Jun 21, 2018

Panhandle State Communications

Moratorium by State Regents has negative impact on Panhandle’s plan to grow and be sustainable

Goodwell, Okla. — Oklahoma Panhandle State University has received notice that the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) have placed a moratorium on consideration of any change of function or expansion requests. This directly impacts Panhandle State’s planned MBA in Agribusiness, which will be included in that moratorium, and its implementation will be placed on hold for the immediate future.

The decision by OSRHE is in response to the recommendations from the Oklahoma Taskforce on the Future Higher Education. A working group will be appointed by the State Regents Chair to review best practices, national trends in light of the recommendations.

Panhandle State President, Dr. Tim Faltyn, spoke with Dr. Glen Johnson, Chancellor of OSRHE, and Dr. Debbie Blanke, OSRHE Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs about this decision. “My response to the news was that there are going to be a lot of disappointed people in the panhandle region,” said Faltyn.

“I think I speak for all of us when I say I know that the State Regents are patient and wise, but implementing this moratorium is really holding us back from serving our students and our region as well as stopping our momentum to fulfilling our potential as a university.”

Shelbie Weeder, Panhandle State’s Assistant Coach of the seven time, and newly back-to-back, National Champion Rodeo team, was also disappointed in the news. “Many of our rodeo athletes go on to get their MBA,” she said. “Since we currently do not have an MBA program, that means after their four years with us, they leave to go on to other universities.”

“We lose our most experienced athletes who go on to become our opponents,” she added. “If we could keep them here an extra year, our program could only get stronger under their leadership.”

Kaylee Ann Smith, a senior, was hoping to complete an MBA at Panhandle State.

“Upon discovering that there would be an MBA program at OPSU, I fully intended from that moment on to receive my MBA here,” Smith said. “I compete on a rodeo scholarship and have applied for my fifth year of rodeo eligibility, which can only occur for those seeking a Master’s Degree. My family has invested money in the town of Goodwell in the form of housing because of my commitment of remaining at Panhandle,” Smith added.

“Panhandle State has allotted me many opportunities from rodeo, academia, choir, and blessed me with relationships that will last forever. For these reasons, I would prefer to receive my MBA here.”

Faltyn, in his conversation with the Chancellor, requested that he and Panhandle State Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Julie Dinger be part of the working group tasked with determining new policies moving forward.

“This moratorium is certainly disappointing news,” said Dinger. “Our team has worked closely with industry partners to develop a program that will move our region forward and everyone involved was excited to see our efforts realized.”

“We will not let this stop us from serving our communities,” Dinger added, “and we will continue to be proactive and innovative in serving the educational needs of our region.”

“As the number one agriculture producing county in the state and the seventh in the nation, not being able to bring this program is detrimental to our region and our industries,” Faltyn said. “My goal is to work with the State Regents to resolve this to Oklahoma’s benefit as quickly as possible.”

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