Regents Tour Energy Lab, OK Administrative Reorganization

Regents Tour Energy Lab, OK Administrative Reorganization


USAO Regents took a walking tour of the new DroverGen Energy Research Laboratory when they convened this month at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. President John Feaver led the group as Dr. Darryel Reigh, professor of chemistry, explained the interdisciplinary project.

“We envision this laboratory as a teaching tool for lots of faculty across the disciplines,” Reigh said.  “In classic USAO style, we imagine various applications for students and faculty in both natural and social sciences.” 

Reigh led the team of staff and faculty who built the outdoor research lab. “So many faculty and staff participated in the development of this project. We can’t say ‘thank you’ enough to them all.  And thank you to the Regents who provided the funding.”

Reigh designed the project on a modest $35,000 budget. Its purpose is to give students hands-on experience with alternative energy sources. Mostly outdoors, the lab will demonstrate the production of and uses for alternative energy sources including wind, solar heat, solar electricity, bioethanol, biodiesel and biogas, said Reigh, who has taught chemistry at USAO for 30 years.

Students will learn how energy can be produced for a single user or for delivery to a corporate power grid. A fenced area 45-feet-by-60-feet features a wind tower, a greenhouse and a controlled experiment station. At various stations, students will see how used cooking oil can be converted to biodiesel, how ethanol is produced, and how other “green” energies work.

President John Feaver outlined administrative changes designed to help the university achieve long-term mission goals. Feaver presented a new organizational chart that reflects changes “designed to facilitate communication and improve efficiency.”  He introduced two new vice presidents.

Monica Trevino is the new vice president for enrollment management, a position created to organize all activities related to the student experience: admissions, housing, student services, financial aid, athletics and more. Previously Trevino served as dean of students, a position that will be advertised through a national search.

Lynn Boyce’s title was changed to vice president for information services and technology.  Boyce, an alum, joined the USAO staff in 1992.  In recent years, she has served various administrative roles including her most recent title, chief information officer and director of technology and research.

As part of the reorganization, several university departments are realigned. Dr. Michael Nealeigh, vice president for university advancement now supervises media and community relations and alumni relations, as well as development (fundraising).

All vending contracts were moved to the business office under the direction of Mike Coponiti, vice president for business and finance.  Feaver also announced new committees organized to address top priorities in 1) academic distinctiveness, 2) campus beautification, 3) enrollment management and 4) fundraising.

“To protect the progress made toward Mission Enhancement Plan (MEP) goals and to put us into the position of integrating our collective talents toward success, we have made some fundamental changes to our organizational structure,” Feaver explained. “Enrollment management is the one feature that is entirely new. It combines all of those categories of activity that are designed to identify, recruit, and support students through through graduation. This is a strategic reorganization designed to take advantage of the progress we’ve made under the MEP.”

Progress toward MEP goals is significant and quantifiable, reported Dr. Sandy Huguenin, vice president for academic affairs.

“We’re in our fifth year of the MEP,” Huguenin said. “If you look at the goals, we’ve actually achieved the majority of them: returning to second tier in U.S. News, membership in the National Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), and a freshman-to-sophomore retention rate of 70%. We are making great progress toward a student-faculty ratio of 16:1, our 10-year goal, and our scholarship numbers have increased by three times what it was five years ago. I consider this amazing progress, because USAO is one America’s lowest funded institutions per-student.”

Financial aid to students was up by 8 percent for 2008-09, said Financial Aid Director Nancy Moats in her annual report to the board. The total amount of financial aid -- in scholarships, grants and loans – was $8.85 million. Grants and scholarship awards account for 64% of the total aid. Students also benefitted from increases in privately funded support through the USAO Foundation and the USAO Alumni Association.

In his report to the board, Faculty Association President Steve Weber announced the upcoming accreditation visit for the music department by the National Association of Schools of Music. Weber also discussed the new Festival of Arts & Ideas scheduled for Oct. 5-6 – a continuation of last year’s successful Five B’s Festival series with interdisciplinary presentations of music, ideas, drama and art.

In personnel matters, Regents approved several appointments and title changes.

New hires in recent weeks include Jennifer White-Cody as head softball coach, Laci Tompkins as head women’s basketball coach, Dylan Young as printing services manager, Sunny Wiginton as admissions counselor and Marcie Price as administrative assistant in admissions. Also, Michael Tsontekoy as security officer, Matthew Hibbitts, assistant baseball coach and Kenneth Richardson as assistant softball coach.

These employees were promoted or had their titles changed: Monica Trevino as vice president for enrollment management, Lynn Boyce to vice president for information services and technology, Kellee Johnson to director of admissions and Nancy Hughes as associate dean of students. Sherry Taylor is now administrative assistant to enrollment management.
Regents approved the resignations of Terry Winn as vice president for administrative affairs, Hadley Jerman as media designer and Bergundy Nelson as executive assistant to the president and secretary to the board.  Also, Lori Underwood as director of student activities and leadership programs, Zac Underwood as media / sports information director, and Summer Moody as student life counselor.

The next meeting of the USAO Board of Regents is scheduled for Nov. 10 at 1:30 p.m.

Before students get their hands dirty in the new DroverGen Energy Research Lab, members of the USAO Board of Regents were given a tour this month.  From left are Regents Neal McCaleb, John Nelson, Teresa Adwan, chemistry Professor Darryel Reigh, Dr. John Feaver, Molly Tolbert and Leslie Hudson.