The Stockdale Paradox -- Retain absolute faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, AND at the same time confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.
- Jim Collins, Good to Great
Regents' Update
by Susan Winchester, Chair

Some friends and colleagues say the past 7 months have crept by, while others cannot believe how time has flown as we have all adapted to a new way of life and work. One thing is certainly true for us all, this year has been unlike anything we have ever faced. In times like these I find the Stockdale Paradox to be a valuable reference. The concept was created by Jim Collins and is named for Vietnam POW, Admiral Jim Stockdale. It refers to the dual feelings of hope and realism which together allowed Stockdale to remain mentally and emotionally fortified as a prisoner of war. In his book Good to Great, Collins suggests that a deep understanding of the Stockdale Paradox can be a lesson for success for anyone facing a difficult situation. 
This paradoxical thinking has allowed many to thrive through trying times, and it’s an attitude I have adopted in recent months to maintain faith that our university communities will continue to thrive through the stark realities of a global pandemic, and that the value of a higher education will be even more clear on the other side.

Our role in preparing students for essential careers, including careers in Allied Health, is critical. Oklahoma needs qualified and degreed healthcare professionals to meet the growing need more urgently than ever. RUSO universities are educating Oklahoma’s essential workforce and graduating nurses, doctors of nursing practice, optometrists, pharmacists and forensic scientists, among many other in-demand fields.

I am proud of the way our university communities have responded. Despite the uncertainties of this time, we have risen to the occasion. During this complicated time we have doubled down on our commitment to nondiscrimination by developing a system-wide Title IX policy. Educators and administrators have implemented new processes and learned new technology to pivot to distance learning, where possible. Where physical proximity is important, all six universities acted quickly to ensure students who wished to return to in-person classes were able to do so securely and with campus-wide mask mandates. The safety of our university community will always be our priority.

However, the current reality is that COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations continue to rise across the state of Oklahoma. We are reminded of the brutal truth that the virus is still very present and potentially dangerous to our university communities. The campus mask and distancing mandates at all six universities can only offer so much protection. It is up to each individual to make smart, safe choices – and encourage the same of colleagues, students and friends - while on campus and off.

The reports from campus, and from our presidents, give me hope and faith for the future. Students and our university community are adhering to mask requirements and staying mindful of social distancing guidelines while focusing on the task at hand – education.
Benefits Update
Open Enrollment Time
from Crystal Chavez, RUSO/OKHEEI Benefits Coordinator
Open enrollment period for RUSO institutions, other than the University of Central Oklahoma, will be October 23 - November 8. The open enrollment period for UCO will be October 26 – November 11.
RUSO Open Enrollment Information
Enrollment will again be managed online through TBX. This is the only time of the year that employees will be able to make changes to their benefits without a qualifying life event.
Changes for the 2021 benefit year:
  • All open enrollment meetings will be held virtually via Zoom. Both recorded and live meetings are available. Contact your human resources department for scheduled dates and times for your university.
  • Medical, Vision & Ancillary Benefits – Great news! There will not be any benefit plan changes for the 2021 plan year! 
  • Dental – Delta Dental has added a preventative care benefit for enrollees at higher risk for cavities and/or periodontal disease.
 2021 provider information is as follows:
  • Medical - Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma (including a high-deductible plan with an HSA option)
  • Dental - Delta Dental of Oklahoma
  • Vision - VSP
  • Ancillary Benefits (LTD, Life Insurance, Dependent Life) - MetLife
  • FSA and HSA - Chard Snyder
There are multiple resources for more benefits information: 
1) Contact your institution's benefits coordinator 2) Visit or (for pharmacy only) 3) Call 855-816-0001 4) Visit the Information and Enrollment Portal.
UCO Open Enrollment Information
UCO's open enrollment will be October 26-November 11. All enrollment will happen online through UCO's employee login page. This is the only time of the year that employees will be able to make changes to their benefits without a qualifying life event.
Changes for the 2021 benefit year:
  • Six plans will be available; plans are moving from BCBS to Aetna. These plans are familiar but with a few new details, including networks.
  • Two networks are available to choose from: 1) Broad and 2) High-Performance. The broad network includes Integris, Mercy, Saint Anthony’s and other major providers in Oklahoma. Because this network is large, it does cost more to choose plans with this network. The High-Performance network only includes Integris doctors and OU Children’s, but incentivizes providers to improve their patients’ outcomes while lowering patient costs. The high-performance network pays doctors based on their ability to save their patients money by eliminating unnecessary tests and visits and improving health outcomes.
  • CVS is returning! The university’s pharmacy plans will no longer be imbedded into the medical plans, which means members will have two ID cards: one for medical and one for prescription. The RX network will include nearly every pharmacy (local and national chains) including CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Costco, etc.
  • Instead of using MDLive, the university’s virtual health appointments will be through Teladoc and most regular Teladoc appointments are a $10 copay for participating plans.
  • ALEX, an AI decision platform, goes live on October 19 and will help faculty and staff better understand their coverage and options. All who use ALEX will be eligible for a $250 deductible credit for themselves and their covered dependents over 18 even if they don’t select the plan that ALEX recommends. The only way to get the $250 deductible credit is to use ALEX before or during open enrollment.

2021 provider information is as follows:
  • Medical - Aetna
  • Direct Primary Care - Primary Health Partners
  • Dental – Aetna
  • Pharmacy- CVS Caremark
  • Vision - VSP
  • Voluntary Benefits (LTD, Life Insurance, Dependent Life) - The Hartford
  • FSA and HSA - Voya Financial
For additional information regarding benefits and upcoming changes, visit UCO's benefits page.
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RUSO drives Economic Development
Oka' Institute at East Central University
Oka’ Institute at East Central University was launched in recognition that water is an important resource for life as well as a powerful economic driver. The institute works with several strategic partners, including the Choctaw Nation, the Ada Jobs Foundation and the City of Ada. Together the groups provide economic opportunity for the community, host an annual conference connecting agencies and individuals for collaborative water-related policies and practices, and work to safeguard Oklahoma’s water future. Read more
Entrepreneurship in action at Northwestern Oklahoma State University
As a junior at Northwestern Oklahoma State University Connor Martin started mowing yards to earn some money. He soon had a burgeoning business on his hands and Martin hired classmates to help keep up with demand. Five years later, Peak Environment is a thriving landscaping business in Alva, Oklahoma. What began as a small job during college turned into a business post-graduation with a fleet of trucks, trailers, mowers, weed-eaters, edgers and other landscaping items.

Student Spotlight
Anna Antuono, class of 2022
Anna Antuono is a natural leader at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. She is President of the Student Government Association, a graduate of the President's Leadership class and served on Southeastern's COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, with faculty staff, students and community members who worked together to establish guidelines for a safe return to face-to-face classes in the fall. "It was rewarding doing work that really...impacted the lives of students...and the community," Antuono said.
Jordyn Houston, class of 2020
Jordyn Houston is a senior Elementary Education major at Northeastern State University from Park Hill, Oklahoma. She founded and runs a faith-based program for children called NextGen. The program takes the form of both day camps and evening programming that provides bible study, physical activity and games for young camp attendees.
Update from RUSO
Southwestern Oklahoma State University President Randy Beutler announced his retirement earlier this semester after 17 years of leading the university. President Beutler has positioned SWOSU as a valuable educational asset for our entire state, and we appreciate his masterful leadership in higher education.

RUSO has formed a hiring committee and engaged a search firm specializing in higher education. The firm is creating a prospectus for the position. Visit their website to learn more details about the position.
Alumni Success Stories
State historian finds true Oklahoma spirit at SWOSU
Dr. Bob Blackburn is known and revered across the state of Oklahoma for his work as a writer, orator and historian. As a student at Southwestern State University he gained an appreciation for the "true Oklahoma spirit" and the complex history of the state. Read more
Journalist and writer finds path at UCO
While a student at the University of Central Oklahoma, Sonya Bell was connected with an opportunity to intern for the state newspaper, The Oklahoman. That internship, her experience at UCO's on-campus paper and the strong writing skills she learned in her classes, prepared her for a long and successful career in communications and marketing. Bell is now a media manager at Cox Communications. Read more
Great Happenings at Your Regional University
Seven ECU students have been chosen to compete in an international entrepreneurship competition. The Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization Virtual Pitch Competition is a four-phase competition with 110 competitors all vying for a share of $15,000 in seed money. ECU's Entrepreneurship program had more students qualify than any other university and is a great opportunity to compete on the global stage. Read More

Two new Cirrus SR20s are the latest additions to Southeastern's Aviation Sciences Institute. These aircraft will allow aviation students to train on a flight management system integrated with a modern autopilot system, better preparing them to train and fly modern jets after graduation. This brings the university to a total of 19 aircraft in the fleet.

This fall, NSU welcomed its first students into the Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program. Physician assistants are able to provide a broad range of medical services within primary and specialty care. One of the goals of the NSU PAS program is to increase healthcare in rural communities. Learn More

The Diabetes Prevention Program at SWOSU has achieved full recognition and designation from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The program is headquartered at the university's Rural Health Center, which works to create awareness of how to prevent diabetes across rural Oklahoma. Learn More

The 5th Annual Compassion in Action Dignity Drive is underway on all Northwestern campuses. The NWOSU chapter of Social Workers Association of Tomorrow organized the drive and is accepting donations of personal hygiene products to stock the Campus Cabinet, a resource for students and employees that offers non-perishable food, as well.

The Student Transforming Learning Record initiative helps students track, assess and record how they gather soft skills. UCO's program captures student growth in areas such as leadership and encourages them to undertake independent projects toward those goals. The program recently received a U.S. Department of Education donation match of up to $1 million. Read More
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