May 9, 2018
Goodwell, Okla. — Keeping in pace with regular changes progressing into the future, Oklahoma Panhandle State University has consolidated its five schools -School of Agriculture; School of Business and Technology; School of Education; School of Liberal Arts, School of Math, Science and Nursing – into three colleges – College of Arts and Education; College of Business and Technology; and College of Agriculture, Science, and Nursing. A faculty-led proposal towards higher sustainability and better shared resources was the leading motivator in the school’s transition.
The beginning of 2018 left Panhandle State faculty facing multiple personnel changes and an opportunity to proactively create a campus-wide solution. The deans from the schools came together and made a formal recommendation to the Vice President for Student and Academic Affairs, Dr. Julie Dinger, to transition from the five schools to three colleges in order to craft a more sustainable and competitive academic environment. After taking the recommendation to the University President, Dr. Faltyn, together, he and Dr. Dinger met with Panhandle State’s entire faculty to gather opinions, ideas, questions, and concerns regarding the proposal. The multi-month long process included discussing if the plan was feasible and what the college names would be, among other topics.
Dean of the College of Business and Technology Davin Winger commented on the faculty-led decision, “As personal changes began to happen on campus, the deans thought it was a perfect time to examine how we could make things more efficient. All the deans took a close look at consolidation, and tried to consider all the pros and the cons before making a formal recommendation.”
“I am proud of the fact that the faculty came together to shape the future of the university. Our faculty never lost focus for a moment that what matters most are our students in this process. They were very deliberate in making sure the names made sense for our students and their academic experience.” Dr. Dinger remarked in regards to the naming process.
Once the colleges were outlined, the search for deans commenced. Dr. Brad Duren was selected by a hiring committee and now heads the College of Arts and Education as a tenured Panhandle State History Professor. Ms. Shawna Tucker is currently the Interim Dean for the College of Agriculture, Science, and Nursing, overwhelmingly recommended for the position by fellow faculty. Davin Winger will continue to helm the College of Business and Technology, a position he accepted in July of 2017.
The University now houses three deans compared to five, therefore, the leadership within Oklahoma Panhandle State University can be more evenly distributed, allowing department heads to have greater responsibility and more of a voice in decision making. The consolidation also tightens communication within the faculty and allows them to work more closely with one another.
“This change right-sizes the colleges for our faculty amount and creates a pipeline of new leaders,” Dr. Dinger said about the motivation behind making the switch.
The resources that were available to larger schools will now be able to be spread more evenly amongst departments campus-wide. The School of Education was small in faculty and student numbers; combining it with the School of Liberal Arts allows Education majors to benefit from resources available to a larger student/faculty body. Science and Math are significantly benefitted from joining with the powerhouse programs of Agriculture and Nursing. In regards to the student experience, degree plans and advisors are not expected to change, opening the door for even greater opportunities at Panhandle State.
Regarding the benefits, Dr. Duren commented, “The merger of the School of Liberal Arts and the School of Education represents a step forward in providing students with the best educational opportunities possible. The sharing of resources and mind power between the two colleges, comprised of top faculty serving a wide array of degree tracks, places us in a stronger position to respond to the changing needs and demands of our students, our communities, and the world at large.”
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