Aug. 25 Tech Ed. roof fire & classroom re-locations

Aug. 26, 2015 – Update (Posted @ 1pm 8-26-2015)

On August 25 sometime after 8 p.m., the roof of Western Oklahoma State College’s Technical Education Building caught fire.  The fire was quickly extinguished with no injury to Western staff or students.  The building was empty when the fire started.

Preliminary reports indicate that the fire damaged the northeast corner of the roof and minimally damaged the interior of the building.  College officials have relocated staff, students and classes normally assigned to the Tech Ed building.

Western continues to work with local and state officials in order to determine the exact cause of the fire and arrive at a damage estimate.  Once the final reports have been issued, additional information will be released.

Western credits an alert staff member for quickly notifying the Altus Fire and Police Departments.  The combined efforts and rapid response of the Altus Fire Department and first responders helped to minimize damage and keep the campus safe.

The college expects for Tech Ed building staff to be able to return to their offices and for classes to resume in the building, Thursday, August 27, 2015.


Aug. 26, 2015 – Room Changes
Classes in Tech Ed AB 106 will be in A-27 in the main building W Th F until further notice

No nursing classes today in Tech ED, Classe location for Thursday To be determined (TBD)

All Radiology classes W, Th, F are in A -22 until further notice

Dr. Patterson has  a Wednesday lab that will go on a field trip. After that the lab will meet in A-27 in the main building  if needed.

Dr. Patterson’s Thursday lab will meet in B13 in the main building.


Aug. 25, 2015 – Roof Fire

At around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 25, the Technical Education Building located on the north side of Western Oklahoma State College’s campus caught fire.

The fire seems to have been contained on the roof of the building. The fire is now out and the Altus Fire Department is inspecting the interior of the building to gather preliminary information.  No one was injured and no staff was in the building at the time of the fire.
Updates will be issued when more information has been gathered.
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Western Board of Regents Regents Report: August 18, 2015

The Western Oklahoma State College Board of Regents met for its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, August 18, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. in the Higher Learning Center at the college. Dr. Phil Birdine, Western President, introduced guests in attendance who included Lisa Greenlee, Vice President for Academic Affairs; Tricia Latham, Vice President for Business Affairs;  Chad Wiginton, Vice President for Student Support Services; Mike Tucker, Faculty Senate Chair; Melissa Smith, Coordinator of Online Education and Staff Senate Chair; Larry Duffy, Executive Secretary of the WOSC Foundation, Inc.; Lora Lea Pickering, Director of Development and Alumni Relations; Jimmy Poe, Safety and Security Coordinator ; Katie Brewer, Assistant Director of Admissions and Registrar; Briar Jenkins, Secretary to the President and Judith Meyer, Director of Public Information.

The meeting began with recognition of Mark Dodson, outgoing Board of Regents Chair, for his outstanding service in the office during the 2014-15 academic year.  The 2015-16 Board of Regents Chair, Dr. Dana Darby, presented Dodson with a plaque commemorating his term.

Mike Tucker represented the Faculty Senate and thanked the board for giving them the opportunity to take part in shared governance of college academic affairs. He also told the board that Lisa Chaney is this year’s Faculty Senate Secretary, and that Jaqueline Bellamy will serve as the Technical Education Representative. Tucker will serve as the Academic Representative on the Dean’s Council and on the Administrative Council.

Melissa Smith presented a proposal regarding the newly drafted Staff Senate Constitution.  She began by recapping the process that formed the Senate, which began last year.  The Senate organizational process began by taking nominations for departmental senators, followed by the election of the senators and the drafting of a Senate Constitution.  After several drafts and a final review by Western’s Executive Council, the constitution was completed in July 2015.  Smith also previewed the Staff Senate website and informed the Board of the intention to form Senate subcommittees when appropriate.  The board voted on and approved the Staff Senate Constitution.

Larry Duffy updated the Board on WOSC Foundation, Inc. activities and programs. He reported that the Foundation holds approximately $7M in assets, of which $194K is distributed back to the college in scholarships and other support.  He thanked the board for supporting the recent Jim Holland Memorial Golf Tournament which raised $14K in funds, bringing the total endowment to approximately $240K.  He also highlighted the Partners in Education Excellence Program totaling $875K, the President’s Partners Program and the Payroll Deduction program.  Duffy reported that the Foundation is currently involved in its annual audit and that he will return with its results at the October Board meeting.

The consent docket containing the minutes from the June 9, 2015, regular meeting and the June 25, 2015 special meeting and the expenditure comparison report were voted on and approved with one clerical error in the June 9 meeting noted and amended.

Lisa Greenlee presented a request for the Board to approve a letter of intent to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education notifying them of the college’s intent to seek approval to provide four of the college’s existing degrees electronically. Those programs are the Associate of Arts in Behavioral Science; Associate of Arts in Social Science, Religion Option; Associate of Science in Business, and the Business Administration and Computer Science Information Systems Options.  In addition, Western is also seeking approval for electronic delivery of five new degree options – Certificates of Mastery in Infant and Toddler, Foster Care, Parenting and Child Studies and After School Age Care and the Associate of Applied Science-Military Studies in traditional and electronic formats.  The board voted on and approved the letter of intent.

Greenlee also updated the board on the status of an agreement with Ft. Sill to provide instruction for its warrant officer program. The Memorandum of Understanding with Ft. Sill will be completed once some details of the agreement are finalized.  Greenlee reported that October 1 is the targeted roll-out date of the program.

Phil Birdine presented the President’s report and recommendations by telling the Board that the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) recently invited Western administration to present to the Committee of the Whole and other guests, regarding Western’s success in complying with Higher Learning Commission criteria for accreditation. The presentation is September 2 and will involve Birdine, Lisa Greenlee and Melissa Smith. Birdine also updated the Board on his drafting of evaluation instruments to be used by the Board to conduct regular reviews of the President.  Birdine further informed the Board that he had drafted evaluation instruments that would be used by the President to evaluate members of the Executive Council.  He also informed the Board of the Regents Education Program scheduled for September 22 at the OSRHE complex. The program is a  training opportunity for newly appointed regents and a chance to earn continuing education credits.

At 8:09 p.m. the board moved into executive session.

At 8:33 p.m. the board reconvened in regular session and approved the personnel employments of Albert Rivera, Softball Coach; Stacy King, Freshman Nursing Instructor (Altus) and Diane Fairchild, Sophomore Nursing Instructor (Altus). The board also approved the personnel resignations of Mike McBrayer, Softball Coach; Jason Miller, Retention/Advisement Specialist; Justin O’Neil, WINDS Clerk and Matt Craig, Biology Instructor.

The board adjourned at  8:35 p.m.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Western Board of Regents is Tuesday, October 18, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. in the Higher Learning Center at the college.



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Pioneer News Highlights: August 12, 2015

Freshman Connection Welcomes New Students

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Maegan Martin, College and High School Relations Specialist, led freshman students through orientation designed to get them informed and involved before the semester begins on August 12. 82 students attended the event that was held August 10 and 11th.

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April Dill, Western Counselor and Chad Wiginton, Vice President for Student Support Services, chatted with new students during Freshman Connection. Faculty and staff where present to engage the students and welcome them to campus and answer any questions before class start

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Students at Freshman Connection enjoyed a photo booth and costumes set up for an Instagram photo contest. The student posting their photo to Western’s Instagram page @woscpioneer and receiving the most “likes” won a prize for participating.







The Western Fall 2015 semester got started long before the first class on August 12.
Faculty and staff began engaging new students on August 1o and 11  at Freshman Connection,  a special orientation designed to get incoming students informed and involved before they set foot on campus for their first class.

Freshman Connection featured presentations about navigating Moodle and Campus Connect, the student course management systems; Testing, RAVE Alerts, GreenBucks, the student ID card; bookstore and library services, safety and security, campus and online tutoring at, how to connect with Western on Facebook (Western Oklahoma State College), Instagram(@woscpioneer)  and Twitter (@westernokstate); and how to get involved in the many student organizations and activities on campus.

Students also enjoyed games, music, food a photo booth and connected with faculty and staff who were on hand to answer questions. 82 student participated in Freshman Connection.

Western Navigators Trained to Lead

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Chad Wiginton, Vice President for Student Support Services trained 24 students to be Western Navigators. This peer leadership group works with freshmen students needing support as they transition into college life. Navigators focus on retaining and engaging new students and keeping them involved.

Twenty-four Pioneer students have been designated as Western Navigators. This peer leadership group specializes in connecting with other students in need of extra support on campus managing academics and other crucial aspects of campus life.
The Western Navigators are a leadership team that promotes student engagement on campus as well as in the community. Each Navigator is required to maintain a satisfactory GPA, attend campus events, be involved in student organizations, and mentor incoming freshman. The core components of the group consist of retention, community service, and campus involvement. Navigators are awarded a six -hour tuition waiver per semester.

Chad Wiginton, Vice President of Student Support Services said, “We believe the goals of this group combined with each Navigator’s commitment to Western will ultimately enhance the overall success of our student body.”

The Navigators met this week for a training on how to best engage the students that they will mentor during the 2015-16 academic year.  The  charter  Western Navigator members are: Hannah Ames, Jada Bost, Quinten Brazell, Shelby Broaddus, Rhett Bull, McKenna Cargal, Emmanuel Castro, Jordyn Clark,  Katie Beth Darby, Brittney Drewry, Elizabeth Franklin, Holly Garza, Lanie Gunter, Kodi Hair, Jade Hernandez, Taylor Landes, Stacey Lockman, Ty-ler Marple, Elizabeth Nicolls, Emaini Payton, Abby Schulz, Kylynn Tatum and Mandalyn Vanswearingen.


Pioneer Welcome Week is August 11- 14

A full slate of FUN and FREE activities for Pioneer students  is already underway at Western. Students with a GreenBucks student ID are invited to enjoy an event every night this week . Connect with new friends and get involved.  For more info or to sign up call
Maegan Martin, College and High School Relations Specialist at 477-7875.

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Western Elk City Nursing Faculty Named to State Nursing Board

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Carmen Nickel, Western nursing faculty, was recently appointed by Governor Fallin to serve on the Oklahoma Board of Nursing and is the freshman instructor at the Elk City campus at the Great Plains Regional Medical Center.

Carmen Nickel, MSN, RN, of Bessie, OK, was recently appointed by Governor Mary Fallin to the Oklahoma Board of Nursing. Carmen is a nursing educator at Western Oklahoma State College on the Elk City campus located at the Pat Wall Professional Building on the grounds of the Great Plains Regional Medical Center.
According to Kim Glazier, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Board of Nursing, the board’s mission is to safeguard the public’s health, safety and welfare through the regulation of nursing practice and nursing education in Oklahoma. Oklahoma currently has 52,962 active Registered Nurses; 18, 866 Licensed Practical Nurses; and 2, 891 Advanced Practice Registered Nurses. “The charge for this board is to ensure that any person who practices registered nursing, practical nursing, or advanced practice registered nursing in this state is competent to do so,” Glazier said. “The board is a positive resource for nursing professionals in Oklahoma.”

The eleven members of the Board of Nursing are appointed five year terms. Six or the appointees are registered nurses, three are licensed practical nurses, and two are citizens of the Oklahoma who represent the public.

The Nursing Board meets six scheduled times per year, with each meeting lasting three days, during which time the board conducts business and licensure hearings, for licensed individuals alleged to have violated the Nurse Practice Act. Board members also serve on various committees associated with the board.

The functions of the Nursing Board include providing consultation, conducting conferences, forums, studies and research on nursing education and practice; prescribing standards for educational programs that prepare persons for licensure to practice registered or practical nursing and for certification to practice as an advanced unlicensed assistive person; administering the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for Registered and Practical Nurses; licensing/certifying and renewing the license/certification of duly qualified applicants.
The Nursing Board also develops rules to identify the essential elements of education and practice necessary to protect the public; provides records for public inspection under the provisions of the Open Records Act; conducts hearings upon charges calling for disciplinary action; and maintains a Peer Assistance Program for nurses whose competency may be compromised by chemical abuse or dependency.

Nickel brings many years of education and career experience to the Nursing Board. She began her nursing career by working as a nurse’s aide in a very small rural hospital while attending nursing school at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. During her 23 years in nursing, she has gained experience in the areas of labor & delivery, home care, hospice, nursing management, marketing, and education.

In addition to her experience, Carmen continued her education at Northeastern State University and obtained a Master’s of Science in nursing education degree. This is where she acquired a great interest in cultural diversity and Jean Watson’s theory of caring. Her interest in culture has led to the development of an assessment tool to help ensure all patients receive the care they deserve. Carmen’s philosophy of nursing is, “caring and treating all patients as individuals separates the excellent from the mediocre nurse.”
Carmen has been married to Monte Nickel, her high school sweetheart, for 30 years. Monte and Carmen have three children. Whitney attends the University of Oklahoma pursing a degree in dental hygiene. The couple’s twins, Carsen and Camryn, are in junior high school where they are very active in sports and extracurricular activities.


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Western Board of Regents Special Meeting: June 25, 2015

The Western Oklahoma State College Board of Regents met for a special meeting on June 25, 2015, at 7 p.m. in the Higher Learning Center at the college.  Guests in attendance included Lisa Greenlee, Vice President for Academic and Student Support Services; Tricia Latham, Vice President for Business Affairs; Chrystal Overton, Dean of Technical Education; Matt Stangl, Associate Attorney General; Mike Tucker, English Faculty;  Briar Jenkins, Secretary to the President and Judith Meyer, Director of Public Information.

Tricia Latham led a discussion regarding the possible renewal of the flight training agreement between Western and Red River Flight Academy, LLC for FY 16.  The only revision from the previous year is the change of dates to reflect the FY 16 fiscal year.

Dr. Phil Birdine presented a series of items for the board’s consideration and possible action. The items included: the elimination of the dental insurance benefit the college pays on each full-time employee resulting in a savings of $25,312; rescinding the part-time wages for management of the swimming pool and part-time lifeguards resulting in a savings of $28,147; reducing part-time wages for distance learning, resulting in a savings of $15,000; authorizing administration to pursue the prospect of seeking credentialed full-time  employees to volunteer to teach one overload per semester with a potential savings of $67,500. The board voted on and approved the recommendations.

Birdine then presented the college’s procedure guide for layoffs and/or reductions in force (RIF).  The existing policy on Layoff and Recall allows for the President, in consultation with the Executive Council, to formulate a procedure guide for layoffs or reductions in force. The guide includes procedure and rationale for RIF, powers and duties of the board of regents and other procedural items.

Over the last few months the college’s executive team has worked to design a 2015-16 academic year budget which safeguards the educational mission of the college.  The budget decisions the college faced were challenging, complex and extremely difficult in many instances.  The budget decisions identified several individuals in full-time and part-time positions to be recommended as part of the FY16 reduction in force proposal presented. Each of the individuals identified for the reduction in force have been notified by the President’s office and informed of the proposed recommendation to the board.  If approved by the Board, this reduction in force will become effective at 5pm on Tuesday, June 30, 2015.

In addition to the proposed reduction in force, other recommendations include cost savings measures such as reductions in the institutional memberships budget line item as well as the college’s publications budget.  The estimated savings for all measures is approximately $500,000.
These decisions were based on continued declines in enrollment and multiple years of declining appropriations from the Oklahoma legislature. The decisions were made because the college can no longer afford to operate with budget deficits.

Phil Birdine said, “It is deeply regretful that we arrived at these decisions. However, it is critical that the educational mission of the college be maintained and that we continue with our strategic planning process.  I feel confident that the decisions made protect our core mission, align with our strategic plan and are in the best interest of the long term future of the college.”

The board voted on and approved the procedure guide proposal.

At 7:28 p.m. the board moved into executive session.

At 8:22 p.m. the board reconvened for the approval of the proposed reduction in force for the following employees. A 30 day severance package for the following employees was also approved by the board.

  1. Gerri Hand – Accounts Payable Clerk
  2. Kristin Snow – Financial Aid/Veterans Specialist
  3. Brenda McCombs – Assessment Specialist
  4. San Trevino – Library Tech Assistant
  5. Brenda Gibson – PT Office Assistant for Academic Affairs
  6. Johnny Conrad – PT Maintenance
  7. George Ruffin – PT Maintenance
  8. Sharlotte Hightower – PR Graphic Artist & Marketing Specialist
  9. Jeri Lyn Drury – PT Admissions Clerk
  10. Walter Blassingame – PT Custodial
  11. Nyoreme Odunwa – PT Custodial
  12. Sherita Rogers – PT Technical Education Secretary
  13. Braylon Clark – PT Security
  14. Kristen Jones – PT Admissions Clerk
  15. Teresa Olivas – PT Admissions Clerk
  16. Sarah Strode – PT Admissions Clerk

At 8:23 p.m. the board adjourned.

The Western Board of Regents will meet for its next regularly scheduled meeting on August 18, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. in the Higher Learning Center at the college.






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Pioneer News Highlights: June 24, 2015

Western Rodeo Team Wins 6th in the Nation

Hunter Munsell

Hunter Munsell

Jacob Edler

Jacob Edler


Bryson Sechrist

Douglas Rich

Douglas Rich






By Emily Smith

The 67th CNFR was held in Casper, Wyoming June 14-20 with contestants from across the nation competing for national event and team titles.  Four cowboys from the Western Oklahoma State College Rodeo Team qualified for the “Rose Bowl” of college rodeo.  The four man team of Jacob Edler, Hunter Munsell, Douglas Rich, and Bryson Sechrist gave it their all and finished the year 6th in the national team standings out of approximately 150 university and college teams from across the country.  This is the highest national team ranking Coach Guy Smith has achieved in his 8 year tenure at WOSC.

Iowa steer wrestler, Jacob Edler began his week with a solid 10th place finish with a good time of 6.7 seconds on a strong steer in the first round of the steer wrestling.  He threw his second steer in 5.0 seconds to win fifth in the round.  In the third round Edler drew a steer that had yet to be caught, but it was no match for Jacob, as he threw this steer in 5.3 seconds and won fifth in this round as well.  Three solid performances gave Edler a four second lead entering the fourth and final round of competition, the Saturday night top 12 short-round.  However, no matter how good an athlete’s chances are to win a national title, the luck of the draw has a way of changing plans.  Edler’s short-round steer stumbled coming out of the chute and he missed him, resulting in a heartbreaking no-time.  For his week-long efforts, Edler still walked away 6th in the nation.

The team of Hunter Munsell and Douglas Rich won second in the first round with a quick time of 6.1 seconds.  Like Edler, this team stayed on a roll throughout the week.  In the second round, they stopped the clock in 6.7 seconds, which won sixth in the round.  They won sixth again in the third round, with a speedy 6.0 second time.  Munsell and Rick entered the final short-round sitting 3rd in the nation.  Unfortunately, Munsell missed his head loop and this great team took a no-time in the short-round.  However, they still ended the year 5th in the nation.  As well, Douglas Rich and his horse, BUCKYS DUAL PEP won the prestigious NIRA Horse of the Year sponsored by AQHA.

Bryson Sechrist, a sophomore calf roper from Apache, won 10th in the first round with his time of 11.3 seconds on a kicking calf.  Sechrist didn’t have any luck in the second round when his loop came-up short.  Unfortunately, he didn’t draw a great calf in the third round and his time was too long to place.  Such is rodeo, as sometimes the best cowboys go home empty handed despite their best efforts.

Though WOSC didn’t bring home another national title this year, a past WOSC student did.  Kolton Schmidt, who now attends SEOSU had a great week in the team roping and ended the year as the National Champion Team Roping Header with the help of his heeler, Sawyer Barham of Coffeyville Community College.

Rich Wins NIRA Trophy Saddle

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Congratulations to Douglas Rich and his horse, BUCKYS DUAL PEP, for winning the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s “Horse of the Year”, sponsored by the American Quarter Horse Association. One men’s and one women’s horse is selected by the NIRA during CNFR competition, to receive the coveted trophy saddle.

Independence Day Concert July 2

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Savannah and Meredith Robinson prepare for next week’s holiday concert at the college. The Western Oklahoma State College Music Department will present its first Independence Day Concert on Thursday, July 2nd at 7 p.m., in the Herschal H. Crow Fine Arts Auditorium. Jeff Gonda, will conduct the Community Chorus in a program featuring American folk, sacred, and patriotic songs from past and present. Guest soloists will also be featured on the program. The community is welcome to attend this free event.



Kid’s College Enters Final Week


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Michele Bolton introduced Sketchnotes to her students in “Express Yourself”. This writing technique, created by Mike Rohde, utilizes free-hand icons and fonts to make note-taking fun and memorable.


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NXT Lego Mindstorms students learn the basics of programming a robot in Gary Stickland’s class.













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