Dear Colleagues, 

I want to share with you how the universities in the Regional University System of Oklahoma are transforming the lives of students across the state. We invite you to share the newsletter and contact the universities for more information and opportunities for collaboration. 

Regent Lake Carpenter


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

By Lake Carpenter, RUSO Chair
Nearly 40,000 people attend our regional universities. These hard-working students are earning a college degree to achieve something better - a career, a job, increased income, or maybe to begin a family legacy of education. Thank you to the dedicated faculty and staff of the regional universities for making those educational goals our north star throughout the challenges and trends facing higher education.
Again we are faced with a decreased budget for FY2018, in addition to a statewide revenue failure. We are addressing these issues on several fronts. Challenging times also present opportunities to reevaluate our strengths and weaknesses and innovate our academic programs.
As financial stewards of the regional universities, the regents are continually evaluating cost savings and efficiencies. A recent change is how RUSO regents are informed on capital expenditure requests. This year, regents took comprehensive tours of the host campus for the regent's meetings. This helps university leadership better communicate their capital needs, as well as help the regents examine other improvements or requests for spending.
RUSO regents, university leadership, students and higher education proponents have been consistently visiting legislators to advocate on behalf of regional universities. It will take all of us voicing our support and concerns to our representatives. I encourage you to visit the pages listed and contact your representative.  
  • Visit the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education's legislative agenda page to learn more about the FY2018 funding request.
  • Visit UCO's legislative page for bills affecting higher education and status updates.
  • Find your representative and track bills here
The value of higher education cannot be overstated. Higher education continues to be the best investment Oklahoma can make it its future. 

 Higher Education Day at the Capitol

More than 300 students, university representatives and advocates attended Higher  Education D ay at the capitol on  February 14.

The one-day event promotes the importance of higher education with speakers, presentations and visits with legislators. 

You can view more photos and learn more about the ev e nt  here .

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

Being aware of what is included with your benefits can help you save money and make smart decisions about your health care. Find out how these three programs benefit you. 

403(b) Retirement Plan
You can contribute to this plan in addition to your OTRS plan, even if you aren't eligible for OTRS based on hours worked.  Learn more  
If you and/or your dependents are members of Blue Cross Blue Shield through RUSO and have an upcoming medical procedure (non-emergency), contact the ZeroCard prior to scheduling your procedure to see if they offer the same procedure at no cost to you.  Learn more  

24/7 Nurseline
With Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma you have nurses on call 24/7 on the Nurseline. This free service can help you with medical questions and assist with your decision of whether or not you need to seek further medical attention.  Learn more  
Six Questions
Regent Michael Mitchel, originally from Perryton, Texas, is a NWOSU alum. He played basketball for the Rangers and met his wife, Connie, there. Today, Mitchel is a senior partner in The Mitchel Law Firm and practices law in Northwestern Oklahoma.

  1. A RUSO regent is a voluntary position appointed 
by the governor. What motivated you to accept 
the position? 
I felt it was imperative to have an impact on the importance of obtaining a higher educati on and pursuing an economically-based degree. I hope I am able as a regent to demonstrate the true value of the education offered by one of these outstanding institutions.
2. Do you have a favorite quote? 
"If you are going through tough times just keep going. Realize your potential and understand every day will make things better."
3. What is the best advice you've ever received?
Coach Vee said it best when he told us, "Face reality and don't give up." Who would have thought that someday I would serve on this prestigious board of regents?
4. What is the most unexpected lesson you've learned since becoming a regent?
I graduated debt-free, like many of our RUSO students, so I was surprised to learn that some college students incur tremendous debt to get their degrees. Part of this problem stems from not being properly educated on student loans. Financial management should be a priority class for our students.

5. What college professor had the greatest impact on your life/career?
Cecil Perkins was my hero and stood by me in good and bad times. He taught me to be tough and focus on the importance of getting my degree. He would always say, "You can be anything you want to be."
6. If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
I'm a big "Shark Tank" fan, and a bigger fan of Mark Cuban. He is one of the most successful investors I have ever known. Having dinner with Mr. Cuban would be at the top of my bucket list.
Regent Updates
RUSO Regents Select New ECU President

After a nationwide search for East Central
When preparing to travel, Pierson studies the writing produced by citizens of the country to obtain a better cultural picture than provided by just reading guidebooks. 
University's  next president, the most qualified candidate for the job was already making an impact at the university. Katricia Pierson is the ninth president of ECU, and the first ever woman in the role. S he previously served as the  prov ost and vice president of Academic Affairs at the  university.

Pierson's career in education began as a 7-12 grade teacher at Foyil Public Schools i n Foyil, Oklahoma. She taught English, reading and Spanish, as well as sponsored the school newspaper and yearbook-- all in the same day. At that time, teachers were required to obtain a master's degree within seven years, so Pierson moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to complete her graduate studies at the University of Arkansas.

Teaching at the university level ignited her desire to work in higher education and working with the
graduate student association solidified  her desire to  go into administration. 

Prior to her arrival at ECU, Pierson served as professor of English and in several leadership roles at William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri.

Outside of academia, Pierson enjoys creating her own clothes and traveling. She is currently preparing for a summer trip with her husband, Michael, to Scotland by reading the literature and philosophy of famous Scots, such as Adam Smith and David Hume.

Pierson doesn't have a bucket list, "I feel blessed to have experienced what has already occurred, as well as experience the day as it occurs," Pierson stated. 

Did You Know?

RUSO enrolls nearly  
40,000  students  and 
over half  of them are 
from  rural communities. 

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

East Central University received a national ranking for top online education degrees by the website The website highlighted top schools for online education degrees based on their affordability  and academics. 

The NSU College of Education received national recognition for their robotics academy. This program, the only of its kind in the United States, requires  all teacher candidates to complete a robotics module in their emerging technology class.  Future teachers use a variety of coding methods to program robots as a team and get a hands-on look at how students learn.
NWOSU hosted their annual entrepreneurship seminar, bringing together students and the community. Several professionals spoke at the event with the goal of inspiring students as entrepreneurs. 
The Southeastern community had the opportunity to experience "Children of the Civil Rights,'' a documentary based on the Oklahoma City restaurant sit-ins in 1958-64. The director is a graduate of Southeastern's class of 1992. 

Executives of  Oklahoma City-based Delaware Resources Group recently paid tribute to the Southwestern Oklahoma State University campuses in Weatherford and Sayre, for producing graduates who have pushed the boundaries of technological know-how. 

UCO broke ground on the new STEM center, scheduled to open in the fall of 2018. The 57,000-square-foot building will include research  labs, new classrooms and faculty office space, as well as the Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Education and Research, the Center for Research and Education in Interdisciplinary Computation, various forensic science laboratories, an applied mathematics suite and a nursing simulation station.

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