Southeastern to celebrate MLK Day of Service

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 16.

Although classes will not be held, Southeastern invites everyone to make it a Day On, honoring King’s memory by joining the Day of Service.

Southeastern will join the nation in pausing for the 25th celebration of his legacy. In the spirit of King’s vision, the Corporation for National and Community Service has sponsored the Day of Service since 1994.

For the past 13 years, Southeastern has been a part of the MLK Jr. Day of Service.

As King once said, “everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”

The concept of service was at the heart of his philosophy. He believed that a person’s worth should not be measured by his or her color, culture or class, but rather by his or her commitment to making a better life for all.

He said that a definition of a successful life must include service to others. He sought to forge the common focus of service to others by breaking down the social and economic barriers that divide our nation.

The Day of Service is organized by Southeastern’s Office of Student Life and the Multicultural Office.

More than 1,000 Southeastern students, faculty, staff and community members have participated in this event in the past.

Registration is scheduled for 9-9:30 a.m. Monday in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union auditorium. Breakfast will be from 9:30-10 a.m. and the service aspect of the program is set for 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Service areas will be the Durant Independent School District and local food banks.

Groups and individual volunteers are welcome.

Dr. Plumb to coordinate SE services at AHEC; Dr. Adair named Assistant Dean of Distance and Adult Education

Dr. Aaron Adair

Dr. Robin Plumb

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University president Larry Minks has announced two new appointments: Dr. Robin Plumb as Director of Academic Services at the Ardmore Higher Education Center, and Dr. Aaron Adair as Assistant Dean of Distance and Adult Education and Assessment Management System Coordinator at Southeastern.

Both of the appointments are effective immediately.

Plumb will serve as Southeastern’s primary representative at AHEC, being responsible for the University’s day-to-day operations, coordinating Southeastern’s academic programming, and teaching courses as needed. She will be the faculty advisor for Professional Education students, as well as advise and assist students in other academic disciplines. She will also advise students regarding financial aid and scholarship opportunities available to them through the University

Since 2010, Plumb has served as assistant professor of Educational Instruction and Leadership and coordinator of field experiences at Southeastern. Prior to that, she was director of academic programs for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

Plumb earlier served as program coordinator for the Ardmore Higher Education Center and as academic coordinator for East Central University at AHEC. In addition to her work experience, Plumb is well versed in the workings of the AHEC, having fulfilled all the requirements for her degree in Elementary on-site in Ardmore.

Prior to her tenure in higher education, Plumb taught in the public schools at Healdton and Oklahoma City.

She earned her Ed.D. and master’s at East Tennessee State and her bachelor’s degree at Southeastern.

In his position, Adair will oversee the University’s entire Distance Education program, including online, blended, and IETV courses/programs. Other areas of focus will be Adult Education, which includes the Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership and the Bachelor of General Studies programs; interfacing with Tribal Nations in cultivating and developing adult learning opportunities; and working with area industries in establishing educational partnerships. Another focus of this position is the implementation, integration, and management of assessment software.

Adair had been serving as associate professor of musical theatre and director of theatre at Southeastern.

Adair, who joined the Southeastern faculty in 2007, earned his Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Dallas, his master’s at Texas A&M-Commerce, and two bachelor degrees at Southeastern.

Southeastern president Larry Minks said that the outreach centers and distance education were among many issues discussed at the University’s recent professional development meeting. These appointments are one way to address the issues, he said, while at the same time, integrating key areas and optimizing operational efficiencies.

“We are delighted that Dr. Plumb and Dr. Adair are moving into these new roles,” Minks said. “They bring a unique set of skills that will enhance the work of the office of academic affairs. Our outreach centers and distance education programs continue to evolve, and we want to be innovative in our approach as we continue to meet the needs of our students. “

Marketing professor wins best paper award from journal

Dr. Debra Haley received the award from the Marketing Education Review Journal.

DURANT, Okla. – Dr. Debra Haley of Southeastern Oklahoma State University and co-author Dr. Dennis Clayson of the University of Northern Iowa were recently presented the Best Paper Award for 2011 from the “Marketing Education Review Journal.”

“Are Students Telling Us The Truth? A Critical Look at the Student Evaluation of Teaching” is the title of the award-winning paper.

Haley, associate professor of marketing, has served on the Southeastern faculty since 1998. During that time, she has provided guidance and direction to more than 40 student marketing projects benefiting the communities of Durant, McAlester, Idabel, Ardmore (Oklahoma), and the Sherman/Denison (Texas) area. She is a past president of the Marketing Educators’ Association.

Author of numerous conference papers and peer-reviewed journals. Haley has been published in the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, Journal of Marketing Education, Marketing Education Review, Journal for the Advancement of Marketing Education and Advances in Financial Education.

Haley received her Ph.D. at Oklahoma State University, her master’s at Emporia State University, and bachelor’s at Kansas Newman College.

Rose State, Southeastern recognize aviation partnership with ribbon-cutting event

Participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday were, left to right, State Sen. Cliff A. Aldridge, Executive Director of Del City Chamber Kay Bibens, Rose State Regent Betty JC Wright, Rose State Regent Aarone Corwin, Rose State College President Dr. Terry Britton, Southeastern Oklahoma State University President Larry Minks, Maj. Gen. William P. Bowden, U.S. Air Force (ret), Southeastern Aviation Sciences Institute Director Dr. David Conway, and Director of the Rose State Community Learning Center Joey DaVault.

DURANT, Okla. – A ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the partnership between the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Aviation Sciences Institute and Rose State College was held Wednesday.

The event took place at the Tom Steed Community Learning Center at Rose State (Midwest City).

Rose State President Terry Britton said the Institute’s proximity to Tinker Air Force Base at the college would make for a natural fit for aviation education.

“We welcome Southeastern to eastern Oklahoma County. We think they will find the people they need right here, next to Tinker Air Force Base, to sustain this program and help this program grow,” Britton said. “Let’s promote and develop the aviation industry throughout Oklahoma.”

Last year, Southeastern received approval to offer its aviation program at Rose State. Aviation courses will continue to be offered at Southeastern’s Durant campus, Tinker Air Force Base (Midwest City), and Oklahoma City Community College, according to Southeastern president Larry Minks.

“The aviation industry continues to grow in Oklahoma,” Minks said. “Working with Rose State College to add this delivery site will complement statewide initiatives for accessibility, affordability and contributing to the state’s economic and growth potential.”

Officials, including faculty and staff from Rose State, Southeastern, and Tinker Air Force Base personnel, attended the event. Also in attendance were representatives from Tinker’s workforce development office, which is located at Rose State.

Using a pair of gold-plated scissors and flanked by well-wishers, Minks and Britton together cut a ceremonial blue ribbon stretching before the podium.

Dr. David Conway, who serves as director of the Southeastern Aviation Sciences Institute, said Southeastern has worked for some time with Rose State on Tinker Air Force Base, but that the program there was closed to outside personnel.

“We’re not new to Rose State,” Conway said. “We’ve worked in a partnership with Rose State for more than 10 years on Tinker Air Force Base. We’re here to celebrate a vision of both President Britton and President Minks, which came to fruition after more than a year of planning.”

At the graduate level, Southeastern offers the Aerospace Administration & Logistics program.

For undergraduates, the Aviation Management Option is divided into four options:

  • The Business Option is designed for those who want a business background but one that is focused on the specific needs of the aviation industry.
  • The Maintenance Management Option is for those who want to manage aviation maintenance operations.
  • The Safety Option is for those who want a business background but focused on the specific area of safety in the aerospace workplace.
  • The Security Option is for those who want a business background but focused on the quickly evolving area of security in the aerospace field.

According to the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, Oklahoma’s aviation and aerospace industry is one of the state’s largest employers, resulting in approximately 144,000 jobs statewide. The industry yields an annual industrial output of $12.5 billion and generates an annual payroll of $5 billion. One in 11 Oklahomans derive their income from the aviation and aerospace industry with an average salary of nearly $55,000 compared to about $30,000 for the average Oklahoman.

Oklahoma is also one of seven centers in the world for the modification, maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft, boasting the world’s largest military aircraft repair facility, Tinker Air Force Base, and the world’s largest commercial aircraft repair facility, the American Airlines Engineering Maintenance and Engineering Center in Tulsa.

Southeastern gives back through community service

Representatives from Southeastern assist with the Families Feeding Families program in Durant.

DURANT, Okla. – Giving back to the community is a phrase that is used frequently in this day and age. Southeastern Oklahoma State University has been a proud member of the Durant community for more than 100 years, and the University understands the importance of community involvement.

In his role as assistant vice president for academic affairs and instruction, Dr. Bryon Clark, tracks Southeastern’s civic engagement efforts, and in doing so, has collected some impressive numbers.

According to Clark, during the 2010-2011 academic year, more than 760 individuals from Southeastern (students-faculty-staff) completed, collectively, approximately 30,000 hours of community service activity.

And while those may be impressive numbers, Clark points to another figure – 28,495 – the estimated number of individuals who were served through the University’s involvement – as the most important statistic of all.

Southeastern president Larry Minks is well aware of these volunteer efforts, and has witnessed many of the efforts first-hand.

“We emphasize to our students the responsibility they have to be productive citizens,” Minks said. “This includes being an active participant both on and off campus and contributing to the betterment of society. At Southeastern, we are fortunate to have a culture among our students, faculty and staff that fosters assistance to those in need. Our campus community understands that they can make a difference in the lives of others, and this is reflected by their willingness to volunteer their time and effort in meaningful ways.”

In the past, assistance has been provided by the Southeastern family in times of disaster – tornadoes, fires, etc., — but there are also ongoing efforts such as blood drives, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, American Cancer Society Relay for Life, volunteer income tax assistance program, theatrical workshops, tutoring, and Special Olympics, to name just a few.

Another well-known program that Southeastern has been involved with in Durant is “Families Feeding Families (FFF).”

This program was founded in 2003 by Tish Burkhalter, her husband Brian and their children, with the support of the community.

FFF is a working kitchen providing daily hot meals at no cost to those in need.

Tish, a Durant High School and Southeastern graduate (’10), took over FFF after her husband became ill in 2009 and became director in 2010. She was recognized for her efforts with the 2009 Frank Newman Leadership Award, which honors outstanding civic leadership.

“This is a way of life for our family,” she said. “We believe in serving in every aspect of our lives. We believe in the importance of providing and assisting as the need arises.

“Southeastern has become an active participant with the Families Feeding Families community kitchen program,” Burkhalter said. “Various groups, classes, University students and faculty have integrated Families Feeding Families and the Hope Chest community closet volunteer opportunities into individual class schedules.

“The University is active not only in physical volunteering, but also in opportunities regarding various donation needs such as food and clothing.”

Families Feeding Families acts as a clearinghouse through which the food industry and community may donate food and other goods. FFF strives to provide nourishment for the physical hunger people experience, as well as the emotional and spiritual hungers so many people experience on a regular basis.

The FFF kitchen is located in the former George Washington Elementary School, 314 East Main Street in Durant. It is open for dinner between 4:30-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The menu includes a main course with a vegetable or two, bread and desserts or cookies and drinks each evening.

Southeastern’s Dr. Charla Hall, professor of psychology, is also very involved in the Families Feeding Families program.

“I take a group from Southeastern to serve and clean up at Families Feeding Families on the second Tuesday of every month,” Hall said. “I have been doing this for about three years. Groups vary from month to month, and have included academic departments, student organizations, the President’s office, and some of my classes.

“Many times it is a mixture of staff, faculty, students, alumni and family members. This is my favorite because people with different connections to the University have an opportunity to work with one another while making a difference in our larger community.”

Other programs include Food 4 Kids supplemental food program; Back 2 School Backpack program; and the Gideon’s Gift Christmas Adoption program.

Classes begin Jan. 11; two new master programs offered

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University is offering two new master degree programs as spring classes begin on Wednesday, Jan. 11.

The new programs are the Master of Arts in Teaching and the Master of Science in Sports Studies and Athletic Administration.

The Master of Arts in Teaching will consist of 32 total credit hours and will be offered both online and on-campus. It is designed to prepare candidates to become more effective teachers, both in Oklahoma and north Texas. The program will provide candidates with the knowledge and skills aligned with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

The Master of Science in Sports Studies requires 33 total credit hours. This degree program provides a strong foundation in research methodology, sports administration, management, and finances. Through quality instruction and educational experiences, graduates of this program will be able to move into positions in athletic administration, facilities management, sports event planning, and coaching.

“We believe both of these quality programs will provide excellent opportunities for area teachers and others who would like to enhance their teaching or administrative skills,” said Dr. Jerry Polson, assistant vice president for academic affairs and support and dean of the school of graduate and university studies.

Southeastern offers 51 degree and/or certificate programs, including 41 Baccalaureate Degrees and 10 Master Degrees.

For more information about these or other programs, contact the offices of graduate studies, at 580-745-2220.

Symphonic Winds to perform at state conference

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Symphonic Winds has been selected to perform at the Oklahoma Music Educators Association (OMEA) for the 2011-2012 academic year.

The Southeastern Symphonic Winds, led by director of bands Dr. Jacob Wallace, will perform Jan. 19 as an Honor Ensemble at the OMEA’s state conference in Tulsa.

Southeastern will perform at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Tulsa Convention Center. The evening begins with Blanchard High School at 7:15 p.m. and the University of Central Oklahoma Wind Symphony will follow Southeastern at 8:45 p.m.

Wallace said, “It’s really a thrill to be invited to perform at the OMEA conference. This is really a milestone for our program. We now have the opportunity to perform for music teachers from across the state and even beyond its borders.”

“Many of those teachers – particularly those from further regions of Oklahoma – may not be particularly familiar with how strong the groups are here at Southeastern. We’re hoping to demonstrate just how amazing our students really are.”

Southeastern’s Chorale and Jazz Ensemble have received several invitations to play at this prestigious conference. This is the first time that one of Southeastern’s concert bands has been so honored.

The selection process begins more than a year in advance with recorded performances submitted to a panel of professionals who decide which groups will be featured. The recordings must be live and un-edited.

“We have an opportunity to record this way only at our on-campus performances. If it’s not perfect that day, the judges will notice,” Wallace said.

Judges listen to each group without identification so they can decide objectively. Only after the decisions have been made do the judges learn which groups will perform.

Only three college bands were selected. This year, Southeastern will join the University of Oklahoma and the University of Central Oklahoma.

Admission is $5 for those not registered for the conference. For more information, visit the Oklahoma Music Educators Association webpage at or contact Wallace at 580-745-2084 or

Southeastern to offer cohort study for Master in School Administration in January

DURANT, Okla. – Beginning in January 2012, Southeastern Oklahoma State University will start a cohort group for study toward a Master of Education in School Administration.

The cohort group will meet at Southeastern’s main campus in Durant.

The group will begin its course of study in January 2012, with completion set for May 2013.

One bonus of the program, according to Dr. John Love, is its quality at an affordable cost. This degree program received national recognition during last year’s National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) site visit.

Love, who is administrator of this program, is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Instruction and Leadership at Southeastern.

He said that the philosophy of this program is to offer a teacher-friendly approach to graduate study. Love noted that students would meet only on Wednesday evenings and take only one class at a time.

Like all of the professors who will be involved with teaching in the cohort, Love is an experienced teacher and school administrator. Over the past 20 years, he worked as a principal of award-winning schools in Tyler and Palestine, Texas.

“We are going to involve local, practicing administrators who lead exemplary programs to guide our cohort students in their graduate study,” Love said. “Additionally, the summer semester will have a “Lunch with the Practitioner” component so students will get to hear from and discuss topics and issues with many Texoma-area administrators.”

For more information or to enroll, contact Dr. John Love at, call 580-745-2226, or snail mail at Southeastern, PMB 4041, Durant, Oklahoma, 74701-0609.

Choctaw gift assists in improvements to Montgomery Auditorium

Southeastern president Larry Minks, left, accepts a gift from Chief Gregory Pyle of The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma as Southeastern vice president of business affairs Ross Walkup looks on.

DURANT, Okla. – The future looks bright for Montgomery Auditorium on the campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Thanks to a generous gift from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and University funding, the facility will see $386,000 of improvements that will include the installation of new lighting and theatrical rigging systems.

The auditorium, located inside historic Morrison Hall, plays host to a number of events — both University and community-related. Over the years, the venue has hosted politicians, principals, and Pulitzer Prize winners, as well as grand choirs and Grammy winners. Its theatrical productions have included musicals from Oliver to Oklahoma, and playwrights from Dr. Seuss to William Shakespeare.

The auditorium was named for T.T. Montgomery, the 12th president of Southeastern, during a ceremony in June 1953.

The Choctaw Nation is contributing $257,000 toward the improvements, with the University funding the remainder.

“We are very appreciative of this gift from The Choctaw Nation”, said Southeastern president Larry Minks. “It is a gift not only to the University, but to the community as a whole. This area is very fortunate to have leaders such as Chief Pyle – leaders who never waver in making the commitment to give back to their communities. As a University, we have worked with the Nation on a number of what we call ‘win-win projects,’ and we look forward to continuing that partnership.”

“The auditorium’s major systems have, with so much use, become in need of replacement and repair,” said Dell McLain, Chair of the Department of Art, Communication and Theatre. “This enhancement project includes replacing the incandescent theatrical lighting system with a state-of-the-art, all-digital, Intelligent LED lighting system. Once fully operational, the system will be able to support multiple events with greater safety, at a fraction of the energy consumption, heat generation, and cost.”

Honor graduates recognized at Commencement

Rodney Bivens, the founder and executive director of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, was the speaker at Southeastern’s commencement on Saturday. Bivens is a 1971 graduate of Southeastern.

DURANT, Okla. – Thirty-three students graduated with honors Saturday at Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Fall Commencement, held in Bloomer Sullivan Arena.

The honor graduates are listed by permanent hometown (Oklahoma, unless otherwise noted):

Summer 2011

SUMMA CUM LAUDE: Brianna Christine Rustin, Durant.

MAGNA CUM LAUDE: Jozey Begley, Atoka; Lila Ann Pierce-Voss, Haworth; Kathy A. Randall, Colbert.

CUM LAUDE: John Roger Baker, Tishomingo; Ty Alan Labeth, Wilson; Matthew Christopher Malone, Pottsboro, Texas; Cody Wayne Tilley, Denison, Texas.

Fall 2011

SUMMA CUM LAUDE: Kyle G. Jolliff, Lone Grove; Irma Kyle, Denison, Texas; Renee Kuchasha Mayfield, Sulphur Springs, Texas; Christy Diann Parsons, Soper; Arthur A. Starrett, Midwest City; Timothy Paul Storey, Norman; Kristal Cherelle Wharry, Idabel.

MAGNA CUM LAUDE: Amanda Jean Jones, McAlester; Phillip James Leonard, Tishomingo; Jeremy T. Lyons, Pottsboro, Texas; Bonnie Mae Petersen, Marietta; Tiffany Dawn Pierce, Durant; Tonja D. Van Sickle, Dallas, Texas; Bryan Emory Woodard, Durant.

CUM LAUDE: Bernard Lee Burris, Dover, Delaware; Johnna Ruth Dodson, Eagletown; Mark Wesley Greenway, Ardmore; Charli Haggard, Dickson; Leslie Jan Hobson, Broken Bow; Keri Elizabeth Zane Martindale, Smithville; Matthew Dean Morris, Caddo; Patricia L. Pace, Howe, Texas; Kelli Lynn Taylor, Durant; David Allen Tumbleson, Idabel; Kathleen Ethel Wilson, Bokchito.