Dear Colleagues, 

See how the Regional University System of Oklahoma is transforming the lives of students across the state. We invite you to share the newsletter and contact our universities for more information and opportunities for collaboration. 

Regent Mark Stansberry


The GREATNESS of an institution ALWAYS begins with PEOPLE
-Jim Collins
 Regent's Update

By Mark Stansberry, RUSO Chair
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela
Higher education is facing many challenges  in our nation and on our campuses. These challenges include developing new ways to balance concerns, such as protecting the right to free speech and  safety for our nearly 45,000 students, faculty and staff. Another challenge is encouraging meaningful dialogue that expands our understanding and ability to evaluate the validity of new ideas. 
While  decreased state funding continually challenge s us to provide an affordable, quality education, we continue to find ways to reach students who want to accomplish their educational goals. The regional universities'  increase in concurrent and online enrollment shows our success in reaching students by alternative methods.
Cyber security is a growing threat within higher education institutions. According to different reports, higher education ranks in the top three sectors with the highest number of data breaches. The RUSO regents are exploring how our regional universities can strengthen their computer networks and continue to protect personal information. We will share more information as we proceed.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education has created a statewide task force to evaluate the higher education systems and processes. We welcome the opportunity to increase efficiencies and improve degree completion. Several RUSO regents are serving on task force sub-committees, which will offer the voice of regional universities .
We appreciate and support the work you do every day for higher education, and in engaging the next generation of people who will change the world. Together we are making a lasting impact!

Did You Know- RUSO Benefits?
By Whitney Popchoke, RUSO/OKHEEI Benefits Coordinator

Open Enrollment Time
All  RUSO institutions are currently in the annual Open Enrollment/Options period. This is the only time of the year that employees can make changes to their benefits,unless they have a Qualifying Life Event.
For 2018, the OKHEEI group is continuing to do our best to provide the best coverage at reasonable rates. Because of this, OKHEEI is not making any changes to the benefit offerings for the upcoming plan year.
  • Medical - Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma (including the $250 deductible incentive for all members over the age of 18 that complete the online Health Assessment)
  • Dental - Delta Dental of Oklahoma
  • Vision - VSP
  • Ancillary Benefits (LTD, Life Insurance, Dependent Life) - MetLife
Utilize the ZeroCard for any lab work, MRI's, and certain other medical procedures that you (or your dependents on OKHEEI's BCBS Plan) may have in 2018. ZeroCard allows you to go to certain contracted high-quality healthcare providers throughout Oklahoma and surrounding states for some of the more popular procedures and services that our members have done at NO COST TO THE MEMBER and a reduced price for the plan! To find out more, contact your institution's benefits coordinator, go online to , go online to (for pharmacy only), or call (855) 816-0001.
For exact Open Enrollment dates, meeting times, and updated rates for 2018 that are specific to your institution, contact your benefits/HR department.
Reminder: If you, or your eligible dependents, experience a Qualifying Life Event (such as marriage, divorce, birth, death, adoption, fostering, loss of coverage, gaining other coverage, etc.), you have 31 days to complete all necessary paperwork, including providing evidence of dependent status, and to make all changes to your OKHEEI plan. If you do not complete all steps within the 31-day window, you will not be able to make changes until the next Open Enrollment.

Six Questions
Regent Jane McDermott, originally from Lamont, Oklahoma, is a NWOSU alum where she played basketball and ran track for the Rangers.  McDermott is co-owner of deVine Water and McDermott Insurance Company.
1.  What was your college experience? 
I was a traditional college student.I was recruited to Northwestern on an academic/women's basketball scholarship. My mother held two degrees from Northwestern and was very glad I chose her alma mater.

2. A RUSO regent is a voluntary position appointed by the governor. What motivated you to accept the position? 
I spent nearly 20 years in higher education fund raising as director of the Northwestern Foundation. Being a regent is another way to support higher education in Oklahoma.
3. What college professor had the greatest impact on your life/career?
I had so many excellent professors that it is hard to name just one. My parents were very supportive of higher education and tremendous role models.They are my heroes.
4. What is the best advice you've ever received?
Don't ever do or say anything that you wouldn't want your mother to hear or witness.
5. What is the most unexpected lesson you've learned since becoming a regent?
Regional universities are an economic engine for the regions of the state they serve.They deserve to be funded adequately in order to serve their constituents. I am willing to use my voice in support of increased funding for education.
6. What is your hobby or interest?
My hobby has always been supporting my family. I love being a wife, mom, aunt and now grandmother. I also love traveling. The photo is of my husband Max and me in Hawaii.
Regent Updates
OSRHE Creates Comprehensive Task Force
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have formed a task force to consider ways to improve degree completion and increase productivity by focusing on modernization, efficiencies and innovation. 

The task force is charged to examine every aspect of system operations to ensure they are properly aligned and defined to best serve the students and state. Learn more about the task force directives and committee members.
McDermott Appointed RUSO Regent
Gov. Mary Fallin appointed Jane McDermott to the Board of Regents of the Regional University System of Oklahoma. McDermott, of Alva, fills Position 6 on the RUSO board, which was previously held by Michael Mitchell. 

Position 6 represents the following counties: Cimarron, Texas, Beaver, Harper, Woodward, Woods, Major, Alfalfa, Grant, Garfield, Kay and Noble. Learn more about Regent McDermott.
Attorney General Defends ECU Against National Secular Group
This summer East Central University received a request from the national group  Americans United for the Separation of Church and State requesting the removal of "religious iconography" from the historic  Kathryn P. Boswell Memorial Chapel. The request and the reaction caused concern for many groups across the nation. The matter was turned over to  Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter due to further pending legal action.The actions resulting from this matter will have a profound impact that go beyond ECU campus, but also for the state of Oklahoma and similar entities, Learn more about the updates in this case.
Did You Know
According to New America, these are the top reasons students enroll in college

1) I mprove employment opportunities (91%)
2) Make more money (90%)
3) Get a good job (89%)
4) Learn more (85%)
5) Become a better person (81%)

Great Happenings at Your Regional University
For inspiration and collaboration learn more about 
what is happening  at regional universities.

The Brandon Whitten Institute for Addiction and Recovery at East Central University will be funded for five more years at $250,000.  Reggie Whitten, the father of the late Brandon Whitten and founder of the institute, presented a check for $50,000 to the institute for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

NSU has partnered with the Grand River Dam Authority to provide opportunities for faculty and students to do research related to the Illinois River. T he partnership helps fund student scholarships as well as a variety of research opportunities, including in-class projects and independent research. Possible research topics include water quality, animal movement and bacteria comparisons.
Students entering the professional workforce have the skills for a career but sometimes lack the professional wardrobe when first starting out. The Teachers Closet gives students access to professional clothing and brings the community together with the university..
Enrollment is up and so is the optimism around the Southeastern Oklahoma State University campus these days.  Southeastern's official fall 2017 enrollment is 3,956 students - an increase of 6.2% over last fall. This represents the largest overall enrollment at Southeastern since 2012.
Learn More

A recent study from the SWOSU Business Enterprise Center estimates that events held at the Pioneer Cellular Event Center have brought almost $8.5 million in business to the Weatherford area from 2014-16.  The Pioneer Cellular Event Centers hosts concerts, comedy shows, banquets, conferences, meetings, athletic tournaments, athletic camps, expos and other events on an annual basis. 

For more than two decades, Wei Chen, Ph.D., professor of biomedical engineering and dean of the College of Mathematics and Science at the University of Central Oklahoma, has dedicated his time and research to developing a new type of cancer treatment to treat late-stage, metastatic cancers. Those efforts recently got a big boost, as Chen received the first and only National Institutes of Health Research Project Grant (R01) awarded to a non-research institution in the state of Oklahoma.

Regional University 
System of Oklahoma
3555 N.W. 58th Street, Suite 320
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
405.942.8817 Phone
405.942.8847 Fax