National Recognition, Creative Projects and Budget Concerns Part of 2010 for USAO
It was a year of great triumphs and budget challenges at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma as the institution was featured on national television, the men’s soccer team made it to the National Tournament and the school faced a budget reduction of more than five percent.
USAO given highest U.S. News and World Report ranking for Oklahoma university; featured on NBC’s Today Show
Sandwiched between Harvard and Yale in a feature segment on NBC's Today Show, the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma was listed by U.S. News and World Report as the highest-ranked Oklahoma school in any category when the annual college guide hit newsstands in August 2010.
USAO has been a top-ranked school for years in U.S. News, but a salute for quality on The Today Show was a first.
Ranked for the fourth time on the exclusive Great Schools, Great Prices list in U.S. News Best Colleges Guide, USAO held onto its No. 1 spot among all baccalaureate colleges public and private in the western United States this fall. USAO was ranked No. 1 on the Best Buys list for both academic quality and reasonable cost, according to the magazine's website.
Stevens Alumni House opened
After three years of hard work and more than $320,000 raised, a committee of alumni friends turned over the keys to the Stevens Alumni House to USAO President John Feaver in December 2009. Alumni offices moved into the house just before Christmas.
In all, 294 alumni gave to the project with gifts that ranged from $20 to $50,000.
The house provides office space for the USAO Office of Alumni Development and the USAO Alumni Association, Inc. To serve both concerns, Eric Feuerborn wears two hats as executive director of the association and director of alumni development at USAO.
The Stevens Alumni House also provides much needed meeting space, social and recreation space and overnight accommodations for alumni and university guests.
Stephen Pinker, Minnijean Brown Trickey headline symposia
On April 8, Steven Pinker took center stage in Chickasha as the keynote speaker for the fourth annual Emerson-Wier Liberal Arts Symposium. Named as one of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential
People in The World, Pinker asks audacious questions about the human mind -- then boldly sets out to answer them.
Pinker spoke on The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window Into Human Nature. Prior to the lecture, he participated in a panel discussion of respected researchers and authors who introduced various perspectives on the nature and functions of the mind. The panel included Dr. Justin Fisher from Southern Methodist University, Dr. Shelia Kennison from Oklahoma State University, Dr. Amy McGovern from the University of Oklahoma and Dr. Haj Ross from the University of North Texas.
In the fall, Minnijean Brown Trickey delivered the keynote address at the third annual Ray and Mary Giles Symposium on Citizenship and Public Service.
Prior to her address, Trickey joined three speakers who brought unique perspectives to discuss the status of the civil rights movement in Oklahoma. Among those voices was Dr. George Henderson, a prominent member of the University of Oklahoma faculty; Dr. Richard Allen, a policy analyst for the Cherokee Nation; and James Nimmo, an advocate for gay and lesbian rights.
Davis-Waldorf Performing Arts Series enters 10th season
The Davis-Waldorf Performing Arts Series made the transition from its ninth to 10th season with a slate of world-class talent gracing the stage of Te Ata Memorial Auditorium in 2010.
The spring trimester featured neo-vaudevillian comedian Robert Post and percussion virtuoso Chen Zimbalista as season nine came to an end.
The tenth season opened with fiddle sensation Kyle Dillingham, backed by the Horseshoe Road Band, who explored the musical backroads of Americana. Chickasha native Jami Smith wrapped up 2010 with a concert of holiday songs made fresh by her warm voice and inspirational message.
Drover men's soccer team play in national championship tournament
The Drover men's soccer team made history in 2010, becoming the first USAO soccer team to make it into both the second round and the quarterfinals of the NAIA Men's Soccer Championship.
“I'm proud of the boys. It was a good year,” Head Coach Jimmy Hampton said. “I'm proud of the four seniors. I appreciate what they've done for the program, and I wish them luck.”
The women's soccer team again made it into the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament, and the Drovers recently were one of two schools in the conference to earn the Team Academic Award for their strong performance inside the classroom as well as on the field.
It was a rebuilding year for the Drover basketball teams in the 2009-10 season, but already in the 2010-11 basketball season, two seniors were named Sooner Athletic Conference Players of the Week. In the same week, senior Aita Gueye earned the honor in women's basketball and senior newcomer Sahlih Butts received it for the men.
Under first-year Head Coach Jenn White-Cody, the Drover softball team played hard but had a tough turnout on the season. New recruits promise a stronger 2011.
The Drover baseball team had one of its best seasons in 2010. The men came in at 28-20 overall and had two players named All-SAC Second Team.
Budget challenges persist
USAO Regents approved a new budget of $12.4 million in July for the University of Science and Arts that was 5.46 percent lower than the previous year as it reflected a hefty 5.03 percent cut in state allocations.
To recover part of that nearly $717,000 shortfall, Regents also approved increases of 5.4 percent in tuition and fees. Beginning with the fall of 2010, USAO students paid about $240 more per year for tuition and mandatory fees.
Campus housing went up about three percent across the various housing plans on campus. For students living in traditional dormitory housing, the increase was about $70 per year. Meal plans also went up by three percent or about $70 per year.
“It was a painful but necessary decision to raise tuition, housing, and meal plans, said USAO President John Feaver. State support is declining for all institutions, but we simply cannot surrender the terrific progress made in recent years under the Mission Enhancement Plan. Students are showing a clear understanding of the issues we face. Despite painful cuts last year, faculty and staff are strongly committed to protecting the college's core mission and programs.”
Salaries for 2010-11 fiscal year, which began July 1, remained the same, even after one to three percent salary cuts and furloughs were enacted in 2009 to recover a $303,000 mid-year cut in state appropriations to USAO.
USAO students, faculty and staff donate time, skills to community
Every year, students, faculty and staff at USAO donate time, money and energy towards helping out in the community and 2010 was no different. In January, USAO paired with the Chickasha Area Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts to help establish the downtown area near the historic Rock Island Depot into an arts district.
Aspiring young writers from throughout Oklahoma had the opportunity to participate in a free writing workshop on the campus during March. The workshop was hosted by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers and Native Writers Circle of the Americas with generous support from USAO.
In April, the Sigma Chapter of the Phi Lambda Chi social fraternity staged a nonstop walk to help victims of cystic fibrosis. All-in-all, members of the USAO community walked 220 laps or 92.4 miles during the awareness walk and raised $165.
Students, staff and faculty at USAO raised more than $1,400 and 300 cans of food for local food banks by participating in the Turkey Classic, a basketball game that pitted youth against experience. Capping off the year, Dr. Jeanne Mather and the Kappa Delta Pi organization conducted their yearly event, Books for Tots, during the holiday season to put books in the hands of children. Stephanie Conner, vice-president of the Books for Tots organization, made a quilt that was raffled off to raise funds. In total, the organization raised more than $5,000 dollars raised and distributed more than 7,500 new books for Christmas. In addition, nearly 1,500 used books were distributed to various institutions serving needy children.
Festival of Arts and Ideas comes together with Symposium on Africa
On March 4-5, the USAO Symposium on Africa and the Festival of Arts and Ideas came together to present a snapshot of the continent's influence on American culture as well as highlighting efforts to aid in the development of the often war-torn nations that populate it.
The co-joined Symposium on Africa and the Festival of Arts and Ideas were organized by the USAO sociology and music departments in partnership with Global Action for Aid and Development, Inc. and were sponsored by the USAO Foundation, Inc.
In the fall, the Festival of Arts and Ideas focused on the topic of creativity and featured presentations and panel discussions featuring faculty from across USAO's various disciplines. Attendees also were treated to performances by a variety of students and faculty including Dr. Stephen Weber, the USAO Concert Choir, the Key Players of USAO and Joe Settlemires.
The Symposium on Africa reconvened in early December as representatives from 10 different nonprofit organizations spoke, along with organizer Dr. Steven Kandeh, on the topic of how Oklahoma is making a difference in Africa.
Drawn from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, this year's symposium speakers illustrated both the complexity of the difficulties faced by the African people and the grassroots response abroad to address them.
Crow, Holland, Walker earn Superior Teaching, Research Awards
Diane Holland and Dr. Kevin Crow received the Regents Award for Superior Teaching. Dr. Chris Walker received the Superior Scholarship/Research Award. The USAO Board of Regents honored the recipients in April. Honorees received a plaque signed by members of the board and a $1,000 stipend.
Holland is director of the John Morris Speech and Language Clinic and an instructor of speech-language pathology at USAO. She has been a faculty member at the college since 1991.
Crow is an associate professor of history at USAO. In addition to his classroom activities, he supervises teacher candidates pursuing social studies certification during their professional trimester, serves as a university representative for resident year teacher committees and is the sponsor of the Zombie Survivalists' Club on campus. He represented USAO as a committee chair at the 36th Annual Byzantine Studies Conference that was held at the University of Philadelphia in October.
Dr. Chris Walker has been a member of the faculty at USAO since 2004. He is an assistant professor of psychology and chair of the Division of Business and Social Sciences. He is a member of the American Educational Research Association and American Psychological Association. He also is the faculty sponsor for the Psychology Club and is a member of the Professional Development Committee, Honors Senior Seminar Defense Committee, Curriculum Committee, Academic Regulations Committee and the USAO Symposia Committee.
Marble returns, Mather retires and Rodgers joins the faculty
Dexter Marble came out of retirement in 2010 to join the USAO staff and become the special assistant to the president before assuming the role of vice president for academic affairs.
Dr. Marble's experience with USAO dates back to 1972 when he joined the faculty in the department of history. Throughout his teaching tenure at USAO, Dr. Marble taught in the interdisciplinary liberal arts core program required of all students.
He was a board member of the USAO Foundation from 1997-2004 and served as chairman of the Foundation in 2002-2003.
After he left USAO in 1997, Dr. Marble spent a decade as an attorney. His practice concentrated on insurance defense and litigation. He also represented death row inmates in Federal habeas corpus proceedings. He retired from the practice of law in 2007.
After teaching for 34 years, Dr. Mike Mather decided to retire at the end of the spring semester. Mather had been a biology professor at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma for more than three decades, earning local, state and national respect for his research and teaching. Mather had twice served as president of the USAO Faculty Association, was given the Regents Award for Scholarly Activity twice and was given the Regents Award for Superior Teaching four times.
Dr. Meagan Rodgers joined the USAO family in August as an assistant professor of English, coming directly from teaching at the University of New Hampshire. Rodgers is a member of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, Modern Language Association, National Council of Teachers of English and the American Association of University Women.
She has held a number of different positions both academically and personally, including serving as a survivor advocate for a sexual harassment/rape prevention program.
Spring Triad continues as Drover tradition
With near-perfect spring weather, more than 2,200 people flocked to the USAO campus for the 2010 Spring Triad.
More than 800 artists participated in the 21st annual Montmartre Chalk Art Competition, approximately 900 students competed in the statewide high school Scholastic Meet and fans from throughout the area enjoyed the music of 10 bands during the Droverstock all-day music festival.
Artists from elementary schools, high schools and colleges across Oklahoma created 340 works of art in four hours on six-foot square drawing canvasses on the road leading through the USAO oval. Students represented 56 Oklahoma schools and colleges.
New members inducted into Alumni Hall of Fame
Ron Anderson, Barbara Benton and Eugene Earsom were inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame as part of Alumni Homecoming weekend this past November.
Anderson is the president and chief executive officer of Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas -- one of the premier public hospitals in the United States and one of the largest. He attended the Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts (now USAO) from 1965-66 before finishing a degree in pharmacy at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. He attended medical school at the University of Oklahoma.
Benton is a 1951 graduate of the Oklahoma College for Women (now USAO). She graduated from Pauls Valley High School. She was on the faculty at Southwest Business College in Roswell, New Mexico, and then opened a dance studio in Norman where she taught children tap and ballet for more than 27 years.
Earsom is a 1970 graduate of the Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts (now USAO). He earned a master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1981. He is the program director for the Oklahoma Alliance for Geographic Education.
Young Alumni Awards were also given to Dr. Grant Evans and Brandon Pasley.
USAO participates in Creativity World Forum
When the Creativity World Forum came to Oklahoma for the first time in November, attendees from all over the globe were not only introduced to the Sooner State but also to the ideas of students and faculty from USAO.
Oklahoma was designated as one of 13 internationally recognized Districts of Creativity due to the efforts of a not-for-profit organization known as Creative Oklahoma. It is the only such district in North America.
One highlight of USAO’s participation in the CWF was Apology II, an animation project overseen by Graphic Designer Shayna Woidke. Written by student Chris Bennett and Katie Davis, assistant professor of drama, Apology II is, according to Woidke, intended as an animated expression of the role that creativity plays in advancing the cause of civilization.”
Dr. Erik Guzik, an assistant professor of economics at USAO, also was on hand to demonstrate his Virtual Problem Solving software designed to supercharge the way students interact with technology in order to unleash their own creativity.
CWF is an annual global event that brings together the world’s most creative minds to explore how creativity drives economy and culture.