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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Sechrist Ropes His Way to Garden City Community College Title


The WOSC Rodeo Team spent a chilly weekend in Garden City, Kansas last weekend, but the cold didn’t stop the rodeo athletes from performing at their best!

Bryson Sechrist, the sophomore from Apache, brought home an event title with two solid runs in the tie down roping.  A talented roper, Sechrist won 2nd in the first round and 2nd in the short round.  His combined time of 19.2 on two calves won the average and the title.  Tanner Stec returned to the short round this weekend in the tie down roping, as well.  Though he squeezed into the short round in tenth place, he made the fastest run of the weekend with a quick 8.6 second run in the short round.  This fast time won the short round and boosted the Nebraska freshman to 4th in the average.

Iowa sophomore, Jacob Edler also returned to the short round this weekend in the steer wrestling.  He made two solid runs and placed fifth in the short-go round and fifth in the average.

Hunter Munsell and his partner Dustin Searcy of NWOKSU had another great first round, as they did at the season opener the weekend prior.  They won second place in the first round with a speedy time of 5.5 seconds, but failed to stop the clock in the short round.  Canadians, Sloan Smith and Clayton Smith also qualified for the short round again in the team roping, but didn’t place high enough to earn valuable season points.

Eryn Coy, a freshman from Alberta, Canada had a great first round in the barrel racing.  The High River, Alberta Canada and her horse must have felt right at home in the winter weather as they raced to a second place finish.  However, a slower short round run took her out of the average.

In other rodeo news, several WOSC alumni are burning-up the Professional Rodeo trail.  2014 graduate, Laine Herl recently qualified for the prestigious Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo after a stellar performance at the San Angelo Pro Rodeo.  As well, Kyle Irwin, recent WNFR qualifier and 2010 WOSC graduate, was a top-four qualifier at RFD TV’s “The American” held at The Dallas Cowboy’s AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX last weekend where he steer wrestled for a chance to win $100,000.  Unfortunately the luck of the draw took him out of contention, but the top four qualification is an honor and athletic achievement in and of itself.

The WOSC Rodeo Team will travel to Ft. Scott, Kansas next weekend for the third of the regular season spring rodeos.

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Pioneer News Highlights, March 4, 2015

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Dan Goodson works for Western Oklahoma State College
on the custodial staff. Goodson recently learned that a
proposal he wrote for the Thunder Cares Foundation secured
a brand new Thunder Court for the
Hoyt Shadid Park at the Altus City Reservoir.

Goodson Brings Thunder Court to Altus

Dan Goodson, Custodial Staff at Western, recently made local news when he got the attention of the Thunder Cares Foundation, the community relations arm of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

In February, Goodson was notified that a proposal he submitted nominating Altus for a refurbished basketball court project at the Hoyt Shadid Park located on the northwest side of the city reservoir, was accepted by the Thunder Cares Foundation. The park project is slated to begin in mid-March with a late Spring completion date projected. The new court will sport trademark “Thunder Up” blue along with team, NBA and Thunder Cares logos. New court equipment will also be installed on the site.

Goodson credits Loran Mayes, Western speech faculty, How-to-Palace owner and local “Blue Alliance” group leader for helping him write his project proposal and giving pointers about who to involve in the project. He says, “She is so “Thunder Up” it’s crazy.”

Goodson is an 2005 Altus High graduate and an Air Force veteran. He heard about the Thunder court projectin 2010 after completing his four years of military service. He says, “The Thunder was just getting good then. We would go and play on the Thunder courts in the city…..It makes you feel like you actually play for The Thunder. It motivates you to get up and get active.”

Dan’s concern for his community and love of the game influenced him to apply for the Thunder Cares project. “I moved back to Altus and I heard about how the Thunder donates courts based on a community’s needs. I kinda let it go by, but then there were some shootings in Altus. I wanted to send a positive message and thought it was the perfect time to take the opportunity.”

When asked why he thought Altus needed the Thunder Court Goodson said, “I feel like Altus has a lack of recreational activities. The only sports you get are the city league or school ball. I thought the Thunder Court could be a positive step in the right direction. There are five elementary schools and so many kids, but nothing for them to do. We need something.”

So far, Dan says he has been getting great feedback about the impending Thunder Court, “ “It’s been crazy. I kinda feel like Hollywood red carpet sometimes. Everywhere I go someone is talking about it or someone recognizes me from the Altus Times article or the Facebook post. I coach four teams of 6 to 9 year-olds for the city basketball league. The little kids are excited about it. I’ll have them with me for the ribbon cutting ceremony on the court.”

Dan is also getting attention with his business The Billionaire Flyy Gang “It’s a movement/label/clothing line that is trying to empower a positive message for the word “gang” We do positive events like our annual Thanksgiving turkey give-away, Easter in the park celebration and community barbecues and now the Thunder Court.”

Dan began working at Western this January and the college is proud to call him a part of the Pioneer community. He says, “ I want to be a positive role model and do positive things for my community. I do it all for Altus.”

Western Joins The Jed Clinton Campus Program

Western is one of fifty-six American colleges and universities to the join The Jed and Clinton Health Matters Campus Program in support of student well-being and mental health. The program is designed to help schools prevent the two leading causes of death in young adults, – accidents, including those caused by prescription drug overdoses or alcohol poisoning, and suicide.
The Campus Program, which launched in June 2014, is designed to help colleges and universities assess and enhance mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention programming.
Participating schools make a four-year commitment to work with The Campus Program to evaluate and identify opportunities to augment these activities on campus. The Campus Program provides schools with a framework for supporting student mental health, as well as assessment tools, feedback reports and ongoing technical assistance from The Campus Program team.
In February, members of Western’s Mental Health Task Force including: April Dill, John Phelan, Bob Pearson, Jimmy Poe, Jason Miller, Patricia Purdue and Maegan Martin met with Ariel LeGrand and Nancy Roy, Clinical Director for the Jed Foundation to review Western’s campus health survey and discuss ways the college can enhance its student mental health services. Some of the items suggested included the formation of a Care Team and a BIT team whose purposes would be to identify issues related to student mental health. The team would also help identify at-risk students; issue public service announcements about The Campus Program and initiate memorandums of understanding with area health and mental health care providers. Over the next four years, LeGrand and Roy will make periodic visits to Western to assist its mental health task force and make continued recommendations.
We believe that the implementation of a campus-wide approach to mental health will lead to safer, healthier campuses, and likely greater student retention.” said John MacPhee, Executive Director of The Jed Foundation.
Western Counselor April Dill said, “The Jed and Clinton Campus Program will help Western to strengthen our mental health and drug and alcohol programming policies to better serve our students. With the assistance of this program we will be able to better identify and serve students in need. Our hope is to identify students in need early and assist them as quickly and effectively as possible.”


Phelan Speaks to League of Innovation

John Phelan, Western Social Science Coordinator and Psychology Faculty, will present a forum at the March 8-11, League for Innovation in the Community College 2015 Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. Phelan’s session is entitled “The Nuts and Bolts of Academic Service Learning” and it focuses on the history of service learning in academia and how faculty can incorporate service learning in their classroom.

Phelan has spoken to numerous organization about service learning during his 31 year career in higher education to include: The American Psychological Association Convention; the Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges Conference; the North Central Higher Learning Commission Conference and the Campus Compact Regional Conferences. In 2011, Phelan was named the Community Engagement Professional of the Year by Oklahoma Campus Compact.

Service learning combines community service with classroom instruction, focusing on critical, reflective thinking as well as personal and civic responsibility. Service learning programs involve students in activities that address local needs while developing their academic skills and commitment to their community.Service learning has a positive impact on student learning outcomes, civic engagement, and retention. Beginning in 1994, the American Association of Community Colleges promoted the value of service learning to the 1,200 associate degree-granting institutions in the U.S. According to three AACC national surveys, two-thirds of all community colleges offer service learning in their curricular programs.

The League for Innovation in the Community College (League) is an international, nonprofit association dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement. CEOs from the most influential, resourceful, and dynamic community colleges and districts in the world comprise the League’s board of directors and provide strategic direction for its ongoing activities. These community colleges and their leaders are joined by more than 800 institutions that hold membership in the League Alliance.

With this core of powerful and innovative community colleges and more than 160 corporate partners, the League serves community colleges around the world by hosting conferences and institutes, developing print and digital resources, and leading projects and initiatives with member colleges, corporate partners, and other agencies.

Pianists Learn from World Class Artist

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Donna Tucker, Ashlynn Van Winkle, and Yohan Yeom played
for Hyunsoon Whang, Cameron University Piano Faculty and
McMahon Endowed Chair in Music, February 26 in a piano
master class. Whang also performed that evening in the
Herschal H. Crow Fine Arts Auditorium

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Western Regent Steve Miller of Hobart, retired from his
position on the Western Board of Regent after 21 years
of service. Student Senate Representative, Emily Howard,
presented Miller with a plaque on behalf of the Student
Senate and thanked him for his dedicated service to the

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