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

douglas rich NIRA saddle

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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Western Board of Regents Report: June 9, 2015

The Western Oklahoma State College Board of Regents met for its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, June 9, 2015, at 7:30 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; Richard Rose, CPA with Crawford and Associates;  Heather Hood, Controller; Mike Tucker, Faculty Senate Representative; Briar Jenkins, Secretary to the President and Judith Meyer, Director of Public Information.

The consent docket containing the minutes from the April 21, 2015 regular meeting and the expenditure comparison report were voted on and approved.

Lisa Greenlee presented a request for a curriculum change to the Associate in Applied Science Degree in Nursing. Changes included removing the term “General” and just state a “Chemistry” requirement to assist students who transfer appropriate chemistry courses; adding English Comp II to the degree plan; removing Microcomputer Applications from the degree plan to make room for the required English Comp II course.  Additionally, Microcomputer Apps would be removed as a co-requisite and English Comp I and II would be adjusted as a co- or pre-requisite where needed.  The change proposal was voted on and approved by the board.

Tricia Latham introduced Richard Rose who presented a report regarding the final internal audit for FY 15 conducted in April 2015 by Crawford and Associates, P. C.  Three of the seven areas reviewed included recommendations from the firm.  Those areas with findings included Miscellaneous Claims, the college Procurement Card and The Violence Against Women Act in the 2014 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report. Latham said the audit experience resulted in very positive outcomes that will improve the efficiencies of many areas of campus. The board voted on and accepted the audit report.

Latham presented a request regarding the Master Plan.   Latham suggested 9 capital improvement projects for FY 16 totaling $6,862,246. Roofing, HVAC, vehicles and various other improvements are included in the request, which would be incorporated into the Capital Improvement Plan submitted to the State Budget System.   The board voted on and approved the request.

Latham presented a request regarding a mandatory fee increase for FY16. She proposed an increase in four of Western’s student fees to include: a $4 fee for student assessment; a $10 technology fee; a $1.50 Records fee and a $5 Safety and Security fee.  The increases will equate to a $5 per credit hour or 4.8% increase in total tuition and mandatory fees, for a total of $109.95 per credit hour.  These fees would go into effect for the Fall 2015 semester and have a total impact on revenue of $115,000.  The board voted on and approved the proposal.

Latham presented a request regarding a roofing project for the Technical Education building and the A and B wing of the Main Building on Western’s campus. The total cost for the contracted project is $922,264.14.  The funding for the projects would be from the 295 Capital Fund. The board voted on and approved the proposal.

Dr. Phil Birdine presented the President’s Report and Recommendations.  He said Western recently responded to the Higher Learning Commission’s Institutional Action Committee (IAC) recommendation regarding Western’s removal from probation.  He also noted a recommendation that the college not be allowed to offer four-week online courses.  This recommendation was rebutted and documentation as to why the college should be allowed to offer the courses was reported to the IAC. The results of Western’s response will be reported in late June. Birdine concluded with a report on a recent and lengthy student appeals process, regarding allegations of discrimination and grading.  Birdine reported that all issues have been resolved and the matter closed.

At 8:17 p.m. the board convened for executive session.

At 8:48 p.m. the board reconvened in open session and approved the personnel employments of Hollie Brake, Secretary to the Academic Deans and Deena Morley, Chemistry Instructor and the personnel resignation of Brandy Cooper, Nursing Instructor.

Tricia Latham presented a request for the approval of the FY16 budget. Six budgets categories were presented to include: the Education and General (E&G) Budget at $11,062,291; The E & G II   Budget at $2,938,139; the 700 Fund Budget at 12,000,000; the Student Activities Budget at $144,000; the Capital Budget at $2,337,740 and the Auxiliary Services Budget at $1,054,500. The E&G Budget consists of $11,062,291 in expenditures and $10,016,091 in revenue, requiring utilizing $1,016,200 of fund balance reserves.  The state appropriation has been reduced by 3.5% from FY15 for a total appropriation of $5,606,696. The board voted on and approved the budget.

The election of Board Officers for FY2015-2016 concluded the board meeting agenda.  Dr. Dana Darby was elected Chair; Cindy Clayton, Vice-Chair and Brent Howard, Secretary.  The board voted on and approved the elections.

The board adjourned at 9:35 p.m.

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



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Pioneers News Highlights: June 10, 2015

Northrip Confirmed New Western Regent

Scott Northrip

Scott Northrip, Hobart CPA, was recently confirmed by the Oklahoma Senate as the newest Western Oklahoma State College Board of Regent member, to serve a seven-year term, succeeding Steve Miller, Hobart pharmacist. Northrip graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State College in 1982 with an accounting degree and immediately began working in Oklahoma City accounting firms. In 1990 he purchased part of an accounting firm in Hobart. Scott specializes in income tax and accounting services, as well as auditing of small government entities and not-for-profit organizations. He has also worked as a bi-vocational pastor for 19 years and is currently the pastor of the United Methodist Church in Willow, OK, where he has served for the past 11 years. Scott, and his wife, Brenda, have two grown sons and two grandchildren. Brenda also works as a receptionist at the Northrip accounting office.

Alumni Board Members Recognized for Service

alumni board
During their quarterly board meeting last week, the Western Oklahoma State College Alumni Association Board of Directors recognized three board members for their service with the group. Lora Lea Pickering, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at WOSC, recognized Kaycee Lookingbill’s two years of service, Allen Sasse’s six years of service and Tracie Benedict’s (not pictured) 1 year of service and thanked them for their support and dedication over the past years. The WOSC Alumni Association was formed in 1992 and is open to alumni and friends of the college. The organization works along with Western Oklahoma State College administration, faculty and staff to enhance student experience. If you would like more information about the WOSC Alumni Association please contact Lora Lea Pickering at (580)477-7789 or alumni@wosc.edu


Higher Ground Teachers Gain Techie Skills

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A Higher Ground: Investigating STEM through Agriculture & History participant tries out her Echo Smart Pen during a technology training session for the program. The smart pen allows the user to record everything they write, hear or say, then playback, organize and share info stored in the pen.



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A Higher Ground student in SWOSU instructor, Brad Bryant’s engineering class, tests her new soldering skills on a small circuit board.

Kid’s College Moves into 2nd Week

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Students in Mary Jones, “So Sweet, Cupcakes, Cookies and Puppy Chow”, made powdered sugar-covered popcorn.

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Steve Prater directs a student in “Virtual Reality, 3D printers and More” through a 3D printer template tutorial

Pioneer Baseball Camp Attracts Area Youth

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The boys of summer took the Pioneer baseball field on Monday for the annual Pioneer Baseball Camp. The camp features training in grounding, hitting and batting under the instruction of World Series class Pioneer baseball coaches and athletes.

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Oklahoma Higher Education to Honor Senator Mike Schulz

Schulz to Receive OSRHE Distinguished Service Award


District 38 Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Schulz will be honored for his tireless support of Oklahoma higher education by Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Chancellor Glen Johnson on June 12 at the Quartz Mountain Resort in Lone Wolf.

Schulz will be joined at the event by leadership from Western Oklahoma State College, to include, President, Dr. Phil Birdine, and other members of the college’s executive and administrative councils. Other guests will include, Dr. John McArthur, President of Cameron University; Mr.  Randy Butler, President of SWOSU, and Dr. Terry Mosley, Executive Director of Quartz Mountain Lodge and Park.

Schulz championed higher education in 2014 by working to provide a standstill budget for higher education with no budget cuts, when most state agencies faced budget cuts. He also supported higher education’s stance that the current law is working and that there is no scenario where allowing guns on our campuses will do anything other than create a more dangerous environment for our students, faculty, staff and visitors.

In 2015 Senator Schulz supported the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship program, which has helped more than 65,000 students from working families in Oklahoma to attend college. During an extremely difficult budget year, Schulz helped to keep the budget cuts to higher education minimal.

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