center at the college.

Dr. Phil Birdine introduced guests in attendance who included Lisa Greenlee, Vice President for Academic and Student Support Services; Tricia Latham, Vice President for Business Affairs; John Phelan, Faculty Senate President; Jimmy Poe, Safety and Security Coordinator; Chad Wiginton, Dean of Student Support Services; Briar Jenkins, Secretary to the President and Judith Meyer, Director of Public Information.

John Phelan began the meeting with the Faculty Senate report. Phelan announced that the Faculty Senate elected senators for the next academic year, which marks the third year of the senate’s operation. He also mentioned that a plan to implement administrative evaluations has been tabled until the project is further developed.  Phelan also said that the faculty is completing a survey that will determine individual placement on the Curriculum, Assessment and Program Review Committees.  Phelan shared that Mike Tucker, English Faculty, will serve as interim Faculty Senate President during the summer months.

The consent docket containing the minutes from the January 22nd regular meeting, the February 17th special meeting and the expenditure comparison report were voted on and approved.

Tricia Latham presented a proposal regarding a possible residence hall rate increase for FY16. Latham said that an increase is necessary to keep up with the expenses in the residence hall for maintenance and upkeep and to collect enough for an anticipated increase in food service contracted rates.  The $250 increase request equates to a 6.25% increase in the annual room and board rate.  The proposed increase would keep Western below the average rate for community colleges and still the second lowest room and board rate in the state. The board voted on and approved the proposal.


Latham then presented a request to transfer $1,500,000 from the Education and General fund, and encumbering $250,000 of the Capital Fund reserve for projects deemed critical in nature. The projects are estimated at $1,689,662.  Projects include roof replacement and repairs for three areas of the college, two remodeling projects and two air handling unit replacements. She also requested approval to begin the project planning phase and formal bidding process for these proposed projects.  The board voted on and approved the proposals.


Lisa Greenlee introduced Chad Wiginton and Jimmy Poe, who presented a request for approval of a new Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy.  The policy follows the recommendations made to Western by its internal auditors, Crawford and Associates, as required by Title IX. Wiginton and Poe began writing the policy a year ago and consulted many state and federal sources to complete the policy.  Wiginton commented on the need for ongoing education and training for the campus regarding the proposed policy.  The board voted on and approved the policy.

Lisa Greenlee proposed changes to the Scholarship/Financial Aid Appeals Committee in the Employee Handbook to better reflect the current function of the committee. The changes came as a result of pre-HLC Comprehensive Visit committee reviews.  The board voted on and approved the changes.

Greenlee proposed degree plan modifications for the Cooperative Alliance Programs. In January 2014, Western was one of 18 Oklahoma institutions that received a letter from the Higher Learning Commission mandating changes to the current Cooperative Alliance Program (CAP). Western conferred with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to determine if its CAP programs should be modified, suspended or deleted from the college’s curriculum.  Western determined to suspend Applied Technology Options for:  Construction, Drafting, Manufacturing, Transportation, Agricultural Power, Diversified Technology and Graphics/Communication.  Fire Technology is also suspended until a qualified instructor is found for the program. The Nursing, Office Systems Technology, Criminal Justice, Aviation Mechanic and Radiologic Technology programs remain the same but will be modified through Prior Learning Assessments for CAP.  The proposed changes will need to be finalized with the state regents.  The board voted on and approved the proposal.

Greenlee concluded with a request for the deletion of Western’s Associate of Arts Degree Program. The art program was suspended in 2012 due to the lack of a full-time faculty member and low amounts of majors and graduates.  According to the state regents, a program can be suspended for three years only. Western’s Curriculum Committee feels that the Art Program will continue to be a low producing program and has decided to delete it from the curriculum.  Art courses will still be offered as humanities electives required on the Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degree programs and for community enrichment.   The board voted on and approved the request.

Phil Birdine presented the President’s report and recommendations.  He announced that Western drafted a response to the Higher Learning Commission’s Comprehensive Report conducted in February.   Birdine informed the board that the Executive Council will appear before the HLC’s Institutional Action Committee May 12. The Comprehensive Report will be reviewed by the IAC, and Western’s status will be determined at that time. Birdine said he expects a positive outcome at the hearing.

Birdine also updated the board on a recent student appeal concerning a claim of discrimination.  He said that Western was not at fault in the claim and that the student’s opportunity to appeal the ruling has expired.  An additional appeal is being filed by the student regarding grades. Birdine told the board he would report later on that outcome.

Birdine introduced Chad Wiginton who presented information about a new student leadership initiative. The Western Navigators primary functions would be to support student retention, community service and campus involvement.  The group would meet monthly and require a 3.0 GPA, mentoring of five incoming freshmen throughout the academic year, 10 hours of community service per semester, membership in at least one student organization, and involvement in a minimum of five campus activities per semester.  Navigators would also be awarded six hours of tuition waiver per semester.

Birdine briefed the board on Western baseball’s current status as #3 in the nation for NJCAA  Division II teams, with a 36 – 4 record and a #1 ranking in the conference.

The board convened in executive session at 8:52 p.m.

At 9:23 p.m. the board reconvened for the discussion of personnel matters.  The employments of Jennifer Patterson, Animal Science Faculty and Justin Carpenter, Upward Bound Academic Coordinator were approved. The personnel resignations of Kim Zachary, Computer Science Faculty and Tanner Hopkins, Animal Science Faculty were approved. The recommendation for tenure for Casey Podoll, English/Speech Faculty was also approved.

The board adjourned at 9:24 p.m.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Western Board of Regents is June 9, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. in Higher Learning Center at the college.




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Pioneer News Highlights April 1, 2015


Western Wind Ensemble Goes for Baroque

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Western’s Wind Ensemble will perform with the “Go For Baroque Quartet” (G4B) on April 9th during the group’s concert at the Altus City Auditorium at 6:30 p.m.. The students will experience a master class with G4B that afternoon, in preparation for the concert. The Shortgrass Arts and Humanities Council is sponsoring the concert that is partially funded by the Oklahoma Arts Council. Tickets are on sale at the Altus Chamber of Commerce and via Shortgrass by calling 477-1616. Adult tickets are $10 and students are $5. Students on the front row are: Sarah Olson, Brianna Blevins, Samantha Wolfe, Amanda Olson, Josh Dykens, Tianna Fish. Back row: Stephen Burns and Owen Lewellen. Gary Gardner, Western Instrumental Faculty, conducts the wind ensemble.

Family Pledges Lifetime Memberships

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Linda Wells Robbins, Sandy Bourgeois, Jeff Bourgeois and Garrett Cox are the latest family to pledge their collective support to the WOSC Alumni Association by becoming Lifetime Members. Sandy is self-employed as a Licensed Professional Counselor and Jeff is Western’s IT Helpdesk Specialist. Mrs. Robbins, Sandy’s mother, is a graduate of Altus Junior College. Mrs. Robbins is retired from DHS where she worked as a Family Support Worker. Garrett, a December graduate of WOSC, will soon begin employment with Lindblad Cruise Lines. If you are a graduate or friend of Western Oklahoma State College and would like more information on becoming a Lifetime member of the WOSC Alumni Association contact the Alumni Development office at 477-7789.


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Students Invited to SWOSU Rodeo


The Office of College/High School Relations is sponsoring a trip to Weatherford for the 43rd Annual SWOSU Rodeo on April 10th. Transportation will be provided for students and will depart campus at 4 p.m. Each student will be responsible for their meals and expenses. Those wishing to participate should sign up with Maegan Martin immediately, in C1D or call 477-7875 to reserve a ticket. The rodeo is a three-day event, sanctioned by the Central Plains Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and will be held at the Don Mitchell Arena. A total of three performances are scheduled: Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening at 7 pm with the top 10 finishers in each event returning for the championship go-round on Saturday night. Western’s rodeo team will compete at the SWOSU Rodeo that draws nearly 500 cowboys and cowgirls competing for a wide range of prizes including money, buckles, spurs and a berth in the 2015 College National Finals Rodeo. A special “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” performance is scheduled for Friday evening. Spectators are encouraged to join the performers in wearing pink in support of cancer awareness.




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Pioneer News Highlights: March 11, 2015

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The family of the late Robert M. Kerr gathered to view the bronze plaque commemorating the Oklahoma Senator’s posthumous induction into the WOSC Alumni Hall of Fame, Friday, March 6. From the left are Kerr’s son, Rodger Kerr; his daughter Robin Storey; Kerr’s wife, Robbie Kerr and son, Robert Keith Kerr. Senator Kerr’s grandchildren, Kaleb and Kennedy Kerr; Braxton and Kerrstin Wenk and Keitha Kerr and daughter-in-law Tamera Kerr and Robin’s husband David Storey also attended the induction honoring Kerr. Continue reading

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